The Secret of Buyer’s Agent Commission That Could Save You Thousands of Dollars

As a seller, you control the total real estate agent commission to be paid when your home sells. It’s actually at the very front end of your sale, when you sign a listing agreement with an agent that you decide how much commission the listing agent is going to receive and how much commission the buyer’s agent will receive.

Sellers oftentimes don’t know that they control the buyer’s agent commission percentage, and you might be surprised to know that there’s a good chance you’re offering too much.

When a Realtor signs a listing agreement with you to sell your home, you’ll agree upon a number of items that form the basis for that listing agreement. That might include the listing price of your home, how long the listing agreement will be valid, and one of the biggest points of contention, how much commission the Realtor will charge you to list (and hopefully sell) your home.

When you agree upon the real estate agent commission to be charged, you’re actually agreeing on not just the total commission to be paid, but also, the split between the listing broker and the buyer’s agent, presumably the real estate agent that will bring a buyer to the table to purchase your home.

You’ll notice in a listing agreement, the one below is the official exclusive right to sell listing agreement furnished by the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB), that there’s first a clause that in essence calls for you as the seller to grant the listing broker the authority to offer compensation to a buyer’s agent, while there’s a second clause that dictates the total commission you will pay on the sale of your home.

Did you get that? When signing a listing agreement, you’re agreeing to pay a listing broker an overall real estate agent commission to sell your home, and as part of that, you’re also granting that listing broker the authority to offer compensation to a buyer’s agent.

Secret of Buyer's Agent Commission

Sellers Pay Buyer’s Agent Commission

Invariably, when you agree to provide a total real estate agent commission, let’s just say for example, of 5% when listing your home for sale, the listing agent will plug into the listing agreement 5% for the total commission, and 2.5% for the amount that you are granting them the authority to offer a buyer’s agent.

The listing agent will do a 50/50 split on the total commission nearly 100% of the time.

Why?

It’s simply common practice in the market, and it’s rarely ever challenged.

The listing agent actually incurs more expense to list your home for sale than a buyer’s agent would bringing a buyer to the table. Just think of some of the expenses that a listing agent might incur to list your home for sale as part of the marketing plan that they have for your property. That could include building a property specific website for your real estate listing, real estate staging, sending out postcards to the local neighborhood, hosting a broker’s open with food and refreshments, and creating and printing professionally designed real estate flyers for use during both open houses and private showings.

Clearly the listing agent incurs more cost than a buyer’s agent, why do both parties get the same commission?

Why and How to Lower Buyer’s Agent Commission

What if you were to ask your listing agent to tell you the most common buyer’s agent commission for your market. What if you were to ask your listing agent whether keeping their commission the same, but lowering the buyer’s agent commission would have any adverse effect, statistically speaking, on the sale of your home.

You can ask your Realtor those questions, however, they won’t know the answers, but by all means you can ask. The only true study of how much buyer’s agents get paid was conducted by Entry Only New England, it was a first of its kind study, and it revealed some exceptionally interesting facts about the nature of buyer’s agent commission rates in real estate transactions.

So, why not ask to lower the buyer’s agent commission when signing a listing agreement. You as the seller are in control of the percentages and/or amounts that get written into your listing agreement. What would an additional 0.5% mean to you?

The average list price of the most recent Boston condos to hit the market for sale over the past three days is $691,899. Just imagine if you were able to shave 0.5% of commission off your sale price – by keeping the listing agent’s commission at the level they proposed, but reducing the buyer’s agent commission that was originally proposed by 0.5%. That would equate to an additional $3,000 that would go into your pocket at the closing table!

The secret of buyer’s agent commission might just be that you as the seller are in control of buyer’s agent commission and that it’s reasonable to ask about decreasing that amount. Sellers oftentimes don’t know that they’re in control of buyer’s agent commission and you very well might be offering too much and could save yourself thousands of dollars in real estate commission by asserting control over the buyer’s agent commission percentage.

Can you List on the MLS without a Realtor?

