Discount Brokers: The True Cost of Savings

June 28, 2010

Crossed eyes: check, weird face: check, gang sign: check. That's my Princess

With my daughter’s new found freedom of dressing herself, sometimes we get Holloween in June. I spent the better part of the weekend cataloging photos in my new iMac, don’t hate, and she was helping me with the Pumpkin Patch photos we took. This, believe it or not, led me to write this blog. That and the phone call I had the day before with a gentleman that signed up with a Discount Broker. I spent a great deal of time with him on the phone to get to know more about the decision not to use a Realtor and go with a Broker. I have heard this conversation before, I think we all have at one time or another. It goes something like this,” I needed to sell my home, wanted to save some money, saw an ad, yada yada, haven’t heard from them in 6mo.” Now, The Kinsey Group was able to help this man, but this is where it get’s scary and a wee bit exciting. Let’s start with scary. This gentleman, we’ll call him Vic, as in tor not tim, signed the standard 6mo Listing agreement, never saw them or heard from them again, and still had not sold his home despite it being “Active” on the market for 298 days. I’ll wait while you re-read that last sentence. Sign in yard for almost a year, 6mo agreement, no renewal, and no contact. This led me to do a little research. This is what I found. Some Scary, Some Funny, Some really Exciting!!

Saving Money is the number one motivation for people to go to a discount broker.

Flat-fee listing policies. This brokerage takes all listings at a flat rate, paying a cooperating fee on top of that amount to selling brokers. That cooperating fee is also paid by the seller. You might see a brokerage ad offering to list your house at a fee of $2,000. Somewhere in the tiny print, if it’s disclosed at all, will be a disclaimer that this fee is exclusive of the fee paid to the selling broker. This type of advertising is misleading to the consumer.

Small percentage-fee listing policies Some brokers advertise it will take a listing for 1% or 2%. Again, many of these brokers don’t draw attention to the fact that the selling broker, in most instances, is still paid an additional fee by the seller.

Buyer commission rebates You can also find real estate agents who advertise that if you hire one of them to buy a home, the company will credit the buyer a percentage of its commission or a flat-fee at closing. This money comes from the fee the seller pays the broker who presents the buyer.

Generally, a company that elects to give away part of its income to buyers does so in the hopes that it will attract such a huge volume of business that it won’t miss the money. You may or may not receive individualized attention and service due to increasing pressure on these low-profit companies to keep the business coming in the door.

Graduated fee policies These brokers offer a cornucopia of fees and services, depending on the type of representation and work required. For example, if you think you can sell your home without any assistance from the listing broker, you might be able to work out an arrangement for MLS input only. This means the broker will put your home into the multiple listing service but take no phone calls from agents, will not show your home, nor put a sign in the yard or advertise it elsewhere. Some MLS groups prohibit this practice, but it’s done anyway.

On the other hand, if you want the listing broker to handle increased responsibilities, the fee will go up, but it will still be less than most full-service brokerages charge.

Reduced fees in exchange for another transaction
A few brokerages subscribe to the theory that two in the bush is better than one in the hand. If you agree to buy a home through the listing brokerage instead of hiring a selling agent, many times the broker will reduce the listing commission fee.

Now I liked the facts of this article, the few that there were. What was dis-heartening is the misleading side of this article. Read from a consumer’s point of view, it gives you the sense that selling your home is as easy as slapping a rusty sign in the yard, a handshake, and BAM, house sold. The last line of the article was the clincher. It is just below.

Of interesting note, the National Association of Realtors reports that the average seller in 2006 earned 24% more on the sale of their home by working with a Realtor than did sellers who sold on their own without representation. That percentage was 16% in 2005.

Anyone shocked yet? Now in this article it gave a list of Discount Brokers. So, before the hate mail starts, let me just say that I was very curious to understand how these places work. I’m The Rook, I want to know. So I went through all the ones on this list. I have posted the following information straight from the websites that I found. You can judge if this information is true, not true, or wanting you to get Lasik (little fuzzy).

The truth is that most real estate agents don’t allow you much say, if any, in marketing your property, let alone setting the asking price. Newspaper ads are a one time shot and many online classified sites have tight restrictions on the amount of text you can add.

*cough* Facebook*cough*

A real estate agent can sell your home for you, but you will give up 6% of your home’s value. provides you with guidance and support that makes it easy for you to sell or buy a home with our Home Selling Workbook, Instructional DVD and eBook, pricing reports and other helpful resources. We help you price, prepare, and market your home, negotiate with buyers and take the necessary steps to complete the sale while saving thousands of dollars.

Why give 6% to a real estate agent when you can do it yourself? If you are willing and committed to educating yourself, returning calls from buyers and showing your property yourself, you can sell your property without the help of an agent. makes it easy to sell “For Sale By Owner” and with our help you can save thousands!

