A key point that is often overlooked when discussing commission is the management of the purchase and sale contract. In negotiations and throughout the process, there are many pitfalls for the unwary and uneducated. Clients can lose rights and/or wind up in default (thereby losing their earnest money and being exposed to further legal action) in many places through the contract cycle. If they do not have a knowledgeable guide and representative, they are at serious risk. The purchase and sale agreement is a legal contract to pursue a process within agreed-upon guideline. Not conforming to contract requirements carries stiff penalties. How much would someone pay a lawyer for 80 or more hours of work to a successful contract conclusion? The last lawyer I dealt with charges $300/hr.
In addition, there are negotiations throughout the process. Coming to mutual acceptance alone can be a challenge. But, that's just the beginning. Keeping the contract together and creating a win-win for both sides does not happen automatically. It takes skill, intelligence and education to make all of the moving parts work.
There is nothing rote about a residential real estate transaction. Every party is unique, so each transaction is unique. Success requires mastery of a myriad of concepts, then the flexibility and creativity to put some or all of those concepts, to relevant use in a different way for every single transaction. A good agent will absolutely, positively save or make his/her client money, preserve the client's assets and keep them out of legal hot water. How much is that worth?