Question removed

Asked by Jil, Tucson, AZ Sat Feb 6, 2010

This question was removed by its author.


Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Wed Feb 10, 2010
There's also this perception that we're supposed to act like some always-perky Barbie & Ken dolls, and that Heaven Forbid that we, as actual human beings, should express any emotion other than unbridled enthusiasm.

Real estate agents are just like their clients - we're warm, loving, gentle, tender, hotheaded, forgetful, insightful, quick to flip off a fellow driver on the road and just as quick to pull over and help someone change a flat.

And we worry - just like regular people - about our image, how we're perceived at work, and how an off-handed comment might find its way into our Report. Well, I'm not, but some are, and they're fully justified for it.

Basically, we provide a valuable service. That's what we do for the money.
5 votes
Martha Staten, , Tucson, AZ
Sat Feb 6, 2010
1. Provide access to MLS listing database of homes for sale

2. Research all comparable sales in the neighborhood

3. Analyze market conditions and projections

4. Explain past market performance

5. Analyze all homes for sale in the neighborhood to assess your home’s marketing position

6. Counsel home sellers on the process of listing and selling their home

7. Familarize buyers with the neighborhood and market demographics for your home

8. Create, schedule and publish video tours

9. Discuss timing of the sale and the pricing of the home in order to meet your expectations

10. Schedule open houses to attract buyers

11. Prepare for open houses with announcements, postings and signage

12. Arrange for the placement of the For Sale Sign

13. Provide and create flyers for the sale of the home

14. Draft and create print advertisements of the home

15. Take safeguard precautions to minimize risks of loss and vandalism that occur during open houses

16. Receive and review offers from potential buyers

17. Review the buyer’s LSR and analyze the provisions of their loan to assure that they can get financing

18. Present and discuss all offers that are received

19. Check to make certain that all advertising is in compliance with the Code of Ethics and Fair Housing requirements

20. Outline the pros and cons of offers received from potential buyers

21. Thoroughly review the entire listing contract and all accompanying documentation regarding the signing of the listing agreement

22. Negotiate the offer with the buyer and/or their agent

23. Thoroughly review the offer and all it’s terms

24. Explain your legal obligations as a seller in the area of disclosure

25. Answer phone calls and inquiries regarding your property

26. Arrange and schedule showings of your properties at the request of buyers and/or their agents

27. Draft any necessary addendums and clauses that are necessary to the purchase contract

28. Help you review and fill out the mandatory Lead Based Paint Disclosure required from all sellers

29. Provide the appropriate SPDS form for the disclosure of all known conditions required of every seller

30. Guide you through and inform you of the status of the buyer’s loan with requests for periodic updates

31. Monitor and coordinate the escrow process and the handling of the earnest money deposit

32. Counsel you on the rules surrounding the handling of the earnest money deposit

33. Schedule and arrange the necessary inspections requested by the buyer

34. Schedule and arrange access to the home for the appraiser

35. Schedule and arrange the termite inspection and accomodate the buyer’s requests for information

36. Assist in making certain that the buyer gets the necessary HomeOwners Association information

37. Follow up with all prospective buyers who appear during open houses

38. Explain the nature of agency relationships and the way that agency relationships work in real estate transactions

39. Act in a manner that is in accordance with the Code of Ethics to fulfill all obligations to you as the seller

40. Field calls from all advertising and generate interest in the home through marketing efforts

41. Counsel you on periodic price changes that may be demanded due to changes in market conditions

42. Point out areas that are likely to be targetted by buyers on any requests for repairs

43. Provide counseling and guidance in regard to showing so that the home gets its best appearance

44. Locate and provide area and street maps to potential buyers

45. Review the BINSR request from the buyer and review with you the buyer’s requests for repairs

46. Be available on evenings and weekends when buyers are most likely to want to see your home

47. Counsel and guide you through your responses to the buyer’s requests for repairs

48. Provide professional references for any repairs that might decide to make in order to complete the sale

49. Review the preliminary title report received from the escrow company

50. Make certain that all requirements on the preliminary title report are being met and handled prior to closing

51. Check to make certain that the buyer has supplied title with necessary documentation and any power of attorney forms

52. Check the preliminary title report for the sta
5 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Tue Feb 16, 2010
Jay - Bravo!!

I echo your sentiments loud and clear.

I, too, am tired of addressing this.........but even more bothered by the defensive position agents seem to feel they need to take.............making excuses for what we earn - listing our expenses...listing the little "extra" things we do to justify what we earn...............enough already!

We earn what we earn - we do what we do.lit's all part of the job done right!..................I don't feel I have to explain it away to my clients, nor do I have to explain it to strangers............anyone who works with a good agent, and has had a positive experience, knows what is involved.

I don't want pity that I pay for gasoline or E&0 insurance, or that I work all weekend's called the cost of doing business.

That's it................I am done! :)

ps I think stats show the average agent makes less than $50,000, but then, so do most new teachers.
4 votes
James Deskins, Agent, Worthington, OH
Wed Feb 24, 2010
1. Drink lots of expensive coffee drinks.
2. Golf at least (3) times a week.
3. Drive really expensive cars.
4. Go on really nice vacations.
5. Send you a pre-printed Christmas card.

