Commission. The word might seem taboo, but it’s how your real estate agent earns a living. They don’t bill by the hour like many other professionals. In fact, agents don’t see a dime until the deal closes. This provides an incentive to get your home sold—or next home purchased—efficiently and for the best price possible.
Now, discount brokers offer limited services at a reduced percentage or flat rate. They’ve been popping up all over, promising the same or even better services at a low price. But there are critical reasons why it should be buyer, or seller, beware. Here’s what to think through before hiring your agent.
ATTENTION: This is one of the biggest, most important transactions you’ll make in your life. You deserve the one-on-one attention a traditional agent offers. Discount brokers have to juggle more deals to earn a living, taking focus away from you and your home.
AVAILABILITY: Deals can happen at any hour of the day. Traditional brokers often work nights and weekends to serve clients at the highest level. Discount brokerage firms typically operate between 9am and 5pm, putting their schedule above your convenience.
EXPERIENCE: Full-service brokerages have seasoned and savvy agents able to navigate the market, contracts and negotiations to get you the best deal. They could even secure a deal that nets much more than the difference of hiring an inexperienced discount agent.
REPRESENTATION: Discount brokers often tout the “transparency” of letting buyers and sellers work directly with each other. Don’t be fooled, they’re passing their work off to you. An agent’s full-time job is to be your advocate, provide access to more properties, negotiate contracts and serve as a liaison so that all parties can amicably meet at the closing table.
SUPPORT: Compared to a discount broker, traditional agents provide an unrivaled level of support:
- Competitive home pricing based on market insight and comparing all other houses in the area.
- Using a suite of services to prepare a home for sale, including staging and professional photos.
- Applying advanced marketing techniques such as social and digital advertising, print collateral, plus networking with other agents, contacts and traditional brokerages.
- MLS access—a vital tool in home buying or selling often not available at a discount brokerage.
- Hosting and immediately following up on leads from open houses, broker opens and showings.
- Finding homes that meet specific criteria and proactively contacting sellers’ agents for showings.
- Negotiating contract details to get what you want—and even more—out of your transaction.
Bottom line, traditional brokerages bring more to the table. And PorchLight agents provide even more support and dedication. Buying or selling a home is a big deal. Don’t outsource it to the lowest bidder!