Brokers, Between the Lines
If you’re an experienced homebuyer or seller, you probably already know this: Brokers aren’t as loose-lipped as they appear to be.
Of course, they can tell you everything there is to know about the house, from root cellar to widow’s watch. They will detail the square-footage to a fraction of an inch and tell you what might influence your home-improvement plan. They will even happily coach you through the home inspection process and offer you mortgage-securing strategies.
But there’s a whole lot they won’t tell you—secrets of the trade that they wouldn’t dare let a client know. Read on to learn just what brokers are saying to themselves—though never, ever to you.
“My Commission Is Negotiable.”
Turns out, that standard 6-percent commission isn’t so standard after all. Haggling over commission is a regular practice.
Kavaller says the broker commission is “absolutely negotiable on a case-by-case basis. On a one million dollar property we might be willing to drop a whole point.”
Looking for a listing agent? Bargain—up front—with prospective brokers regarding their take. Offer a commission that’s hefty enough to give the agent an incentive to work hard for you, but don’t feel tied to 6 percent. Especially if you believe your home will be an easy sell.
“My Big Agency Isn’t More Competent—Or Less Costly.”
Boutique firms market themselves against biggie rivals by carefully choosing the listings they proffer, offering buyers personalized attention and, more and more, by offering sellers representation at a lower commission. This is especially true in large cities, where the competition is fierce.
Brooklyn real-estate lawyer Howard Brickner says that, in New York City, “the big boys are really holding to the 6 percent. They have a wide net and first-rate marketing on their websites—and you pay for it.”
Smaller firms may not have the famous name or slew of exclusives, but they upload their listings to the MLS just like everybody else. And, Brickner says, they’re ready and willing to do some fee dickering. So if the cost of selling your apartment rubs you wrong, consider a little guy.