Oh, sometimes we help our clients, too.

O.k., I'm just having a little fun!
3 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Feb 15, 2010
Dear colleagues,

I don't think the consumer cares a whit about how the fee gets disbursed once it leaves their hands.

All they know is they're paying a bunch of money, and they demand value.

Yer pal,
-- mack
3 votes
Ron Humes, , Lexington, KY
Sun Feb 14, 2010

I love this question because it concludes a morning of reading all sorts of questions from other Buyers and Sellers who are in a horrible pinch because they got themselves into a mess without using a representative.

Let me ask you a few rhetorical questions: "Would you do your own legal services in a divorce or would you use your soon to be ex-spouse's attorney through the proceedings?" Of course you wouldn't. Would you do your own business taxes if you were not an accountant? Would you do your own engine tuneup if you were not a mechanic? Would you handle the investment strategies of your own retirment portfolio without any market knowledge? What do you do for a living? Do you do that better than someone that has no experience doing that? Do you know how to handle situations or issues that you have dealt with prior that helps your clients - assuming you work in a profession? Of course you do.

Please take a few minutes to read through Trulia for Buyers and Sellers that are in serious trouble and see that Agents would have had the answers to help these people or keep them from getting into the situations in the first place.

Q: What is the most important investment that most people make?
A: Their home purchase.

Sound important enough to have a good representative? Some of my clients transactions are fairly smooth but many have issues throughout that they never have to worry about because I am there for them.

Good Luck and, hopefully, you are not one of the next questions that I read about in the forum that is in a serious pickle!
3 votes
Joseph Hasti…, Agent, Bayside, NY
Sat Feb 13, 2010
Hi Jil. A lovely rhetorical question to say the least. It would be good to know what experience you had that makes you ask a question that belittles us (Realtors) both. The short answer is we do everything that is needed in any real estate transaction we enter in to.

We go the extra mile dealing with the entire cast of charcters involved in any deal. That means two sets of Attorneys and their paralegals, mortgage consultants, building inspectors, appraisers, potential buyers, sellers, clean up, staging, marketing (and we pay out of pocket for many things), anything and everything else that needs doing. We never charge a commission, we earn it and I mean every penny.

We split the commission on co-brokered deals and bring the rest back to the office where our principal broker takes a percentage of it. After that, we get the remainder which may be no more than 1%-1.5% of the total commission. We now get to put aside a percentage for taxes (as they are not deducted from the check), deduct the expense of print ads, flyers, gas and general wear and tear.

We do all this and much more and still, we don't see dime one until the transaction has closed. What that means is that we can work on a deal for months before getting paid. Try working for one month without getting paid and let us know how that works out for you.

On top of all this, I truly love this profession and my colleagues (I'm sure) love it also. It has an element of the unknown. Constantly meeting new people. Studying to stay on top of the market. Reading every artilce regarding R.E. Chatting with prospective new clients or customers. Many great aspects to being an independant contractor.

I certainly understand that you simply don't understand what we do. Best of luck.
3 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Sat Feb 13, 2010

Perhaps some Agents earn their money dealing with,
The Realities of Real Estate..…
3 votes
Doug Seemann, Agent, Tucson, AZ
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Oh My God Jill! Where do we begin. I can only speak from my own experience... but we do almost anything our clients need us to do. Yes of course there is the research, the pre-viewing, completing paperwork, representing our clients interests in the transaction, protecting the clients rights, holding the other agent accountable and making sure any of the dozens of deadlines arent missed, meeting inspectors, roofers, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, delivery people, cleaners, exterminators, loan officers, title officers, the cement guy, the stucco guy, the paint guy, and any one else required. There is also relisting the property when the other party pulls out, changes of status, fighting with the appraiser, marketing the property on half a dozen websites, running off squatters, driving 20 miles each way twice per week to make sure the house is still clean, flyers are in the box, make sure the sign is still up and the house/shed are still locked, the sign in sheet still has room (and while you are at it, compare the sign in to lock box report and follow up on everyone that has been in the house). You, the agent, drive out to the house and wait for your client who may or may not show up, and smile even though you are late to pick up the kids when he does show up one hour late. You track all phone calls, activity, records, letters, and reports maintaining them in a file. You store furniture to stage the house, move it in and out... oh and you bought it too.

Then you are a friend, holding the clients hand through the worries, delays, stuff the ex has done to them, the stresses, problems and difficulties in their life. When the client takes initiative and does or says something they probably shouldn't have, you fix it. You pick up your clients kids, parts, tools, furniture, mail, records from county, and food-on-the-way.

You the realtor do all this without getting any money up front, hoping that the deal will close, and that when one of their friends or family has to buy or sell, that they will remember you first. By the way, you do this for up to a half dozen clientsat the same time and keep it all straight.

By the way, the above description is just one transaction that I am currently working on. I figure that if nothing else needs my help, when this transaction closes (if it closes), I will be at about $10/hour, less actual expenses and overhead (and we have a lot).

