I read this article via a link from MSN.com that's a warning to buyers to watch out as agents try to sneak in Administrative Fees that are in essence, junk fee.
My company is not one that charges admin fees for sellers or buyers, but there are local companies that do. There is even one company in town that forces the buyer to pay hundreds of dollars to have the house re-keyed and de-winterized, and they represent the seller! (Yes, I have a problem with this!)
I have an issue with sneaking in fees of any kind. I do agree with the author's opinion that as agents, we offer a bundle of services and therefore, shouldn't expect clients pay more money on top of the commission. I also know "a la carte" agents... in that they offer a customized list of things they are willing to do and the clients can pick and choose from the list thereby setting their own services and fees. (I find that one a head scratcher - why wouldn't I want to provide all the marketing that I do to every one of my clients? Would having a seller that doesn't want an open house justify reducing my commission a few hundred dollars? What about a seller that chooses to not want print ads? Should he be able to reduce the fee by that value? What about a home that goes through 5 times the amount of color flyers that I budget for? Should I charge the seller more?)
My real complaint with the article is what I tend to take issue with the media's low opinion of Realtors and their choice of inflammatory words... i.e.
- "Sellers pay steep commission" and
- "It's nice to go shopping with an agent without having a signed agreement, as that keeps you a free agent" and
- "Remember, no matter whose relative the agent is, he or she has a strong incentive to persuade you to buy something -- anything. Agents make money by closing deals, period. So maintain an arm's-length relationship."
I'm confident that buyers are savvy enough to figure out that agents make money by doing their job. I do not (and most of the top agents I know) view clients as dollar signs with legs, just waiting to pounce on the next couple that walks by. My job, my career is much more than a commission check.