Real Estate Secrets From a Pro

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Our resident real estate expert, Pierre Carapetian reveals his top trade secrets in this no-holds-barred Q&A!

Real estate agent showing a home to a client.
Credit: iStock.com

Q: Why do some real estate agents cut commissions and others don't?

Carapetian:Top-tier agents don't discount their commissions because they don't have to. Agents are like cars: They come at different price points based on their performance. I always say, if an agent can't negotiate their own commission successfully, how can you expect them to negotiate for the biggest asset you will ever own?

Is there is "standard" commission or is it whatever the agent wants it to be?

There is no set benchmark for commission. Most agents follow the rate charged by the majority of others at their level of experience as set by their brokerage. If you want to determine what the average going rate in your area is, call 10 different agents and ask each of them what they charge.

Who sets the commission price: the buyer or seller?

The listing agent sets the rate as the seller is the one who pays the commission, not the buyer. The buyer's agent takes half of whatever commission the seller's agent has set.

People say agents like to "double end" a deal to make more money. Is that true? What does that mean?

Double-ending means that the agent brings in both the buyer and seller on a deal. Most agents don't care if they bring in a buyer on their own listing as they get paid twice either way: They get paid when they sell the listed property and again when their client buys.

How should you choose an agent?

Interview them. Be sure to ask: What is their knowledge of the area? How long have they been in the business? How many properties have they sold? Are they bringing any added value to the table (e.g. home staging)? Ask them what their commission is and to justify it.

Is my agent required to hold an open house?

No. You and your agent will discuss their plan to sell your home and decide up front if that includes an open house. It is a myth is that an open house will sell your home. The truth is, open houses are for agents to drum up new clients; there is almost zero chance of an agent finding you a buyer by holding an open house.

Can you fire your agent if you signed a contract?

You can ask for a cancellation of the listing, but it is up to the discretion of the broker whether or not it will be granted. Most will let you out of a contract, though not all. They may suspend the listing but prohibit you from relisting with another agent until the original contract has expired.

 

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