Of course every deal isn't like that, but we commit to putting the client first, and if he/she is a good guy and tries to do right, we don't fire our clients, even if we are losing money of the deal. My clients never question that I earn my commission and have never asked me to discount it.

If you want to know why we get paid "so much money" ask a FSBO (for sale by owner) who has had his home on the market for 6 months to a year, a family that is about to be foreclosed for being 4 months behind, the family who had to move out of town to start the new job and leave the house behind, the parents who have to get their kid into the new shool before the first semester. We get paid so much because we are worth it!

By the way, I was so driven to answer you, that I haven't read anything the other realtos wrote yet. I will do it now, but I want to say ditto to the 17 agents that answered you. We work hard and wait long for our money.

3 votes
Ronda Allen, Agent, Plano, TX
Sat Feb 6, 2010
SO much money?? I know, that's what people think. But, real estate is like any other line of work in that most of the people making any real money at it are either 1. Working all the time and sacrificing in their personal life or 2. Have built a team and are making money off their own work and the work of their team members. I know it seems like a lot of money, but from our wages comes our taxes, advertising expenses, dues to the Board of Realtors, membership in professional associations, splits with our broker, office overhead, supplies, mandatory continuing education, optional certifications, and the list goes on. I've been at this job for nine years. I was named one of the top 50 agents on the rise in 2008 by Realtor Magazine. And, I have yet to be paid what I was worth. Ever. I bring more to the table by way of my knowledge and experience in the DFW housing market than any client can/will pay. I've sold $70,000 townhomes and $1,000,000 luxury properties. I've leased out $10,000 a month private homes and $700 a month condos. I've found $2000 a month furnished apartments for corporate moves and $400 apartments for high school graduates. I've saved a client $75,000 on a single purchase, but I've never made $75,000 on a single home sale or purchase transaction. I actually made more in corporate America than I net out here as a self-employed freelance contractor in real estate. But, the trade-off of being able to put my family first in every day has been a life blessing to me. I wouldn't trade a minute of it. We get told we're the worst agent someone has ever met on the same day someone else is singing our praises on high for saving them from foreclosure. It's the best of the worst jobs you could ever imagine. If I knew now what I didn't know then, I can't truthfully say that I'd make the same decisions.

You sacrifice a lot to be a real estate agent. There are more hours than an 8-5pm job, and fewer hours than an all-night diner. But, 24/7, someone needs a home, or needs to sell a home. Their circumstances are similar, and yet entirely different - and they are looking to us to make their dreams happen or fix their problems. Ask to go shadow a successful real estate agent in your community. I won't mentor a new agent unless they shadow me for a day. It's not as much money as you might think, and it's a heck of a lot less than we're worth - especially in these times with so many people needing saved from foreclosure. I work no less than 12 hours every day, and no less than six days a week. At the end of the day, an average agent may walk away with at, or under, 1/3 of their commission as their net pay. Tucson's market is not too far off from DFW's. It is very difficult for an agent to make a decent living (above the poverty level) if they sell just one home a month.

Let me just take one moment to thank my fellow real estate agents for their efforts - especially those helping to spread education and awareness via Nobody pays you to take time out of your day to help people understand what we do. If you are daring to educate yourself on short sales and are working the foreclosure market and HUD homes, you are truly a hero to our nation's economy right now, and you are not getting recognition for the work you're doing. Our country is at war overseas, and yet the real estate community is waging war on distressed properties and this war looks like it will continue for at least the next couple of years. Keep up the good work. We're claiming back our communities one house at a time!

Have a blessed day, and hug your real estate agent!


Ronda Allen, Realtor
C.P.M. - Certified Purchasing Manager
SFR - Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource
TAHS - Texas Affordable Housing Specialist
CEO of
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Keith Dobbs Team
3 votes
Karen Melillo, Agent, Sedona, AZ
Wed Feb 24, 2010
What do we do? Have you ever been in an escrow where you are represented by a Realtor?
Well, what we do prior to an offer, during the offer, and during the contract period, truly is an endless answer.
I would literally have to write a short book about what I do.
Here you go though: Every escrow we get paid for helps defray the costs of the 70% of work done that we have never gotten paid for. EG the escrows that fall out, the buyers we work w/ for 1 or 2 years, that then decide to move to Santa Fe not Sedona, the listings that do not sell because our sellers have not taken our pricing recomendations, etc etc........
But when we DO get paid, for me- My brokerage gets 25% and the IRS gets 25%, and then there is always the prorata share of the cost of doing business.
EG the print ads for $380 a mo, the cost of flyers, and websites, and dues and fees, and I COULD GO ON endlessly.
If we were not worth the $$$ we would have been out of a job long ago. Personally I wish that our pay included retainer fees as well.
2 votes
Frank Hooton, , San Antonio, TX
Wed Feb 24, 2010
After so many posts, I had to jump in with my 2 cents worth. A good agent whether buying or selling brings a tremendous amount of value with them in addition to licensing, transaction expertise, contacts, market knowledge, negotiating skills, marketing professionalism, contract expertise, advertising etc. etc. etc. Because a home sale or purchase is often a big ticket item, the "so much money" phrase plays into the conversation, but in reality the percentage is shockingly low. If you have ever purchased anything from any business, you have likely paid MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more by percentage and likely received FAR, FAR, FAR less in return. If you have any state taxes, i.e. sales tax etc. you likely pay a lot more in that tax alone by percentage than you do for a real estate expert to take your needs "under their wings" and find a way to get you, your desired result. I hate to say it, but I think the question needs to be what do agents do for so little money? Since the topic of banks played into the conversation earlier, what percentage did they charge you (interest? Origination? Addl. fees?). How about your grocery store? Gas station? Just food for thought. Here's one last consideration, if the fees charged are in your view high, ask other licensed professionals to do half as much for the same percentage and I suspect you will find it hard to hire folks to tend to necessities. Now, if you're looking for a specific list of duties, the list could be very long indeed, and will depend on whom you hire as will the fee for service. I have included a small list of basics from our office.

