Home Selling in Austin>Question Details

Rob, Both Buyer and Seller in Buda, TX

Is it necessary to list with a Name Brand Seller i.e. Century 21, ERA etc...

Asked by Rob, Buda, TX Sun Feb 8, 2009

What are the cons of a name brand selling Realtor and what are the advantages. Is the exposure really that much more? I am about to sign with C*****y 2* and their rate is 6% plus upwards to 1% for home insurance and outside cost. It doesn't seen standard but this is all new to me. I have found seller that charge a flat 4.75% but again what are the disadvantages?

Help the community by answering this question:



Like the other 2 responses, make sure you go with an agent that has experience selling homes, especially in this market, and make sure they can provide you with a marketing plan on how they plan to sell your home. It may be a good idea to interview a couple agents as well. The marketing plan should include a virtual tour, brochures (preferably color), exposure on numerous websites, and open houses as well, all of which my team provides. In addition, you should expect that they provide you continuous feedback and communication about your home during the listing process including specific feedback from other agents that show your home. Lastly, ask the agent you end up choosing to provide you with statistics to show what their success rate has been in the past with previous listings, and find out what their track record has been as well as far as negotiating the best deals for their sellers.

In addition, I do believe that the agent plays a huge role in the success or failure of a home selling, but having a larger company backing that agent can play a critical role as well. Keller Williams is the largest Real Estate Company in Austin and our team is a production leader in our market center. Our team has the experience of selling homes in the Austin/Central Texas area for nearly 10 years and I personally have over 14 years of experience in the Real Estate and Mortgage field. Being affiliated with a large company like Keller Williams, I have access to many resources that have proven to be successful for sellers.

Finally, the old saying is true, you get what you play for. Many of the discount agencies are just that, they not only discount their commissions, but they discount the services that they provide to you as well. Whether you choose to sell a home with company X or company Y, there are fixed costs to the agent (if they are marketing your home properly). If they are reducing their commission then most of these companies end up taking away some of the services that they provide to you to compensate for their loss.

I hope that helps. Please do not hesitate to call or email me with any questions.

E.J. McKinney
Keller Williams Realty
Web Reference: http://www.ejmckinney.net
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
Hello Bob,

My advise to you is to find out what you are getting for your money. There are traditional brokers some boutique (local only) and some National. I work for a large national and international company because I prefer to pull buyers from all over the world and at least all over the country. There are many buyers relocating from other states and cities to Texas due to industries that are laying people off work. There are jobs in Texas that they are moving to and they need a place to live. Plus, large national companies have a lot of advertising dollars to put you in front of people on many websites that are linked to that company's site and other forms of advertising. Smaller companies traditionally pull from the local market. Discount brokers and limited service companies sell certain services.

There is not typical commission. Each individual company/broker looks at the services they offer and decides what they will charge for their services. It is illegal to price block. Each Brokeer makes their own decision. The key to you is what will you get for those services? Will the agent just put a sign in the yard? Will they put your home on MLS? Will the agent negotiate for you or do you negotiate yourself? Will the agent show people your home or do you have to open your door to strangers? How will you be advertised - MLS? Newspaper? Internet? How many sites and or people do they reach? Will the agent be there with you through the inspection process? Will the agent be with you through the closing process? Will the agent work on your behalf with the title company or do you work directly with title company on your own? Will the agent be there at closing with you in case there are last minute problems or delays? Do you need someone to interface with the Buyer's lender to make sure they are pre-approved and will close on time? There are many choices in our marketplace to sell your home. It takes a lot of time to market; especially in a buyer's market and to work with lenders. Only you can decide what services and company you are most comfortable with. These are just a few questions that I would ask. Then you must weigh the agent, company and services and see what is a better fit for you. Your home is an important decision and most people need the full menu of help to look out for pitfalls - it's a full time job. However, if you have sold homes before and feel that you can handle a lot of this process yourself then a limited services or discount broker may be the way you want to go.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. There are good and bad realtors in all types of companies. Find one you are comfortable with.

I wish you the best in selling your home and that you have a smooth and successful closing.

Sandy Hewett
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
While some of the larger brand names bring a little extra marketing power with them, it's often national marketing power, instead of local.

I agree with Rockin' that the agent is often an equally important component. Two agents, from the same national brand company, may operate entirely differently, as we're all "independent contractors" and able to function independently within guidelines.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL

Don't sell yourself short.....

If you are considering a discount brokerage we suggest you ask them what specific services they are going to be deleting if you sign with them.

We are constantly reminded of the adage, "You get what you pay for." Real estate is no exception to this rule. Before making a committment to a company that is discounting their services be sure you understand how this is going to impact the quality of service you recieve.

Be sure you are getting more than just posting it on the local MLS.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
Frankly it depends on agent I have been with top name brand agency here in Dallas area we did $750 million in sales,

My current broker non franchised we are one of the top 10 brokers office in entire DFW area, which beat out many name brands.