The multiple listing service (MLS) is a powerful tool. Nearly all property is listed on, and sold through, a local MLS. A licensed real estate broker is the only person allowed to submit a listing directly to the MLS. If you want to FSBO your own home and sell without an agent, but still want to be listed on the MLS, you need to find a local flat fee MLS entry only listing service.

A flat fee MLS entry only listing service is operated by a licensed real estate broker – remember, they’re the only person that can technically get your property listed on the MLS. The “flat fee” denotes that for a one-time flat fee, the licensed broker that operates the entry only MLS listing service will submit your listing on the MLS and not charge you anything further, no additional fees or commission percentage splits. The “entry only” denotes that the listing broker will only enter your property on the MLS, providing limited service to you as a seller after the property is listed on the MLS.

The official MLS that serves Massachusetts is MLS Property Information Network, Inc. Their rules and regulations stipulate that by filing a listing, “the Listing Broker holds a current, valid real estate broker’s license issued by the appropriate state real estate licensing authority, agency or board, or its functional equivalent, in the state in which the Listed Property is located.”

Why is the MLS so popular and powerful?

At the most basic level, the MLS is what it is because it’s the system of record for the real estate industry (namely residential property for sale and rent). Layered on top of that, in order to list a property for sale or rent in the MLS, you need to be a licensed real estate professional – so not just anybody can enter listings in the MLS.

With the MLS serving as the system of record, it’s the source from which property information is syndicated to literally thousands of websites across the Internet, including the real estate websites that get the most traffic (Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com). If a property makes it’s way into the MLS, it automatically gets syndicated, or transferred, to thousands of other websites. With approximately 90% of buyers searching for property online, the MLS is in essence the key to exposure, and ultimately getting a property in front of a buyer or renter.

Who do Buyers call, the FSBO or the listing company?

Your property is now in the MLS, who gets the calls, the FSBO or the listing company? Good question, it’s really a two part answer.

  1. As a licensed listing broker entering a flat fee entry only MLS listing into the MLS, there’s a data field that allows the listing broker to tell other licensed real estate processionals who have direct access to the MLS that they should contact the seller directly for showings and more information – so, the seller’s name and phone number are included in the MLS listing. However, that’s only the first part, and only applies to licensed agents who are able to access the MLS system of record directly.
  2. When a listing in the MLS is syndicated to the thousands of websites noted earlier, like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, only the listing brokerage’s contact information is syndicated, not the FSBO seller’s contact information. One subtle thing to note here is that by doing this, from the general public’s perspective, there’s no difference between a flat fee MLS entry only listing and a full commission listing.

At Entry Only New England (http://entryonlynewengland.com), we see that nearly all showing requests and calls are funneled directly to the seller, which tells me that most buyers are working with a licensed real estate agent, which aligns with studies that show most buyers work with an agent. When a buyer or buyer’s agent requests more information on a flat fee MLS entry only listing to the listing brokerage directly, the inquiry is passed onto the seller – there’s a good article on who’s contact information is listed on the MLS listing that describes all of this well.

Can you List on the MLS without a Realtor?

In summary, yes, you can. A FSBO who wants to sell their own home without an agent must work through a local flat fee MLS entry only listing service to get their property listed on the MLS for sale or rent. The licensed broker behind the flat fee MLS entry only listing service will enter the listing into the MLS, collect their one-time flat fee, and pass along all calls and inquiries regarding the property directly to the seller.

FSBOs Beat Realtors Says Massachusetts MLS Data

A recent FSBO versus Realtor study involving the analysis of home sales in Plymouth, MA 02360 shows that For Sale by Owners (FSBOs) using flat fee MLS entry only listings on average sold their homes both faster, and at a price closer to the original asking price, than real estate agents.

Flat Fee MLS in Plymouth MA

The Plymouth MA MLS data established that it takes, on average, 56% longer to sell a home with a traditional real estate agent charging a full commission than as a FSBO with an MLS entry only listing.

And separately, entry only MLS listings in Plymouth achieve both a higher sale price to original asking price ratio, as well as, a higher sale price to listing price ratio.

