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Welcome to your constantly updated resource for news and views on the Brookline Real Estate market. Here you will find commentary and statistics to explain the daily changes in the Brookline specific housing market.

Whether you're looking for an estate in Cottage Farm, a condo in Brookline Village or are just stopping by please feel free to read along and comment at will. If you are interested in speaking about renting an apartment, buyer representation or listing your home please feel free to contact me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What Commission Do You Charge?

It is amazing how many conversations about real estate start with that question. It baffles me to this day that this is the one field in which people think they can make a decision simply by how much money the professional practitioner will "charge" them. It gets asked other ways, like "what's your fee" and "how much will it cost me" but at the end of the day, it speaks to a backward mentality.

Let's run through an exercise here: You get a big bonus at work this holiday season and you decide you want to buy a fancy new car. Let's say you spend $80,000 on that car. When it comes time for that first service are you going to go from random mechanic to mechanic and ask them what their rate is? You'll most likely take it to someone who you have heard has specific expertise with that model car, and you'll most likely pay a lot more than the random mechanic who would have done who-knows-what to your car.

An even better example is picking a place to eat dinner. Do you open the yellow pages, start at the A's and call asking "what's the price of food?" First, there are steaks and lobster which will be a whole lot more expensive than burgers and fish sticks. There will also be places which will give you $7 steak and I seriously doubt you would feel comfortable eating it. The simple "what's the price of food" question just makes NO sense. If you feel like a steak, you're going to the Capital Grille or Abe & Louie's.

So, what commission do I charge? It's impossible to know. I need to see what type of house or condo you have, and then we need to have a serious discussion about your pricing before we can determine how in-depth we need to get with your marketing campaign. From there, we build out a marketing calendar and we decide which types of floor plans and virtual tours you will need.

The one important thing to look at is the agent representing your sale does not get 5-6% of the sale of your house. All agents should be cooperating with buyer's agents. This usually takes half of the commission amount. Next, most agents split their commissions with their offices who pay for Globe and Boston Homes ads, certain Open House materials and other incidental costs. I will say, on average, I am looking at maybe 1.5% of the overall sale price of your house before I even start doing my own personal marketing efforts for your house (floor plans, fliers, post cards, catered broker tours, etc...). Remember, all of these things are paid up front whether your home sells or not. So yes, maybe there is someone out there willing to give you a "rebate" or "charge" you a lower commission, but I assure you the Globe isn't charging them less than me for advertising and the floor plans I pay for aren't offered to them for less money either. By hiring that agent for less money, I will ask much will that cost you?


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The views expressed on these pages are the opinion of the author and any public contributors. They do not substitute for the advice of a legal or financial professional. These opinions are not representative of any firm or business. Please always consult an attorney, financial professional or sign a contract with a Buyer Agent or Seller's Agent for specific advice.