Reader Question: Can I Negotiate a Commission Discount?

Full disclosure: The Tim was employed by Redfin (is just a shareholder as of October 2013) and WaLaw Realty and Quill Realty are Seattle Bubble advertisers.

A reader wrote in with the following question about real estate agent commissions:

In the near future my wife and I are going to need to sell our respective homes and then buy a new home. This means a lot of money exchanging hands with these 3 upcoming home sales/purchase. This also means a nice piece of commission for whoever we choose as our real estate agent.

A friend recommended we ask our prospective agent to give us a break on their commission and only take 2% in stead of the customary 3%. This may amount up to $15k in savings for my wife and I, which is very appealing. My question then, is this common practice, for an agent to give a break on their commission to secure business?

While there are certainly agents out there who are willing to do that sort of thing, if you’re interested in saving money, why not just use a brokerage that offers a discounted price up front?

Here in the Seattle area there are lots of options:

  • Redfin – Up to 50% commission rebate on the sell side and the buy side
  • WaLaw – Flat fee buy and sell side service, big rebates, plus legal council
  • Quill Realty – Option of 2% commission or a flat fee (1 tour/offer), plus legal council
  • 500 Realty – Flat fee sell side, up to 75% commission rebate on the buy side
  • Findwell – Up to 50% commission rebate on the sell side, up to 33% on the buy side.

[2015 Update: Findwell no longer offers discounts, and Quill’s fee structure has been updated.]

If you already have an agent that you are comfortable working with and would just really like to stick with them, go ahead and ask, but be prepared for them to take offense. Some “traditional” agents are more than happy to negotiate the price of their services, but others find even the suggestion to be appalling. It’s really hit and miss.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

101 comments:

  1. 1
    wreckingbull says:

    If an agent takes offense at the notion of commission negotiation, you don’t want them as your agent. What a perfect trial to see how they would behave in actual negotiations for your home.

  2. 2
    S-Crow says:

    Please Add: Escrow Direct – FSBO closed sale via going escrow direct: $500.00-$700.00 on average plus miscellaneous (recording fees, excise tax, etc.)
    =)

  3. 3

    RE: wreckingbull @ 1 – You’re setting yourself up for the typical agent script response: “Why would you want an agent who is so willing to give up their own commission to be negotiating on your behalf?” I don’t like scripts, but that’s a common script.

    To answer the question, it really depends on the situation. It’s very common for agents to discount where they’d be handling both a sale and a buy transaction. Right now on single transaction, discounts may be more common for listings than for buyer clients, but other factors may come into play as well (both positive and negative). And sometimes a discount is entirely out of the question. For example, if you want to buy a house from a bankruptcy estate or HUD there’s no way I’d discount my commission. The former is because my experience is practically unique, and the latter is because the seller is a royal PITA.

  4. 4
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3 – No Kary. That is not what I said. Please read my post again. I am referring to the agent taking offense. If an agent respectfully declined, and then presented to me why paying them full commission is worth it or even required in my situation, I would listen and possibly still even use them.

  5. 5
    David Losh says:

    If I were the agent I would want control of all the transactions to ensure they closed as close together as possible, or that they closed efficiently.

    So I used to offer a 1% listing commission, with a 3% buyers commission.

    The listing part was pretty straight forward while the purchase could be complicated by a number of issues. They could of course sell first then move in with relatives, but that seems kind of like a waste of time.

    They may be able to buy first, but it depends on the properties.

    From my perspective it only makes sense to offer the commission discounts, and every Brokerage that I’ve worked for has gone along, even Windermere.

    Commissions are always negotiable, and always have been.

    I should clarify that I would only offer the discount depending on the transaction, but definitely on multiple transactions.

  6. 6

    RE: wreckingbull @ 4 – Sorry, I wasn’t clear so you missed my point. My fault.

    I don’t care how it’s said back because I hate agent scripts. I would hate hearing that, although maybe it might even be more enjoyable if I heard it in a yell! ;-)

  7. 7

    RE: David Losh @ 5 – The decision to buy first or sell first varies depending on the market. Right now it would be more risky to sell first. A few years ago it was more risky to buy first.

  8. 8
    drshort says:

    I used a discount brokerage on the buying side because I felt confident I could find the right house for myself and correctly value the home.

    But as a seller, I found the full service agent to be extremely valuable preparing and staging my house in a way that would be appealing to the market. My tastes might not be what everyone else wants.

  9. 9

    It’s always OK to ask for a discount on the commission. But the reality is: There are a few superstar agents out there who deserve every bit of 3$, especially on the listing side. I’ve seen some of these folks who were able to generate a hell of a lot of buzz and get multiple offers over the listing price, and I’ve seen some of these folks who were able to sell houses in the most miserable neighborhoods at the worst time to sell. In some cases, it’s worth it to find one of these folks. On the other hand, right now, if you own a house on the east side of Greenlake, with graffiti sprayed walls and rodent turds decorating every room, you’re still likely to sell it quickly and at 400,000 dollars +. If you paint the walls and mop the floor, even better. The problem is: Some agents who are exceptional at their jobs will reject offers of hiring them with a commission discount. They’re busy enough, successful enough to be able to turn those down. But there are also agents out there who think they’re superstars, and will refuse to work for a discounted commission just because they’re a holes.
    I think most agents will agree to give a discount on the commission. Most of them that I know.

  10. 10
    ARDELL says:

    I don’t know why people call it a “discount” given the law is all commissions are negotiable and there is no set fee that is the same for all “traditional” agents. My charge is based on the scope of work involved, and that is different from one client to the next. I don’t wait for people to “ask for a discount”. I establish a cost of service early in the process after assessing the complexity of the task at hand.

    I try to use flat fees vs percentages to remove any conflict of interest. Some time ago I decided no family should pay more than $20,000 to “get from here to there” on a combined basis of selling and buying. I have experimented with several different commission formats. Usually I don’t use “a discount” as much as I pay for things to be done to the home to get it ready for market, sometimes thousands for that and pay for closing costs on the buy side.

    It’s easier when someone is both buying and selling. When someone is only buying or selling and the price is $300,000 or less, then usually I am at market rate. But the majority of my clients are not only buying or only selling at $300,000 or less.

    To talk in percentages is to play into the game as agents are taught to talk in % because 1% sounds like a lot less than $6,000 and 2% sounds like a lot less than $12,000. When you have the “cost of service” talk with your agent, always do it in real $ vs %. You shouldn’t have to “ask for a discount” you should be having a discussion regarding cost of service.

    If you can’t have a comfortable conversation with your agent about cost of service in real dollars, then you probably can’t work with them on the 100 other problematic issues that arise in a real estate transaction. It’s an important and personal relationship from start to finish. If it is difficult from the outset during the cost of service conversation…it will likely go from bad to worse as you move forward.

  11. 11
    toad37 says:

    Nice post and good topic. I bought a foreclosure condo in Bellevue, July of 2011 if any of you remember and it may be time to sell. Supposedly it has gone up a lot from what I purchased it at. Think it may be time to get back to Seattle. I hate the idea of paying commission, but a necessary evil I guess.

  12. 12
    Marc says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 9:

    But the reality is: There are a few superstar agents out there who deserve every bit of 3%, especially on the listing side. I’ve seen some of these folks who were able to generate a hell of a lot of buzz and get multiple offers over the listing price, and I’ve seen some of these folks who were able to sell houses in the most miserable neighborhoods at the worst time to sell. In some cases, it’s worth it to find one of these folks.

    Ira’s earned a reputation for being very conservative and pragmatic so coming from him this is saying something. I wouldn’t have guessed he felt this way about listing agents.

