How to save on real estate fees
If you are selling a home and using an agent it's likely you will be paying a hefty fee, usually many thousands of dollars. "I resent paying so much," writes Money reader Janice, "but I do not have the time or the skills to sell my own home. Is there any other way I can save on the fees?"
There is no doubt some agents will negotiate their fees, perhaps accepting a lower overall percentage in return for a higher incentive fee if they sell above a certain agreed amount.
But another avenue for lowering your fees is to sign up with a commission rebate company that offers rebates on real estate agents' commissions.
YourShare, which has won Money's Best Cash-back Provider gong for the past three years (see page 60), offers rebates on agent fees among a long list of products and services.
The trick to successfully clawing back part of the agent's commission is you need to register with the rebate company before you have any contact with the real estate agent you use to sell your property. This is because the commission rebate you receive is usually part of the introduction fee the rebater receives from the real estate agent.
The service is not one YourShare actively markets, because it has limited knowledge about real estate agents, but it will take it on for its clients. It prefers you to nominate the agent you would like to be introduced to and then YourShare organises an appointment between you and the agent.
YourShare collects the referral fee once your property has been sold and adds it to your yearly cash-back service. This could net you back around $1000 on a $400,000 property, says YourShare's Paul Brady.
Another company, www.goodagentguide.com.au, which specialises in property, offers rebates combined with a real estate agents rating service to help sellers find the best agents.
Founder and former real estate agent Scott Penning says sellers have to learn to consider more than one agent if they are to achieve the best price for their property.
The site has a list of things you should find out about any agent you intend to engage. Sellers will make much more if they have a real estate agent who is a skilled negotiator and a clever marketer, says the Good Agent Guide.
If, like Janice, you are considering selling, the guide aims to give you information about the best agents in your area, based on customer feedback.
And as well, if you allow the company to introduce you to the agent who sells your property it will share the usual 20 percent referral fee paid by the agent with you, meaning you will receive a rebate equivalent to about 10 percent of the real estate agent selling fees. This is generally more than $1200 and some rebates are higher than $2000, says Penning.
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