When it’s time to sell your house, you have a few options for how to list it. Under the traditional model, you agree to pay the real estate agent a percentage of the sale price of the home. The real estate agent helps you photograph the home, puts it on multiple listing services and markets it to potential buyers. You end up paying a commission of about 6 percent of the final price. If you decide to use a flat-fee listing, which is the model used by Duffy Realty of Atlanta, you pay a flat rate plus about 3 percent to the buyer’s agent — if there is one.
A flat-fee listing offers benefits to you as a seller. It allows you to have more say in the selling process. Additionally, the money you save can be put to good use toward the marketing budget for the house you’re selling or toward the down payment on your next house.
The money you save by going the flat-fee route instead of the traditional route can be substantial. Duffy’s flat-fee model has you pay $500 up front. When the house is sold, you pay 0.34 percent of the final sale price. If the person who buys your house has an agent, the agent earns between 2 and 4 percent of the sale price.
The traditional model typically involves you paying 6 percent of the sale price of the home at closing. The buyer’s agent gets 3 percent, and the seller’s agent gets 3 percent. You don’t save money if there’s no buyer’s agent; in that scenario, the seller’s agent gets the full 6 percent.
If you do the math, you can see how much you’ll save. For example, if your home sells for $250,000 with a flat-fee listing and no buyer’s agent, you’d end up paying $850 at closing, plus the $500 upfront fee, for a total of $1,350. With a traditional listing, you’d end up paying 6 percent of the final price, or $15,000, at closing.
Flat-fee listings give you more flexibility as a seller. Because you don’t have to worry about paying your agent’s commission, you can make more concessions to attract a potential buyer. For example, if the buyer has no agent, you can agree to knock 1 or 2 percent off the price of the home and still end up saving money in the end.
What to do with the money you save
You can do a lot with the money you save with a flat-fee listing. Some of the money can go toward staging the house and making it attractive to buyers. You can also use the money to make your home stand out on online with photographs or a virtual tour.
Using a flat-fee listing company doesn’t mean you’re on your own. It means you have a greater say over the sales process and may save money, and in most cases a great deal of it, at closing.
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