Before Signing Realtor Contract

Zoe52March 27, 2013

The ReMax agent that we recently selected has a 5-6% commission fee. We have not signed any contract as of now. I do have some questions before signing I wanted to ask him but thought I would run them through people here first.

If a listing Realtor has a 6% fee how is that generally divided when the Realtor is an Independent Realtor with ReMAX?

Since I want my home shown as much as possible so that I can move out of here, would it be feasible to ask the Realtor to give the buyer's Realtor a higher commission and advertise it so that other Realtors bring more buyers through the house? I would think it would generate more customers coming through the home if the buyer Realtor's know they could collect a higher commission when selling this home to one of their clients.

I am wondering if this is ever negotiated before hiring a Realtor.

I would assume that it would bring in more customers giving my home more exposure and in turn sell the home faster. If it sells sooner this would save him money on having to continually pay for ads, etc to market my home. I am already giving him a good period of time before we officially list the home. (We don't plan to show it prior to mid-April)

I suggested he put a sign up in the yard already that says coming soon. I am also considering allowing him to put the home on Multiple listing to generate interest but only to state that it will not be open for showings until such and such a date. We wanted a Broker's Open House ONLY. Should that occur before or after the home is on the MLS?? Does it even matter??

What do you think? I will be signing papers to use this Realtor tomorrow.

Are there any other things I need to be aware of before signing with this Realtor? Even though we will be signing a 6 month contract this Realtor allows a kick out clause within a month if I am not happy with his services. (One of the primary reasons I am hiring him!)

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Commissions and commission splits are always negotiable. You can ask how the commission is divided. Where I live that information was part of the listing contract.

The real questions are does it really matter to agents to buyer's agents and will it result in more showings? It's always nice to sell a house with a higher commission rate, but I never really looked at the rate in selecting houses for showings. If a property met my buyers' needs, it went on the list. A few times this meant I received a lower than normal rate, and a few times it meant I received a higher than normal rate.

While an agent can make recommendations on what houses to see, it is ultimately up to the buyer to make that decision. Buyers become a bit testy when shown houses that don't meet their needs and wants. Agents won't waste time showing a house simply because it has a higher split if it doesn't meet their buyers' needs.

In very few instances would I recommend putting it into the MLS before it can be shown. It becomes an "old" listing before anyone even sees it, and most people are not willing to wait a few weeks for a "maybe" if they've found a house that meets their needs. There are a few exceptions related to local markets and unique characteristics of a property. If your house is just another one of dozens of similar properties, I would wait.

As for the timing of the Broker's Open, again, is there something unique about your property? If so, then an early Broker's Open might work. If it's just another house, I would wait until it's listed.

Buyers will wait for unique properties, properties with an A++++++ location or houses that are superior in some way to the competition. This doesn't apply to most houses.

The laws of supply and demand come into play here. What is the supply like for houses like yours? Is there a huge demand? Unless you can say the supply is low and the demand is high (or specialized), I would wait for the MLS listing and Broker's Open. You risk the property becoming stale before it's even available for showings.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 7:26AM
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I don't think offering a higher commission to the buyer's agent makes much difference. It will make a small fraction of agents more likely to push it to their buyers, but they may not be the ones with your buyer. Our agent suggested we offer an extra 1/2% or 1%, but it would be coming out of our pocket, so we declined.

Why are you waiting a few weeks to show it? Is it because you're still getting it show-ready? If so, then you won't have good photos yet to put on the MLS, so it would be pointless. Also, as rrah said, you want people to be able to act when they see your new listing. If they can't see it for a few weeks, they'll likely forget it, unless it's very unique.

One thing our agents did was email the agents in their company saying "we just got a listing, it'll be on the MLS Friday, if you have a buyer we'll let you show it before it goes public." But that timing needs to jive with when you're ready to show it.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 7:48AM
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Thank you for all your responses. I am not willing to pay any more for his commission so I will ask my Realtor his split on the commissions and how that works. I assume his range would be lower if he brings in a buyer or if we refer one to him to show the house (say someone from my husband's office that might be interested).