    I will definitely agree that each neighborhood has a handful of agents who seem to get a disproportionate number of listings in their respective neighborhood. And each listing means a for sale sign so you see their name all over the neighborhood. And many of those listings sell resulting in lots of those “sold” strips. They also frequently advertise these successes in their local neighborhood paper.

    Ultimately, what I think you get is a variation on survivor bias whereby consumers associate that agent’s name with a not fully warranted degree of success and talent/ability.

    A significant enough number of homeowners come to believe this and decide that agent so and so gets all the listings so I’ll just call her to list my house. Well, if you give most any competent agent a ton of listings, most of them are going to sell and then they’ll look like a superstar. I think it has as much or more to do with wooing clients and getting listings in volume as it does with actual agent quality.

    I’ve come to this conclusion after dealing with numerous “superstar agents” and realizing that there’s frequently very little super about them.

  13. 13

    By Marc @ 12:

    I will definitely agree that each neighborhood has a handful of agents who seem to get a disproportionate number of listings in their respective neighborhood. And each listing means a for sale sign so you see their name all over the neighborhood. And many of those listings sell resulting in lots of those �sold� strips. They also frequently advertise these successes in their local neighborhood paper.

    . . .

    I’ve come to this conclusion after dealing with numerous “superstar agents” and realizing that there’s frequently very little super about them.

    What you seem to be talking about there is agents who get most of their business from advertising. Using my own neighborhood as an example, some of them are very good and some of them are not good. How much business they do doesn’t seem to be dependent on how good they are, but instead how much advertising they do.

  14. 14

    By drshort @ 8:

    I used a discount brokerage on the buying side because I felt confident I could find the right house for myself and correctly value the home.

    But as a seller, I found the full service agent to be extremely valuable preparing and staging my house in a way that would be appealing to the market. My tastes might not be what everyone else wants.

    That addresses the flip side that I wanted to discuss. The client first needs to decide what they’re likely to need.

    A few years ago I got a call from someone here who wanted to buy a house in Somerset (Factoria). As I recall, the house was not listed and they’d already reached an agreement with the seller on price. The only thing left was drawing up a contract and doing the inspection. I didn’t really see that within my normal practice. I referred them to someone else, probably Craig because I viewed most of the services to be rendered there to be legal in nature, and he could also deal with the inspection process.

    I’m just not comfortable in the role of drafting an agreement where the buyer and seller already have met and come to terms. That seems to be work that is more legal in nature, as opposed to having the legal portion of a transaction be incidental to providing other brokerage services. There I would suggest that the buyer client would be better off with an attorney who is in active practice and insured as such.

    So sometimes it’s possible that an agent would turn down a low fee transaction not because of the low fee, but because of the nature of the transaction.

  15. 15
    ray pepper says:

    I’ve worked with the “Superstars” and “the once a year Agents.” One thing they all have in common is NONE are worth 3% to LIST..especially when your talking homes that are over 200k…GOOD GOD!….Thats the BIGGEST SHAM in the biz…

    …..and to PAY ANYONE 2-3% (OF YOUR MONEY) to show you homes, write up offers, and represent you……………….Well, if your a Bubble Head reader then there is no help for you….If you have no clue and were born BRAIN DEAD then I give u a pass…

  16. 16
    toad37 says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 15

    Amen. What is the best option?

  17. 17
    Marc says:

    I’ve recently had a flurry of people calling asking for help in off market deals with no commissions at all. Both buyers and sellers. We’ve already had 2 or 3 closings this year. And I’ve got two people so far this week wanting deals with seller financing. Lots of tenants wanting to buy from landlords (or vice versa) and sellers selling to people without any marketing at all.

    It’ll be interesting to see if this is a short term anomaly or if it keeps up.

  18. 18
    ray pepper says:

    RE: toad37 @ 16 – Rent a high rise Condo in downtown Bellevue, eat at Cheesecake Factory across the street 3x a week, twice a week get a Pagliacci, 1x a week get BurgerMaster, 1x a week get Mediterranean Kitchen (extra white sauce), watch movies in Lincoln Park Place, bowl a few games a week at Lucky Strike to stay in shape, and the rest of the time live off the fat a the land.

  19. 19
    toad37 says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 18

    um…ok?

    I mean what is the option for getting a break on selling commission.

  20. 20
    toad37 says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 18

    You are still the dick you were last time I was here. :-)

  21. 21
    MLS4owners says:

    We’ve always believed there are many good ways to market a property at a variety of costs, depending on the needs of each seller. You’ve all hit on a lot of options. We are biased of course, but we believe MLS4owners.com has a long-proven record of commission savings.

  22. 22
    Ray pepper says:

    RE: toad37 @ 20 – why change a good thing? Your a long time bubblehead. If u still have to ask u r simply without hope. Go to Windermere and JLS and bend over. They will be ready for u!

  23. 23
    Blurtman says:

    A winning strategy: Negotiate a steep discount, and then stiff the agent.

  24. 24

    RE: Marc @ 12
    That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about the best known agents, necessarily. And I’m not talking about the agents who advertise the most. All I’m saying is that there a few listing agents out there who are just spectacular at their jobs. There are many agents out there, both full commission and discount brokers, who follow certain formulas and are adequate/pretty good at their jobs. And then there are those very few spectacular agents. Yes, some of the agents with lots of fame and notoriety aren’t any better than the rest, and often worse, they’re just providing impersonal mediocre service and not getting good results.
    But the ones I consider superstars, truly maybe 2% of the listing agents out there, are a wonder to behold. And you’re right, I don’t usually compliment real estate agents, and for good reason. There’s no question that there are a fair number of charlatans, slimeballs, incompetents, smiling smarmy jackasses, etc, in the real estate field. I just admire some of the miracles I’ve seen pulled off by a very small number of listing agents. Doesn’t make them good people.

  25. 25

    By ray pepper @ 15:

    I’ve worked with the “Superstars” and “the once a year Agents.” One thing they all have in common is NONE are worth 3% to LIST..especially when your talking homes that are over 200k…GOOD GOD!….Thats the BIGGEST SHAM in the biz…

    …..and to PAY ANYONE 2-3% (OF YOUR MONEY) to show you homes, write up offers, and represent you……………….Well, if your a Bubble Head reader then there is no help for you….If you have no clue and were born BRAIN DEAD then I give u a pass…

    It amazes me how often you say things that are very surprising for an agent to say. And I’m not talking about things that support your discount model. I’m talking about things that are sort of “Losh-like.” Things that just seem like something an agent wouldn’t say if that agent had a feel for the market and the industry.

    Markets change over time. On the listing side right now in King County you might be right about paying a full 3%, because properties do sell much easier now than they did say two years ago. If the property is priced even close to correctly, it will likely sell.

    Stated differently, the value of a listing agent is different when there are 5 buyers for every seller than when there are 5 sellers for every buyer.

    On the buyer side, maybe Pierce County hasn’t heated up to the same extent as King County, but up here being a successful buyer requires that you have an agent that previews new listings the day they come on the market so that an offer can be made quickly. I would think that you of all people would understand that since you’re advice is for a buyer to withdraw their offer if another offer comes in. The only ways you can avoid multiple offers are to either be fast or make offers on properties which are overpriced crap.

    Two years ago that wasn’t true. The process of buying was much more leisurely. We even had one “sell and then buy” client who had their sale flip, and the house they picked to buy was still available when they found a new buyer weeks later. That wouldn’t happen today. Thus currently the value of a buyer’s agent is greater than it was two years ago.

