Speaking as someone who has no interest in an Ephrata listing as it is outside of my marketing area, let me lay it on the line for you. Much of what was said is partly correct. Commissions are negotiable but SOME brokers won't allow agents to take a listing under 6%. I won't mention any names. Negotiable also goes for the agent's share of the half his broker gets. If I was only getting one quarter of the total, I would not be paying for signs, advirtising etc, the broker would. If I pay for it all, I get nearly all of the half that comes back to my office. It is called the 100% commission plan but the catch is you must pay your office a monthly fee whether you sell anything or not as well as most of your operating costs. It is a flat fee for the most part no matter how much you sell. Busy agents always make out better with this plan. If they didn't, they would change compensation plans or brokers. Some brokers don't offer this kind of plan and therefore their agents hands are sort of tied as to what listing commission they can negotiate. I can negotiate any commission. I could list your house for free if I wanted, but if fair compensation was not offered to the buyers agent, no showings would come in.
While I dream of the 8% listing, it almost never happens. I see it a few times per year. 6% is very common, 5% a little less so, while 4% is even rarer than 8%. I don't need to be greedy but I have to make a fair living. If I couldn't, I would just get a different job. I could never even ask for 8 and only 7 if the competition was just too stiff and there were 10 other homes exactly like yours and you wanted a slight edge over the competion. I wouldn't take a listing at 4% either. Price is the real way to sell a home, appeal to the buyer, not the agent with an inflated commission. Just last week I sold a house that offered the buyers agent 3% with a $1500 bonus. I gave the bonus to the young couple buying their first home.
As far as listing a home, I come from an office that is the leader in my area. I know the company line about listing with the biggest office and getting your home sold. That is propaganda. Do you think a buyer working with company A isn't going to buy a home listed with company B. It is all about the listing agent and what they do to market your home. A buyer working with any good agent is seeing all the homes on the MLS whether they are listed with the smallest 1 man band broker or the biggest around. It is an equal playing field for the most part. No one cares where the buyer comes from as long as he comes. YOU and the listing agent make or break the listing by what you do to market it. Internet is king. You need a listing with lots of good pictures, a good description, a sign out front with a brochure box, a real virtual tour (not just the pictures in a slide show with a voice over), presence on all major web sites, etc. Print advirtising is just to satisfy the seller who is happy to see his home in a paper. All brokerages do it but almost nothing comes from print and what does, doesn't justify the cost. That money should be spent on the internet. For your part, you need to make it easily and quickly accessable, clean, and most of all priced right.