What Americans Have Spent So Far This Year In Commissions:

All Posts Written for Home Sellers

How To Save Money When You Sell Your Home

Sellers are Doing all the Work

Many sellers agree to pay a 6% commission to real estate agents who are aware that 80 to 90% of buyers are performing their own internet home searches online and are very successful finding homes that they want to make appointments to see.

When buyers purchase a home for $900,000, the seller pays the real estate agent around $54,000 for the research that the buyer has performed during their internet home searches that lead to the steps required to purchase the home. Other buyers are working with buyer agents who usually receive half of the commission or 3% of the purchase price, then each of the agents involved in the transaction are paid $27,000 each for completing the transaction.

Sometimes the more desirable homes sell in less than a month. In the end, the seller pays $54,000 of their hard earned equity to the real estate agent or agents. The buyers have access to many real estate websites that show all the homes listed in the mls and the homes that are being sold as for sale by owners. Everyone has access to the sales information since it is easily accessible online.

There are other options!

Today, sellers have the choice to work with a 6% commission agent, or a flat fee agent which can cost as little as a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to place their home for sale in the mls. Most sellers offer 2.5% to 3% commission to any realtor who provides a ready, willing and able buyer.

There are real estate marketing programs that will offer full service to sellers for the 6% commission, the home is listed in the mls and will also allow the seller to participate in the marketing of the home and if the seller finds the buyer then and only then the commission drops to a total of 2% commission to reward the seller for their successful personal marketing efforts.

2% Commission

There is also one of the newer real estate marketing programs that is a non-mls listing that costs a total of 2% commission for realtor assistance and support to a seller who is a for sale by owner. The seller performs many of the sales functions while the realtor mentors the seller throughout the transaction by performing many of the full service actions required for marketing, contract preparation, contract negotiation, support to the buyer regarding title insurance, home inspections, attending settlement and resolving issues that arise during the time between contract execution and settlement.

These revolutionary marketing programs allow the seller to keep at least two-thirds of the old fashioned 6% commission for their family not the agents family. There are hundreds of newer companies offering their own versions of discounting and Do it Yourself marketing programs that can save home sellers more of the equity in their home.

Save your money!

If you want to save large amounts of money when you sell a home you owe it to yourself to explore the many alternative ways to sell your home and potentially save thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

For a free list of some of the more interesting and unique real estate marketing companies that are offering discounts to sellers contact us today!

List Your Home and Save in Commissions

Real Estate Commissions – the Old Way

Many real estate companies throughout the country charge between 5% and 6% to sell residential real estate. The average commission is dropping but many real estate companies hold onto the old commission fees with a clenched fist.

How The Business is Changing

However, the work a realtor once did is done for them. Approximately 80% to 90% of all buyers begin their search on the internet. Much of the work that was performed exclusively by realtors in the past is now performed by buyers and sellers. Most of the information that a buyer or seller needs to research is available on the internet. The internet, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, search engine optimization and correct pricing are the marketing methods that sell homes.

The Burdensome Overhead to Buy and Sell

Many consumers feel that high commissions coupled with transfer taxes take too much of a bite out of the final net amount that sellers realize at settlement. One of the newer real estate companies that is active in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey real estate markets was founded by a person who was a real estate investor who would sell multiple homes each year but could not earn well deserved profits because the real estate companies charged 6% and the City of Philadelphia charged transfer tax of 2% each time you buy or sell.

On a $500,000 sale price, the seller was charged 8% or $40,000 to sell the home. Add to that the 2% when the investor first purchased the home before renovation and you can easily have another $2,000 to $4,000 in fees bringing the buying and selling costs for the investor between $42,000 to $44,000 for one $500,000 sale plus the cost of renovation. It is hard to make a profit when the fixed overhead is so high to buy and sell.