    These things are not constants any more than the value of real estate is a constant (another comparison to you and Losh). And again, what a given client will need to represent them, whether buyer or seller, will vary depending on the situation. There is no wrong model, only models that are wrong for a particular client.

  26. 26
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 24

    Jan Sewell was probably the best example of what you are talking about. Jan was a stager, but just a great agent. When she offered a property for sale she stood behind it. It was more than a pretty place, it had integrity.

    Kim Knowles and Tom Maider are another team that are just solidly good business, Liz Talley is another one that has been a subject here that does an excellent job for her sellers at getting true value.

    There are agents you never hear about that are the center of advertising for other agents, like Steve Laevastue.

    Probably the best example is a woman on Capital Hill who can draw in a hundred agents to an Open House in the most dead of markets. She stages, negotiates, inspects, and prices well, but not cheap. You get your money’s worth with her, and nobody can dispute that.

    There are excellent agents in any market place, but most people don’t pay any attention to that.

  27. 27
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 25

    Oh Kary…Your statement about a BEING A SUCCESSFUL BUYER REQUIRES AN AGENT WHO PREVIEWS LISTINGS THE DAY THEY HIT THE MARKET is a riot. Reminds me of “Eric the clown” from Seinfeld. He tells George what I tell you…”Your LIVING IN THE PAST MAN…Your Living in the past!!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esJl7MZoVww

    and David..”There are excellent agents in any market place, but most people don’t pay any attention to that.”…Rightfully so David…There is a reason people don’t pay attention to that. They know the SHAM of real estate and 6%. They have had enough. Change is good and Consumers will keep dragging down commissions while RE offices will keep closing across America. Why? Because the public is starting to get it. The Buffet will end eventually..Agents keep nibbling on those morsels.

  28. 28

    RE: ray pepper @ 27 – If you don’t think that’s correct regarding representing buyers, I don’t know what time period you’re living in, but it’s clearly not the present day. So again I’ll say, it’s as if you don’t have any connection to the current market or the industry. Very surprising.

    But I will admit you and I are different. Rather than cutting bait if another offer comes in, I prepare for that in advance so that my client wins without necessarily being the highest bidder. I accomplished that feat multiple times last year, more times than what I lost out. And one of the times I lost out I lost out to the listing agent.

    As I explained before, for one client who was looking at a particularly hot market I not only took to previewing the day the listing came on the market, but I also would write up a contract if I thought it was something they would like. I probably wrote at least four contracts which were never signed, but even doing that and getting the offer in the same day the property was listed we were not the only offer on the house they bought. We were, however the best offer even though not the highest offer, and the house bought was much nicer than some of the properties my clients were considering. After the close they even commented on how glad they were they didn’t bid on some of the houses they were considering. But for those efforts they would have either not bought or bought crap.

  29. 29
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 27

    The buffet is getting longer, not shorter.

    Thousands of Real Estate Brokerages are closing because they can’t provide services. You don’t need to offer services so to you any dollars coming in is all profit. It’s the same for redfin. If you do nothing but work on code all day then yes, any one giving you money is all profit.

    The consumer, however needs services now more than ever.

    People are over paying for properties, they get no negotiation, and are being instructed on how to “win” a bidding war. It’s a complete joke.

    The Real Estate market, or lack of marketing, is a complete joke.

    For listing a property, if you want top dollar, you need to present a quality product, at the right price, and attract qualified buyers.

  30. 30
    David B. says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 9:

    There are a few superstar agents out there who deserve every bit of 3$

    Freudian slip? :-)

  31. 31

    By David Losh @ 29:

    Thousands of Real Estate Brokerages are closing because they can’t provide services. You don’t need to offer services so to you any dollars coming in is all profit. It’s the same for redfin. If you do nothing but work on code all day then yes, any one giving you money is all profit..

    Yes firms are closing. It’s in part because they have the wrong agents and in part because they have the wrong business model. A couple of years ago some brokers were complaining about having to pay workers’ comp for all their agents. I don’t remember what that amount was, but it’s under $100 a month for each agent. If your business model is such that you load up a bunch of non-productive agents and then only charge them $40 to be with the office, you have the wrong business model. State law didn’t need to change, they needed to change.

    But I think you may be misunderstanding how profit is calculated. All of Ray’s and all of Redfin’s revenues are not profit. I don’t recall Redfin even claiming its been making a profit recently, and with the market the way it’s been locally I wouldn’t be surprised to hear they are losing money at the local level.

  32. 32
    ray pepper says:

    thats kinda neat how Eric the clown shows up in full picture….

    .”cutting bait, winning a bid, prevailing, highest offer”…the fact that these must even be mentioned is ADVICE that should be given to your clients that maybe the current market is NOT the best time to buy. Being pressured to buy ANY real estate is sheer lunacy.

    But, the sad fact is real estate “professionals” MUST sell to survive. So as always………..Buyer Beware..Nobody will watch over YOUR money as close as YOU should. Agents will help you spend it freely….Know why?………..because its not theirs!!

    BTW***61 King County Properties scheduled this Friday at Trustee Sale 10k-400k…WOW! Banks are dumping FASTER then me after Bellagio Buffet….. Here is a few morsels:

    10510 SAND POINT WAY NE
    SEATTLE, 98125
    3br / 1 ba / 1760 sqft
    Built 1949 SFR
    Grantor : ANDERSON Active 1st $417,145.76 ***$232,000.00*** 2/15/2013 10:00:00 AM
    —————————————
    236312 5609 46TH AVE S
    SEATTLE, 98118
    2br / 2 ba / 1670 sqft
    Built 1917 SFR
    Grantor : BOGERT Active 1st $274,095.21 **$196,160.55** 2/15/2013 10:00:00 AM
    ————————————–
    1229 NE PERKINS WAY
    SHORELINE, 98155
    4br / 2 ba / 1560 sqft
    Built 1954 SFR
    Grantor : CRANE Active 1st $170,780.60 **$172,567.61** 2/15/2013 10:00:00 AM
    —————————————-
    742 UNION AVE NE
    RENTON, 98059
    3br / 3 ba / 2520 sqft
    Built 1997 SFR
    Grantor : GARCIA Active 1st $538,575.29 **$255,000.00** 2/15/2013 10:00:00 AM
    —————————————
    13850 38TH AVE S
    TUKWILA, 98168
    2br / 1 ba / 1580 sqft
    Built 1944 SFR
    Grantor : MCQUARRIE Active 1st $251,575.17 ***$96,632.00*** 2/15/2013 10:00:00 AM
    ——————————————-
    15018 122ND PL NE
    KIRKLAND, 98034
    4br / 2 ba / 2130 sqft
    Built 1972 SFR
    Grantor : MILLNER Active 1st $91,176.92** $88,980.53** 2/15/2013 10:00:00 AM
    ——————————————–
    16657 SE 8TH ST
    BELLEVUE, 98008
    4br / 2 ba / 2600 sqft
    Built 1957 SFR
    Grantor : PASTORS Active 1st $531,414.88 $301,245.00 2/15/2013 10:00:00 AM

  33. 33

    By David B. @ 30:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 9:

    There are a few superstar agents out there who deserve every bit of 3$

    Freudian slip? :-)

    That, and the fact that it’s a bit like Russian Roulette when I type without my glasses on. Good thing it’s only a laptop and not an AK 47.

  34. 34

    By ray pepper @ 32:

    thats kinda neat how Eric the clown shows up in full picture….

    .”cutting bait, winning a bid, prevailing, highest offer”…the fact that these must even be mentioned is ADVICE that should be given to your clients that maybe the current market is NOT the best time to buy. Being pressured to buy ANY real estate is sheer lunacy.