How to FSBO Plymouth Massachusetts

With the increasing popularity of flat fee entry only MLS listings, and the success in terms of days on market and sales to listing price ratios of this home listing technique against the status quo of a traditional listing broker approach, Massachusetts homeowners are evaluating how to FSBO their own home as an alternative to hiring a traditional agent to list their home for sale (at a full commission).

Get Started Now - Flat Fee Entry Only MLS Listing

How to FSBO Boston Massachusetts

With the potential to save thousands of dollars in real estate commissions, Boston and Massachusetts property owners are beginning to investigate how to sell by owner. With a for sale by owner (FSBO) approach to selling, Massachusetts homeowners are listing their own homes in the MLS without a Realtor and are eliminating at least half of Boston real estate agent commission fees – more and more sellers are learning how to FSBO Boston Massachusetts!

Selling Your Massachusetts FSBO Tips

Home sellers interested in selling a Massachusetts home without a Realtor must follow a checklist, including:

  • For Sale by Owner preparation
  • List, market, and promote your home like a pro
  • Access and understand Massachusetts real estate paperwork
  • Close your Massachusetts FSBO transaction

Massachusetts Flat Fee MLS for FSBOs

The internet enabled multiple listing service (MLS) is the cornerstone of any Massachusetts FSBO. When selling a home without a Realtor, property exposure is key, and the best way to drive FSBO exposure is via a listing in the MLS. A reputable and technologically advanced Massachusetts flat fee MLS listing service can list a FSBO in the MLS for a one-time flat fee.

Here’s an example of the costs involved in listing a home with a flat fee MLS listing service like Entry Only New England versus selling with a traditional real estate listing broker.

This real life example demonstrates a $395,000 home listed for sale with EntryOnlyNewEngland.com versus listing that same home with a traditional real estate brokerage.

Assume that for the entry only listing, you have decided to compensate a Buyer’s Agent (i.e. a licensed real estate agent representing the buyer of your home) 2.5%, and assume that for the traditional real estate brokerage listing you are being charged a 5% commission that the listing brokerage will split in half between themselves and the brokerage representing the buyer.

FSBO Massachusetts Flat Fee MLS Entry Only Listing Example

How to Sell Boston by Owner

In the example above with a $395,000 home, a Massachusetts FSBO would gain an additional $9,580 by selling their home without a Realtor using an entry only listing with EntryOnlyNewEngland.com versus listing for sale with a traditional real estate brokerage.

Massachusetts Realtor Fees & Real Estate Agent Commission Rates

As Massachusetts home sellers begin to contemplate whether to sell their home, invariably one of the first things that come into their minds is Massachusetts Realtor commission fees. Real estate broker fees can significantly impact the bottom line for a seller and represent a material component to the amount of money a property owner walks away with after a successful sale.

Real estate agent fees and the concept of a real estate commission percentage can be nebulous. Sellers consistently have questions like:

  • What’s the average real estate commission?
  • Is there a standard real estate agent commission?
  • What is the real estate agent fee when selling?
  • Is there a typical Massachusetts real estate commission?

Each one of these questions is a good one, and frankly, natural to ask.  With real estate commission percentages where they are at in the US, it’s important to take into account their impact on a sale.

What does that mean?

For illustration purposes, on the sale of a $409,000 home, with 6% being paid as real estate broker fees, the seller will pay $24,540 in Realtor fees – therefore,  the property owner is more accurately selling at $384,460 (after taking into consideration the typical real estate commission).

You can learn more about the average Massachusetts Realtor fees, how real estate brokerages establish their real estate commission rate, and gain insight into exactly who pays the Massachusetts real estate agent fees by further exploring real estate agent commissions.

Internet Enabled MLS Creates Flat Fee MLS Listing Success

We’re exploring a controversial topic, specifically, with real estate market efficiency in mind, are Seller Agents really needed in your real estate sale?

You own a home. You want to sell it. You don’t want to pay a traditional real estate brokerage 5% or 6% to do it. Why not? To put it succinctly, at its most basic level, you believe the exposure provided by the combination of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the Internet is sufficient to attract a qualified buyer.

