The whole idea of using a flat fee realtor gets a lot of side-eye looks from traditional realtors. And you know what? This makes sense because flat fee realtors are their competition. When was the last time you went and sang the praises of your competition? As more people realize the benefits of a flat fee realtor the greater threat they pose to the traditional agents.
While many people still opt to go with a traditional real estate agent, the number of people looking for alternatives is growing rapidly. Every house and every seller are different. Why, then, is there such a strong presumption that everyone needs to use a traditional real estate agent to successfully sell a house?
Instead of painting the flat fee realtor model with a broad brush, let’s take a more nuanced look at it to see what’s really going on here.
“You get what you pay for,” or do you?
This is a common shot across the bow from traditional real estate agents when asked about flat fee realtors. The assumption here is that they do less or lower quality work in order to get your house sold.
There’s also an assumption that flat fee realtors are less experienced than traditional realtors. Simply because a company is new does not mean that everyone working there is a novice in the industry.
In fact, many flat fee realtors have years of experience as traditional realtors. They’ve simply found a new place to ply their trade. This doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly forgotten how to list a house or negotiate a real estate deal.
In addition to experienced personnel, flat fee realty companies often find ways to use technology to create an advantage. A smaller company, like BlueMatch, with seasoned veterans in its agent and technology roles, is more flexible than many of the large brokerage houses. These smaller companies can adapt to changes in the market and in technology much faster, delivering a better experience for home sellers.
Why agents switch from a traditional realtor to a flat fee realtor
When a realtor works for a brokerage firm, e.g., Keller Williams, ReMax, etc., they don’t take home all the commission from a home sale. A percentage of that commission goes to the brokerage firm. So, while it may seem like realtors are making a killing with a 3% commission on a house that sold for $500,000, in reality, they’re not putting as much in their pockets as you might think.
Current technology enables experienced agents to leave their brokerage firm and provide a whole host of services to sellers, all for a flat fee. In a feast or famine industry like real estate, this approach provides realtors steadier, more predictable income.
Why should you care about this? Because you want a realtor that has your best interests in mind and a happy, content realtor is more likely to do that.
Whither the Commission?
Traditional real estate commissions usually fall in the 5-7% range. Now, as we’ve discussed before, the commission is split between the buying and selling agents. When you set out to sell your house, you have no idea how much you will end up spending on your agent.
It’s not as though commission rates are tiered. If the rate for an agent or a brokerage firm is 6% then all homes are probably going to have a 6% commission. Whether your home sells for $150,000 or $650,000 they’re taking the same percentage. In fact, because the nuts and bolts of the home sale process are pretty standard fare, especially for experienced agents, that means that they’re doing close to the same amount of work to sell both properties.
Yet, there’s no sliding scale for commissions. For instance, a home that sells for $100,000-$200,000 might have a rate of 4%, while a home selling for $750,000 might warrant a full 7% commission. If you had this type of information at the beginning of the process you could make a more informed decision.
Flat fee realty companies give you the price tag ahead of time, which helps to reduce surprises down the line.
In an industry long dominated by the same business model, newer players, like BlueMatch, provide many of the benefits of traditional real estate brokers, like experience agents, while at the same time ensuring you get the advantages of innovative technology and cost transparency.