It's not what we do that creates's how we do it!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC BK607690

 Hi folks. This post is an edited version of an article I wrote back in November of 2006. The comment thread on the original post is, in my opinion, one of the best in ActiveRain history. The comment thread involves consumers and members of AR heavily debating "What do you do to justify your high commission?" ActiveRain members were up to the challenge and made me very proud to be a part of this community. It was awesome!!! If you haven't read it before take the time to do so. You'll get to meet the infamous Candybags!!!

Anyway, I feel this article and the question asked is even more relevant today.

So let me ask it What do you do, to sell a property, that justifies receiving a x% commission? Why would the consumer want to hire you and pay your fee, when they can find all the information they need on the Internet (disintermediation)? What can you do to justify your commission?

Well folks I am here to tell you, you best be prepared to answer this question. And you best have a better answer prepared than your 25 step marketing plan and access to the MLS. This will not cut it in this day of disintermediation and discount, web based Real Estate agencies. If all you can bring to the table is your marketing plan you will find yourself either out of business or drastically reducing your commission to be able to compete in this market.

So, what do we do? Well, here's what I do. I build value in something that the consumer cannot access over the Internet. "Broker Bryant, that's pretty vague, can you expand upon that?" Of course. I thought you would never ask.

First, all people want to feel good about themselves and their decisions. You can provide that. You can help people decipher all the information that they have available. You can help them apply this information to their situation. Together, you and the consumer can come up with a game plan that will help solve their problem. You can listen to what their concerns and needs are and then fill them. Quit selling and just listen. You can be a trusted advisor.

Secondly, you can be a calming force. Selling or purchasing a home can be one of the most stressful things a person ever goes through. You can remain calm and help them through this. This can be achieved by constant communication and by constantly being there for them when they need to be reminded of why they are selling or buying. When the going gets tough, you can be there for them. You can let them vent their frustrations, on you, without taking offense. When they are all done, you can get them to return their focus, on the end result. Leave your emotions at home. It's not about's about them.

Thirdly, you can be their friend. You can have honest and sincere, care and concern about their situation. You can lead them down the right path without placing your commission in first position. You can make them and their situation feel important to you. This cannot be faked. It must be genuine care and concern. Folks can tell the difference. Again, listen. Be receptive to what they are telling you. Then respond honestly and with conviction.

My point here, is to get you to understand that folks' emotional needs cannot be satisfied over the Internet. As Realtors, we need to position ourselves, to be the one person, that will take the time to make sure that their emotional needs are met. If you can achieve this, I can assure you, that your business will take off and your services will be in high demand. And the consumer will be more than willing to pay the price for this kind of service. Quit trying to sell them something they can get over the Internet for less money.

The Internet CAN provide the data and tools needed to buy and sell real estate but it CAN'T provide the emotional support that people need. It's not what we do that creates value, it's how we do it.

So that's it. Broker Bryant's crash course on overcoming disintermediation. Did I make you feel good? Did I give you a solution to the problem? Did I present it in a calm and informative manner?

So, what do you do to justify your high commission?

Sell Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Poinciana Real Estate Agent

Copyright © 2008 | All Rights Reserved

Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
***The content of this blog is solely my opinion*** 


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 Tutas Towne Realty, Inc handles Florida real estate sales, Florida short sales, Florida strategic short sales, Florida pre-foreclosure sales, Florida foreclosures in Kissimmee Florida Short Sales, Davenport Florida Short Sales, Haines City Florida Short Sales, Poinciana Florida Short Sales, Solivita Florida Short Sales,  Orlando Florida Short Sales, Celebration Florida Short Sales, Windermere Florida Short Sales. Serving all of Polk, Osceola and Orange Counties Florida. Florida Short Sale Broker. Short Sale Florida.

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Comments (67)

Real Estate Investing |Real Estate Investment
| Real Estate Radio USA - Fort Lauderdale, FL


Lay off with the "personal attack inanity. Let's be real. The one you speak of is the one who levies attacks. Go back and read what she wrote BEFORE you start pointing fingers.