    I can see why you would say that if you primarily represent investor types. I have clients that are in that boat and they are on the back burner for now due to market conditions.

    But buyers who want to live in a house are a different animal. They don’t like the fact the market is the way it is, but they still want to achieve their goal. What they don’t need in attempting that is an agent with a defeatist attitude. What they do need is an agent that can actually accomplish their goals. Even in markets that are more balanced, having the wrong buyer’s agent can cause you to not get the house you want. That is more true now than ever in the past.

    It’s really no different than 2-3 years ago for sellers. Horrible time to sell, but having a defeatist attitude or the wrong agent listing a property wasn’t likely to get the seller client to their goal.

  35. 35

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 24 – Ira, I’m curious. Can you give some tangible examples of…

    “a few listing agents out there who are just spectacular at their jobs.” No need to name the agents, I’m interested in examples of their work. What do they do that makes them spectacular?

    “I just admire some of the miracles I’ve seen pulled off by a very small number of listing agents.” What were some of those miracles? And more importantly, what did the listing agent do, exactly, to get that “miracle”?

  36. 36
    ARDELL says:

    Back to the question in the post.

    The best way to start the conversation is to lump all the dollars together.

    “My wife and I are selling our respective properties for approximately $250,000 each. We plan to purchase a home for approximately $650,000. From what I have read, the cost of these three transactions, on a combined basis as to our representation only, could be as high as $34,500.00!!!

    $250,000 + $250,000 + $650,000 = $1.150 Million x 3% = $34,500.000.

    Let’s all agree that paying you, our agent, $34,500 for the job of moving from here to there is way too much money. I think we can all agree on that. Now let’s talk about what a reasonable cost of service might be.”

    This is how I would open the discussion without the client needing to ask anything. It works well from my end, so I can only assume that if the “consumer” asking this question in Tim’s post handled it the same way, that their efforts would be equally as successful using this basic conversation opener.

  37. 37
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 32

    In your comment here you present exactly the mine field that requires a good clear thinking agent.

    Now is the time to sell, and now is the time to get top dollar for your property. A seller can fool around all they want, but to get the most out of a property you need to attract the largest buyer pool, and be prepared to negotiate.

    Most discounters just don’t have the ability to do either, right along with the other thousands of Real Estate agents who aren’t worth the commission.

    There are however excellent Real Estate agents who I know are under paid at this 6% commission.

  38. 38
    David Losh says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 36

    I agree with you, but want to point out you work for an independent Brokerage you personally have control of. Most Brokerages can only function of a per cent basis, and 1% is a minimum for them.

    Some desk fee offices have more flexibility, but they also have over head.

    Commissions have always been negotiable.

  39. 39
    drt says:

    On selling agent commissions, I have always wondered why it is a flat 3% as opposed to part flat and part dependent on price. For example, if an agent says that they can sell a house for $400k, how about offer 2% of the first $375k, then 30% for anything the agent gets over that price? That would seem to do much better in aligning homeowner and agent interests than a flat 3%.

  40. 40

    RE: Craig Blackmon @ 35 – Sure, Craig:
    1. It was the dead of winter, 2009. A listing for a house appeared in Ravenna, on 18th Ave NE. Large house, charming brick Tudor, but quite the fixer. I did some extensive comps, and figured that it ought to sell for somewhere between 525-540. The listing price wa 475. It was beautifully staged, and my clients were sucked in. The agent remarks stated that ” Offers, if any, will be reviewed at 6PM Wednesday”. I told my clients that because of the desirability of the neighborhood and that it was a charming brick tudor, and seemingly priced below market value, it was likely to sell for over the listing price. I also told them that it had knob and tube wiring, galvanized plumbing, and that there were uneven floors. Still, it didn’t dissuade them , and we wrote up an offer for what I considered near the top of market value(535).
    Not a lot was selling at that time. I got a call from the listing agent thanking us for the offer, but they’d received 16 offers, and the top offers(more than one) were over 600,000.
    I think the listing agent had a lot to do with it. He knew the neighborhood, he knew that he’d attract multiple, over list price, over market value offers.
    2. Another house, in the Skyway area but overlooking Lake Washington, 2010. Unique, artist designed house,definitely not for everyone. I live fairly close, and know the area very well. The owners asked me if I wanted to be the listing agent. I told them that because of the reputation of the neighborhood, the poor real estate market, and the uniqueness of the house, it was likely going to take a while, maybe months, to sell. I gave them some recommendations on how to make the house more appealing, and turned down the listing. They gave me a bottle of bourbon and hired a different agent, who priced the house 50,000 dollars higher than I would have, and sold it after it had been on the market three days.
    In both of these cases, there are only two possible explanations, that either I’m an idiot, or that these two listing agents were particularly good. I may be a little too blunt sometimes. I may not be able to type well without glasses. But I’m not an idiot.

  41. 41
    ARDELL says:

    RE: David Losh @ 38

    David…that’s a lot of brain wash. I have worked for Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX and Independent Brokerages for 23 years and have always operated on the same basis. I have worked for Coldwell Banker in PA, NJ, FL, CA and WA. Never, ever did they prohibit me from managing my own business as an Independent Contractor.

    Most companies DO prohibit what you can ADVERTISE as a commission, which is why you do not see traditional brokerages advertising any commission. Unfortunately that feeds the myth that all traditional agents charge some unspoken same number. They simply are told that advertising commissions period can be an anti-trust issue, and so these negotiations must be on an agent to client basis without much fanfare.

    It’s a bit “don’t ask; don’t tell” as to what an agent can and can’t do as to commissions, I agree. But to suggest that an agent’s hands are tied to an exact and always charge, is simply not true.

  42. 42

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 39 – Thanks Ira. But in example No. 1, the spectacular agent staged the home beautifully and priced it competitively, and then reaped the reward. Sorry, while that agent was perhaps something more than “competent” I don’t think his performance rises to “spectacular. I don’t see the miracle.

    In example No. 2, you don’t give any indication at all of exactly what the listing agent did to sell the home. All we know is that your analysis of value and marketability was disproven by subsequent events. One explanation is that the listing agent worked a miracle. I think a much more likely explanation is simply that your analysis was mistaken. I suspect that, had you taken the listing, you yourself would have disproven your analysis because the house would have sold in similar fashion. The listing agent listed the home, and it sold. Absent some indication of something that this agent DID to get that result, I simply don’t see evidence of a “spectacular” agent, just one who was on the mark in this instance as to value and marketability. Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong, that doesn’t mean we’re spectacular in the former instance, or an idiot in the latter.

    Marc’s point above is a good one: For whatever reason – likely the reasons discussed by Marc, perhaps not – some agents get a reputation for being “spectacular.” Our business is not rocket science, and it doesn’t use magic. Pretty much anyone can learn the basic principles (a quality listing, well-staged, price it competitively) needed to be successful. At least insofar as listing a home and getting it sold, the services that may be provided by any one listing agent can range from “incompetent” (see Tim’s collection of real listing photos) to “highly competent.” But spectacular? A miracle-worker? You’re giving those folks too much credit. And frankly yourself not enough.

  43. 43
    David Losh says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 41

    As I said: “Commissions have always been negotiable.”

    My point was a clarification of why most agents use a per cent in negotiating a commission. I never said the commission wasn’t negotiable.

  44. 44
    ARDELL says:

    RE: drt @ 39

    That is because the 3% is a “set aside” by the seller within the asking and purchase price. What the actual amount of the cost will be to the buyer, after 3% is set aside by the seller, is between the buyer and his agent.

