From time to time, and mostly from people who don't know us, we get an email or a phone call where the commission question comes up front and centre: "Can you tell me what your commission rate is?" I know that this consumer has decided that commission is the most important issue. It's not that we have not dealt with the question before but it seems that the consumer's assumption is clear that "all Realtors provide the exact service but for different fees". That assumption is very wrong.
Each agent develops a style with services that they include when selling property. Knowing this, the first question a consumer should ask is "What services will be included in the commission that I will be paying?" Each successful Realtor we know, has developed their own technique that they use to accomplish a successful result.
Before the discussion begins please realize that the listing agent, who collects the commission from the Seller, usually offers half of that commission to the Buyer's agent. That agent needs to be out in the marketplace daily, viewing listings, guiding and presenting successful offers for their clients. Please note that no commission gets paid to either until the property closes successfully. Not many business models exist where all the work has to be completed before any money changes hands.
We cannot speak for what other Realtors provide, but here are the services that we include for our half of the commission:
- We are a big believers in staging so we offer all clients a written consultation with a home stager at our expense.
- Floor plans allow a prospective buyer to imagine their furniture in the property so We pay for the Home to be measured. There are also some Buyers who can only justify asking price in relationship to square footage.
- Property photos are hugely important in today's marketplace so all our listings are professionally photographed at our expense, and featured with Virtual Tours and Hi-Definition Video.
- Your property will be on TorontoMLS and on REALTOR.ca, of course but it will also have virtual tours and at least 21 professional photos as well as professional floor plans attached to the listing for both Realtors and the consumer to view.
- We are known for providing Agent Open Houses with food served at our expense. These events encourage the Realtors to spend more time, look around, feel comfortable and engage with each other. Announcements of new listing and their Open Houses are broadcast on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and on our targeted emails to National and International REALTORS .
- We have often been surprised at the power of "neighbourhood marketing" so we send out Just Listed and Open House invitation cards to the surrounding 2000 homes at our expense, notifying them of an Open House, if any.
- We long ago realized the importance of the Internet so not only are properties placed on the TorontoMLS system, they are on REALTOR.ca , shared on the Toronto Real Estate Board's Internet Data Exchange or IDX, they also appear on my sites: www.Torontoism.com, and www.DowntownTorontoNews.com as well as our Company site http://sothebysrealty.ca/ and Sotheby's.com. All these sites are optimized professionally to be on the front pages of the Search Engines in the top 30 Categories of search terms for Toronto Real Estate. They also are shared with numerous websites around the World and in China through Juwai.com.
- We are available always and have a team of seven who handles extraneous appointments, database and follows up with showings and updates on your property.
- We are a trusted group of Realtors who handle Open Houses cover each other when needed.
- We advertise in the Globe and Mail on Friday's but 90% of Buyers are now searching on the Internet.
- We happily work with other agents in facilitating offers on your property to get you the best price possible in Today's market.
Hopefully this list provides some clarity about how we handle our business model but remember that each REALTOR brings a different set of services to the table and those services may be offered to the consumer for different commission rates.
Our suggestion when shopping for a Realtor would be to ask them to list the services that they provide when listing a property. When you know what is involved, then it is up to you to decide whether the value is there to commit to that Realtor.
Our answer to the commission question:
We charge a minimum of 5% with 2.5% of that amount offered to the selling brokerage. The balance of the 2.5% is split with our Brokerage and the leftover goes to office costs, marketing and salaries. We estimate that cost to be close to $10,000 whether the property sells or not. Sometimes, properties do not sell because they are overpriced or plans change.