It’s exciting. It’s stressful. It’s expensive. Selling your home sends you through a whirlwind of emotions. From the excitement of moving to your new residence to the frustration of knowing you’ll pay thousands in real estate listing commissions, the journey can often feel like a roller-coaster ride. There are ways to get discount real estate fees, however, without negotiating or haggling.
Many discount real estate offices are moving toward a flat fee listing commission structure. According to recent CNN.com and Wall Street Journal reports, this allows a seller to have his/her property listed in the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) database for a flat fee of around $500. Professional agents are then able to see the home listed in the MLS and have the option to show and sell the property at another discount. Real estate listing commissions for sales that result from discount Realtors’® listings run about 3% as opposed to the standard 6% in addition to the flat fee of $500.
These are not always full-service agencies, so be sure to ask what you’ll receive for your investment. Depending on the services offered by the discount real estate office, this could save you several hundred dollars on traditional listing commission fees. Talk with local discount Realtors® in your area to see what is available and the stipulations involved.
Single Fee Transaction
A new concept in real estate sales, single fee transaction, allows a seller to pay no listing commissions on the sale of their property provided they agree to purchase their new home through the same real estate franchise. You pay a single fee for both transactions.
Full-service agencies offer the traditional types of assistance that sellers would expect from a typical real estate office. These services include conducting open houses, running advertisements in local real estate magazines and newspapers, listing your home in the MLS database, assessing current values, giving professional advice and more.
As reported in the Tucson Citizen, these types of discount real estate franchise offices do charge a listing fee. They retain and pay the buyer’s agent (if applicable) half. However, when the home seller purchases a new residence through the same Realtor®, the other half of the original listing commission is refunded. The Realtor® of a single fee transaction franchise makes his/her commission on the purchase of the new home. This can save a seller thousands of dollars in fees.
A single fee transaction is a new concept. It has not yet expanded nationwide, so you’ll need to check your area for the availability of these types of real estate franchises.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
This is the ultimate in discount real estate fees because you pay none. Many homeowners don’t realize that the use of a Realtor® is not legally mandated for home purchases or sales. An attorney can process the needed legal documents and filings to record your transaction.
An agent from a local real estate office traditionally becomes involved in his/her ability to market your home effectively. However, for those able to devote the time and money needed to sell a home, doing it yourself is an exceptional way to proceed.
Do some research before deciding. Total the estimated number of hours you’ll spend on the various duties required to sell a home, then multiply the total by your salary (broken down into hourly increments). Then total the amount of money you’ll spend on magazine and newspaper advertising, yard signage, mileage, and other expenses. If the total of both is less than the number of fees your Realtor® quoted, you’ll know the FSBO method is the better bargain for you.
If you’re looking to sell your home, don’t assume you are forced to pay a 5% or 6% listing fee. You do have options. A little research online can lead you to effective ways to sell your home for its maximum price while still saving money on listing fees.