For starters when you are selling:
A1. Be licensed!
1.Take time to meet with you
2. Perform expert market analysis
3.Help you determine a price at which to list your property
4.List your property: often times with a service such as MLS which has a membership expense as well as a licensing and standards guideline which must be met and maintained.
5. Make your home safely accessible to be shown to potential buyers
6. provide signage (when appropriate)
7. Market your property-this can be a huge expense
8. Often times the agent will create your marketing-so you don't have to hire an advertising professional at a much larger percentage expense
9. Take and answer the calls and questions regarding your property

We're just getting started-this is before we even have real interest.

The list could go on and on... etc. etc...

The bottom line is that when you work with a good agent you are getting a good value even if the investment seems like a high dollar figure. If that still causes any discomfort, it might make more sense to look at the percentage to keep things in perspective. If that still has it feeling like "so much money" then working with an agent might not be the right solution to your needs. Not all needs have the same solution.

I hope you find a wonderful professional and achieve great success. My best wishes go out to you.
Web Reference:
2 votes
Joan Braunsc…, , Morris County, NJ
Thu Feb 18, 2010
Sing it Dunes!

Tom Boos, i would respectfully like to say that how hard we work for our measly commission has already been stated ad nauseum on this thread.
I don't think that we should, as real estate agents, ever forget what a significant amount of money that commission represents to the seller, regardless of how hard we may (or in some cases, lets face it- may not) work for our piece of the pie.
Lots of hands are in that pie and the seller is the one who has to hand the pie over.

Okay, enough of that. I'm starting to crave pie and I don't even like pie.
2 votes
Voices Member, , Pittsburgh, PA
Mon Feb 15, 2010
I would have never sold my house in this market without my agent. He earned every penny. Not to mention all the buyers he works with that never closed a deal. Most of them earn their money especially in these market conditions.
2 votes
Steve Tennis…, Agent, McAllen, TX
Mon Feb 15, 2010
I posted a list of what we do on my blog. It is too long of a list to post here.…
2 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Sat Feb 13, 2010
The other day I listened to some doctors and lawyers justify their income by pointing out they have expertise, skill sets and knowledge equal to any Real Estate Agent and should be paid accordingly....and they have expenses ;)
2 votes
Stickman, Both Buyer And Seller, Williamsburg, VA
Fri Feb 12, 2010
When I've been a buyer, I've never given a second thought about how much money my agent is making. But as a seller, it can be painful to think about the costs of selling a home. I think anytime you are writing a check for 10-20 thousand dollars (or having it deducted from your proceeds) it crosses your mind, wow that's a lot of money. I'm sure most people, Realtors included, at least pause for a second when they write a check for their annual health insurance premium or child's college tuition.

I think the issue is one of perspective. From the selling agents perspective, the money get chopped fifty ways to one and they are netting minimum wage (according to some responses I've seen), but from the sellers perspective they are paying more in commission than they've paid down in principle living in the house for several years.

Obviously most Realtors do more than just post a sign in the yard and list a house in the MLS. Any visitor to the Trulia boards has seen the exhaustive lists. And they have expenses beyond advertising (once again the exhaustive lists have been posted). Each seller needs to determine for themself if the costs are worth it. In many cases they are, and in some cases they are not.

As for the comments concerning plumbers and electricians, these are professions with a different business model. For the most part they are paid an hourly rate, and the total bill is rarely over a few hundred dollars. If consumers were charged $1500 to replace a light switch or replace a faucet, I guarantee there would be similar message boards, questioning what electricians and plumbers were doing to earn that wage.
2 votes
Bernadette C…, Agent, Severna Park, MD
Wed Feb 10, 2010
Agents become members of "Real Estate PMS". (I'm working on a blog site with that name) One day the deal is going smoothly and you're happy. The next day you get a depressing phone call from your buying/selling agent, buyer/seller, appraiser, mortgage broker, home inspector or someone else involved in delaying closing the deal.