As a seller in a real estate transaction, the commission to which you agree compensates two (2) parties, the Seller’s Agent that you personally hire to market and sell your property, and separately, the agent representing the buyer you hope to attract. Given the Internet enabled MLS, it’s argued that the only party you need to compensate is the Buyer’s Agent. The power of exposure given to you by your property’s inclusion in the MLS and the subsequent propagation of that property information across the Internet will generate the exposure, demand, and qualified buyer you need. For all practical purposes, that service is not worth the 2% – 3% that you would pay a Seller’s Agent to accomplish those tasks.

Getting Your Property Into MLS

Thus, your main concern should now be how to get your property into the MLS in the most efficient way possible, so that this Internet enabled MLS does its job in exposing your property to the masses. It’s your confidence in the ubiquitous availability of information in today’s society and the deeply rooted desire of buyers to seek out information that allows you to even consider going it on your own as a for sale by owner (FSBO) type, foregoing a Seller’s Agent, and also foregoing the 2% or 3% that you would typically pay them…to expose your property.

What you’re starting to realize is, if your property is in the MLS, it will be exposed.

Across the US, this exposure and the current dynamics of the residential real estate market in general are based on the guise of a local MLS system. That’s the baseline, and the only practical and comprehensive entry point. Real estate agents still hold the keys (pun intended) to the MLS system, and you’ll need their involvement to get your property into the system, and to be exposed.

Who are the MLS innovators?

The dynamics have been changing, are changing, and are changed. A firm like RealDirect (http://www.realdirect.com) is changing things for New Yorkers with what they call Owner Managed Listings, and a platform like Entry Only New England (http://entryonlynewengland.com) is giving Massachusetts homeowners the opportunity to list on the MLS without a Realtor for a one-time fee with something called a flat fee MLS listing.

It’s going to be the discovery that there is a need for such services, that the consumer deserves that choice, along with the continued refinement and availability of such services that gets us started down the road toward a goal of what some might call real estate market efficiency.

Real Estate Market Efficiency

The US operates in an economic system or arena referred to as capitalism. While you’d be hard pressed to prove that it’s truly a free market system, nonetheless, its aim is market efficiency, a phrase that was first coined in the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) of Eugene Fama in 1970 whereby at any given time, prices fully reflect all available information on a particular stock and/or market.

In the context of the real estate market, we are heading toward market efficiency when alternative means are used to expose a property to buyers in such a way that the cost of doing so takes into consideration that a Seller’s Agent, and their corresponding commission, is not always necessary given the ubiquitous availability of property information, namely on the Internet. In addition to real estate commissions, there are other large barriers to overcome to achieve real estate market efficiency, yet, a flat fee MLS listing, or entry only MLS listing as it’s known in some locations, is a first step towards such an end.

Furniture Staging Questions

Whether a necessary move arrives suddenly or you’ve got months to prepare, it’s always a possibility that you’ll have to move on to your next location before your previous home sells. The same sort of scenario can occur when moving an elderly loved one to be closer to you or to an assisted living facility.

If your house hasn’t sold for what you’d hoped in its time on the market (with you still in it), it’s going to be even more difficult to sell when it’s empty (unless you’ve been showing your house with it full of clutter or packing boxes — bad ideas, both!)

Tasteful furniture makes a house feel like a ‘home,’ and it’s wise to show your house with it furnished. But if you’re moving, do you have enough to leave behind to stage your old house that’s still on the market? And how do you decide what comes with you now and what goes?

First of all, there’s no need repeating what’s already been said on this blog. To stage your house, begin with the deep clean process detailed in this Boston Real Estate Observer post from last January.

Now you’re ready to decide what furniture will come with you to your new home and what will stay behind while the old house sells.

