What do traditional agents think of discounted realtors like Help-U-Sell? I am thinking of listing my home

Asked by Dawn, Henderson, NV Thu Jan 17, 2008

with a realtor that charges a lower commission so I can offer a 4% commission to the buyer's agent as well as offering an incentive to the buyer like paying a portion of their closing costs.

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Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Jan 18, 2008
I think that discount agencies are wonderful. They offer a mid-range service for those who are doing exactly what you're talking about, Dawn, trying to save a little money, and are willing to pick pick up the slack for the marketing work that's required to get your home sold.

If you feel comfortable handling the LISTING side of the work, and have done this before I think it's terrific, and a good option (here come the thumbs down... but hold off a moment, okay?), but the option isn't for everyone. If, as Ruth suggests, this is your first home to sell, and you haven't been down this road before, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. Today's market, as you know, it a tough one, and it requires the utmost in marketing skills. Good photographs, quality descriptions, 4-color flyers and brochures delivered to all the local agents who are carrying the buyers who are looking for properties like yours, the occasional well-placed print ad, coordinated follow-up calling to the agents who's shown the property for feedback, etc... If you feel comfortable handling that, as well as handling appointments for showings, setting up the lockbox, etc... then a company like Help-U-Sell, or any of a myriad of discount listers, would be great.

If you're not up to that challenge, I'd suggest that instead of offering a bonus to the buyer's agent (who is NOT the person buying your home) spend the extra money by hiring a decent listing agent. I'm not sure what rates agents in Henderson are charging these days, but I'd guess that if you were willing to pay 5% (1% more than you're offering in your scenario), you'd be able to find a quality listing agent in your area, to handle every aspect of your listing. For that extra 1%, you'll get his/her expertise in your market, and have all that extra time to make sure your home is in ready-to-show condition at all times, so that when your new agent does manage to attract that buyer, the home shows at it's best.

Just a thought.
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Dawn, Home Seller, Henderson, NV
Fri Jan 18, 2008
Thank you to everyone who took the time to give me some feedback. I really appreciate it!!
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Thomas Hall, , Chicago, IL
Thu Jan 17, 2008
Dawn - per your original question, it sounds like you are open to compensating a buyers agent - quite generously I might add. I believe professional agents who feel that your property fits their client's needs will show your property - if you offer a commission to a buyers agent to show and ideally sell your home, my feeling is you should be in good shape.

Best of luck!

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Dawn, Home Seller, Henderson, NV
Thu Jan 17, 2008
In a perfect world, I would love to use a traditional agent who would handle all of the marketing of my home so I wouldn't have to worry about it. However, if I need to use a lower commission agent and am willing to do a good portion of the marketing myself for financial reasons, will this deter traditional agents from wanting to show my home? Will they be turned off by this approach?
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Thu Jan 17, 2008
As the other comments have pointed out, in today's market it's essentially to have a vigorous marketing program. And that'll come from an experienced, full-service agent.

Discount realtors definitely have a role. In hot markets, when all you had to do was list a property and you'd get multiple offers (thus, no real marketing needed), a seller willing to do some of the work (showing the property, etc.) could save some real money. And even in today's market, if a seller wants to try to market and sell his own property, that's fine. There's always the fall-back position of a full-service agent.

I also like the idea of offering a higher commission to the buyer's agent. That's a very effective way to get a lot of extra attention and, assuming the house isn't overpriced to begin with, may be more cost effective than a hefty cut in the listing price.

Keep in mind that in today's market, most buyers will expect you to pay a portion of the closing costs and to come down in price...even if your property is a bargain to begin with. It's just the sharks circling in the water.

Just my opinion...
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Thomas Hall, , Chicago, IL
Thu Jan 17, 2008
Hi Dawn - personally, I believe the advent of discount brokerages has been great for the consumer and the real estate community at large - ( I suspect I will be getting a few thumb downs for that comment - so be it). Discount brokers help distinguish between service level that a consumer ultimately needs or wants in the purchase or sale of their property. Traditional agents are now in a position to clearly define the value and service they provide for the fees they charge. There are a number of very well educated, savvy buyers and sellers who through experience have bought and sold property without the need of a full service broker.

While a 4% commission seems like a great incentive for the buyers agent, it is my opinion that it would be better spent with an experienced LISTING agent that truly invests in the appropriate marketing of your home. For example - if a traditional agent charges a hypothetical fee of 5% to sell your home, it is fairly common to expect that they will share 50% of the fee to a cooperating agent. That leaves the remaining 2.5% as compensation for the listing agent. While 2.5% may sound like alot, the listing agent will pay a "split" with their broker - generally as much as 50% to 80% - 80% to the listing agent, 20% to the brokerage firm. That generally covers newspaper advertising, admin staff, the lights rent etc. An experience LISTING agent will pay additionally for the professional marketing efforts that ulimately will attract the appropriate buyer to you property, ie. direct marketing pieces, internet website, email campaigns, personal development etc. You want an agent who's up on the market and issues.

In my opinion, agents who don't invest in the appropriate marketing of your property do not deserve to be compensated in the same manner that an agent that does invest in the effective tools and channels to get your home sold. This is why I believe discount brokers have a niche. In researching your choices, be sure you understand what you get for the fees charged.

I believe you want to find an agent/firm that invests in the professional marketing of your home. Marketing your home effectively is not simply inputting your property in the MLS with the hopes that buyers will line up to view your property. A good listing agent has invested and will continue to invest in the use of the proper tools that best presents your property to the correct buyer audience. An agent who has invested in the tools usually has built a network of prospects and pool of past buyers & sellers who may be a fit for your property - there is value in leveraging an agent's contacts and past buyer pools. Often times I believe agents neglect to "sell" their contacts as a valuable tool in the sale of a client's property.

Just some food for thought.

Gentlemen - start your engines
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Patti Pereyra, , Chicago, IL
Thu Jan 17, 2008
Dawn, while offering 4% to the other side may prove to be a mighty incentive for a buyer's agent, remember that the most important thing in getting your home sold is MARKETING, and that has to come from YOUR side. Your listing agent will be the one to offer the plan to get your home out there. Skimp on marketing dollars and know-how to make this happen, and that 4% you want to offer to a buyer's agent may end up simply burning a hole in your pocket with no place to go.

In the meantime, there have been several interesting threads regarding the use of discount brokers, or using a listing agent that reduces their commission. Perhaps they may be helpful to you in some way:




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