The Term "Discount" in Real Estate

What exactly is a discount agent?

A discount agent provides a discount reduction on their services. These agents charge a lower commission, such as 1.5 percent or 1 percent of the total cost of the home sale. They don't do it out of the goodness of their hearts, however.

When you pay less than the full price for a discount agent, you may receive fewer services than a full-service agent. Some discount agents provide a variety of limited marketing packages from which to choose. Others provide services such as an à la carte menu, where you can choose which services you want to pay for. For example, you may prefer online marketing but not print advertisements such as television and postcards. 

How do discount agents handle commission splits?

When you decide to sell your home, two people have compensated: the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. You have control over how much you pay your real estate agent (as the seller), but not over how much the buyer's agent is paid.

When you pay a full-service Realtor a 6% commission, half of that fee is usually passed on to the buyer's agent. This means that both the buyer's and seller's agents receive 3% of the home's sale price.

When you hire a discount realtor, you may only pay four or five percent of the total commission on the sale of your home. In this case, the three percent is usually passed on to the buyer's agent. Instead of both parties receiving a 2% or 2.5% commission, your agent receives one or two percent and the seller's agent receives three percent.

The less commission you pay, the less work your discount agent can do. They must still make a profit for their time spent marketing and selling your home.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Working with Discount Agents

Once you understand what a full-service agent does, you can decide whether it is worthwhile to forego some of the tasks they perform. Thousands of sellers successfully work with discount agents each year; otherwise, the number of agents offering these rates would not be increasing.

The main advantage of working with a discount agent is the ability to save money. In today's market, nearly 70% of homes receive competing bids, indicating that multiple buyers are willing to pay (and potentially offer above asking) to secure a home. Housing inventory is at an all-time low, with buyers flocking to almost any house on the market.

If your house is structurally sound and you live in a desirable neighborhood, you may receive offers within a few hours of listing it. Paying a Realtor for a full suite of services may not make sense if they can secure an offer on your home almost immediately.

In a hot market, discount realtors help sellers. Agents must compete for listings within a limited inventory. A Realtor may be able to sway you by offering a discount.

However, not every home sale is appropriate for using a discount Realtor. If your home needs work or your market isn't very competitive, you might want to work with an agent who provides comprehensive marketing services. Furthermore, not all offers will be accepted. After the initial bid, your agent must assist in the sale process to ensure that the buyer is reputable and continues with the sale.

Knowing the distinction between a discount agent and a full-service agent can help you weigh each of these advantages and disadvantages.

Prospective discount agent questions to ask

If you're thinking about working with a lower-than-average-rate agent, a few questions can help you make an informed decision.

  • What is the agent's track record like?

 Many discount brokerages and referral services will allow you to meet and interview prospective agents. Because they may be dealing with a high volume of clients, you should inquire about their experience beyond the number of homes they've sold. Inquiring whether they've worked with clients whose homes were similar to yours or who had special circumstances similar to yours, for example, may help you feel more confident in your decision.

  • Are there any restrictions on the services they provide?

 The agent should inform you of any tradeoffs in exchange for a lower commission. You may be in charge of tasks that would normally be handled by a traditional agent, such as hosting an open house or negotiating the sale. If any services are offered a la carte or you are referred to an outside vendor, you will most likely incur additional costs in addition to the agent's commission.

  • What do they have to say about your market?

A potential real estate agent can provide valuable information about the overall selling process as well as local market conditions. You should be able to get a sense of comparable local home sales as well as what to expect from potential buyers, such as what they're looking for and how quickly other homes sell.

What Is a Discount Real Estate Broker?

Discount brokers give sellers lower commission rates, but their cost structures and services differ.

The commission paid to your real estate agent is one of the costs of selling your home. While listing agents normally charge between 5% and 6% of the home's sale price, brokerages that claim to sell your home for many reduced costs have grown in popularity in recent years. You may decide if this road is suitable for you and your house by studying the details of what a discount real estate firm can offer you.

While there are some similarities between real estate agents and brokers, there are several key differences. Real estate agents help and guide their clients through the process of buying and selling a home, whereas brokers have additional training and certification that allows them to supervise other agents. Brokers and agents can both work for brokerages, while brokers can also work on their own.

A discount brokerage connects sellers with agents ready to take reduced commissions in exchange for a higher volume of clients via the internet. Which brokerage you choose will determine the amount of savings and payment structure you may expect as a seller.

How are discount brokers get paid?

When weighing your options, remember that the traditional 5-6% commission is split between the buyer's agent and the listing agent. So, if you use a low-commission listing agent, you may also have to pay a buyer's agent fee.

For example, Redfin, one of the most well-known discount brokerages, charges sellers a 1.5 percent listing fee (or a 1 percent listing fee if they buy their next home from a Redfin agent). This does not include the buyer's agent fee, which is typically between 2.5 and 3 percent.

This would imply that you would pay closer to 4%-4.5% of the home's sales price in total commission, which could still represent thousands of dollars in savings over traditional commissions.

On the other hand, some discount brokerages charge a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale. Houwzer, based in Philadelphia, charges sellers $5,000 plus a 2.5 percent commission for the buyer's agent.

