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What Should You Pay to Sell Your House?

David Bartels

As Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty, David Bartels advocates for homeowners by helping them keep much more of their equity, by offering...

As Broker/Owner of Help-U-Sell Full Service Realty, David Bartels advocates for homeowners by helping them keep much more of their equity, by offering...

Feb 8 5 minutes read

I check my stats for The Low Set Fee Blog fairly regularly. It helps me to know what's drawing visitors and what's not. Looking at the search strings people use to find this site gives me an idea of the kind of real estate information people are seeking.

This morning, I had the following as a search string:

"What Percentage Do Real Estate Agents Charge?"

Ok, so it's not that unusual. In fact I've seen it in the results for this blog before. But today it just jarred me:

What an unfortunate question!

Seventy plus years of REALTOR marketing has trained the public to expect to pay a percentage of the sale price of their house to an agent when it sells . . . and that makes no sense whatsoever.

What does a percentage of you home's value have to do with what it takes to get it sold? Nothing!

Think about it:

Here you are in your $650,000 house. You have roughly $200,000 in equity. So you decide to sell, and list with ABC Realty**, who charges you (and every seller with whom they work) 6%*. When your house sells (for full price), that's a commission of $39,000!

I'll give you a moment to catch your breath . . . before I point out that that may be 6% of the sales price, but it's almost 20% of your equity!

Meanwhile, your neighbor down the street also wants to sell, but his home is smaller. It's only worth $5000,000. He also lists with ABC and agrees to pay their 6% Commission. When the house sells for full price, the homeowner is going to pay $30,000 -- still high, but not nearly as high as your $39,000 commission.

Now, here's the question of the day: What did YOU get for the extra $9,000 you paid to sell your house through ABC?

More Advertising?

More Open Houses?

A better Sign?

Oh, maybe your agent worked $9,000 harder! Yeah, right.

What you got for the extra $9,000 you paid is this:

Absolutely Nothing

In almost every case it takes no more time, effort, energy, money or marketing to sell a properly priced $650,000 house than it does a properly priced $500,000 house. There are some situations in some areas where a market niche, say, luxury homes, might take a little more time and might require additional or specialized marketing. But these situations are rare . . . and $9,000 extra dollars to sell your $650,000 house? That's absurd.

It makes no sense today, made no sense yesterday, and will never make any sense at all.

That's why Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley does not charge a percentage based commission.  We charge a set fee. Everyone pretty much pays the same thing no matter what the sale price is. It's logical, it's fair, and it reflects our actual costs to market a listing.


I hope next time you need to sell, you'll do the right thing and call Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley. You'll save a bundle (the set fee is usually thousands of dollars less than whatever percentage based commission you're being quoted). And you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that, finally, for the first time in your real estate life, you haven't been taken to the cleaners!

Help-U-Sell Conejo Valley is a progressive, full service real estate company saving buyers and sellers thousands in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Oak Park, Camarillo, Oxnard, Simi Valley, Los Angeles  and all of the Conejo Valley.  You may reach us at (805) 379-3300, or by email to [email protected].  Visit our website:  www.helpusellcv.com.

*Commissions, whether set fee or percentage based, are always negotiable. They are not set by law or REALTOR rule. They are set individually by office Brokers. Price fixing occurs when different Brokers get together and agree to charge the same thing. That's highly illegal. Different Help-U-Sell offices charge different Set Fees, because the carrying costs of marketing a listing vary from market to market, as do the number of days it takes a properly priced listing to sell.

**The "ÄBC Realty" referred to in this blog is fictitious and is used only for illustrative purposes. Any resemblance between it and any other "ABC Realty", is purely coincidental.

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