As for my home being special. It is one of very few homes in the area with solar power installed on the roof. It saves over 60% of our energy. The system was installed last year and will be sold with the house. It is NOT a lease and has a 25 year warranty. Our home will be priced higher than average selling price (200k). In our current development we are one of the more expensive homes here, but not at the top of the market. Homes within walking distance of my home range from upper 200s to around 600k. There are two homes in my area listed in the Upper 400's. Ours will be priced in the mid-400s (under the recommended 500k two other Realtors suggested when we had comps done). We prefer to be under the suggested market value to get more buyers through here. There are also a lot of high tech companies in our we think the solar system will generate some lookers but who knows??

From your responses I will leave the timing for putting it on the MLS with my Realtor and the Realtor Open House. I have no problem having it on a weekend or a weekday when I return.

Unfortunately, I can't put my home on the market until we get back from an out-of-state meeting with our builder. I will have three cats left at home with a pet sitter coming back and forth to check on them. I cannot have anyone come in to see our home for that reason. Our pet sitter is also not as clean as I am with the litter boxes. Also, I only allow the cats in certain areas of the home so alot of my doors are closed while we are gone and unused bedrooms doors are closed to keep down the cleaning. Cats sneak into rooms when anyone opens doors and get locked in away from litter boxes (even when I am home, but I hear them cry and let them out). They also can sneak outside (they are all indoor cats) if any outer doors are left open. So I don't want to chance anyone else coming into my home until we return.

When I show my home I will be moving all cat boxes to the garage along with a few scratching posts. Then all my cats will be crated and be taken for a car ride with me while the home is being shown.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:42PM
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And a couple more questions. What is the normal time people request to have before having showings? I was thinking of requesting at least 2 hours notice.

And do Realtors generally abide by this time?

This post was edited by zoe52 on Wed, Mar 27, 13 at 12:49

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:44PM
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No way. Most people will give you 30 minutes, tops.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 2:20PM
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What is a reasonable amount of notice can/will vary. For example, many upper-end houses in my area require a 24 hour notice. Real buyers for this class of houses aren't going to be just driving around looking for houses. They will understand the need for notice.

Most people didn't have any requirements unless they had a pet, but I generally made appointments a day or two in advance when possible. Ask your agent.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 2:33PM
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"I will have three cats left at home with a pet sitter coming back and forth to check on them. I cannot have anyone come in to see our home for that reason."

Can you move the cats to a relative or friends house until the house sells?

My in-laws sold their home so they could move into assisted living. Their sense of smell wasn't that great so they hadn't noticed that their 4 cats had urinated on the floors and baseboards. The new buyers had to replace them.

One of my sisters is severely allergic to cats. She cannot go into a house or car where a cat has been. This might be a concern for those with allergies.

Might be worth asking your realtor about this or other folks in the know.

P.S. I like the kickout clause that lets you get out of your contract if your realtor isn't working out.

Hope it helps sell the house quicker!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Contract is signed. Realtor gets 5% if he sells to a buyer or if we send him a buyer. We decided to give him a 6% commission fee where he said he would split it 50/50 with another Realtor who brings in a buyer. He did say that with the slow market here he gets more showings with that additional .5 percent to go to the buyer's Realtor. And then he showed us a number of listingst that showed how few people give 3% to another buyer. He said in this market it is HUGE. We went for it and hope we get out of here soon.

In the meantime we decide upon selling a bit lower to move out. The house goes officially on the market (MLS) on April April 15th. Brokers open to be held a week or two later on a Tuesday.

Our Realtor took plenty of pictures of our house tonight while I went around removing Easter bunny decorations. I didn't want the house to look dated if it is on the market too long. And a plus was that most of our snow has melted which allowed him to get some outside shots.

FWIW I have NO family in this area that can take my cats in. This is EXACTLY why I am moving. We have been in this area for most of my life bc of my husband's job and I told him when we married that I would go anywhere he needed to go but when he retired I wanted to move back home to where my family lives. And that is exactly what we are doing.

In order to do that as quickly as possible we just dropped our price for the home before listing it .. another 10K

We are listing now at $439,777. Hopefully we will find a buyer quickly.

I can't wait to move to be near my family. I have lived too far away for too many years and I don't know how much time we all have left. But I plan on enjoying the remainder I have left near my family.