We have to work for every single penny that we make. Split a pie into 4 pieces and we're left with less than one piece of that pie. It all looks like hollywood glam. But unlss you've been in the business for years, there is no such thing as "so much money"/ Definitely not in today's market.
2 votes
Joan Braunsc…, , Morris County, NJ
Wed Feb 10, 2010
Although I agree with you, I was one of those people who, before I became an agent, asked the same question.
Stereotypes, as wrong as they may be, are often based on a bit of truth.
I came into this market recently, at a time when we have to work particularly hard for our money.
Seasoned agents have admitted to times of relatively easy money and that will always breed resentment.
It really comes down to nobody ever knowing unless they've done it as well as the sense that bad agents often seem to make more of an impression than good agents.
If we do our job right, people don't even realize how hard we work because everything goes smoothly.
If we do our job badly, it can leave people with a bad taste about this profession for life.
2 votes
Stickman, Both Buyer And Seller, Williamsburg, VA
Wed Feb 24, 2010
Frank Hooton wrote:
Because a home sale or purchase is often a big ticket item, the "so much money" phrase plays into the conversation, but in reality the percentage is shockingly low.

The percentage may be low, but the "shocking low" 6% selling commission may represent 100% or more of the sellers equity in the home.
1 vote
Mary Englund, , Portland, OR
Wed Feb 24, 2010
I have to chuckle at this question. It's a reasonable thing to ask, but it's more difficult to answer specifically in each case. Does anyone ask this question of their doctor or lawyer? We usually expect to pay for the high level of education and experience that these professionals bring to the table, but with real estate many people think of us as simply "sales people" and not as knowledgeable and experienced professionals running a business. While we don't have the same level of education as a doctor or lawyer, we are handling the sale or purchase of most people's largest financial asset. This is a great deal of responsibility. One point that's important to consider is that not every state is the same in regards to the duties a real estate agent performs for their clients. I recently had a California client who was shocked at how much I did, after the offer was negotiated and accepted. She was very dissatisfied with the title company saying they were not doing their job, and that I was doing all the work. Apparently, in California, escrow and title perform services that Oregon escrow and title companies are not allowed to perform, so the broker does them. Each state has different state laws regulating escrow, title, and real estate broker activities. Take this into consideration when discussing commission with your broker.
1 vote
Deborah Brac…, Agent, STATEN ISLAND, NY
Wed Feb 24, 2010
I could go on & on about this question. The list of things we do for the buyer and seller is too long to mention and has been mentioned here already. Rather than repeat this, I would like to add to that long list that the buying & selling process is not as easy as it seems. Not only do we work very hard for the money and deserve every penny, most of us do this from the heart because to be in this business you have to be a people person and we enjoy, yes, enjoy making people happy by seeing their dreams become reality. We do this at the expense of our families-very often sacrificing quality time to spend hours on the phone or in the office trying to solve that problem that may or may not kill the deal or make the process unfavorable. When we have been successful in making everything go smoothly without you being stressed, it seems like it was so easy but meanwhile no one realizes what goes on "behind the scenes" and the agents are the ones that experienced the stress so it would all work out in the end with hopefully as little aggravation as possible to you. Let me sum it up with a quote from the thank you card I just got from my client whose deal I just closed successfully February 27,2010-"Thank you for all of your help during this difficult time. Your help made all the difference in getting through it." Enough said.
1 vote
Robert J. Va…, Agent, Clarks Summit, PA
Wed Feb 24, 2010
Didn't anyone see the article in Realtor Magazine that said a comparable fsbo sells for 16% less than a property sold on MLS? Don't worry about the amount you are paying, worry about the amount you are losing. If selling real estate was easy, we'd all be unemployed.
Web Reference:
1 vote
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Fri Feb 19, 2010
I have never disputed Agents provide a valuable service, in fact I have said they do IMHO Hundreds of times in this Forum....

I'm just saying they are not very good at explaining that value which leaves the Consumer less than convinced and I'm suggesting maybe that is not a good thing.

Just my opinion
1 vote
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Thu Feb 18, 2010
If people would discuss it, then yes it would be interesting ;)

Alright ya work hard for your money so....what are you doing when you are working hard?

Are you
Making sure the interests of your client are protected?

Verifying costs so the client gets the best deal possible while accomplishing their goals? (Like verifying there is actually a higher bid so your Client doesn't pay $15000 dollars more than they needed to) or if your clients a Seller they don't get less than they should

If the other Agent is doing something wrong you do what is necessary to deal with it so your client and future clients do not report them to whomever necessary and follow through...You take pride in your profession and you help keep it a profession that actually does protect your client and future clients.

You stay as informed as possible about your Market so you ARE providing value to your client...You can verify your claims....

You provide these kind of things plus your client gets someone who understands contracts/paperwork and will review them in detail to protect the clients interests.

At negotiations ect. your client is getting your best every moment to get them the best deal/arrangement...

Is that what ya do when your workin hard for your money?