    This gets confused when a buyer tries to use the listing agent to purchase and keep the full amount “offered” by the seller. The Seller can demand that you have separate representation…even if you hire someone for only a small portion of the seller’s “set aside”.

    To have NO representation puts more liability on the seller and the seller’s agent. So it is best for you to hire a buyer’s agent and negotiate your commission with your own agent…and not the seller or seller’s agent. The seller cannot be forced to “share” his agent with a buyer, not can the agent for the seller be forced to assist a buyer for free.

    The seller offers 3% (or some other amount) for you to go buy an agent with. The savings are yours…or not. The seller doesn’t care what you do with that money as long as you hire someone else…and not his agent.

  45. 45
    David Losh says:

    RE: Craig Blackmon @ 42

    I gave you several examples which you chose to ignore, like most discount Brokerages, and agents, want to ignore exceptional agents. It just doesn’t fit in with this idea that you get the same level of service for a discount.

    I’ll give you another example.

    I went to tour an Open House three doors down from my last house on the next block. An older couple had lived there, and I knew the house well. An out of area agent listed it for $50K more than I thought it was worth, so I went to see.

    It was a miracle. She had the hedge trimmed professionally, to open up the yard which she had reseeded. She had the foresight to reseed the yard. She had all of the exterior power washed beautifully, and the beds turned, and planted. She used the dark mulch rather than the red bark.

    She had the front entry painted, and set a tone for the house by painting the enclosed porch kind of a peach color. When you walked into the living room she had the two walls, West, and North painted bright yellow. The windows faced South West and the color reflected the light. The kitchen was set with a breakfast nook, and all of the utinsils over the older appliances, which included a gas stove. She had the kitchen laid out perfectly.

    That was the first impression of a functional house with inviting colors, landscape and entry.

    She tore the heck out of down stairs to get things as open as possible for an inspection. She uncovered things rather than hide them. Everything down stairs was painted white, it was clean, bright, and accessable.

    The bedrooms were staged, the closet were a little lacking, and the bathroom was older tile, painted a color to match the tile.

    I spent almost a half an hour in the house, as well as did many agents who saw it. It was a small house, great location, and sold over asking price.

    I had never heard of the agent before, or since, but she was a miracle worker. She highlighted things in that house that I never thought of, and I’m in the business.

    Total cost was for sure less than $10K, but the numbers most definately peciled in the sellers favor. I talked with other agents about the house, and we agreed what she did was spectacular.

  46. 46
    Ray pepper says:

    Agree with Marc on everything. Miracle workers? Just because things were done that you never thought of. Please…why am I even responding. Chris Nye chime in from MLS 4 owners. Your brokerage sold more homes then all of us combined multi-fold. Tell us what u already knew many years ago. They have thick skin. Don’t worry and don’t hold back!!

  47. 47
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray pepper @ 46

    Why are you responding?

  48. 48
    wreckingbull says:

    All this talk of this elusive Super Realtor reminds me of my favorite movie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS06JvtlAc8

  49. 49

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3

    Yes Kary

    The dentists do it too….why would you get the dental implant for $800 with a coupon and giveup our $3000 quality…LOL

    All dentists have to graduate from dental schools and the materials and processes used at any dentist [cheap or expensive] are FAR more similar than different today.

    My advice is pick up the phone and call a slew of RE professionals, use Angies List and yes negotiate a low ball cost in your favor by using one quote over another, the seller wins this way….

  50. 50

    RE: Craig Blackmon @ 42
    I happen to believe in magic, and you’re not going to dissaude me by inserting logic into the argument:).
    Basically, the argument I’m hearing from you and Ray is that all real estate agents are the same, so you might as well use one that keeps less commission for himself.
    Admittedly, the barriers to entry are very low to become a real estate agent. It’s only over the last couple of years that it’s now required that you be a high school graduate. And God knows there are enough of these agents out there who can barely walk and chew gum at the same time, and have to be careful to not drool on those forms they can barely fill out.
    But, becoming a barber is also something that doesn’t require lots of training or education. Does that mean that no matter which barber you go to, the haircut will be the same ? Are all shipping clerks equally competent? Waitresses?
    In one of the examples I gave a few posts back, a house nearly identical a few doors down had sold a month earlier for 525( same size and vintage, also a fixer). It was originally priced at 549, stayed on the market for several months, and sold for 25,000 less than the asking price. The house in my example was for all intents and purposes, the same. Knowing that a nearly identical house had sold for 525 a month earlier, why would you price it at 475? Would you have? You might if you wanted to see it sell fast, but I don’t think that was this listing agent’s prime motivation. He brought in just the right stager, and was able to generate a lot of buzz, and I don’t think the “average” agent would have done that. He and the sellers were willing to take the risk that because of the innate charm and location, the low asking price was going to generate some hysteria. It ended up selling for 610. The strategy could have backfired, but I don’t simply attribute it to “competence.”
    Still, I think my argument is being taken the wrong way. I am not saying that most sellers are better off using a full service, full commission agent. In fact, I recommend to people that they use WALAW, 500 Realty, etc. All I’m saying is that :
    1. Just because any moron can become a real estate agent( and often does), doesn’t mean that there aren’t exceptional real estate agents out there,and
    2. Every once in a while, there are some listing agents who are going to be able to deliver a much higher selling price than other listing agents can, making their larger commission worth it. This is not a putdown in any way of any brokerages that charge less commission, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they too had some miracle workers among them.

  51. 51

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 50 – Well I can certainly admit that there are “exceptional” real estate agents, so no dispute there. But the value differential, as well as the skills differential, between a competent agent and an exceptional one is not very big. I disagree that there are “superstar” agents who are worth significantly more than any other competent agent.

    For example, in your newest example you note that the listing agent “brought in just the right stager, and was able to generate a lot of buzz, and I don’t think the ‘average’ agent would have done that.” First, do only superstar agents have a relationship with “just the right stager”? I don’t think so, and I have a hard time giving the agent credit for the staging work done by someone else. Second, and more importantly – and getting back to my original question – what exactly did the agent do to “generate a lot of buzz”? I assume that it was something other than posting a quality listing on the MLS?

    The fact of the matter is, the best way to sell any home is to create a quality listing and to prepare the home appropriately. And the best way to get multiple offers? Price it below fair value. You don’t need a “superstar” to get this service. All of the other efforts at selling a home are window dressing. To the extent a “superstar” engages in these other efforts, those efforts do not have a significant impact on the sale. Indeed, in each of your three examples, the “amazing work” done by the agent is no different than what should be expected from a competent agent. I don’t see any “amazing work.”

    Thanks for the conversation, Ira!

  52. 52

    By ARDELL @ 41:

    RE: David Losh @ 38 – David…that’s a lot of brain wash. I have worked for Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX and Independent Brokerages for 23 years and have always operated on the same basis. I have worked for Coldwell Banker in PA, NJ, FL, CA and WA. Never, ever did they prohibit me from managing my own business as an Independent Contractor.
    . . .

    But to suggest that an agent’s hands are tied to an exact and always charge, is simply not true.

    I would add Keller Williams and JLS to that list. I would also note that prior to transferring offices one of the questions an agent should ask is whether they have control over their commissions (among other things). I’ve asked at other companies that I won’t name, and I’ve always been told the same thing.

  53. 53

    By Craig Blackmon @ 42:

    In example No. 2, you don’t give any indication at all of exactly what the listing agent did to sell the home. All we know is that your analysis of value and marketability was disproven by subsequent events. One explanation is that the listing agent worked a miracle. I think a much more likely explanation is simply that your analysis was mistaken.