  1. Decide Which Items You’re Getting Rid of Forever
  2. A move is an excellent opportunity to take inventory of your belongings and get rid of what you no longer love or need. Chances are, some of your furniture won’t ever be making the trip to your new house. If you have couches, chairs or beds that are beat up and well-worn, go ahead and get them out of the house. You can sell them in the classifieds or call your local thrift store to come pick them up (don’t forget that you get a tax write-off for your donation).

    Are there some items you don’t want anymore, but that are still in excellent condition? Mark these with a red (or any consistent color) in an inconspicuous but obvious place. If you’re not around when the moving company comes to retrieve the rest of your furniture after the house sells, they’ll know that the items with the red sticker can stay to be picked up by the thrift store.

  3. Figure Out What You Need
  4. There’s no point in buying a new bed when you get to your new home if you want to keep your old one after the house sells. Choose another color sticker and mark the items in your house that you’ll take with you on your initial move. This should be a basic list that gives you enough to comfortably get by until your first home sells and your furniture arrives. If you have a small house with only one bedroom, it may even be worth sleeping on an inflatable mattress for a month in order to keep your old house looking furnished.

  5. Choose Your Show Items
  6. Generally, you’ll want to leave your nicest furniture in the staged house. The perception by potential buyers that a person with good taste who cares about their home lived there previously can make a difference in a closed sale and its price, so consider the small sacrifice of temporarily leaving furniture behind as an investment.

    Although you don’t have to leave each room decorated to the brim, don’t leave any rooms empty. When staging, however, less is more. A few choice items of furniture show off a room’s potential uses, but too many can clutter the room and make it feel smaller. The trick is to find a balance between ‘look how nice this room can be’ and ‘look how spacious this room is.’

    Save your bulky furniture for the big rooms. A small bedroom should have a small bed — don’t fill it with a king and leave no floor space! Always leave clear paths for walking, and generally leave the middle of each room open to show off its size.

    During your showing process, you may even be able to sell some furniture that you didn’t plan to bring with you. Choose a third color sticker for any items that you’re willing to include in the sale price of the house. Maybe that old dresser will seal the deal!

Moving is inherently stressful, especially when you’re forced to leave furniture behind to stage your home. Those items serve a purpose, however, and will help you to get the maximum value out of your property. Even if you’re forced to move quickly, a few hours of planning what stays and what goes before the movers show up will ease the packing tension exponentially.

In his role in the self storage industry, Tim Eyre helps customers care for their cherished belongings that must be put in storage. Tim regularly visits his facilities including a Waltham self storage center. Extra Space recently launched the Extra Space Storage Blog, for which Tim writes on a regular basis.

Examples of How to De-clutter Your Home

Any family that lives in a particular house for a particular period of time will realize how easy it is to end up with a messy house. Other than all the things that have to be organized and all the things that are probably strewn around your floor, chances are you have even more things stuffed in your cupboards waiting to be fixed. Although this is may be a typical way of life for you, it doesn’t do much if you are trying to sell your Golden Gate Estates house (one of the markets I serve) or if you are planning to have guests over.

Although it may seem like a huge task and it is, de-cluttering your house can be relatively easy if you know how to do it right. Although there are a lot of tasks that you can do, there are three ways in which you can definitely make some headway when trying to de-clutter. Make sure you take note of them and use them well.

  1. Segregate your home into segments – Every area in the home has its own set of typical clutter. Regardless of whether you live in a one bedroom apartment or you live in a studio apartment, you should make sure to segregate every area in your home for the clutter. For example, you can segregate by rooms or you can segregate even further by area. If you have a particularly large living room for example, you can segregate it by mantle, television area and so on. If not you can segregate by living room, dining room and so on. Segregating your home will make it easier to sort as you progress with de-cluttering. Make sure any items you find that don’t belong in one area are moved to another.
  2. Create a checklist of thing to throw away, give away or keep – Once you have segregated your home, you can create a list of items which you need as well as items that you don’t. Having a checklist will remind you of the things which you will need to throw away or set aside. In addition, writing them down will ensure that you remember whether or not you have completed the task you are planning to do with the item concerned. This is essential for the next step.
  3. Carry a set of two containers – Once you have created your checklist move around your home with three containers corresponding to the things to throw away and give away on your checklist of items. Place all the things to throw away or give in each container. This is psychological too because it prevents you from seeing items which you might be attached to but shouldn’t be keeping. This way you can forget that you are giving them away. Once you are done with your clearing you can give yourself a little treat by taking one item out of the giveaway pile.

