Monday, February 13, 2006

Finding a Bargain Realtor

Everybody loves a bargain.

Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Costco are great examples of successful companies that offer Top Value for a consumer's dollar. Shoppers flock to these companies because in the end, their net monetary outlay is generally lower than purchasing from competitors that offer fewer discounts or make the shopping experience inconvenient (why isn't Kmart more successful?) or unpleasant.

Unfortunately, finding a true Bargain Realtor is a little tougher. I guess what it really boils down to is value, or how do I NET the most money from the sale of my home.

Bernice Ross, founder and CEO of and author of Who's the Best Person to Sell My House? offers this little suggestion. Find an agent with a Top list-to-sell ratio. Put simply, whoever has the highest ratio will generally be expected to get you the most money for your house.

For example, if two agents list identical $500,000 homes and agent 1 has a ratio of 1.02 and agent 2 has a ratio of 1.08 then agent 1 will on average sell the house for $510,000 while agent 2 will get on average $540,000 for their respective clients.

If you consider the average difference between full service and discount brokers is 2% or roughly $10,000 in this case a best case scenario is agent #2 nets the home owner an extra $20,000 The worst case is if both agents charge a full 6% commission, in this instance seller #1 potentially lost out on $30,000.

Some people will argue that Realtors are interchangeable and discounters will do just as much as full service realtors to sell your home. I would argue that the numbers say otherwise, and people should learn how to look for a realtor and what questions to ask.

Discounter or Full Service, average is better than poor, good is better than average, and great is better than good. One way to start determining who you are talking to is to ask for their list-to-sell price ratio.

flickr photo credit for the shot of the Berkeley sunset on 1/23/2006 goes to lightmatter. Used under a creative commons license.