    Another possibility is a buyer simply paid too much. This is a very old story now, but I once saw a condo sell for almost 100% over value. My explanation was that the buyer was looking at new condos nearby that were on the market for about 400% more, and thought that 100% more seemed like a bargain.

    BTW, I’m pretty sure that transaction occurred back when the selling agent was deemed to represent the seller, so that story is likely an example of the evils of that really stupid system.

  54. 54
    ray pepper says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 48 – AGREE…AWESOME FLICK!

  55. 55
    David Losh says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 48

    There is a clear distinction between Real Estate agents, and Real Estate sales people.

    Annette portrays a Real Estate sales person who becomes involved romantically with a Real Estate sales person as is describe in the thread with his bus seat advertising.

  56. 56
    David Losh says:

    RE: Craig Blackmon @ 51

    Spoken like a discount Broker.

    Of course there are exceptional Real Estate agents that are good at the craft. To deny that is just being provacative.

    You offer a discount on commission, and you are attorneys. I applaud you business model, but it is different from being Real Estate agents. You should embrace that.

  57. 57
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52

    “…and I’ve always been told the same thing.”

    What?

  58. 58
    ChrisM says:

    Again, I’ll point out for the benefit of the peanut gallery that, given all the info we have so far, the average consumer has absolutely *no* idea how to choose a real estate agent…

    Why is this such a difficult thing???

  59. 59

    By ARDELL @ 57:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 52

    “…and Iâ��ve always been told the same thing.”

    What?

    What I meant by that is companies I’ve talked to, but have not gone to, have also said I would have freedom to set commissions.

  60. 60

    By ChrisM @ 58:

    Again, I’ll point out for the benefit of the peanut gallery that, given all the info we have so far, the average consumer has absolutely *no* idea how to choose a real estate agent…

    Why is this such a difficult thing???

    In part because the apparent focus is on the amount of the commission. 1% on a $300,000 transaction is $3,000. Negotiations over price will typically far exceed that amount and negotiations over inspection can too.

    In addition, what someone charges for there services is not correlated to the quality of service rendered. But that doesn’t stop consumers from focusing on price.

    Finally, I’ve said in the past that the best way to assess a real estate agent is to become one and work in the field for several years. Stated differently, there is no real good way for a consumer to assess the quality of a real estate agent. I’ve suggested getting a referral from a loan originator, but that leaves you with the possibility of getting a bad loan originator. the best way to get a good loan originator is to get a referral from an agent. It’s a chicken and egg problem.

  61. 61
    David Losh says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 58

    I’m the first one to agree with you. It’s hard to tell the good agents from bad, or very bad agents.

    I have used Real Estate agents who I know, and who know me. Once they are in a transaction it can be a completely different story from the advertising. One person, the number one agent in my neighborhood, supposedly represented me in a transaction, and he, and the listing agent who I also know screwed the deal. They weren’t talking to me they were talking to each other, fine, whatever.

    I went with the neighborhood agent because I used one of my investor agent buddies before that transaction to buy my house. He was stumped, it was a deer in the head lights moment. He found the house, showed it to us, we wrote, but the house was an illegal duplex. The lender called the duplex, I wrote a letter, they asked for more documentation, and the agent froze. It was a frigging deer in the head lights, he didn’t know what to do. I pulled the permit package, ripped out some wiring that wasn’t permitted, cleaned up the lower level to make it look like a basement, and was ready to close.

    The seller refused to sign, and it was another deer in the headlights moment. The agent just couldn’t figure it out. It was a divorce, she signed he was refusing. So I go talk to the seller in his office, I took cash, and asked him what it would take. $100 is what we agreed to. He also showed me another property he had that was a legal fourplex he needed to sell.

    Deer in the frigging head lights.

    The last gal I hired was a genius. She consulted for free on a house I had for sale, because she had buyer, but her buyer didn’t write. I asked why. It was a great price, new wiring, plumbing, sheet rock carpet paint, kitchen, and bath. New siding, new roof, new Milgard windows and a bump out on the kitchen.

    It was white, on white with new beige carpet. There were little things to be finished but it was a cheap price. Whenever an agent would call me, because I was foolish enough to list it my self, I would just quote the price. Agents were just stymied that they got all of that new stuff for that price.

    Anyway the gal gave me a list of this to do with the house, we took it off the market, spent a week end painting, and fixing. I listed it with a guy in my office, and it sold the first weekend for more than I had it listed for.

    She is one of the miracle workers. She listed my next house after I tried to list it myself. I even hired this yahoo home flipper to get it painted, and ready for market, but she had to fix that also. She got it sold for my top dollar price, and negotiated the inspection to $1500, when I was willing to go to $5000.

    For the day to day consumer it is very hard to figure out the good agents from bad.

    I didn’t use the gal sooner, though I should have, because she never gave me the time of day. She would tell me what to do, and when I asked questions she would get exasperated. I’d tell her what I wanted to do, and she tell me I was nuts. Who hires an agent like that? She was right, I made some pretty nutsy purchases, but why should she care?

    Those other two guys were an experiment, but everything else I did myself. Being an agent myself, and working with hundreds of agents preparing properties for sale in Seattle, gives me good insights, and I gladly refer people to agents that I think are a good fit. There again that doesn’t always work out. Each person is different.

  62. 62
    Young Gun says:

    If you take the savings of 15k over 3 transactions ot only works out to a 5k dollar savings per house. When you are dealing with such a large purchase a good agent can save you way more than 5k. My agent negotiated a house that was listed for 180 all the way down to 140. This house had multiple offers but he is good… If you are able to get the best out of three transactions then 15k doesn’t really matter. I could be the cheapest person I know but you have to know when it’s a appropriate.

  63. 63
    Ray pepper says:

    RE: Young Gun @ 62 – young gun can u please provide the agent name that negotiated the price down to 140k with multiple offers. I would like to contact him/her please. Surely if he/she is that good they would appreciate your referral and getting their name out there. I will confirm with the agent what you stated and if entirely factual I have lots of work for him/her.

  64. 64

    RE: Ray pepper @ 63 – While you’re right to be skeptical of an anonymous poster making such a claim, there is a common scenario where something like that can happen.

    Listing agent lists house pricing it without taking financing concerns into account. House is in a condition where only a rehab financing would be available. Cash buyer’s agent realizes that error and lets the listing agent know, who in turn lets the seller know when presenting the multiple offers. Seller picks the lower offer that will actually close.

    I’ve said this repeatedly, but to win a multiple offer situation you do not need to be the highest offer. You just need to be the best offer.

    Slightly different situation, but I’m currently watching a short sale waiting for it to flip. The listing said FHA financing would be accepted, but on looking at the house there’s no way it would qualify for FHA without repairs, so I called the listing agent. He said his client was not going to make repairs, and that he had not seen some of the conditions I described because he’d only been to the property at nighttime. After our conversation he lowered the price, but did not change the financing terms, and the house went pending. If the buyer was FHA, I expect it to flip.

  65. 65
    Ray pepper says:

    Kary it’s a sham until I verify. Of course anything COULD happen but I will restate. If this agent is a MIRACLE worker then I have alot of work for him/her. Marc is dead on with his inquiries of Agents and their miracles. The fact is its rarely the agent and so many more variables that deserve the credit.

    But, it’s ok. If it makes people feel good to idolize their associates then all is good. I have High regards for my roofer, and landscaper too. I guess they do miracles too but for a fraction of the price of others. I love cheap miracle workers.

  66. 66
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray pepper @ 65RE: Ray pepper @ 63

    You’re here making a sales pitch, and God Bless you for it.

    The fact is there are agents worth 6% and thousands that aren’t.