Now doctors and lawyers are bad you want to compare your self to welders? Unreal! Even they require more of an apprenticeship before becoming a realtor.

Lane...this forum is becoming tired and the sameness is stale. I don't have time for enduring the cheerleading. You keep believeing what you want, keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting what you're getting. If it is working for you then fine.

I for one, and those we speak to work based upon cold hard fact which seems to be irrefutable.

I have no desire to continue this dialogue on AR trying to show agents how change is better for the industry. I will reserve my focus for those who want to be around for the coming years and want to prosper. Not saying that you or anybody else won't..I just feel that MORE success will be lauded on an agent who is a Web 2.0 super agent.

If it is working for you...then don't change a thing. No one really needs to be on Google page 1 for Tucker real estate do they? Here's hoping you're right!

Mar 15, 2008 02:33 PM
Mike Norvell Sr
Morris Williams Realty - Leesburg, FL
Norvell Consulting Group
BB......We who work with buyers and sellers will continue to earn our money...Anyone who gets a deal done in this or any market with hair left on thier head deserves the money........I don't know who Brett is, but he should refrain from personal attacks here, and elsewhere...First we had Lance..and now Brett
Mar 15, 2008 02:34 PM
Charity Shehtanian
First Priority Financial - Livermore, CA

As a lender, I feel that realtors most certainly earn their commissions and I don't understand why any one that is a good Realtor would offer their services at a discount.  My husband (an appraiser) has seen some of the lending deals I've done, and when he makes way less per appraisal than I make per loan, he says the money isn't enough to do my job.  And that's how I feel about Realtors, the money isn't enough for me to want to do your job!!!!

Mar 15, 2008 02:36 PM
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Cool BB. We're doing some follow up to the REALTOR value discussion that was sparked earlier this week by that Markwtwatch article. We're doing five things in a row on it... and will probably include a link to your great discussion here.


Mar 15, 2008 02:41 PM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
Very glad this discussion is on the table again.  The concept of "high commission" is a relative one.  Many will pay high prices for all sorts of things, a dinner at an exclusive restaurant, several hours in the air in a first class seat, a ring for a loved one about to become your spouse.  The perception of value is always an intangible...that's where the true professionals in real estate soar above the competition...they understand this.
Mar 15, 2008 02:55 PM
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic
You have to show them that you care. Everything else they can get from so many different mediums out there.There are sellers who never hear from their agents thruout the listing period. It gives us all a bad name.
Mar 15, 2008 03:11 PM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK
Expectations and preparation for any possible scenarios that could happen within a transaction.  Knowing where and when to look to look for additional information.  Pulling strings to get things done. Calm assurance that carries over to clients, listening, listening, listening to what the client needs or wants and then trying to make it happen.
Mar 15, 2008 03:30 PM
Svetlana Stolyarova
Local-n-Global Realty, Cleveland and International Real Estate Solution - Mayfield Heights, OH
Local-n-Global Realty, Broker 216-548-4663

Bryant, Thank you for bringing back this core question. We answer this question every day, every minute of our practice. Consumer cares about the result and almost does not care how we technically organize our business, what techniques we use and how hard we work to make the transaction happen. Ironically, today's slow market gives us a big apparent "advantage" in justifying our fees to the consumers - the length of our work with the client. More time we invest - easier is to charge the fee, better we expose the insights of our job, better chance we have to show what we do and how we do it. Is it really advantageous to the client? Answer this question to those whose listings expired.

Disintermediation is a tricky trend for our profession. As it eliminates a value of previously closed property information, it creates an idea of easy savings on opportunity to DIY or on using the limited service providers. Does it kill our profession? NO! It opens us the chance to become a trusted advisors and professional consultants, skilled negotiators and knowledgeable coordinators. Add to this personal involvement and psychological support for educated clients and capitalize on these priceless skills.

