REALTOR® vs. Commission-free Service: What’s Right for Me?

There’s a good reason most homebuyers and sellers enlist the expertise of a REALTOR®. From strategic pricing and stickhandling offers, to navigating closing procedures and possible surprises along the way, a Realtor has your back from start to finish. Because a transaction this important deserves nothing less than total commitment.

But if you’re wondering whether you need a Realtor, I’ll be honest: the answer is no. It’s possible to go at it on your own—using a fixed-fee (pay-for-service) agency, for example—and things might turn out fine. You just need to go in with your eyes open, knowing exactly what’s at stake. The information below will help you proceed with confidence.

What Does a Realtor Charge?

Paying commission is one of the main reasons some people decide to forgo a Realtor. It’s easy to see a fixed-fee agency—today’s version of “for sale by owner”—and think only of that initial cost comparison. But this narrow view doesn’t provide a full picture of a typical real estate transaction. Here are some things to consider:

  • Realtors are only paid a success fee when your home sells. In most cases, that means that if your home doesn’t sell, you don’t pay a thing. The costs associated with the professional photos, measurements, MLS listing, signage, marketing and expert advice are all absorbed by the Realtor. When you use a fee-for-service agency, by contrast, you’ll typically pay those costs a-la-carte and upfront, whether your home sells or not.
  • Realtor’s commissions can vary by location, level of service, brokerage policy and other factors. I recommend interviewing multiple agents to find the right fit. Look for someone who’s knowledgeable, responds to questions quickly, models integrity and, most importantly, is easy to get along with. After all, you’ll be in this together!

Why Use a Realtor?

In a buyer’s market, homes can take longer to sell. Having an expert in your corner can save you months of frustration and disappointment. Your Realtor’s industry contacts (lawyers, home inspectors, movers, mortgage professionals, etc), prescreening techniques, tactical advice, pricing strategies and knowledge give you the edge over your competition and position you for success.

  • With a full-service real estate brokerage, your Realtor is your 24/7 advocate through every step of the process—from the initial listing to the closing process. Their service includes strategic marketing, accurately pricing your home, navigating offers and negotiations, coordinating showings, and anticipating the “hidden” or surprise costs that can arise when selling a property. Without a Realtor, all those responsibilities lie with you.
  • In a traditional real estate transaction, the commission is shared between the seller’s Realtor and the buyer’s Realtor. This means that even if you list with a fixed-fee service, you may still be asked to pay the commission of the buyer’s Realtor—and if you’re unwilling to do so, it may be unlikely that Realtors will bring buyers to your home. Put simply, the upfront savings advertised by the pay-for-service agency might not be what they seem.

What is a Realtor?

Put simply, a Realtor is your champion. They want to make you money, save you time, and almost certainly spare you unwanted legal headaches. Want to learn more about what a Realtor does? Check out this article to discover the additional benefits of using a full-service brokerage. And when you’re ready to make your move, I’ll be here for you.

Call or text me at 780-416-0070 to get started.

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