Agents Willing To Lower Their Commission Might Not Be Best To Sell Your Home

Have you ever heard the phrase “You get what you pay for?” Well, this doesn’t just account for material things, like clothes and cars. It also comes into play when choosing the right real estate agent to find you a new home or sell your existing one. There are plenty of ads on the television and radio touting agencies who will sell your home for a reduced commission. While the usual commission for an agent in St. Louis on the listing side is six percent with 2.7 percent shared with the buyer’s agent, some brokerages are now going lower in the hopes of securing more buyers and sellers.

*(This is only an example. there is no “set” commission, as it is always negotiable)


While some clients are thrilled at the prospect of saving some money on commission when selling their home, others would rather pay the higher commission for a better level of customer service. In most instances, it boils down to “Caveat emptor,” or for us not versed in the Latin tongue, let the buyer beware.

For example, an instance in our office recently cropped up where an agent was aggressively pursuing a listing, doing all the right things by calling and staying in contact with a prospective client. When the chips were down on the table, the client ended up going with a different brokerage who simply offered a lower commission. Now I don’t particularly know the client’s motives, but it appears from all outward signs that the commission was the overriding stumbling block in choosing an agent.

Is this the right play or should the client have chosen differently?

That isn’t for us to say as real estate advisors, as all clients have the right to choose whomever they want based on whatever criteria they want.

But a note of caution is needed here. When an agent offers a significantly reduced commission from the norm in the industry, it lays their negotiating position right out on the table. To quote Brian Buffini, who is a renowned figure in the real estate industry,” if this other Realtor that you had in here today was willing to discount their fees and throw their money away, just think how quickly they’ll throw your money away not just in the initial phase of the transaction but in all the negotiations that take place during the transaction.”

Another thing I have learned from others in the real estate game is that if my commission is the sole means of feeding my family and I am willing to put them in peril by cutting my commission, what will I do for you when the negotiations get tough? Do I scratch for every dollar I can for you as the client or do I leave money on the table?

While I certainly can’t advocate not doing everything in the best interests of the client, no matter the commission, it does raise questions as to which kind of agent you want working for you.

Do you want a smaller commission but a smaller level of customer service or do you want a higher commission with a higher level of customer service?

Speaking in general terms, a full commission agent should do more than simply place a sign in your yard and then walk away. They should be in constant contact, keeping the client abreast of market conditions, contract changes and any concerns you may have.  They should handle all negotiations tactfully and strategically, offering their opinions when necessary.

Now, there are certainly full service agents who don’t fulfill the promise of great customer service and probably lower commission agents who go above and beyond for their clients.

In the end, it comes down to the client doing their homework and hiring the agent they feel the most comfortable with, whether that be for full commission or not.

Just realize that commission isn’t the only consideration when selling or buying your most important asset, the home of your dreams.

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Article Written By: Kevin Darr, a licensed Real Estate Agent at STL Real Estate.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in the St. Louis metro area? Call Kevin today for a free home evaluation or buyer’s presentation. Kevin can be reached at 314-780-3090.

By | 2017-12-05T08:24:24+00:00 November 12th, 2015|Categories: 1. STL Real Estate, Blog, Homeowner Tips, Real Estate Agents, Sell House Fast|Tags: , , , , , |