Mar 15, 2008 06:51 PM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

WOW!!! Really awesome comments!! This has been a great discussion. And Kudos to Amanda for reading all 143 comments on the original post. I know that takes a lot of time to do. I hope whoever else took the time to do something from it.

And Brett, My apologies for questioning your intelligence. That was uncalled for and I apologize. I was reacting to your statement about Lenn, who is a friend of mine, and it got away from me. I strongly disagree with the "presentation" of your thoughts but that certainly does not give me a reason to attack you back. 

Thank you.

Mar 16, 2008 05:34 AM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas
BB, I had a head start.  When I first joined AR in August '07, I read every single one of your posts and I ALWAYS get something from it.  :) 
Mar 16, 2008 05:40 AM
Real Estate Investing |Real Estate Investment
| Real Estate Radio USA - Fort Lauderdale, FL
U R a Stand up guy Bryant!
Mar 16, 2008 06:03 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Bryant, Wow! 

And I think our favorite old dino mades a great point.  Buyers don't seem to question our value, especially when we are able to negotiate a great deal for them.  Sellers on the other hand, resent agents, at least the buyers' agents, for those negotiating skills.  And in this market, even the best listing agent has a hard time pleasing a seller.  

This is one of the best things I've seen on Active Rain - and the comments, most of them anyway, are as interesting as the post.  Thanks for writing it!  And you need to know that after I read the first couple of comments, I did a frantic search for the video - maybe you could put it back, please, please?

Mar 16, 2008 06:58 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor
Bryant - as always, an excellent post! How we do what we do makes all the difference and keeps clients coming back to us (and referring their friends and relatives to us)!
Mar 16, 2008 07:01 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Brett, Thanks. Now go read my most recent post. will find it thought provoking.

Thanks Barabara-Jo!! I hope all is well with you. 

Patricia, The video is over in my side bar. It was just a re-post of the "Obnoxious Broker" video. It's the one in the middle. You've probably seen it before. I am an exclusive listing broker and agree my job is very difficult right now. It's frustrating not to be able to sell a property no matter what I do. My market is at a stand still. 5 years worth of inventory on the market!!!

Amanda, That is an awesome compliment!! Thanks you.

Mar 16, 2008 07:09 AM
Kelly Sibilsky
Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD. - Lake Zurich, IL
I wrote a whole post a few weeks ago about the never-ending commission debate. I truthfully don't feel we need to defend ourselves or our value, because the public does it for us. With 72% of sellers choosing to hire a full service real estate agent and pay commission...that action alone speaks for itself. :O)
Mar 17, 2008 02:01 AM

"make sure you and the agent know what your expectations our for each other.  And ask your agent to give you a list of what he/she plans on doing to sell your home.  That way you know up front you can make sure that your agent does what he/she promises"

I don't think this is very helpful in choosing an agent. I've spoken to lots of agents and they basically all say the same thing about how they expect to move a property.

I'm looking for an agent to add value to my side of a deal. A chimp could sell my house today for $350k,  but what I want is $400k. What I'm paying the agent for is that extra $50k.... the problem with the system is that the chimp would earn a commission of $17,500 and the agent would earn $20,000. It's not a good business model to be paid $2500 more than a chimp on a real estate deal.

A better system for a house like is to have an agent get 0% on the first $350,000 of the sale, but 50% of every dollar over $350,000. More complicated, but at least the difference would be chimp get s$0 and a good agent gets $25,000 on $400k sale.

Mar 17, 2008 03:29 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

RRsafety, I have to agree with you that it's not what they say, it's how they perform, that matters. If it were me I would want to see a list of their recent sales in my area. Not only do they have to be able to sell houses but they have to be able to do it in your area. Check their sales stats and compare listing prices to sold prices and also see how the sold prices compare to other homes that have been selling in your area.

