When you decide to sell your Wilmington area home, you have an important decision to make upfront – do you want to sell it yourself or hire an agent? Some homeowners scoff at the idea of paying a commission to a real estate agent. They aren’t sure that agents deserve that large a portion of the sale price. There's a misconception that the money we make is mostly take-home pay, but it's not. Real estate agents work under 1099s. That means we're independent contractors and absorb all costs of running our businesses. What are those costs? Here’s a basic breakdown:
- The Real Estate Firm. Every firm – Coldwell Banker, Re\Max, Keller Williams, Network, etc. – have their own commission plans. Most agents start out at 50/50 split. So, if a listing agent sells a $150,000 house listed at the market’s typical 6% commission, which is then split in half with the buyer’s agent, the agent will make about $2,250. Volume and agent experience usually increases this amount.
- Photographs. Other agents may take their own photographs, but we have all of ours professionally done, because we believe your online ad is your home’s first showing.
- Measuring. We have a professional measurer come in and record your home’s dimensions in order to prevent discrepancies.
- Marketing Materials. Signs, flyers, postcards, booklets, etc, You, the homeowner, don’t pay for these items. We do. It’s part of our efforts to get the home sold.
- Marketing Tools. Virtual tours, text-for-info, etc. We want to stay on top of interested buyers, so we use a variety of tools to help us reach them. These cost us money on a monthly and per-property basis.
- Online Enhancements. Your home listing, thanks to an agreement through our real estate firm, will be syndicated to the top real estate websites, but this is a basic listing. We often pay for the enhanced versions of these websites, in order to gain as much control over the information shared as possible and to have our listings featured.
- Online Advertising. In multiple different formats, we pay to advertise your listing on social media and other websites. 90% of home searches start online, and it’s not always on the typical real estate websites.
- Time and Gas. Our job requires a lot of time and travelling for tasks, including: meeting the photographer/measurer, putting up the sign and lockbox, delivering marketing materials, speaking about your home at sales meetings, turning on lights for showings, and meeting handymen/inspectors/etc. during contract stages. If we have a conflict at any point, we have to pay a qualified person to do it for us. We also spend a considerable amount of time negotiating, filling out paperwork, arranging open houses, and making sure everything gets signed.
- Association Fees, License Fees, Required Continuing Education, E&O Insurance, etc. – You’d be surprised at how costly it can be to pay everything we need to access the Multiple Listing Service and be considered legal. A portion of every closing helps to pay for this.
- General Upkeep of Our Business. Website fees, hardware, e-mail, signs, advertising, business cards, vehicle maintenance, networking events, document systems, etc. Maintaining a presence in the local community and online are just as important for our clients as it is for us. Real estate is a business that relies a lot on networking and word-of-mouth for exposure, and, increasingly, technology.
As you can see, we put a lot into presenting and advertising our listings. Many of our payments happen upfront, because they’re for listing and marketing services. We don’t get paid until the listing sells, so if the listing doesn’t sell, we’re out that money. That’s why we are always perfecting our marketing plan. We only want to use what works. All finances aside, we remain Realtors, because we love the satisfaction we feel when our clients are happy.
Have a question about anything above or want to learn more about our seller services? Give us a call at (910) 202-2546!