Real estate agents at large national brokerages may also be willing to lower their fees if you use a referral service. Clever is an example of this type of agency, which negotiates with agents to offer a flat fee of $3,000 or a 1% commission on homes that sell for more than $350,000 (plus the buyer's agent fee).

Choosing whether or not to use a discount broker

You can make an informed decision about working with a discount brokerage agent by researching company websites, searching for consumer reviews, and learning about your local market conditions.

Understand the market you're in.

In a hot real estate market where homes sell quickly, you may not need all of the marketing and extras that a real estate agent typically provides to sell your home.

If you are selling in a buyer's market, where homeowners compete for buyers, you may feel more at ease working with an agent who has fewer current clients and more time and resources to devote to your listing. 

Locate a brokerage that serves your area.

Discount brokerages serve specific geographic areas, so look for one in your area. Even large national brokerages may be new to your area, so finding one with a track record of working with homes similar to yours in your area may make you feel more at ease as a seller.

You can search for terms like "discount real estate broker," "discount real estate agent," or "flat-fee real estate agent," as well as your location, depending on what you're looking for. Furthermore, many brokerage websites will list the territories in which they work or allow you to enter your ZIP code to find agents near you. 

Rates and payment structures should be compared.

When comparing potential brokers, compare their fees to the standard 5-6 % commission. If they charge a flat rate, think about what this means for the value of your home. For example, 5% of a $250,000 house equates to $12,500 in commission fees, half of which goes to the buyer's real estate agent. To deliver real savings in this scenario, the flat rate would have to be less than the $6,250 that would normally go to a listing agent.

Who Will Be the BEST Discount Real Estate Broker in 2022?

A firm or agent offering built-in commission discounts to house sellers is known as a discount real estate broker. These companies in real estate charge charges that are lower than the 2.5–3 percent listing fee that conventional realtors demand.

Realiff is the new discount real estate broker for most sellers who offer huge commission savings. This company investigates all discount real estate brokers in your area and suggests the most appropriate one for your budget. You might get a discount of up to 80 percent on real estate agent's commissions by using Realiff's services.

Realiff's researchers devoted hundreds of hours to studying discount brokers and related services to determine which ones provide sellers the greatest overall value and which ones endanger your long-term financial security to make up for their cheap rates.

What are the trade-offs with discount brokers?

When contrasting offers from possible agents, it's critical to inquire about the specifics. For instance, some inexpensive real estate agents maintain their low fees by skipping over some labor-intensive services in order to accept more clients. Other low-commission brokers assert that they offer, at a lower cost, the complete range of services you'd get from a regular broker.

Some reduced discount real estate brokers might not offer certain services, like 

housing staging: While a lot of traditional agents are glad to assist you with staging your house to sell, certain inexpensive real estate brokers might not provide this service.

personal consideration: A discount broker may be juggling several clients at once, which might result in less individualized care and longer response times.

Extras: Many sellers believe that extras like brochures and several open houses are essential for obtaining competitive bids; however, not all budget real estate brokers will give these services.

The team at Realiff has devoted hundreds of hours to studying discount real estate agents in order to identify who provides the most discounts while still offering service on par with — or even exceeding! what you’d expect from a traditional realtor. 

How much money may buyers save by working with a discount real estate broker?

By working with a discount real estate agent that provides a home buyer rebate, buyers can save money on their house purchases.

These monies, which are also known as commission rebates, are sometimes given as closing credits or cash back after the sale. The amount of cashback and rebates varies by business, area, and house value, but typically ranges between 0.5 and 1 percent of the purchase price.

Commission refunds might help you save a lot of money. But it can be challenging to be eligible for a buyer refund, and many businesses that promise sizable rebates include pricey service trade-offs or high minimum fees that reduce your real savings.

Make careful to select a brokerage that delivers hands-on service and assistance rather than just the greatest monetary amount if you're thinking about working with a firm that offers a home buyer rebate.

Bottom line: Is it important to work with a discount real estate broker?

Yes, the majority of home sellers should think about working with a discount real estate broker since the best discount agents offer significant discounts while still delivering top-notch client care. For the majority of customers, all the discount real estate agents we suggest offer an experience that is comparable to dealing with a conventional realtor.

Avoid businesses that provide fewer services and less personal assistance than conventional realtors. These "limited-service" firms frequently promote low prices, but the actual savings you realize are constrained by dangerous service trade-offs, just Trying to figure out if a discount broker is best for you.

Rebates As a Form of Straight Discount

There is no requirement for a service trade-off in exchange for a buyer rebate. Some brokerages incorporate the refund with all standard services. This is purely a marketing approach that implies the brokerage can sustain profitability while receiving less income from each buyer-side transaction.

Buyer rebates can bring more buyers and improve income when the brokerage links buyers with their own listings, managing both sides through a dual agency, designated agency, or transaction brokerage.

Find a Top Full Service or Discount Real Estate Agent with Realiff!

Submit a FREE, no-obligation request today if you're selling or buying a house! You'll get proposals from top local agents in your area. You can compare their ratings, discover commission savings, and do other things. Work with Realiff today to save money.

Our agents have been thoroughly screened and frequently provide Realiff customers with reasonable, lower-than-average commission rates. There is no obligation to work with one of our Realtors, but why wouldn't you when you might save thousands on commission? Simply let us know when you're ready to begin!

The Term "Discount" in Real Estate