Which agent deserves the most $ - and how much is too much?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Which agent deserves to earn more $$ - the listing agent or the selling agent?

You’ve probably heard of Bob Massi – the Property Man. On this morning’s show, he interviewed a weigh scalesScottsdale, Arizona agent named Erin O’Connor about flat rate listing fees.

One home seller they spoke with said she had used Erin many times in the past, but this time it was on a flat rate basis and she was thrilled with the money she saved. She paid a commission of $22,000 rather than the expected $36,000.

She went on to say that the service was no different.

Back to Bob and Erin - The two of them seemed to agree that the buyer’s agent deserved the lion’s share of the commission, because he or she “does all the work.”

The episode really got me thinking about who does what and who spends what. (I’m probably missing a task or two, so feel free to add to my lists.)

The listing agent, provided he or she is doing a good job, prepares a CMA with some care. (Yes, I’ve known some who do no more than run a program similar to that on Zillow, but I’m not thinking about them.)

Then, the agent spends time, money, or both on good photography. Then they write an enticing description for MLS and other venues. Some hire a stager. Many post about their listings here on Active Rain, then link to a variety of social media accounts. Many send Just Listed cards to the neighborhood, then bring the listing to the attention of top buyer agents and possibly to a list of their own buyers.

And then there’s gathering the information about the property that buyers and their agents want and need: Everything from HOA agreements, to zoning, to permits, and on and on. And what about problems with the title – isn’t it the seller’s agent who digs in to clear up issues? I recall spending days chasing down the right people to correct errors such as a paid-off loan that was never recorded.

The buyer’s agent may have to show a dozen homes before finding the right one for a buyer – and some buyers never do find that right home. So he or she is spending time and money as well.

The buyer’s agent should also verify that the information provided by the seller is accurate. In our small town, a huge lawsuit resulted from the fact that a listing agent blatantly presented a property as commercially zoned when it wasn’t. That information was splashed across a 4' X 8' sign posted on the property. The buyer's agent relied on the listing agent's information, and he lost the lawsuit, even though buyer’s agency didn’t exist in those days.

The gentlemen noted that it was the buyer’s agent who attended inspections, appraisals, final walk-throughs, etc.

The gist of the conversation was that the buyer’s agent did all of the work between offer acceptance and closing.

I’ll admit that it’s been many years now since I was licensed, but I never found that to be the case.

Neither man mentioned the fact that:

  • Both agents are involved in the negotiations after an offer is made. Both are involved if further negotiations are necessary after the inspections.
  • Depending upon the clients, both agents do a lot of explaining, hand-holding, and generally staying in touch with the clients.

no fair! Bob and Erin also discussed the fact that commissions are based on the price of the home – and that “that isn’t fair.” They said it takes no more effort to sell a $600,000 home than a $300,000 home.

Do you find that to be true?

Now I’m curious about what everyone here things of Bob Massi’s advice – and especially about today’s topic.

I’d never seen the show before, so don’t know if he’s usually reliable or usually all wet. From what I’ve heard, he gives a lot of consumer advice about making offers, asking for repairs, etc.

Erin said he’s getting a lot of blow-back from other agents in the area, but that clients love it. He’s in your neighborhood Anna Banana – have you heard about it? Is he taking the market by storm because he’s offering a flat rate fee?

Opinions please…


No fair courtesy of Clare Bloomfield @ freedigitalphotos.net

Scales courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
ActiveRain Community
Real Estate Rookie
Almost Anything Goes
Blogs Happen...
real estate commissions
real estate best practices

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

The uyers agent does most of the work after the losing agent does their work

Jun 17, 2017 10:44 AM #1
Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
Broker Associate, ABR, 601-278-4513

In my market, the flat fee agent doesn't provide the same services as the traditional listing agent. Basically, they provide access to our MLS and that's about it. The buyers agent negotiates directly with the the seller.

Jun 17, 2017 10:48 AM #2
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good afternoon Marte,

In my opinion, both should share equally.

There are expenses for both but a buyers agent will rack up the miles on the vehicle.

Make yourself an astonishing day.


Jun 17, 2017 11:25 AM #3
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Flat fee means lessened service. We operate with full fees and provide full service.

Jun 17, 2017 11:26 AM #4
Erika Rae Albert, Austin Real Estate Expert
E*Rae Real Estate Group- Powered by eXp Realty LLC - Austin, TX
Exceeding Expectations in Every Transaction

It absolutely depends on the property and the transaction.  When listing complex properties like a marina or ranch, the listing agent pulls a ton of weight upfront. What about a luxury property where the listing agent is present for every showing?  Also a good agent is checking up with the other agent to make sure they are following through on their side of the deal as well.  When they are not, a good agent steps in to make sure the deal goes through. EQUAL PAY.

Jun 17, 2017 11:44 AM #5
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


Equal pay I think is the way to go. The roles are both complex, in different ways and at different times. From what I have seen of the discount or flat fee firms in our area the services really just are not there and clients deserve better!


Jun 17, 2017 12:21 PM #6
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Marte Cliff ,

I work hard as a listing agent and feel I deserve equal pay. I spend a lot of marketing dollars to gain market share and donate to the community and spend lots of time selling the community to buyers and agents. I agree with Jeff Dowler "The roles are both complex, in different ways and at different times!"

Jun 17, 2017 04:00 PM #7
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

I think it sometimes takes a great deal more effort to sell a $600,000 house than a $300,000 one.  Less people can afford the higher priced home and the listing agent may spend considerable money, time and effort advertising a home that may never sell.

Jun 18, 2017 09:58 AM #8
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I disagree that the buyer's agent does most of the work. A good listing agent works from before the listing is signed to after the closing. That road is a lot harder walk because if something happens with the buyer's financing, we have to do it all over again. And when things don't go right the listing agent is the one that takes the heat and receives the seller's disappointment.

Jun 18, 2017 11:33 AM #9
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Does anyone here watch that show? Is it always that goofy?

Jun 18, 2017 12:12 PM #10
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

This article makes me think of the very low commission for selling mobile homes on leased land, which are fairly common in our area.  Lots of work for very low pay.   All things considered... in the end, it kind of all equals out.  

Jun 24, 2017 09:29 AM #11
Corinne Guest, Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington, a Luxury, Country Suburban Lifestyle.

Oh boy, I could write for hours. All I can say is this, everything is subjective.

I was buyers agent on 2 FSBO listings this year so far. Both paid for MLS. We have a minimum service state requirement, both brokerages adhered to it. One agent provided top notch help to his client and we sailed thorugh the deal with speed. I commend him!

The other was not seen or heard after the contract was signed. And the seller blamed me for something in his contract that did not go so well. Fortunately he met directly with the buyer after closing who absolutely shredded him for blaming me because I was never then, and now never will be his agent.

To answer the question, I think it depends. Some listing agents just do the minimum, some do loads more and the same with buyers agents.

So....how long is a piece of string.......

Jun 28, 2017 08:37 AM #12
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Marte Cliff

your real estate writer
Do you have a question about real estate copywriting? Just ask!
Spam prevention