Anyone who’s bought or sold a home through a real estate agent has paid one: an agents commission. They’re a widely accepted part of the real estate business and many agents’ main source of income. Agents work hard to sell properties and get great deals for their clients, but, when their commissions come out of the clients’ checks at the end of the deal, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. For many clients, this experience raises a tricky question: is it acceptable to negotiate your real estate agent’s commission?
To answer that question, let’s first take a look at the options available to a seller. They can take the traditional route, listing their property with an agent; they can go it alone, marketing their property as FSBO and doing everything themselves; or they can make a flat fee arrangement, in which they pay an agent or brokerage a flat fee to list the property but then do the rest of the work themselves.
Each of these options has its benefits and drawbacks, and what’s right for one seller may not be for another. Some sellers prefer to do the work themselves and pocket the full check when it comes, while others would prefer to let a professional do the legwork and pay the price accordingly. Both options are perfectly fine, but it’s typically not appropriate to try and get the best of both worlds – you can’t expect the expertise and skill of a professional at the cost of a DIY.
Consider the message that asking an agent to lower their commission sends: that commission, typically around 3% in the Asheville area, is a signifier of the value that the agent brings to the sales process. In asking the agent to lower that percentage, a seller essentially says that they don’t feel that the agent brings enough to the table to warrant that large of a commission. If that’s the case, FSBO may be a better option for that particular seller – depending upon the seller’s own abilities and their goals, they may very well be able to prepare and list the home to their own satisfaction without any outside help!
That said, an agent is generally worth what they ask – they not only list a property but also coordinate staging, photography, and a host of other tasks that can be both difficult and time-consuming. By asking them to reduce their commission, a seller may not only be slighting their value but also impacting their ability to provide quality services – agents have costs as well.
When considering whether to work with an agent, sellers should consider what the commission they’ll ultimately pay will be buying them and what it will be saving them, and determine whether they feel that this is a worthwhile trade. If they do, wonderful – working with an agent is probably the best option for them. If they don’t, that’s fine too – FSBO may be a better option for them!
If you have any questions about working with an agent or selling on your own, or if you have any other topics you’d like to learn more about, let us know!