How to Save Money When Buying or Selling a Home

Use these 4 tips to save money when buying or selling your next home.

Buyers:

1.  Negotiate directly with FSBOs.

Many FSBOs advertise that they are willing to pay a brokers commission, but keep in mind that if you bring your buyers broker to the deal, the price you offer will be 3% less attractive to the buyer than if you were to have come to them as a direct buyer.  So while buyers brokers offer a lot of value and do a lot of work in a transaction – and do not typically cost the buyer any money (because of how commissions are structured) – a buyer can sometimes get a better deal without one if the seller is a FSBO.

2. Ask for a rebate.

Sellers often ask for reduced commissions from their listing agents, but buyers rarely do.  Since buyers do not technically pay the broker (the commission is paid by the seller), buyers often feel that the service is free.  Of course, nothing is free, and that is especially true in real estate!  A buyer’s broker gets a percentage of the deal (usually 3%) and a buyer can sometimes negotiate a rebate from the buyer’s broker ahead of time.  In our case at RealDirect, we rebate up to 1% of the sale price to the buyer on closing, keeping just 2% for ourselves.  This rebate is, in effect, a reduction of the purchase price, and a great way to get a better deal on a property.

Sellers:

1. Use the web to list your home.

The internet provides great opportunities to reach buyers more efficiently than ever before, and you can use web based services to easily get the word out that your home is for sale.  Places like NYTimes.com, Streeteasy and Facebook will reach most of your buyers.  And some companies like RealDirect’s Owner Managed service will send your listing to those places and also the local broker database for a monthly fee. In this case, you can save a listing broker’s commission, and potentially save the full commission if you sell to a direct buyer.

2. Negotiate a different commission with your broker if a buyer doesn’t have a buyer’s broker.

Many sellers try to negotiate their overall commission, but most do not realize there are other ways to bring your commission lower and can have a higher degree of savings.  In a typical commission agreement, if a buyer is unrepresented, the listing broker keeps the full commission (usually 6%), which is usually at least 2x as much as they would have received if there was a buyer’s broker on the other side.  Yes, there is often some more work to do if there isn’t a buyer’s broker, but not 2x the work.  Some brokers would consider shaving a point off the commission if there was a direct buyer. And other firms, like RealDirect’s Agent Managed program, only takes a 2% commission regardless of whether the buyer has a broker or not.  If they do not, the seller gets the benefit of the savings, not the brokerage.

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