Ask just about any traditional real estate agent what he / she thinks about giving back part of their commission to their home buying clients in the form of a real estate rebate and you just put a stick in a hornet’s nest. Most Big Brand Name Real Estate companies continue to do business the traditional way and get away with out offering real estate rebates to their home-buying clients. Checkout Avante Home Buyers for more info.
One of the biggest reasons traditional agents get away with not offering rebates is because most homebuyers are not very well informed about buyer rebates. How they work, where the money comes from, will a rebate affect the price they may pay for that next home or are they even legal in the first place? While there is no law on the books in any state that says real estate agents must offer a rebate. Homebuyers should at least know they exist and have some basic knowledge about how rebates work so they may make an informed decision when it comes to using an agent that offers a rebate or one that does not.
To be honest, just the word rebate sounds cheap. For me it congers up images of my dad mailing in a rebate form so he can get two bucks back on a case of Pennzoil. And, there is nothing wrong with that. A penny saved is a penny earned.
But, rebates provide homebuyers with far more than just a couple of bucks back. A good homebuyers rebate can add up to thousands of dollars off the price of your next home purchase. Rebates to homebuyers can range from one half of one percent to as much as two percent of the homes purchase price. The rebate my company offers (New Market Realty, Inc.) is 1.5%. So, on the purchase of a $300,000 home my buyer clients will receive a check and lower the price of their new home by $4,500. Now that’s money any homebuyer should want to get back!
But, it’s been very slow going for real estate companies offering rebates. Even with Nontraditional real estate companies advertising heavily online they still represent just a fraction of the $61 billion in commissions that were paid out last year in the U.S. real estate market. Discounting transactions totaled just 2 percent of home sales, according to results of a study issued this summer (2005) by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The controversy surrounding rebates has The National Association Of Realtors taking a buyer-beware attitude. Mr. Stevens, current president of the NAR has been quoted as saying “In some senses, you get what you pay for.” Mr. Stevens has also been quoted, as saying home buying is “too big a transaction not to work with an expert.” Well, Mr. Stevens I personally don’t feel we, as Realtors should be trying to scare homebuyers back into the dark ages of traditional real estate. I also would like my readers to note that I am a dues paying, member in good standing, licensed Realtor® I also consider myself an expert on the home selling and buying process.
Just for the record. All real estate agents under the rules of the NAR and state law are required to take and pass a state test in order to receive a real estate license. And, all real estate agents must take state required continuing education classes in order to keep their real estate license and to stay current with real estate practices in their state.
For Mr. Stevens or any traditional real estate agent for that matter, to imply or suggest that a real estate agent offering buyer rebates or listing homes for a flat fee is some how less of an expert than a traditional real estate agent is nothing but a cheap shot and a pitiful attempt to scare home buyers and sellers into believing they will be receiving inferior service and poor real estate market knowledge.
Traditional real estate agents love to use the word discounters. It’s their way of cheapening the innovative ways we so called discounters have come up with to save real estate consumers (buyers and sellers) thousands of dollars on a single real estate transaction.
The rebate process is very simple. In any real estate transaction there is a buyer and a seller. A listing agent works with the seller and a buyer’s agent works with the buyer. The party / person who pays all the commission in a real estate transaction is the home seller. Buyers never pay a commission. Now that we have that covered how about we walk through some basics of buying a home.
When working as a buyer’s agent I am never concerned about the amount of commission a listing agent has charged a home seller to list their home. It just doesn’t matter. 3%, 4% or 6% I don’t care. The only thing I am concerned with when it comes to commissions is how much that listing agent is going to pay me out of that 3%, 4% or 6% they have charged the home seller.