Each agent markets

We also offer a flat listing service, have open house, publish videos, blogs, syndicate the property, represent seller all for $995. however does not include buyers agent commissions.

Do what you feel comfortable with

Good luck ... GO UT !
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 27, 2010
Good list of questions from My Nyland. In this day and age, it is well known that buyers do their research online, and some web sites are MUCH better than others at attracting buyers than others (you can find the top 10 hit Real Estate sites for all RE web sites at Hitwise.com). I would add a few questions in your Realtor interviews:

1. How does your company advertise to buyers and bring them to your web site?
2. How much money will your company spend this year in online advertising?
3. How many documented buyers come to your web site daily to research homes?
4. When a buyer comes to your site, how do you feature, high light and make sure your listings get higher attention than the other 12,000 listings in the Greater Austin area?
5. Who is paying for the advertising budget in these difficult times?
6. How many homes and what kind of revenue did your agent generate last year?
7. How is your company going to market my home?

If you look at this blog, http://www.AustinRealEstateSecrets.blogspot.com, you will see that I believe some companies have an advantage over other companies in bringing buyers to seller. It only takes money--lots and lots of money. Take a look at Hitwise.com and see which companies in the Top 10 are brokers, and which companies in the Top 10 are industry companies like Trulia. Trulia is a great brokerage neutral web site. But ultimately, you need a strong brokerage to market your home and bring you buyers.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 27, 2010
Rob, here is a little different perspective from a Realtor who is not an independent contractor, and works for a brokerage with deep advertising pockets. We bring buyers to our sellers...

take a look at these blogs...


0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 27, 2010
Dear Rob,
I don't think the Broker matters, what matters is the actual Realtor. Most Realtors are independant contractors for the Brokers. They don't draw a regular salary and only get paid after they close on a home. Then commision is then paid to the Broker and then the actual Realtor gets their portion minus the Brokers fees. While some Buyers feel more comfortable when they see a "big name" on the sign, many could care less. What matters most is what is that Realtor willing to do to help you sell the house? Are they holding it open on the weekends? Is it listed on the internet? Are they keeping you informed about showings and are offers being presented in a timely manner?
Good Luck!

Betina Foreman Realtor
"Keller Williams" Austin Texas
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 24, 2010
Hello Rob,
Thank you for posting a great question.
I feel that Sellers select an agent based on his/her Professionalism and Likeability. In other words, find an agent whom you like and trust with your biggest investment. Whether you go with a big franchise or a local one depends on what kind of services the agent is offering you. That will be explained at the Listing presentation.
Many agents will tell you outright their services cost money and if you want to pay them less, you will get fewer services. Its a good idea to interview 2-3 agents and see what they are offering so that you can compare apples to apples.
Even if you end up going with a discount realty-type firm, you might get a break with the listing commission and not with the buyer's agent commission.
Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 22, 2010
I am going to agree with the previous posts. Most offices today have competent agents and are capable of giving you a high level of service. Often the smaller office agents are there because they choose to be, not because the big offices don't want them. Find an agent that you feel is going to do the best job for you, because the agent is far more important than the office.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 21, 2010
A lot of people ask this question, and the answer is, probably not.

The General Public doesn't seem to know that most of us agents affiliated with smaller independent firms are completely welcome to join the big ones; we're often solicited as often as once a month or more by them. So I think it's safe to say that they don't have a stranglehold on talent.

Buyers really don't seem to care much what the sign outside says, as long as "For Sale" appears someplace on it. And in the old days, the large corporate firms were able to buy large swaths in the classifieds; not so much, any more.

This doesn't mean that they can't do a better job, but it is, in fact, all about the agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 20, 2010
It's not just the agency, it's the agent. Fees are all negotiable. As a sweeping generalization, you get what you pay for.
Web Reference: http://garrethwilcock.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 20, 2010
Dear Rob,
I just wanted to check back and see if you found a Realtor that you liked and were able to sell your home. The key is finding someone you can work with and that is responsive to your needs. I think good communication is one of the most important aspects of the buyer/seller/Realtor relationship.

Betina Foreman Realtor
Keller Williams Realty
Austin Texas
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Rob- who did you decide to go with? I hope you are satisified with your choice. Lots of great information below- I believe the person you choose is a big part of getting your house sold due to their resources.
I hope your agent has extensive knowledge of your area and what is happening in the Austin market. Also- that they are very in tune with other Realtors in the area- they are the ones that will most likely have the Buyers to sell your house.

Good luck!
Martha Small
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
It look like she deleted her answer about the standard commision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 9, 2009

I see that there are a lot of good answers here, but Josh is exactly right. It doesn't matter who sells your house nor the company they work for. It's all about the price of the home. If it's not priced correctly, it will sit no matter who has the listing and how pretty they bundle the presentation. I call them "chipper" agents. Agents that list high and tell you they can sell the house, but in 3 weeks they start chipping away at the price until it comes down to market price and it eventually sells.... maybe.

I will also emphase that there is NO SET COMMISION and is very much against the law. It's nice to see agents here that are as passionalte about educating people about this as I am.

