Feb 27, 2016

Full Service vs. Discount Brokerages- Where is the true value?

By Julie Bentley

Full Service vs. Discount Brokerages- Where is the True Value?

There is a lot of debate out there about how to get the most money out of your home and inevitably the subject of using a discount brokerage to save on the cost of selling your home will come up.  It sounds like a no-brainer: if you pay less to the agent selling your home then you pocket the difference, right?  Not always.
Here are some important questions to ask when interviewing an agent from a discount brokerage:
Will you research my neighborhood and help me come up with a listing price that will get 
  me the most money in the shortest time?
Will you schedule the showings and communicate with the buyer’s agent?
Will you hold open houses and put my home on the Realtor tour?
Will you process all the paperwork for me?
Will you negotiate the terms of the sale for me?
Will you keep track of deadlines and sending the correct disclosures out in a timely manner?
While commissions are negotiable, based on the cost of doing business many full service brokerages charge 6% which is shared equally with any other agent that is involved in the sale.  Check to see how much any “extra” services are really costing you.  You may be surprised to learn that you’re paying as much as you would with a full service brokerage.
One problem that comes up is how showings are scheduled.  Often, discount brokerages will put your listing on their website or even the MLS, but will not talk to buyer’s agents to schedule showings.  This puts Real Estate Professionals in a tough spot because they are prohibited from contacting the home owner without a written okay from their agent’s broker.  In addition, it forces you as the homeowner to schedule all showings.  In the end you may end up with less traffic through your home which, inevitably will mean fewer (or no) offers.
Another problem is presented when it comes to negotiating the actual sale of your home.  Without proper training and knowledge of the real estate market in your neighborhood, how can you hope to get the best deal for yourself when working with someone who is bound by duty to get the best deal possible for their client,  is able to research the market and is used to negotiating the sale of homes?
A third problem is when the paperwork begins.  Without any knowledge of the REPC, Addendums and various disclosures that are required, how can you be expected to fill in and send the forms correctly?  Real Estate Professionals are required to complete 120 hours of classes and pass an extensive test to get their license.  If it takes that much education for a professional and they still have questions, how can you be expected to know how to fill out a legal contract correctly so you and your home are protected?
Some of the services you receive when you work with me are:
1.    Extensive Highest Price Analysis to help you determine the best listing price that will get you the highest return in the least amount of time.
2.    Personalized help and feedback on how to stage your yard and home so you get  higher offers in less time. 
3.    Decorative items that can be used to stage your home and add pops of color to add warmth and brighten up your home.
4.    Personalized marketing pieces such as:
a.    A personalized website for you home with pictures, a virtual tour and a QR code that is printed on all informational pieces that lead directly to your website.
b.    House cards with information on your home and a QR code for your website.
c.    Just listed flyers that will be hand delivered to your neighbors.
d.    Open houses with personal invitations hand delivered to your neighbors.
5.    Your home will be put on the Realtor tour and our office tour where top agents across the valley will be able to preview your home for their buyers and provide helpful feedback.
6.    I will personally negotiate the sale and advocate for your best interest.  I will ensure all deadlines are met and paperwork is processed to ensure you are protected.
7.    I will walk you through the process of settlement and be there throughout the process to answer any questions or provide support as needed.
The truth is you get what you pay for.  If you choose to go with a discount brokerage, be prepared to receive discount service.  If you are looking for a professional who will market your home schedule showings and open houses and negotiate the terms of you sale, look to a Realtor at a full service brokerage.
Remember, more experience doesn’t always mean more knowledge, capacity or ability.  Sometimes it’s best to go with the “rookie” agent who is eager to learn, has the time to devote to the sale of your home and has a Broker to back them up.


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