I have a question for anyone considering selling their home: What is more important to you: the size of your agent’s office or the sales price and bottom line equity back into your pocket at closing?
In today’s tech-driven world w/ automation, primarily through the internet, does a seller really care that their agent offices in a big, sometimes, fancy/expensive office? Buying and selling real estate has changed big time in the last 10 years by way of how easy it is for home sellers and buyers to keep up with their local market through online home sites such as Zillow, Realtor and so many more.
Don’t get me wrong…if a broker of a larger firm feels the need to secure a large or fancy office, by all means go for it. What I am saying is that “someone” is paying for such an office and overhead. Guess who is? Ultimately it is home sellers in the form of high commissions.
Think about this: the cost of a flat screen TV in the year 2000 was about $9,000! Compare that to today’s average of about $500. What changed you ask? Advances in technology. Same goes for buying and selling real estate these days. As agents, often times, we are now coming into the home selling & buying process later than we used to. Years ago, buyers would rely on their agent to find the “perfect home” for them in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) mainly because the MLS was proprietary and exclusive only to real estate professionals. Not any more!
Buyers are now coming to their agent with a list of houses they would like to go see, as the buyer has already done the work/searching online. The agent now just has to schedule some showings and more often than not, prepare an offer for one of the houses their buyer found on their own.
Sellers are in the same boat as buyers. They now have access to sales comps and information about what their house should sell for due to the online portals available to the general public (although I still warn all buyers and sellers not to rely on large, national databases for value, as real estate is still a local business).
In all my years in real estate, I have never met a buyer who cares or even looks to see what agent or brokerage has a listing of a house the buyer wants to see. The buyer could care less. They want to see the home, the features, the layout, the neighborhood, etc. I have never heard a buyer say, “You know, we would really like to see that house, but because it’s not listed with a brokerage that has a big office, we are going to pass on it.”
Here is the deal: Sellers, I promise you that buyers don’t care what brokerage you list with. They care about the location, the condition the price, the features, etc. As a seller, you should be focused on a few things when it comes to your agent/broker such as what kind of experience do they have, do they know your neighborhood well enough to price and market your home, will they create quality photos and a virtual tour, are they responsive to inquiries from buyers and other agents etc.
We live in a mobile society and are becoming more accustomed to technology and expediency. Simply put, advances in technology has made the home buying and selling process easier for all parties, especially the real estate agent. So why are sellers still paying traditional real estate commissions?
In closing, as a seller, if you list with a large office brokerage, that is completely your decision and nothing wrong with it, however if you are interested in selling your home and keeping as much of your equity as possible, look for an alternative brokerage that offers flat fee pricing or a discounted commission structure. It’s not about how fancy or big a real estate office is, it’s about maximizing your home’s exposure (virtually every house for sale is all over the internet these days), having a competent agent representing your best interests and pocketing as much money at the closing as possible, not giving a good portion of your equity away!
Mark Phillips of Hill Country Flat Fee Realty serves the communities of Boerne, Fair Oaks Ranch, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Comfort, Bulverde/Spring Branch and parts of San Antonio. We charge a flat listing fee and are a full service real estate firm. This saves our sellers thousands of dollars every transaction.