I do want to mention though that no matter how good they are, a REALTOR(R) will not be able to sell a house for more than it's worth. Pricing is what sells a property no matter how extensive the marketing is. That's fact. Especially in this market where the buyer has many homes to choose from.

The reality is that "what you want" has nothing to do with the value.

Look at this way. If you have a visa card with a $20,000 limit and you "want" to buy something on it for $25,000, you out of luck. The card isn't just going to miraculously be "worth" $25,000. It is what it is. Your want will not affect the value of the card in anyway. Make sense?

Mar 17, 2008 07:02 AM
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

Being a "discounter" I thought you guys would appreciate my take on these things!  Frankly, I think that commissions got out of hand.  The basic idea of charging "X" percent across the board on homes just didn't make sense to me.  Why should it cost a home seller 3 times as much to sell a $300,000 home as it does a $100,000 home?  Is there 3 times as much work involved?  Is there anything that you do to sell the more expensive home that you don't do for the lessor expensive home and if so, how much value does that add to the transaction.

The truth of the matter is that it's generally easier to sell the more expensive home because the buyers tend to be better qualified and in reality there is only so much that we as agents can do to sell a home.  If the home is priced right (rrsafety, a listed home DOES generally bring more money than a home that isn't listed because it's exposed to a much broader market and the agent does bring value to the transaction for all of the other services that they perform - as Bryant pointed out in his post) and is properly exposed to the market it will sell.

The funny thing about being in my position is that I have to "sell" my program against what I refer to as "no-service" companies (MLS Only companies) all the time.  In order to do so, I have the seller do a Ben Franklin test where they draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and list out the advantages of each possibility on one side or the other.

The "no-service" company gets the nod on cost...I can't argue with only paying $299.00 to get put on my local MLS...that's a hell of a deal at first glance....but from that point on it's all me....

On an average transaction I'm usually a couple of grand more expensive than the MLS only companies, but I field the telephone that worth the $2,000 by itself?  Nah, probably not, but it is worth something for most consumers who have jobs and other responsibilities.

I show the that worth the extra $2,000?  Again, by itself, maybe not...but I'm a somewhat disinterested third party who, through years of sales and communication training, can ask the hard questions and get real answers as to what the customer's objections really are.  I've had people willing to walk on a house that met all of their criteria because the dining room was painted a weird color!  In short, I as a professional real estate agent am better able to ascertain what the customer's objections are and to over-come them whereas on their own, a seller might have more difficulty doing this.

I help in contract negotiations....who hasn't had a seller dig their heels in over $500.00 on a $400,000 or more purchase?  Part of my job is to sometimes hold your sometimes pat you on the back...or to sometimes give you a little bit of a shove...Is this worth the extra $2,000?  You better believe it is!  If you don't believe me, talk to a FSBO that walked from a deal over something trivial like $500.00 only to sit on the house for an extra 3 or 4 months!

My list goes on, but I hope that you see my point.  If you're a traditional agent and you have to compete against me, it might come down to your sales ability to be able to convince the seller that you're worth the additional money that you charge over me.  It happens all the time.

Bryant, excellent post!


Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc.   

Mar 18, 2008 04:52 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
Great comment Bob. Wouldn't it be interesting if we did have the opportunity to compete for a listing? I think I could take you out :) But hey I think that about everybody. It would be interesting though.
Mar 18, 2008 10:24 AM
Ben Myers
The Broker Ben Group at Realty Idaho - Meridian, ID
CEO/Designated Broker
I read a great quote somewhere the other day that is perfect for this debate.  "Only in the absence of value does price become an issue."  I've heard it from a few others in this thread.  If you are consistently being asked to justify your commission (value), you might take a look at how you are doing your business, and what you can do to qwell the concerns of the clients asking you to justify your commission.  The best agents don't have to justify commissions, just like the best restaurants don't need to offer buy one get one free, and the best doctors and lawyers don't have empty offices.
Mar 27, 2008 12:11 PM

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