De-cluttering your house isn’t just an art, it is also a skill. The more often you do it, the more you will find that you are on top of the amount of mess you are making. Remember, in order to keep your house uncluttered, every time you buy something you should get rid of something to ensure your things don’t pile up. As you progress, you will also find that it will get easier and easier and will eventually become a habit.

More Advertising – Not the Answer to Selling Your Home

Before we had the internet, things were done differently. If you needed to advertise your home for sale, all you needed to do is place an advert in the newspaper with contacts so interested buyers could call and inquire about the home, the location, price, the condition of the home and other intriguing issues that have to be verified before a sale can take place. This is still done by people who do not have the internet.

Today, the internet has simplified the way things are done and more advertising is not the answer to selling your home or other property. When a realtor displays your home on a website a lot of information is provided online. Interested buyers can view the house online and decide if that is what they are looking for. They see the exterior and the interior view of the house in full color. The living room, kitchen, dining, bathrooms and bedrooms are all displayed showing the floor, walls, ceiling, doors, windows and many other features. The garage doors, entrances, corridors, fireplace, basement and roofing are displayed to give the viewer a complete view of the home.

The exterior walls, roofing, doors and the landscaping is shown including flowers, shrubs, grass and trees and if this is someone’s dream home they will spot it right away and crave to see it and finalize the deal. That is why the internet is so effective in marketing and selling homes and other properties. The buyer will spot what they want to buy and take interest in those homes they like right away. Decisions are made faster than when they see a home on a newspaper or magazine and have to travel all the way before they make a decision. On the internet the buyer can take an online tour around the house in the comfort of their home or office without spending money on fuel to travel from one home to another. The internet saves the money and time for the buyer and seller limiting their inquiries to only the homes (for the buyer) and the buyers (for the seller) who are interested in that property.

If you want to sell your home just know that these days, newspapers rarely sell homes. The internet is a faster and more efficient seller of homes to a wider audience (even overseas), than local newspapers.

By: Marc Rasmussen – Sarasota homes

Staging Your Home for Sale

Staging your home for sale is essential to ensure that you get the highest dollar amount for your home. Staging your home for sale does not need to be a costly production, it can be as simple as a few coats of paint and pulling the weeds from the yard.

Getting your Home Ready to Sell

First, it is important to disconnect your emotions. Although you may have years of memories in the home, it will be the new home of another family, and you cannot get too emotional when you hear potential buyers considering tearing out a wall, or covering the wallpaper.

Go through the home and remove all the clutter. Clutter alone is a distraction and takes from the beauty of the home. Go through each room and get rid of everything that is not necessary. Also, box things up to give the home added space. Don’t take from the beauty of the home, but organize and de-clutter.

Give the walls of the home a fresh coat of paint. You would be surprised at how far a fresh coat of paint goes, and it freshens the home and makes it updated, and it is one of the least expensive projects that you can do to get your house attractive in appearance.

Clean the carpets in the home, and all floors, as well as window sills and so on. You might also consider some new hardware for the doors or cupboards in the kitchen or bathroom.

Make sure the outside of the home is clean and presentable. Consider power washing the outside of the home. Make sure the entry is inviting. Clean the outside of the door, sweep and place a potted plant at the entry to the home. Also, make sure that the lawn and landscape are manicured.

When you meet with agents to sell the home, meet with at least three to get a good idea of what your home is worth. This not only gives you a good idea of what you can get for your home, it also allows you the opportunity to meet with various agents and listen to what they will offer you should they be your listing agent. It also gives you the opportunity to choose an agent that you feel the most comfortable with.

Getting top dollar for your home is essential and something that without taking simple steps to ensure its selling price, will cost you profit in the home.