Real estate commissions

December 30, 2009
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You’d think the uptick in sales of entry-level housing this year might be welcome relief for real estate agents and brokers, but think again.

Nationally, commissions crept up to 5.29 percent this year, but the dollar value of commissions actually receded to its lowest level in seven years. Realtors sold more houses, but because so many first-time buyers came into the market, the average sale price of the houses plunged. As a result, overall income shrank, according to a Bloomberg News story.

David Brenton has seen good times and bad in his nearly two decades of selling houses full-time, and he’s been able to hold pat on commissions since the late ’90s, ranging from 5.75 percent to 10 percent depending on the home.

Brenton, a broker associate at Re/Max Select Realtors in Greenwood, says potential clients have agitated for lower commissions since inflation ebbed nearly a generation back. Low inflation and only modest increases in home values mean owners have built less equity, so they want to cut costs as much as possible during a sale.

However, Brenton has been able to convince them that he’s worth the money. Anyone can sell a house in good times, he says; in bad times, experience counts.

“Clients need a Realtor’s services in a market like this more than in a market that’s booming,” he says.

Are you seeing changes in commissions? And what about real estate brokers, themselves? How do you value their services?
 

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