Our how-to workbook will teach you how to handle buyer contacts, show your property and follow up with prospective buyers. We’ll give you an open house checklist and sign-in sheet so that you can host a professional open house.
As you receive offers and counteroffers, our workbook makes it easy. We’ll provide you with tips on negotiating with buyers and explain what to do when a buyer makes an offer.

Full-Time job: 40+hours a week, Average Hours Spent Selling a home:40+, Having a Realtor do that for you: Priceless

http://www.——–.com is not a licensed real estate broker/agent and does not provide real estate brokerage services in connection with your property listings. Accordingly, all MLS listings are handled by an independent, local real estate broker/agent in your area who will contact you in order to contract with you separately, and that broker/agent will activate your MLS listing for you. The terms of any agreement between you and any independent real estate broker/agent are not endorsed, recommended or otherwise known to or by ———.com, Corp. All MLS listings require a buyer’s agency commission if a real estate broker assists you in finding a buyer. Neither the Service nor these Terms are a solicitation for a listing broker if your property is already listed with a broker. Georgia residents may be subject to a 0.12% MLS surcharge at close of escrow.

They recommend offering 2%-3% to the listing agent to sell the home (Don’t hurt each other fighting over that one).

Ok, so that was one. I priced out on their site to gauge an equal price. I played the frugal seller and used a $200K home offering 2% in the equation. It came out to about $7,500, Suweet!! Oh wait, there was also the signs I had to buy, the flyers I need to print, the calls I have to make, open houses I have to have, keeping the house clean, Super Mega Clean. And then there is that little thing called time.

But wait, There’s more

Now you can list your home or property in the same MLS used by Realtors without having to pay a listing commission. List by owner on the MLS with a flat fee MLS listing company like Bloomkey® and you can have the best of both worlds. More exposure to help you sell your home for the highest possible price and still retain the right to sell on your own and not pay a commission.

REALTOR is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Calculator savings examples assume Bloobloo flat listing fee comparison with traditional real estate companies charging a 6% commission. Product and service pricing may vary by geographic area and is subject to change from time to time without notice.

This one even offered me the opportunity to buy a lock box so that Realtors can show my home when I’m not there for $60. But how do I get them the code? I can’t be called at work.

We are the largest For Sale By Owner Site

We are the Largest FSBO site around

Come join the Largest For Sale By Owner site

We are the Largest For Sale By Owner Site

We have the largest network of websites to give you the best chance to sell your home

What makes us successful is the largest network of websites that your home will be showcased on

Hands down the largest network of sites working for you.

Ok, I didn’t just have a huge surge of ADD, I was just wanting to show that apparently the marketing for a lot of these websites is handled by the same firm.

Welll, Let’s review shall we. Out of the 15 sites a crawled over 5 of them were no longer there, 4 lead back to some very hard to navigate local newspaper type websites, and the rest were pretty nice with pictures, videos, and even Virtual People!! Did they have a savings? Oh, absolutely. No doubt. But they push that savings as the top selling point. Now, still being a bit new, I can see the shinyness of it all. I can understand why a typical, proud American that is internet savvy, can read these websites, do the math, and say,” I can do this”. But how many look 3mo into the future? We see the Market Data daily, and know which neighborhoods are selling every 30 days, and which are taking more time. Do these websites share that? No, in fact, one of them said the word “Zestimate” DAMN! If your not familiar with that term, then you should know that in the description of what that word means they use words like “zillions” and “unable to compute Zestimate“.
So, please, homeowners, do some homework, really do some homework on the process of Selling your home. When checking out what you gain with a Discount Broker, go that one step further and find out what you are losing. If your choice is to use them given all the information, go for it!! But seeing the look in someone eyes after they think they have been “in the market” only to find that, after a year, they are only “on the market”, is heartbreaking.

This Last part is a quote from Greg Healey, vice president of operations at Check it out! Realtors, check your blood pressure at the door. The second is the debate that he wages with a Real Estate Broker named Jay Thompson

Favorite Quote(NOT):

It sounds to me that you’re saying a real estate agent’s job is not all that difficult.

Healey: That’s true, and remember that a real estate agent license takes under two weeks to get. So after those two weeks, that person can be in charge of the selling or buying of a person’s home, which is one of the largest financial assets in a person’s life.

House Rumble: Do You Need An Agent
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Favorite comment:

most people don’t have the objectivity, knowledge, experience, skills, time, energy, or emotional stomach to navigate the painfully tortuous trail that the vast majority of real estate transactions turn out to be,…you better have a strong sense of self, family, and all your abilities before messing with, what will most likely turn out to be, the largest overall investment you will have in your life.

If you have more questions, please,PLEASE, find out from the people who deal with it daily, The Kinsey Group at 469-248-7653. You are also more than welcome to email your questions to

For more information about how The Kinsey Group can help you or someone you know buy or sell a home, feel free to Search for and Follow “The Kinsey Group” Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or WordPress.