Commission Free Real Estate Listings

Preparing to sell your home can be an agonizing process. In addition to preparing the property to look its best, assuring that required updates and maintenance items are complete, cleaning thoroughly from top to bottom and assessing your home's qualities in order to set a reasonable price, you face the question of just how to list, and with whom.

Traditional real estate transactions involve a selling or listing agent and a buyer's agent or representative. Unless you're a construction or real estate professional yourself, you probably find the procedures and legal requirements somewhat confusing, perhaps totally baffling.

Consider the Options

Today, there are a variety of firms that offer commission-free listing services. Because traditional commissions are paid by the buyer, you do the math and realize that you stand to save thousands of dollars by going the flat fee route for listing. But, is it really a wise move?

No transaction is totally risk-free and, in general, the commission you pay to a licensed real estate professional is well-earned in terms of professional knowledge and personal peace of mind. In addition, the fee is almost always based on sales price, so the onus is on the agent to procure the highest contract price possible. Additionally, you do not pay commission up front, but only when the transaction actually is completed.

A Dollars and Cents Formula

In exploring the option of commission-free, or flat fee listings, you must be prepared to ask enough questions that you can put actual numbers to the transaction. Be sure to assign some monetary value to the expected time required to deal personally with prospective buyers, show the property, do the follow-up, field questions and proceed to binding contract.

Add into the mix the possible legal fees, telephone consultations with lenders, insurance agents, local regulators, checking and scheduling requirements and final documentation, including recording the sale, and legal transfer fees.

It may be that, if you possess basic knowledge of real estate practices, or if you expect your sale to be quick and simple, you conclude that a flat fee listing is beneficial. If, on the other hand, the whole thought of selling is daunting and stressful, you might want to expand your search for a "handle-everything" real estate agent to take the lead and help you through it.

Whichever way you proceed, ask all possible questions in advance, and don't sign any agreements until you thoroughly understand all the provisions.