Flat Fee or Full Commission Real Estate?


Buyers and Sellers of real estate today have many more options then they did in the past. Not only can you go FSBO, or with an agent, you now can pick from a variety of agent options. While the trend of late has been a reduction in commissions from the full 6% of past times to 5% and below, the newest mania is in flat-fee commissions. Help-U-Sell and others use this commission strategy.

The full-commission companies claim “you get what you pay for,” in their downplaying of flat-fee companies. They will tell you that you won’t get the same level of service, and that you won’t get the top price that they can get you.

I haven’t used a flat-fee company to do any deals, but I’ve definately had my share of bad agents work with me and charge steep 6% commissions. I’ve seen agents making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in commissions treat their clients like they were a dime a dozen.

I recommend everyone keep all their options open when considering real estate companies to work with. Don’t let the big brokers scare you away form the new – smaller companies. It is the same tactic the big brokerage firms used when E*Trade, Ameritrade, and the other online discount brokers started to steal market share. Just make sure you know what you’re getting when you interview an agent, and you’ll be fine.

If you’ve got an opinion on the subject, feel free to leave a comment below . . .

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Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded BiggerPockets.com when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 600,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.

1 Comment

  1. Great Blog!
    The industry is definitely shifting. It’s funny, I was just making the comparison of the real estate industry to the stock trading industry yesterday. More specifically, how did E*Trade emerge as the dominant force. How did they find a way to ride and expedite the industry’s transition?

    The U.S. Justice Dept.’s Anti-Trust Division is pushing harder and harder to reduce the 6% standard commission paid to brokers. They realize a housing recession is imminent. Reducing the commissions paid to brokers who do not provide sufficient value for their earnings will help absorb the blow to consumers that a recession will inflict.

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