Why scrimping on real estate agent commissions can be a nightmare

October 16, 2014

Real estate agent commissions are compensation for the footwork and advertising agents do in order to get homes sold as quickly as possible and at the best prices. A commission is a predetermined percentage of the price obtained for the sale of the property. Commission rates vary depending on the agent, agency and region, but in most cases they are negotiable to some degree.

To avoid what is perceived as the extra cost of a commission, some buyers choose to sell their homes themselves. True enough, it could save them thousands of dollars. While that’s definitely a tempting savings, the reality is that selling a house alone is a huge task that can take a long time to do. Some owners have good luck with it, but others live a nightmare with their DIY real estate deal.

Before you put up your “for sale” sign

Take a moment for a reality check. Answer the following questions:

  • How much time can you devote to selling your home?
  • Do you know how and where to advertise it?
  • Are you available evenings or weekends?
  • Do you know the market value of your property and of others in your area?
  • Do you know how to conduct a sale? Do you know what paperwork has to be filled out?
  • Do you have good negotiating skills?

Think about these things before you hammer your sign into the ground. From the moment you put your house up for sale, you’ll have to be ready to handle potential buyers.

Why bother with a professional?

Making a real estate sale without any intermediaries is not for everyone. Do you want to sell fast? Are you uncomfortable discussing the selling points or possible defects with strangers? Are you ready to negotiate with brokers who represent buyers? A “yes” to any of these questions is a good sign that you need to proceed with caution if you want to do it yourself. In your case, it may be better to just pay a commission in order to get the best possible sale price.

There are a few advantages to using a real estate agent:

  • You’ll benefit from their expertise and their advertising networks.
  • You’ll hand over the groundwork and paperwork to someone who’s familiar with all that.
  • You’ll be working with a skilled negotiator who can identify serious buyers.

An alternative that’s gaining in popularity

Another business model is sometimes proposed by some real estate agents: a partnership between the seller and the broker, both of whom actively try to find a buyer and conclude a sale.

Stack the odds in your favour

Whether you decide to sell your home by yourself or sign a contract with an agent, think about what you can do to enhance your home. Home staging and some renovations can help a property sell more quickly and at a better price.

Why scrimping on real estate agent commissions can be a nightmare
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