If not then who cares what you're workin hard at?
1 vote
Tom Boos, Agent, Mack Avenue, MI
Thu Feb 18, 2010
Sounds like you have an "axe to grind". Well, for starters. . . many agents work seven days a week. I know I do. 60-hour work weeks are the norm. Most agents are in business for themselves. We are not employees of various Brokerages, but rather, independent contractors. We have huge expenses to meet in the form of MLS fees, Board dues, desk(rent) fees, supplies expenses, ADVERTISING, website fees, etc., etc., etc. That "big fat check" that's placed in the hands of the agent at the time of Closing goes back to his office where it is "split" with his Brokerage, often 50/50. His portion must then be judiciously managed BECAUSE the next payday could very well be a month or more away. If your Boss started paying you every two months, you'd really be quite happy on THAT payday. But you'd soon realize that those monies would have to be carefully handled to cover all your expenses for a protracted period of time. That's the situation most of us agents deal with on a continual basis.
1 vote
The Stephen…, Agent, Portland, OR
Mon Feb 15, 2010
They get you more money for your home. I understand the feeling, the amount of commission is often high. That is why I charge less and provide the same (or better) services... but each agent will have their own answer to this question.
1 vote
Joseph Domino, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Mon Feb 15, 2010
Your boss asked me the same question about you.
1 vote
greg, , Boston, MA
Mon Feb 15, 2010
Real estate agent commissions or realtor commissions are fees paid to the listing (representing the house for sale) and selling (representing the buyer of the house) agent at the close of a real estate sales transaction. These fees can vary from one real estate deal to the next, or real estate agency, or market region. Realtor commissions are usually determined by the real estate office, agency, or market region.

Commissions are shared between the listing and selling agents. Furthermore, the "house" or real estate agency for each agent gets a cut. An average commission breakdown follows:

House sales price: $200,000
Commission percentage: 6%
Total commission: $12,000 (6% of $200,000)
Listing agent percentage: 3% (of $200,000) = $6,000
Selling agent percentage: 3% (of $200,000) = $6,000

But each of the agents may not actually pocket $6,000. The real estate agency still needs to receive its percentage of the commission.

Real estate agents and brokers need the agency for different reasons.

The real estate agent needs the agency since it is illegal for a real estate agent to represent buyers or sellers in a real estate transaction without first signing with a broker's agency.

The real estate broker needs the agency since it is expensive and difficult to perform as a solitary broker without the overhead, i.e., advertising, marketing, phone, desk, and so on, that the experienced agency provides.

The real estate agency provides many necessary services for both agent and broker. Of course the broker can start his or her own agency beginning at $10,000-$20,000. As a small business owner, the broker agency can look forward to startup costs that include physical location and building costs, liability insurance, broker and association dues, state employee costs and taxes, small business taxes, and so on.

In return for this service, the agent gives the agency a part of his or her commission (agency fees) depending on the agency commission structure. The average commission structure between agent and agency varies. For example, a commission split between agency and agent could be 50/50, 60/40, 70/30, or 80/20 depending on the experience and value that the agent brings to the agency.

So, instead of the agent receiving the full $6,000 in the above example, his or her commission may actually be $3,000 (50/50 split, agency gets $3,000) for a novice agent, or it could be $4,800 (80/20 split, agency gets $1,200) for a seasoned agent.

The 6% real estate agent commission on a house sales price may also vary a little less, a little more depending on the region. Commission splits between listing and selling agents can also vary, i.e., 2%, 3%, or 4%.

Also, an agency can perform "in house" sales where both the listing and selling agents reside within the same agency. An agent can "double-end" a real estate transaction, representing both the listing and selling of the property with proper disclosure. In this case, the agent keeps the full 6% minus the agency cut and other operating costs.

Of course, a FSBO (for sale by owner) may choose to opt out of using a professional real estate agent. That is, homeowners may choose to save the real estate agent commission costs by selling their homes themselves. But, prospective buyers may shy away from the homeowner because of his limited expertise in real estate transaction documents, intentionally or unintentionally omitting property details, sharing of closing costs and property fixes, and so on. Plus selling one's home is time consuming and inconvenient: holding open house and advertising. Using a professional real estate agent is the most assured way of maximizing both the seller's asking price and buyer's offering price.

Another advantage of using an agency or agent is that most agencies subscribe to a multiple listing service (MLS). The MLS helps to maximize the exposure of your home to other agents and buyers.

In summary, real estate agent commissions, vary between real estate transactions since commission percentages can differ between agencies and real estate regions.
1 vote
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Sat Feb 13, 2010
I think the links are fair examples of how some Agents make use of Social Media/Internet to further the goals of their clients...An excellent use in my opinion.

Agents provide things most people can not do for themselves...A knowledge of Marketing, new ideas and approaches to selling or buying, factual information are just some of those things and have value when considering the size of the financial transaction.

The key for the Public is determining which Agents bring those things to the table and which just claim they do.
1 vote
Joan Braunsc…, , Morris County, NJ
Sat Feb 13, 2010
The wood-like paneling is what drew me in. That and the color coordinated masterfully laid out kitchen.
Man, I think that answers Jil's question about as well as anything.

