Home Buying in Pittsburgh>Question Details

R7, Both Buyer and Seller in Pittsburgh, PA

Suggestions on how to save on commissions when buying and selling a house?

Asked by R7, Pittsburgh, PA Mon Oct 22, 2007

We are planning to sell our house which is about 200K in Robinson Twp and move to a 300k house in Wexford. Any suggestions on how cut down on commisions is much appreciated. I dont want to do a FSBO.

If the same agent is used to buy and sell -how much of a break in commissions can be expected?

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Interview three top agents in your area. In your interview ask them that question. Commission is always negiotable. An agent may be willing to reduce their commission on the selling side knowing they have a commitment on the buying side as well. It is up to the agent buy typically a one percent break on the selling side is about what you can expect to see with a full service realtor.
Web Reference: http://www.northropteam.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 22, 2007
Joey... it is true that some companies have business models that allow the agents to keep more of the commissions than other companies; therefore, some agents can make larger concessions and still keep more in their pocket. This does make it easier for some agents to give in to the request but in no way lessons the value of the agent. Keep in mind that agents in most states are independent contractors. We pay our companies to hold our licenses, we pay to market our properties, we pay all of our expenses associated with doing business. At the end of the day, the fraction that we keep is small so cutting that down is painful for all!

I understand your need to save money and I do not think it will be hard to accomplish when you are offering two transactions to an agent valued at $500,000. I would sell first and then buy. Agents get very defensive about our paychecks because that is what you are negotiating... our paychecks. Would you get defensive if your paycheck was being negotiated? Probably! With that being said, you have every right as a consumer to negotiate fees you pay for any service. I am sure that probably every person that has responded to your question has negotiated on a car which is negotiating the sales persons paycheck. We all like to feel we are getting the best deal. I do disagree with those that reference an agent reducing their commission as a bad agent... not always the case. There are some top agents... agents closing 300 plus homes a year that offer certain benefits to their clients for multiple transactions etc.

A bad agent is a bad agent because of service or lack their of and not because of the commission they charge. A great agent is a great agent because of the wonderful service and representaion they provide not because of the commission that they charge.

With that being said... if an agent offers less to a buyers agent to show your home because they have chosen to take a lower commission than they are doing you a disservice. They are potentially hurting your opportunity to get your home sold.

"Do unto others as you would have them do to you"
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
Do you hire an accountant for the fee they charge or the value they bring?

A good realtor makes you money and bad realtor cost you money.

Whcih one do you think has a lower fee?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
I'm sure you will be able to find an agent who will cut their commission and also give you a break when you buy your new house. That is, if the listing doesn't expire first. Whenever I go after expired listings, invariably the commission was low, and I listen to an hour of complaints about how the agent did nothing, didn't communicate, etc etc.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 28, 2007
Try a re/max agent ... I hear they get more commission from Re/Max because of their business model, so re/max agents are more willing to be negotiable on their cut.

There is an article about it below:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2007
The first key thing to remember commission is negotiable. The key to selling your home is to get the most qualified buyer and the best price for your home. And, the key to that is a qualified agent. I think that in this situation you get what you pay for. A good agent knows how much it takes in advertising, internet exposure, photo's, flyers, open houses, etc.. Would you want them to skimp on any of this. The answer is no it might cost you the right buyer or the best price for your home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 28, 2007
Focus on the bottom line, who can get you the most money for your home in the shortest amount of time. Many sellers worry too much about trying to save .5 to 1 percent on commission instead of who can best market the home and negotiate the sale for you. I great agent can get you an extra $5,000 to $10,000 for your home, isn't that more important? Be sure to interview two or three agents before choosing who to go with.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 28, 2007
I've been faced with this questions many times before. You really don't want to lower the commission just because you are a repeat customer, if it means that your agent will lower the overall commission that is being offered to buyer's agents that will be showing your property. That's not in your best interest. When I've been in this same situation, I've offered the seller a reduced commission if I, myself sold their property. Also, if there were inspection issues, I've been able to help the seller monetarily if they were repeat clients, or were buying and selling at the same time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 28, 2007
Commissions are negotiable. However, keep in mind you are paying for hassle-free representation which could be of far greater value than a few thousand dollars in your pocket.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 22, 2007
The best you can do is ask your agent to sell your house and find you your new house. Knowing he has two transactions, he should give you a discount. I would not reduce what is paid to the cooperating agent for the listing who brings a buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
I agree with most of these folks, but, consider that a better approach may be to work with a REALTOR that will get you the best price in the least amount of time. Who will give you the most marketing services? Who will help you with home staging? Who will help you with making your house the very best out there?
We have learned this year that people expect a house in PREMIUM condition and they are willing to pay top dollar for it. That's not to say they will pay more than market value, but they will pay for a house in mint condition rather than dicker with the seller on a "fixer upper"
So, concentrate more on getting top dollar for your house and who will help you acheive that goal, instead of bargain hunting because you do get what you pay for. Buy a necklace at Tiffany & Co. and a necklace at TJ Maxx. Both will look similar on the surface, but, in the long run, the one from Tiffany & Co. is the better investment everytime!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 22, 2007
When you go to the dentist, do you ask for a discount if he pulls two teeth instead of one? Or when you go to the doctor do you ask for a discount if you get 10 stitches instead of the 20 needed?

So using this logic, be careful when someone offers to take less commission on your life investment...for at the end of the day, you want the property sold at the best price in the shortest space of time, with the least amount of hassles on your end. If you want someone to work for less, expect less....if you want someone to work for a standard commission, expect a marketing plan and action to work that plan to your satisfaction. Do not sell yourself nor your home short.
Web Reference: http://www.iansellsnola.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 22, 2007
Cindy answered your question pretty much right on. Commissions are always negotiable. However, in defense of our hard earned commission, your agent will be working on 2 seperate transactions whether they are with the same client or not is irrelevant. In my own case I have staff that handle the transaction from contract to settlement and their salary is not negotiable on a daily basis.

You may consider, if you are looking for some savings, asking the seller on your purchase to pay some of your closing cost.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 22, 2007
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