Home sellers are always looking to save money in such an expensive transaction, and real estate commissions can often cost tens of thousands of dollars. This leads many to question the idea of hiring a full-service real estate brokerage, opting instead for a discount broker.
Whether this is a good idea for your situation depends on several factors. Here are important aspects to consider before deciding between a full-service and discount broker.
If you are in a seller's market, with homes selling very quickly and demand high, it does not take much work at all to sell a home. In fact, just appearing on the MLS will probably get you an offer. The important question is: will it be the highest price you can get for your home?
In a buyer's market, the opposite is true, with inventory exceeding supply. In a buyer's market, many homes sit on the market for months. It is in this type of situation, the expertise and hard work of an agent can really pay off. The listings that sell the fastest and for top price are generally those that get the best exposure to buyers, are priced well, and show well.
Marketing is the key to selling your home. Unfortunately, many discount brokers offer minimal services and do the bare minimum. Most full-service agents, for example, will make sure your home is professionally photographed from the best angles possible with up to 12 photos added to the MLS, rather than a single poor-quality picture that turns off buyers.
Many discount brokers will not even spend the money on professional signage for your home. Open houses are also an important aspect of marketing your home well. Many discount brokers will not hold open houses.
Full-service agents are typically very good negotiators, capable of persuading buyers to pay the price you want. Discount brokers, on the other hand, often push you to list your home for more than it is worth, only to have it sell for less than you wanted.
Every now and then, a full-service agent will lose a listing to a discount broker because the seller was promised both a much higher price and a lower commission. The seller ends up listing with the discount agent, and, after several months of sitting on the market, the asking price is reduced to the point where the seller ends up losing out.
Many discount brokers provide only a listing on the local MLS and do nothing to market your home or get it sold. You are then left doing all the work: advertising, showing the property, fielding inquiries and more.
Your home is probably your biggest asset. Unless you want to sit on the market for months, do not trust selling it to an agent who will not do what it takes to get it sold fast and for the most money.