Can this be done or is it ethical?

phoggieMay 14, 2010

It seems to me that I have read somewhere that this has been done, .... or am I just dreaming?

I would like (but DH says that it can't be done), to have someone list our house on MLS (and pay them $500 or so to do so)....and pay the first realtor who brings me a buyer, a 5% commission. Has anyone done this or is it even ethical? We are having a hard time selecting real estate agents, since we know them all personally. Any help is appreciated.


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How much are you actually saving by doing this? $500 to list and 5% to selling agent? I house sells for 500K, normal commissions(6%) would cost you 30k,the plan you have is costing you 25,500..You save 4500 bucks, but have ALL the work to do in showing...I'd lower the commish to selling agent to 3.5%,if i were to enact your plan,which BTW is perfectly acceptable

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 8:32PM
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I agree with gdwag I don't understand your thought.
Are you trying to give a big incentive to buyer's agents to show your house? 5% commish is full commission in my area. In my area, 3.5 commission to the buyer's agent would be high!
How will you market, MLS and sign only? Will that work in your area?
What ever you do, price it right, the buyer only cares about their price.
What you propose is ethical, there are agents who will list your property for a flat fee. Of course, full service agents don't like it, they may avoid your listing, but if you offer a high commission and a good property for them to sell it will work.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Open listing.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:21PM
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I don't know of any Realtor who would accept an open listing.

better to do as you are planning or work out another arrangement with the Realtor of your choice.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 6:24PM
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Seems like it just means more work for you. Why not go full serve and offer a 1 or 2 % bonus ABOVE the standard in your area for a completed deal within X number of days or weeks?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 1:04PM
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It can be done, and it's not really much more work than you would do with an active selling agent. Really.

The advantage is NOT in saving on commission, as you've realized. The advantage is in being able to proactively design and control your marketing plan and being able to REALLY motivate the few agents around who actually have BUYERS. Seller's agents are a dime a dozen and they're all chasing the few buyers and BAs who have clients, who are RE gold right now.

We have a flat-rate package found on the internet for about that amount. It includes a listing on the broker's site (with 25 pix), MLS w/12 pix, enhanced listing with 25 pix, MLS feeds to all area realtors (which I think is actually part of the MLS service, not nec the broker), MLS feeds to large numbers of internet sites inc. the biggies Zillow, Trulia, etc., again maybe part of the MLS service anyway.

We also received a nice printed RE yard sign w/realtor name, phone, MLS #, etc. (vs. the fsbo hand-grown type) and a full package of all forms needed in/required by our state. Extras like flyer boxes, lockboxes, accessory signs (corner, open house, etc.), can be bought, too.

Updates to the listing (new photos, price changes, etc.) are fairly cheap (under $50).

Our contract binds us to pay the commission over to the broker who will in turn pay the buyer's agent unless we and the BA agree to do it differently.

You will be writing your own descriptions so be sure to know the rules re discriminatory wording and photos (easier than you'd think to misstep there) and including keywords that will catch people looking for something specific (e.g., country, farm, horse, vacation, luxury, view, ocean, etc.). There are a lot of articles on the net on how to write good descriptions.

You will also be taking your own photos. Put all the lights on, open shades, leave only a very few larger knick-knacks (little things look like junk in photos), take photos on the diagonal looking into a room, maximize floor area shown vs. ceiling (lots of ceiling makes the room look squat), highlight features when possible (e.g., lit candle rack in fireplace).

As for showings, most buyer's agents prefer to not have either the owner or the seller's agent there, anyway. If a BA contacts you, simply verify who they are and confirm their appointment and time with their agency. It is acceptable to meet them at the door to be sure their face matches their agency photo, then leave.

Turn on all lights, including closet lights. Leave them a packet with the disclosures, a copy of your listing sheet, and anything else that might help show/sell the property--a list of new/recently replaced items, items included, plot plan, pictures from other seasons, whatever. Do not light aromatic candles or spray scents. I don't bake but I do light a cinnabon candle and carry it around before the showing, then put it out. I also try to leave a nice glass pitcher of ice water and sparkling glasses, maybe a few bakery sugar cookies. That's it.

If a BA does want you to show the prospects around or the buyers don't have an agent (more likely with a specialty property), be prepared to do that. Just pretend that it is not your house and you are not socializing--no humbleness, no deprecating remarks, no funny references at your partner's expense, kwim? It can be fun, just keep your shpeels short, don't refer to anything as yours or things "we've" done--put it all in the second or third person as in "you'll get full sun in here in winter and shade in summer" or "the boiler was replaced just last fall."

Right now is great open house season. Our local paper has a weekender deal for advertising in the home section that puts a 2 x 3 ad w/B&W photo in Saturday and Sunday for just $75. Some people seem to also like to run an ad on Wednesday (for those who plan early, I guess). Small listings in the paper are also fairly cheap. Craig's list is easy and free, but we mostly got spam from that.

If you price your house just below what comps are getting and offer a high commission and actually let your local RE agents know about it, you'll get some surprise and interest. We checked both local listings and homes sold information from our local MLS to get good comps. We sent e-mails and postcards to all the local RE agencies and agents who work in our area. Our MLS shows listing agency and buying agency and so we were able to follow up with phone calls to those actually involved in recent sales.

The only hard thing is that sometimes it is difficult to give it as much attention as it should really get. But we tried two RE agents first and I can tell you that we've covered far more bases with much less effort than i expected than either of them. And controlling it myself sure beats the frustration of repeatedly calling, being told something would get done, then seeing nothing happen.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 9:28AM
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