Seems to me that misinformation fuels many of the conversations regarding relationships between agents and consumers in today’s real estate marketplace. So let’s take a crack at one of Craig’s comments in #48 of Dustin’s post.
“If the mls were “open” – i.e. anyone could list – then agents will have an even harder time justifying the 3%/3% commission.”
Last I looked, every option known to man was available to sellers, with very few “having to pay” 3% to their listing agent, at least in the Seattle area. Many if not most agents do not charge 3% on the listing side, if the seller buys their next home from the same agent. There are many flat fee options available for limited service. High end often pays 1% for full service, especially on new construction homes. 2% is fast becoming the norm for the average Joe. 3% is more typical in the lowest of price ranges where 3% doesn’t amount to much and is a bargain for full service on a $120,000 condo. I have to wonder why people keep pretending that sellers by and large pay 3% to the listing agent? As this figure is not published, there must be some “hidden agenda” to the purveying of misinformation, I think.
As to why sellers offer 3% to convince more and many agents to come and show their home, I guess because it must make sense for them to do that, or they wouldn’t be doing it. That doesn’t mean the Buyer’s Agent GETS 3%, that only means that there is an allowance in the List Price, up to that amount, as far as the SELLER is concerned. Then it is up to the buyer and his agent to determine the actual fee, as they negotiate it within the target amount set by the seller.
Clearly all commissions are negotiable and always have been. Anyone who believes an agent, or attorney in this case, who pretends otherwise is mistaken. All commissions are and always have been negotiable. You just have to understand the structure, and the reasons for it, to maneuver within the system to your best advantage. If you don’t understand the system in place, you leave yourself open for someone to take advantage of your lack of knowledge, by exploiting that weakness. Know that you can, for sure, and in fact, negotiate any fee you want AND participate in the mls system in place while doing so. This is true for both buyers and for sellers, as long as the seller negotiates his side, and the buyer negotiates the other side. There is absolutely nothing in the system, as it exists, that prevents you from negotiating commissions, other than the misinformation which is keeping you from understanding the system.
As to using an attorney instead of an agent in a real estate transaction, it’s apples and oranges. No attorney purports to do, or even tries to do, what an agent does in a transaction. A great attorney is no replacement for a good agent in a real estate transaction. A monkey is a sufficient replacement to both, if they are not good, and monkeys may be more pleasant to deal with 🙂