Discount Vs. Full-Service Brokerages

Discount brokerages often claim to offer the same services as their full-service counterparts, at a lower price. But are the services really the equivalent ? We take a deeper look to dispel some common misconceptions.

 

Commission

This tends to be the main selling point that discount brokerages use to convince sellers. While the packages differ depending on the company, they typically offer a one-time fee that you need to pay up front. It may be less than the standard commission rate that a full-service brokerage would charge, but in this case you have to pay in advance just to get your property listed, even if it never sells. So the company is really only inclined in getting you to sign up, but has no vested interest in getting your house sold. Whereas with a regular brokerage, you only pay the commission once you get the results you want, when your house has sold. Which means your real estate agent is highly motivated to sell your property, because otherwise they don’t get paid for their time and effort.

 

Pricing & Strategy

When it comes to discount brokerages, sellers are typically treated as For Sale By Owners, and often left to their own devices in terms of deciding the list price and providing photos. Without access to the proper tools and data, sellers that determine their own list price tend to either sell for less than actual market value, or price their house so high that it doesn’t show up in buyers’ searches for comparable properties. By listing with a full-service brokerage, sellers work with their dedicated agent, who will present a market analysis with comparable properties that sold in their area to establish the best list price, and who may hire a professional photographer to showcase their place at its very best.

 

Inquiries & Showings

When listed with most discount brokerages, sellers have to answer questions from buyers themselves, whether they be serious or simply curious, which can be quite time-consuming. Whereas when listed with a full-service brokerage, their dedicated agent will be fielding all inquiries on the property – plus, sellers won’t have to worry about letting strangers into their home, as they will always be accompanied by a bonded real estate agent.

 

Negotiations

Sellers that list with discount brokerages typically need to negotiate any offers themselves, whereas those who are listed with a full-service brokerage are sure to have their dedicated agent represent their interests in all negotiations and provide their insight and expertise to get the best deal.

 

At the end of the day, when it comes to working with a discount brokerage instead of a full-service brokerage, you get what you pay for. So it’s buyer, or in this case seller, beware.