FLAT RATE DISCOUNT BROKERAGES ARE FINE...BUT UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR

By
Real Estate Agent with Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 CalBRE # 01188158

There are a myriad of service levels a seller can opt into when selling their home, with a payment system to match.  There are flat fee commission based services, percentage based commissions, discount/limited service commissions and full service commissions that can vary in percentages, depending on the negotiations that take place between a seller and agent.

Realtors must be very careful in their role in the process, being sure that they perform their fiduciary responsibilities as promised in the Agency Disclosure.  Sometimes the line between representing their buyer and a seller who chooses a limited service brokerage can get very blurry.

As an example, we have a buyer who chose to purchase a home which was listed by a limited service, discount brokerage.  OurFiduciary Responsibility agent brought the sellers their offer (as instructed in the MLS).  The sellers didn't know what they were suppose to do if they wanted to counter and were very open about their confusion.  Our agent gave them a counter offer form, explaining that she could not advise them on how to complete it without violating agency.  They got through that hurdle and the offer and counter were accepted.  Required disclosures were another huge hurdle....the sellers didn't have any.  Reluctantly, our agent provided the sellers with blank disclosures to complete.

Sellers who do not understand what is required of them present buyers agents with a dilemma.  While the agent wants their buyer to get the house, they do not want nor should they do the work of a listing agent or seller.  It presents huge liability issues since the agency representation becomes very gray. 

Sellers who choose a discount and limited service brokerage need to have an understanding of the responsibilities they take on when doing so.  They should not rely on a buyers agent to walk them through the process by default. 

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Ambassador
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Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

CLASSIC CLASSIC Paula you get what you pay for in these instances. Thanks for explaining this so well.

Feb 11, 2012 03:04 AM #1
Rainmaker
490,793
Lorraine or Loretta Kratz
Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions. - San Marcos, CA
Certified Negotiation Consultants

Paula:

I agree that sellers get what they pay for, when using a limited service approach to selling their home. I represented a buyer that had looked at this home several times before making a decision on placing an offer, when I submitted the offer to the seller, (because that is what the MLS instructions dictated) the seller ended up calling me at least 85 times wanting to know about this and that, when I indicated he needed to work with the agency he had hired --- he became irate and started down the road to being unhappy---when he went back to the company that he hired to insert his home into the MLS, they wanted additional funds for additional services, which (seller) was not happy about.

Feb 11, 2012 03:17 AM #2
Ambassador
780,302
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

Too many consumers think all we do is find a buyer. And if this can be done for a 395 dollar flat fee, why not save some money? If they only knew...

Feb 11, 2012 04:28 AM #3
Rainmaker
262,692
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Gary!
This seems particularly true in the limited service real estate services...and sellers need to do their homework.

Hi Lorraine or Loretta!
Isn't it frustrating?  We end up being the bad guys because the seller didn't understand the services he did or did not hire.

Feb 11, 2012 04:33 AM #4
Rainmaker
262,692
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Doug!
I find the fun, less challenging part of our responsibility the finding of the perfect home.  The heavier onus is when it comes to writing an offer correctly, completing disclosures in the correct manner and knowing how to negotiate to have a win-win result.  As you said...many don't realize what we do so that they are really getting their money's worth!

Feb 11, 2012 04:37 AM #5
Rainmaker
631,712
Vern Eaton
Askov, MN
Realtor 651-674-7449

I had a cousin use one of these places and when he was done he paid over 8%.  2% more than I would normally have chaged and an additiona; 1% that I wold have dropped because we are close relatives.

Feb 11, 2012 12:02 PM #6
Rainmaker
208,060
Peggy Wester
Realty Executives Integrity - Grafton, WI
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County

I've never (believe it or not) had to actually do a deal with one of these brokers, but have heard some nightmare stories from colleagues of mine. Unbelievable.

Feb 11, 2012 12:39 PM #7
Rainmaker
181,007
Sonsie Conroy
I serve buyers and sellers everywhere in San Luis Obispo County - San Luis Obispo, CA
Energetic, Enthusiastic, Knowledgeable Realtor

Good points! In some cases, sellers are practically operating without an agent at all, and paying for the "privilege." Recommended.

Feb 12, 2012 09:47 AM #8
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Paula Swayne

Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga
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