Also any agent who decides to not show their client a home that fits their criteria just because the commission is less than ideal to that agent has no ethics and is in violation of the state's code of ethics they took a vow to agree to when they bacame an agent.

Interview many agents and find the one that you are comfortable with and you can trust.
Daniele Summerfield
Wilkinson & Associates
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 9, 2009
There is no such thing as a standard fee anbody trying to state that is price fixing and that is against the law.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 9, 2009
Hi Rob,
While there is no set standard for real estate fees, MANY realtors will follow the exact same fee structure you just described. But none of that really matters. Your company doesn't matter. Your agent doesn't matter.

I see a lot of quality responses on here that are VERY good advice for picking an agent. But to tell you the truth, they really don't matter. I'm going to venture off the beaten path here and tell you something that no one else will.

In this economy, the NUMBER 1 thing that will sell a house is.....PRICE!

If your home is not properly priced, your agent (and company) becomes irrelevant, because you will not have the right targeted audience to view your home. And it WILL NOT sell.

We all talk a big game about how we fiercely negotiate for you, protect your interests, and help find buyers. Yeah, we do that. But the absolute most important part of our job is the part we do before you ever sign a contract, and that's the Comparative Market Analysis.

So, I would suggest a three question interview process for your potential agents.
What will my home sell for?
How are you going to make it happen?

If those answers satisfy you, there's your new agent!

Good luck, Rob. Hope I didn't come off too surly. But price sells, man.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
Hello Rob,

I agree with the remarks below it boils down to the agent and not necessarily the company. If you are still interviewing agents I would like to the opportunity to be interviewed by you.

My team and I bring a lot to the table and I would love to see if we are a good match.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Harmony Marotz
(512) 775-1164

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
i work with a major international company. We do have a few really small companies operating in this area. What you get is a one person operation--sometimes working out of a room in their house with an answering
machine instead of a trained person at the desk who can immediately handle any property calls that come in. i have never shown one property from one of these small companies--not because i am unwillling,or my buyers are uninterested--but because they do not have the resources to take care of business.They don't return calls. had one broker from one of these small companies scream & yell at me. We had a verbal agreement based on her getting her buyer's pre-qual letter to me within 48 hours. 3 days after the deadline had passed,the house was under contract to another buyer. She had the pre-qual the whole time,but was too overwhelmed to fax it to me & her buyer lost the house. And she felt I should have honored the verbal!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
Where an agent hangs their license is more a point of personal choice and their own comfort, and not of great importance to many of our clients. What does matter is that you learn as much as you can about the agent who will be selling your home and that you interview enough agents (I suggest 3 at a minimum) that you get a comfort level for the person and what they will bring to the table in terms of marketing and selling services. Good agents don't mind a little competition. There are times we get called out to interview for listings and times that we get called out with a simple request to 'come over and list my house'. A good agent has a resume and marketing list on the ready for a call like that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009

Don't list on what the agent will charge you. We all know in life you get what you pay for.
There are agents who will list for 0% or $395 or whatever.

Don't list on what price the agent tells you they can get for your home. Some great agents will give you a low price to help guarantee the home will sell. Some inexperienced agents will give you a high price in hopes of getting the listing. Check the numbers from 3 different sources. List somewhere near the bottom of what is for sale and at the top of what has sold if your market is stable. If it is falling, then be more agressive on price and get ahead of the market by 30-60 or 90 days.

You can get advantages from the big names, but it always depends on the market. Sometimes bigger office staff to answer the phone and inquiries. Sometimes better and bigger marketing budgets and resources. Sometimes relocation and referral departments that are also working to sell your home to out of town buyers. When the going gets tough, who can they call on for help? What are their resources? These are often very different between large and small broker.

I like the other advice of interview 3 and see what fits best for you.
Web Reference: http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
Hello Rob and I hope you are having a great day!

Some sellers list a home with an agent after a brief meeting or phone call. Be sure to ask questions about an agent's experience and level of knowledge:

1. Do you work as a full-time agent?

2. How many properties have you sold in the past year?

3. How many years of experience do you have?

4. How many sellers are you assisting now?

5. Do you have a reliable assistant?

6. How accessible are you?

7. What is your marketing plan for my home?

8. Do you have a list of references that I may contact?

Of course, there are other questions, such as those about online search engines, financing, pricing and negotiating strategies, agent and buyer networking, etc., but this will give you a good start.

If you feel like the answers you get from the above questions do not supply you with superior service then there you go with the "cons". You will truly be at a disadvantage without maximum exposure!

When are you going to put your house on the market?

At your service!

Jeffrey Nyland
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
Interview three agents with three companies.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
It really doesn't matter about the Co. It really comes down to the agent and what they will do for you.
You will have great agents at big companies as well as at small companies.
Just be sure everything is in writing and you both understand each others expectations.
This will be a good start.
When you feel comfortable with an agent then you should sign an agreement.
Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 8, 2009
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