I will post our MLS listing once it goes on line. Since he did pictures on the house already I wanted to see them before he listed them. I let him know those I didn't like already. But he took plenty of extras..just in case.

And no cats, dog or cat perches ...but maybe some Easter bunnies are in the pictures!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:05PM
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BTW one of the Realtors who we asked to do comps. (we used two others prior to settling on this guy) is allergic to cats. She commented at our home .. that she would not have known we have any cats bc she had no symptoms while in my home. It was probably a good thing she was seated at my wooden kitchen table in wood chairs. If she had sat in the LR in any of my upholstered chairs she would have been wheezing. No matter how hard you vaccum them .. you cannot get the cat dander out of upholstery... and this is exactly why I want to build my next home with french glass doors that I can close off for my dining room and living room. Added bonus + no cat can eat the fresh flowers on my dining room table!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:10PM
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Double post.. sorry

This post was edited by zoe52 on Wed, Mar 27, 13 at 21:14

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:11PM
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LOL! I have the same problem with my silly cats ... they eat the flowers at my house too!

Sounds like you have a good plan, good luck on selling and moving home.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 12:35PM
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Regarding notice: we've got 2 houses for sale (one FSBO and one with realtor) and the range of advance notice has been "right now" (if they're driving by and stopped) to 3 days later. The vast majority of appointment requests are for later the same day or the next day, with only a couple wanting less than a couple hours later. Realtor requests (they've shown our FSBO and our MLS houses) tend to be lined up in advance.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Our Realtor told us that even though we will have it listed to call the day before to show it, he has plenty of Realtors who could call the same morning and ask to come through later in the afternoon. But they would certainly call me before that happens. I have no problem showing it the same day, but I would prefer at least a couple hours before showing so I can straighten things up a bit. We have three floors to show!

Not only that, I have to catch 3 cats and crate them. (a major exercise when they see the crates!) Clean out all their cat stuff and take it to the garage and/or basement.

I also have a small dog that I have to get out of the house, too.

In the meantime, I would have to vaccum up the animal areas and some of the furniture and rugs where they lay during the day. I plan on having all the bedrooms upstairs closed off to animals and will clean my way out of the Master Bath and Bedroom every morning regardless if I have a showing or not. That will cut down on time I need to get the place ready. Then I will only have to deal with the basement and the main floor.

I also would like some time to bake some bread or cookies to have the house smell good. I would leave the cookies on the counter with a sign for them to help themselves. I also turn all the lights on in the house and open up all the doors after all the animals are in the car and crated.

I was able to get it down to 45 minutes the last time we were on the market. However I was much younger and faster then. Now I have some physical probs that will slow me down.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 11:28AM
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Not to hijack, but regarding pets in the house (reading this forum in advance of putting our house up for sale) - I understand taking the dog out of the house for showings, but what about caged pets? My kids have a couple of guinea pigs in a non-portable cage. Do they stay or go? What about the cage?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:10PM
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If we had hamsters or guinea pigs I would leave them in the home in their cages during showings. Just make sure that their cages are freshly cleaned and there is no odor.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 1:44PM
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We took our cats for a "ride" when having our open house and removed all "cat" items before taking photos, but subsequent showings our Realtor said it was fine for them to be present. He assured us he would ensure that they were not closed into closets or allowed to escape, and he was as good as his word. Since it was a condo that opened into an interior hallway they would not be able to bolt out the door and get anywhere. And for the balcony we left a little note on the door that the cats were not allowed out there, and he watched to ensure they did not get out there.

In fact almost all the potential buyers had cats themselves so they did not mind, in fact our friendly kitty may have helped sell the house by being cute and enticing the cat loving buyers to stay longer to adore him. Our condo sold pretty quickly and the buyers did have cats too.

Our Realtor and the others we interviewed did mention that there was no cat box smell and to "keep doing what we were doing". Our cats eat a raw meat diet so they don't have smelly litter to begin with, and we scoop the multiple boxes 3 times per day, we use Dr Elsey's unscented clumping litter. Perfumed cat litters just smell like perfumed cat urine!

And most peoples' cats have not peed on the baseboards and carpet!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:58PM
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