Many first-time sellers believe the most important marketing tools a realtor can use when selling their property are yard signs and other visible online and print ads geared to the buying public. Although this is obviously important, a lesser known marketing tool that professional realtor’s use is marketing to other agents. The reality is that once a home listing is placed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), one of the most important marketing tools a realtor can utilize is the relationships he or she has with fellow agents in his office or with other agents within the community.
Depending on which office a realtor works for (whether it is a large office with a nationally known name or a private business) when your house is newly on the market, it is usually customary practice that the company will stage an “office preview” where every agent in the office will walk through and tour your home. This is important because for each agent who tours your home, they might be the one who has the potential client that may be looking for just the style, location and price your house has to offer.
Professional agents who represent the buyer usually are keen on what their clients’ needs and wants in a home are and thus will immediately contact their clients as well as the listing agent.
The buyer’s agent will usually approach or call your listing agent and ask the terms and details of the sale, including the compensation. If the transaction seems probable, most buyer’s agents will hustle to have their clients tour your home to see if it is a potential match and in turn they will beat out their competition at making an offer. Many homes are sold in just this way, often even before a yard sale sign goes up!
Although the seller is in effect, paying the commission of both agents, the financial incentive is also important to the buyer’s agent. Usually there are almost always two agents involved in every sale, they split the commission according to the listing agent’s instructions agreed upon on the original listing contract between the homeowner and the listing agent. For illustration purposes, the agent who has listed your home is usually referred to as the listing agent and the other agent representing the buyer is the buyer’s agent. If you are able to convince your listing agent to drop his commission, it doesn’t guarantee that the buyer’s agent will be too amenable to the idea if he or she is expected to lower his or her commission as well.
Since agents are paid on commission only, the fact is you won’t find as many agents willing to show your house – they’ll be showing houses to their clients that offer the customary commission to the buyer’s agent especially in a buyer’s market. While an agent’s commission is currently a raging point of contention in the news media, what many consumers are not aware of are the challenges in selling a home in a buyer’s market as well as in a state that has stringent regulations and aggressive (i.e.cutthroat) competition such as in California. In addition, most homeowners do not know that not only do a buyer’s agent and a listing agent split that “hefty” commission with each other, they also must split it with their broker or office depending on their individual sales production. Furthermore, since real estate agents are independent contractors, they must split that commission with the IRS who, depending on their individual tax bracket, can take a 45% bite out of their commission check. This fact alone might shed some light on why a professional buyer’s agent is very likely to be unhappy with a reduced commission and be less than motivated to show your house to his or her clients.
As for your listing agent, it is this combination of a professional agent’s ability to market to his or her’s peer-to-peer relationships coupled with his or her’s own knowledge, skill and professionalism that can make a huge difference in the final sale of your home. Depending on the agent’s negotiating skills and productivity, over time a professional listing agent develops an ability to negotiate well with other agents representing potential buyers– even those agents that may be new in the business and may not know all the ropes. Furthermore, it’s the agent’s ability to sell even in a buyer’s market that proves his or her sales skills and merit. These are all subtle sales skills that will ultimately contribute to a smooth transaction and the successful sale of your home.