Beauties and breeder. Interesting job description you have there for us ladies.
1 vote
Jolie Muss, , Upper West Side, New York, NY
Sat Feb 13, 2010
Jil, Excellent question and many excellent answers, some that I really love! I'm sure the details have already been covered in many of the answers already but most successful agents & brokers work 6 to 7 days a week from right after breakfast until after dinner..The internet, social media and blogging have added to the workload instead of lightening it, not unlike how women now being required to be part of the workforce in addition to their traditional roles of housekeepers, cooks, decorators, shoppers, bookeepers, mommies, beauties, family health care workers, sexual partners breeders and comforters has added to the workload of women.. even though it has empowered them...Capiche?
Please check out my Q & A's and also my 27 answers to questions about buyer brokerage blog here on Trulia:…
(PS.If you like any of my answers please give me a thumbs up! :) Thanks!
1 vote
Joan Braunsc…, , Morris County, NJ
Sat Feb 13, 2010
I'm there!!

Oh wait, my kids may have something to say about it. Dang!

Go ahead and rub it in Marina. It took me 2 days to dig out the snow so I could get out of my driveway.
And its cold. Really cold!

Kids? What kids?
1 vote
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Sat Feb 13, 2010
Joan, in essence at this time you are the young apprentice.

Everyone knows that when someone starts a new job there is a learning curve. The smart old dogs know that if you teach the young pup well in a little while that will make life easier for you as everyone can do their jobs well. Being willing and able to lend a hand and really try to learn is a great attribute in almost any profession. Those who can not see that may need to remember when they were young and inexperienced. Everyone goes thought both sides of the training process.
1 vote
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Sat Feb 13, 2010
The Doctor Comparison....

Cannot remember if I shared this before but it is an excellent Blog written by one of our Trulia Contributors...…
1 vote
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Sat Feb 13, 2010
Now I am confused. Id debbie going to use the scalpel to remove the last painting from a frame or to do more "serious work"?

I think stickman has it right.
The real question is not how much a realtor earns most times, it is how much the poor seller has to pay. If only the seller could only pay the realtor their fee with advertising costs I doubt anyone would complain, at least not to much. <winks>
1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Fri Feb 12, 2010
Sure, it's a lot of money. The purchase price is an even larger amount of money to the homebuyer, whom we have to bring to the table with all of their doubts, fears, anxieties, and concerns. It's usually a significant amount of money for the lender, especially if they have to buy the loan back!

Real estate's a big-ticket transaction, the biggest that most people will every participate in.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, single-digit percentage commissions are unheard of in other similarly-sized transactions, such as with auction houses, who get to double-end: they charge, typically, a 12-15% (or more) Buyer's Premium, plus between 10-25% on the seller's side. Meaning, that $100,000 sculpture that you pay all cash for means a ticket for $112,000 with the buyer's premium added, and a net to seller of between $75,000 and $90,000.

Oh, and the auction house doesn't generally have a fiduciary duty or agency relationship with the principals, nor are they typically at risk in the transaction.
1 vote
Catherine "C…, Agent, Metuchen, NJ
Thu Feb 11, 2010
Hi Jil,

Agents shovel snow if they have to...

I put today a listing on the market and as the home owners are not living there anymore, I had to shovel over one foot of snow (we just had a bad storm in Middlesex County, NJ) so potential buyers can reach the front door and go around the house...Just one of the MANY things that you won't read in a license preparation manual :)
1 vote
Gary King, Agent, Knoxville, TN
Wed Feb 10, 2010
We work long hours and are available at all times of the day and night. Since we work on a commission, it is not uncommon for us to work with a client and then have them not buy or sell a/their homes so in that case we make nothing. We are also subject to questions of wrong doing so we must carry insurance, attend continuing education classes and keep accurate records. Also, there are many aspects to a real estate transaction and we must know all of them and be able to communicate these to our clents, ex: home inspections, changes in mortgages, radon, closings, etc.

We don't make that much money when you look at it that way!
Web Reference:
1 vote
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Wed Feb 10, 2010
Gee, I hate to be a wet noodle but I do feel compelled to point out some Trulia Guideline issues here that force me to flag Alan's inappropriate and irrelevant though humorous contribution....

As Trulia has pointed out... "For most it’s not pleasant to point the finger at inappropriate posts, and it’s often easier to roll your eyes than to take action."…

First...."Lead by example"

"Please help us keep the content in the community on-topic and relevant. Your questions and blog posts should be appropriate for a real estate forum and your answers should directly address the questions asked and provide highly relevant information."

Second..."Don't spam. Spam includes any of the following:"

"a) Trolling: Do not post inflammatory or contentious posts for the purpose of provoking others and starting a dispute."

If Alan had not posted his comment then I wouldn't have been irrepressibly drawn (provoked) into commenting!
I would also like to point out that I consider the "Real Estate Agents are humans too!" claim made by some in this thread to also fall under the starting a dispute/contentious provoking others rule.

Now I'm not just looking for agreement nor should anyone agree with Alan because the guidelines say..
" Don’t post answers that add little value such as “Me too” or “I agree”.

