When To Ask an Agent About the Real Estate Commission

Bag with money dollarsWhen the first question out a potential seller’s mouth is how much is your commission, that sends an agent a subtle message that either the caller has never sold a home or thinks the only thing that matters, i.e. differentiates agents from one another, is commission. I deal with both of these issues in my own way. Which means I address it head on and early and first, because any misconceptions about how a Sacramento real estate agent operates needs to be cleaned up immediately if I am to proceed with the conversation. If the caller is searching solely for a discount agent, they have misdialed.

This is not to say there are not people who shop for a real estate agent the same way they shop for a new pair of shoes. They want to find those Tori Burch boots on sale, but that’s not gonna happen. If you want the hottest new boots from Tori Burch, you pay the price. If you want a knock-off, you go to Wal-Mart. When callers initiate a discussion about commission, they sometimes are very astonished at my take. I make them laugh, like this guy yesterday who chuckled: Well, you are persuasive.

Because I believe it. I believe my words because my experience backs them up. I do tend to get my clients more money, and they do tell me I don’t get paid enough when they pay full commissions. I keep them out of trouble. I don’t let buyer push them around and rob them of their hard-earned equity.

After I got this guy howling in fits of laughter yesterday, then he drops the bombshell to say he needs to do a short sale on both of his properties in Davis. Holy toledo. I exclaimed, You hit the jackpot with me. Because he did. There is not another real estate agent in a 7-county area in Sacramento who has sold more short sales than I have over the past 8 years. I am still the top Sacramento short sale agent, even though short sales are no longer in vogue. For the past few years, I have continued as a top producer who mostly sells regular listings. I’m about as well rounded as you will find for an agent who started in the business in 1974.

And the place for the discussion about real estate commission in a short sale is no place. There is no reason to highlight commission and argue ad nauseum. The bank will authorize the amount it will authorize and, in almost every instance, it is full commissions. Because our American banking institutions realize that a good real estate agent is worth a full commission. It’s not like the commission comes directly from the seller. It is paid from the proceeds of sale, and it is money the bank doesn’t receive. Banks care more than anybody about bottom-line profits, yet they authorize a full fee. Imagine that!

If our banks believe real estate agents are worth a full commission, why doesn’t everybody get with the program? Why are there still people out there who who are shopping for a discount agent when they really need a full-service agent to sell their home? It’s because they don’t know any better and nobody has ever shown them otherwise.

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