    You don’t need to verify anything, and if you need a good agent I can refer you. It just may be a little tough for you to get through the interview process.

  67. 67

    By Ray pepper @ 65:

    Kary it’s a sham until I verify. Of course anything COULD happen but I will restate. If this agent is a MIRACLE worker then I have alot of work for him/her. Marc is dead on with his inquiries of Agents and their miracles. The fact is its rarely the agent and so many more variables that deserve the credit.

    The scenario I described would just be the buyer’s agent doing their job, and the listing agent having not done theirs correctly. I don’t see a miracle there. Buyers’ agents should be selling their offer to the listing agent, particularly when they are expecting multiple offers or making an offer well below list.

  68. 68
    Ray pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 66 – I don’t need a good agent David. I need the one described by the shammer.

  69. 69
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray pepper @ 68

    No you don’t.

    I gave you and the other discounters plenty of examples, but this is the one you want. Why?

  70. 70
    Ray pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 69 – because all the stories and names listed r not miracle workers or deserving of 6 percent based on info provided. Now this sham story just might be.

    Tim do a cross check of this new acct email address. Who is it ? A regular poster I presume. Why would anyone not provide a name for verification if they are that good. I will tell you why. A s h a m. Please Tim. Expose the culprit.

  71. 71

    Just because you haven’t seen a miracle worker, superstar real estate agent doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Granted, they are very few and far between. If you weren’t there and didn’t see it with your own eyes, it’s easy to dismiss it as merely a competent agent or a hallucination. But folks like me who have witnessed it have something in common with those who have seen UFOs, Sasquatch, extraterrestrials, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Jersey Devil. It’s lonely out there.

  72. 72
  73. 73
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray pepper @ 70

    That’s right, persue, and intimidate. That won’t open any discussion here.

    If you were a Real Estate agent you have a half dozen stories of your own. You would know people who get get a deal done for you.

    Instead you want to pursue a course of action to intimidate a commenter. Why?

    It’s so you can prove your nonsense about how nobody should have to pay for service.

  74. 74
    Ray pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 73 – because its s Sham. The deal never happened as outlined. Someone has to be the Sheriff. Marc is off duty today so I stepped in for him.

    Intimidate ? I just want the agents name to give him/her more clients. Because after all that agent is a miracle worker.

  75. 75
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray pepper @ 74

    You aren’t going to give any one more clients, your going to harass.

    If you were as great at this buying property thing as you claim you would be telling the Ray Pepper miracle stories.

    You can always blog for business on negativity, I just don’t think it does any one any good.

  76. 76
    Ray pepper says:

    I never claimed I was great. Another thought in your imagination. I’m far too conservative to be great. David, the post was BS. I’m just here to set the record straight. It’s perfectly fair to inquire. You do it. We all do it. If someone is outstanding I would like to know about it to learn and gain insight. At the very least congratulate. But when it’s BS like millionaire mike sometimes it’s good to have a sheriff in town. David consider me your Sheriff and Marc can be the Deputy.

  77. 77
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray pepper @ 76

    I relayed a story about a listing in my office that was under priced, and the agent expected multiple offers. One offer never passed inspection, and all he got was low offers.

    My guy offered $20K less than asking, plus work orders, total over $30K. He got the deal.

    No big thing, no big mystery, we all have stories like that, right? I’ve got more, but the point is some agents are worth 6%, most are not.

    The fact most agents aren’t worth 6% is what gave redfin an opening, or you, or Marc, or Craig.

    The consumer does suffer, and in my opinion the consumer has suffered Millions of dollars in losses at the hands of agents who have no clue about property, finances, market forces, location, negotiation, or Fair Market Value rather than sales hype.

    This is a good market for sellers who are positioned well, and a bad time for buyers.

    A lot of the sales hype needs to be cleared away, but it just keeps growing.

  78. 78
    Young Gun says:

    @ Ray pepper

    I am fully aware that you are the only one in the Puget Sound area getting good deals. I can tell by all of your posts. However, up here there is some pretty good stuff. So my agent does love referrals and he does a pretty good job. Maybe he could help you out. His name is Roger Wise at Preview Properties. If you want to look up my house go right ahead. If you email me I will send you the address to my property. I don’t really feel like putting it out there for the world. I already get people trying to steal my identity. This is the timeline on the property in case you are interested.

    Summer of 2009- $250,000 FSBO and it was rough.
    December of 2009- listed for 180 or 184- offered 160 the first day. They came back at 166 and we signed it around.
    Aprilish of 2010- contract expires we renegotiate the property to 142500
    Today- I wish the State wrestling championships started 5 hours earlier!

    In all honesty it was an estate short sale that no one cared what it sold for. No one had any skin in the game. The family was not going to make anything and the selling agent was content on whatever price the bank signed off on. I have been known to embellish a few story’s but I am pretty sure the timeline is right, prices are within a few thousand, and I live in the house.

    *I hope that because all you do is dish it all day that you can take a little bit of trash talking ;)

  79. 79
    David Losh says:

    RE: Young Gun @ 78

    Exactly right, I forget about some of the great agents at Preview Properties that are totally worth 6%.

    It’s the same mix as any Brokerage, both good and bad agents, but there are some excellent agents that work at these desk fee offices.

  80. 80

    By Ray pepper @ 74:

    RE: David Losh @ 73 – because its s Sham. The deal never happened as outlined. Someone has to be the Sheriff. Marc is off duty today so I stepped in for him. r.

    Yesterday I found six transactions from the last six months which closed for $140,000 that had a list of $175,000 or above. Three of them clearly would have had difficulty getting any type of financing.

    I agree the claim is somewhat suspect, but it’s not as open and shut as what you’re trying to claim. Listing agents make mistakes all the time pricing property or not realizing situations that exist with their property.

    Also, as I mentioned in the past, I had a multiple offer situation where based on feedback from the listing agent I won a bidding war by about the same nominal margin, but at a much smaller percentage. It happens, and I don’t consider that a miracle. It did take some extra effort though.

  81. 81

    By David Losh @ 75:

    If you were as great at this buying property thing as you claim you would be telling the Ray Pepper miracle stories

    You have to remember Ray’s approach is to withdraw an offer if he learns of a competing offer. With that approach the only miracle that is going to occur is Ray’s client actually ending up buying that piece of property.

    Ray has yet to explain that position. Let’s say Ray’s client bids $150,000 for a piece of property, and then Ray learns there is a competing bid. Why withdraw the offer? He might know whether the other offer is higher, but he won’t know that it’s better. But in any case, withdrawing the offer takes more work than just riding it out. Unless you’re going to make an offer on another property before that offer expires, it seems totally defeatist to withdraw the offer.

  82. 82
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Young Gun @ 78 – Did a little research on your “miracle worker” Agent. The MIRACLE he did for you is far from it according to your statement “In all honesty it was an estate short sale that no one cared what it sold for. No one had any skin in the game. “….If nobody cared what it sold for then what work was there to be done. Hardly miraculous and DEFINTELY embellished.

    But, more importantly is what I found about your agent. Appears he attempts to sell ALOT of his own properties. MANY expired listings as he tries to UNLOAD his own properties.

    I’m sure he is a wonderful person and qualified under his licensure. There is nothing MIRACULOUS abot 2 sold properties, and many expired and cancelled in the last 6 months. The miracle is in your MIND and thats a great place!