BTW..When did (What do you do, what services do you provide for what you are paid ) asked of Service Providers become a Stupid, Insulting or Nonsense question? My on-topic comment ;)

(We have to buy gas, maintain a car, insurance, phones...oh no!!!!!!!!!!) So different from so many others lol.

Remember the Guidelines.."When answering questions always aim to add something new and valuable to the discussion."

Maybe next time
1 vote
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Wed Feb 10, 2010
I wonder if somewhere on the internet there is a Q&A section for plumbers or electricians
What would that site be called...?

Plumbers: Droolia, Poolia, Stoolia (oh, that's an ugly one),
or Electricians: Toolia, Foolia

... and if Barbie were really that popular... why did you have to buy friends for her?
1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Thanks, Gretchen, basically, we're just like our clients - except with a lot of valuable experience and knowledge. We don't charge couples who bicker more, and we don't expect that intelligent people will be put off by the fact that we do not speak with one voice, but are individuals with individual combinations of strengths and places the could use improvement.

If you want perfection, then . . . you'd better be the perfect client with the perfect home. And I mean, perfect. To give you an example - Bill Gates built a home, for like $50 million, then, before he moved in, he had it remodeled.
1 vote
Yvonne A Rus…, Agent, El Paso, TX
Mon Feb 8, 2010
If you knew a fraction of what we do to earn our money you wouldn't have to ask. Many people think that agents just list a property or sell a home and wala like majic they get tons of money. This kind of thinking is probably why so many people get into the business. But this type of mentatlity won't keep you in the game for long. Stats show that most agents don't make it out of their first year before giving up. And they sell an average of 2 homes a year. Can you feed your family on that? Plus a Realtor has ongoing costs (whether or not they sell a home) like dues, marketing, overhead etc. As a Buyer's Agent I pay for all the services my clients use. Granted some agents may not put too much effort in marketing a home and maybe this has been your experience. But in my market where inventory is high and prices are low you have to spend money to earn it.

Yvonne Russell, Buyer's Agent
RE/MAX Associates
10940 Ben Crenshaw
(915) 873-8646

Web Reference:

Web Reference:
1 vote
Catherine "C…, Agent, Metuchen, NJ
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Hi Jil,
Where is your perception coming from?
Do you have family members or close friends in the real estate business and making a lot of money? Why don't you ask them to explain?
Web Reference:
1 vote
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Robin - thanks for the clarification.
I am sure you didin't intend for it to sound the way it did.

Have a great Sunday!
1 vote
Robin Willis, Agent, Tucson, AZ
Sat Feb 6, 2010

To clarify, I did not mean to suggest that Realtors provide legal advice, although the way that I worded it may have caused it to come across that way. What I was trying to convey was that by giving a client advice on how to comply with the contract they have entered into with the buyer, the agent provides protection to the client by keeping all their bases covered. In that way the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed and they don't have a buyer taking them to court later. Thanks for pointing out that what I said didn't come out quite right. Like you, when a client has legal questions I always refer them to their attorney.
1 vote
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sat Feb 6, 2010
"a Realtor provides legal protection and advice"

Really? I think not.
They better not provide "legal advice" in NJ (and in other states, too), or their license might be in jeopardy..

We can explain the process, but must defer to attorneys for legal advice and "protection".
1 vote
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Not to be disrespectful to Jil, but when I see questions like this, I wonder if somewhere on the internet there is a Q&A section for plumbers or electricians................and if people are asking them to justify how much they get paid............or, is it only Realtors that get asked this question, and feel the need to break down and itemize how they earn a living?

I have often thought.........."Why did my plumber get paid so much money for fixing that leaky faucet?...but I have never asked.

ps.... Hi Rock - I guess some didn't read the memo regarding long signatures...or the word hasn't gotten out that they are now considered to be spam!
1 vote
Richard Leci…, , Tucson, AZ
Sat Feb 6, 2010
I think Martha said it very well. Its the work behind the scenes that you do not see is where they really earn their money.
You must also remember an agent can spend 100's of hours with a property or client and at the end of the day get nothing.
1 vote
Frank Hooton, , San Antonio, TX
Wed Feb 24, 2010
"The percentage may be low, but the "shocking low" 6% selling commission may represent 100% or more of the sellers equity in the home."

That is the possibly unfortunate side of any sale in any business, the key element being did it get sold. If the cost of getting the item sold exceeds the benefit returned then the simple answer is not to sell. If one has to sell, better to sell for the maximum return and as quickly as possible than to be burdened with a long, drawn out, value killing process. See the reference below to the return difference when using an expert (realtor) vs a non-expert. What isn't mentioned there (in the posting) is that the time to sell is also reduced; hence, it is a better benefit AND value to all concerned.

When I purchase property outside my area of expertise, I ALWAYS use a realtor and consider the investment a great bargain.

We have bought and sold properties in California, Hawaii and Texas, so I'm not just talking about personal contacts. Here's a silly question, but on point in this discussion: "When you need a medical operation do you go to your local butcher or surgeon... Or do it yourself?" . Personally I would choose a surgeon. Just a thought. :) I wish you great success however you decide to proceed
Web Reference:
0 votes
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