    No no no..Kary..let me clarify for you again. You didn’t seem to catch it the first 3 TIMES around…We do NOT write up offers in multiple offer scenario. If OUR offer is in and we receive the notice that there is multiple offers, then we advise the client that seller is requesting a “highest and best.” When asked our opinion of what the Buyer should do we say DO NOT ENGAGE. In the end its up to the Buyer to decide if they want to withdraw, lower, increase, or just stand pat. We have found its a NO WIN situation. Buyer is sad if they “lose” the home to a higher bid, and they are left wondering if they paid too much when they INCREASE their offer. But, again we DO NOT engage in knowingly multiple offer scenarios. It is NOT advantageous to ANY BUYER and weakens the hand.

    BTW Kary..More work to withdraw the offer? Our offer is EXPIRED Kary with no earnest money in play. There is no response on our part. There is no recission. Nothing ..No work. No response…Crickets..

  83. 83
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 82

    Oh, OK I’ll research the guy today for you, and get back with the story that you are so dismissive of.

    You mean the guy owns property? Oh my?

  84. 84

    By Young Gun @ 78:

    In all honesty it was an estate short sale that no one cared what it sold for. No one had any skin in the game. The family was not going to make anything and the selling agent was content on whatever price the bank signed off on. I have been known to embellish a few story’s but I am pretty sure the timeline is right, prices are within a few thousand, and I live in the house.

    I think you may have your dates wrong. I did find one that fit those facts, although it’s not clear that it was an estate situation.

    As to the quoted material, I was going to mention this before, but I don’t think I did. I really have to question some estate situations. I know of one situation that has been dragging out for almost three years trying to sell a house from an estate where there’s no equity. Unless there’s a second mortgage, just let the bank foreclose! It doesn’t make any sense to waste time and effort selling a dead person’s home if the probate estate isn’t going to benefit in some way.

  85. 85
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 82

    Boy did you pick the wrong guy to pull out the miracle worker title: http://wiseroger.com/

    Yes Ray, some people are Real Estate professionals and have been the entire career they have.

    Bill Young started Preview Properties with the idea he wanted his agents to be rich, both personally, and professionally. He also inspired Skyline Properties, where my license is, with the same idea.

    There have always been desk fee offices that offer flexibility in commissions. Real Estate commissions have always been negotiable.

  86. 86
    ray pepper says:

    RE: David Losh @ 85 – His record speaks for himself. But, it appears he has God on his side and his performing of miracles happen daily with his HUGE family. Just not so much in the real estate arena.

  87. 87
    Young Gun says:

    Roger has been good to me. He has fit the bill for me. You guys need to settle down… You can attack my story but lay off my agent. I don’t think it’s cool to rag on someone who can not defend themselves. That is purely sophomoric.

  88. 88

    RE: ray pepper @ 86 – Ray, why do you never explain your theory of withdrawing an offer if another offer comes in?

  89. 89
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 88 – Kary, we don’t..Read my above explanation for the 4th time. Its the clients decision on how they want to spend their money. If asked our opinion we give it. In/re to withdrawl of an offer..Its usually expired by this time we are asked for highest and best and there is no response..crickets..

    Now off to Trustee Sale. Off your butts guys. Today is HUGE in Pierce and King. Largest volume of properties moving this weekend then I have seen in years!

  90. 90

    By ray pepper @ 89:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 88 – Kary, we don’t..Read my above explanation for the 4th time. Its the clients decision on how they want to spend their money. If asked our opinion we give it. In/re to withdrawl of an offer..Its usually expired by this time we are asked for highest and best and there is no response..crickets..

    Well obviously it’s the clients’ decision, but you still haven’t explained why your advice would be to withdraw the offer.

    As to the last sentence, banks typically ignore your expiration date in the offer because it’s irrelevant in that they will be coming back with their own addendum. Even if they “accepted” your offer prior to the expiration date your client would not be bound because they would not yet typically of signed the bank’s addendum (very seldom are they provided as an attached document, and even then there are typically blanks which the buyer cannot fill in).

    Finally, I don’t remember you limiting this to REO properties. If that’s the case, then your advice makes even less sense due to the process described in the prior paragraph.

  91. 91
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 86

    That was completely uncalled for.

    This commenter took the time to come back and you’re still harassing.

    You’re killing dialog here.

  92. 92
    Young Gun says:

    RE: David Losh @ 91

    I totally agree. If his goal is self promotion he is shooting himself in the foot. I just want to figure out what people are doing to buy real estate, position myself well, and establish relationships. For me it’s not tick for tac.

    My point was that people should be paid the 3 percent because that is the standard. If you pay less you will get less. I have never closed an easy transaction. Everyone has taken months and months. You want someone who is incentivized to do good work.

    I never said Roger is/was a miracle worker. I said he did “a pretty good job.” He is a good man and has done a great job for me.

  93. 93
    Young Gun says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 84

    You are correct I was 1 year off. I bought the house in 2011. I am trying to buy one a year and everything is running together ;)

  94. 94
    ARDELL says:

    Kary,

    If you run into a so-so house with 3 or 4 garages for $200,000 or less when you are previewing in Renton, can you give me a heads up? The mls data doesn’t really give enough info. I can say “garage” and “number of covered spaces” but half the time when they say 4 it is a 2 car garage and a 2 car carport.

    Need a house for a car guy in Renton who is a friend of the family. He knows just about every house in Renton because he’s a mailman. :) But if you happen on something in your wanderings, I’d appreciate it if you send it my way, assuming of course that you don’t have “a car guy” on your client list.

    Appreciate it!

  95. 95
    David Losh says:

    RE: Young Gun @ 92

    I worked with inestors my entire career. I had six guys who are all millionaires, and I was late to start myself, but rentals never really were what I wanted. I like small businesses, and am pretty good at those.

    I think you’re right that you get what you pay for. I was never one to do the easy deals. You have to hunt, walk away, negotiate, look at all the angles, and do what needs to be done.

    You are doing the right thing to buy one a year, no matter what. You are in the right place for that. I was just told yesterday a guy bought a warehouse in Everett in 2007 that has paid for itself already.

    Preview Properties is one of those places where you can find the right people. It’s totally worth it to find that person. Best of Luck.

  96. 96

    RE: ARDELL @ 94 – Does it have to be Renton, or would Kent/Covington work? More likely out there.

    Also is detached okay?

  97. 97
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 96

    Detached is definitely OK. Renton is his mail run and preference. I wouldn’t give up on Renton unless he can’t find something in 6 months or so. I’m going to sell his place first and have him move someplace temporarily vs being pressured into buying at the same time he sells.

  98. 98

    By Young Gun @ 92:

    I have never closed an easy transaction. Everyone has taken months and months. You want someone who is incentivized to do good work. .

    I would agree, but I’m surprised you’ve had so many difficult transactions.

    Transactions probably have gotten more difficult the past couple of years, but typically there is some control. The trick for the agent is to be able to protect the client from knowing the problems that are occurring, but when a decision is needed or the problem can affect a decision, that isn’t always possible. If possible it’s better just to fix the problem and then let the client know it occurred after closing.

  99. 99
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 98

    Keeping information from your client is up there with the clown video. :)

  100. 100

    Findwell no longer offers any sort of “discount.” Tim, any chance we could correct the record? A reader is unlikely to get this deep into the discussion…

  101. 101
    Lukas says:

    I have to disagree with the generalization that discount agents have to provide less value. As a former CPA, I switched to Realtor because of the ridiculous compensation-per-hour, something Realtors have lost sight of, especially in my high-cost area (North Scottsdale, AZ). Not trying to plug my services since I’m only licensed in AZ, but see my “Seller’s FAQ” for a clear explanation of how a discount agent can provide the same service, and earn the same, as “full service agents”: http://evolvedhomesolutions.com/seller-faq/

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