How I Save You Thousands

Since I like to save consumers money, I have come up with marketing and commission programs that can save sellers 50% to 66% of seller commission fees. These marketing programs require some marketing participation from the seller and one marketing program is a combination of for sale by owner coupled with a limited service listing agreement that can cost the seller as little as 2% plus $675 and at most 3% plus $675 payable only if the home sells and payable at settlement not upfront like some other companies charge. There are other real estate companies in different parts of the country that offer similar or near similar marketing programs that can save you commission dollars. Contact me with your name, full address phone and email address and I can let you know if these programs are offered in your state through different real estate companies.

Consumers can pay 5% to 6% or they can perform some of the marketing work themselves and save.

A $500,000 sale at 6% is a $30,000 real estate commission.

A $500,000 sale at 2% plus $675 is a $10,675 real estate commission.

A $500,000 sale at 3% plus $675 is a $15,675 real estate commission.

Which program works best for you?

Making Home Improvements Before Selling: Check if Your Home Needs It!

The Emotional Buyer

Most buyers are unapologetically emotional in their purchasing decisions. Investment property shoppers aside, a home buyer looking for a new primary residence is going to need to be able to imagine themselves in a home they walk through.

To a home buyer, a new home is a reflection of who they are as a person, a couple, a family, etc.,. As consumers, the purchases we make, especially the large ones, reflect how we view or want to view ourselves. Cars and homes are prime examples. See how easy it is to finish these sentences:

  • I could never see myself driving a …
  • I couldn’t imagine living in <city/town/neighborhood>.

Making Home Improvements Before SellingWhether consciously or not, walk-through prospects are trying to imagine how family members, friends, and co-workers would react to a home they are looking at. Considering that 65% of recent home buyers were married couples, the home buying process is often full of compromises, referendums and concessions between two people (NAR 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers). For these reasons, it’s important that your home is staged to be neutral, a blank canvas they can paint themselves into. Let’s take a look at a checklist that will help you neutralize your home.


The importance of cleaning the entire home thoroughly can never be underestimated. It’s all about the details that shout, “This home is extremely well-maintained.” Think of the following aspects:

  • Shampoo and wash carpets, clean trim, window sills, screens and blinds.
  • Clean out light fixtures and dust shelving.
  • Make rooms appear as spacious as possible.
  • Store unnecessary furnishing and personal items that might be making a room look crowded.
  • Make sure it’s extremely easy to walk through your home. There cannot be any clutter.
  • Light, light, light! The worst thing for a home on the market is darkness.
  • Keep all curtains and drapes open.
  • Replace broken or lower wattage bulbs with new and high wattage bulbs.
  • Turn on all overhead and lamp lights before a walk-through or open house.

Touch Ups

  • Inspect your entire home. Touch up paint, from trim and baseboards to cabinets and window frames. Pay special attention to areas that are worn from high traffic over the years.
  • Make sure all door knobs and locks work and replace anything that doesn’t.

Kitchen Area

  • Make your kitchen pristine!
  • Absolutely no clutter on the countertops. I actually know a couple of Realtors that will not take a listing until all the clutter is removed from the kitchen.
  • Clean all the grease from the oven and stove. Make all appliances shine!
  • Remove any fridge magnets, personal calendars, posted invitations, mail and newspapers from the kitchen area.
  • Remove any old mats or carpets from the kitchen floor.
  • The number of photos, portraits, and posters should be minimized.


  • Clean, scrub and make superficial improvements to your bathroom(s).
  • Remove any clutter, such as personal toiletries, hair care electronics and medications. Add fresh soap.
  • Consider well-placed candles or other finishing touches.

Pro Tip: Color coordinate bathroom linens, i.e. towels, wash clothes, shower curtain and/or carpets. You’d be surprised how an older bathroom can really shine with some new and nicely coordinated linens. Here are some websites that show examples of how you can transform your bathroom.

  • http://activerain.com/blogsview/2707996/budget-bathroom-staging-before-after-photos
  • http://colorchats.benjaminmoore.com/2012/10/which-bathroom-color-has-you-green-with-envy/
  • http://www.designsponge.com/2012/12/before-after-rustic-bathroom-transformation.html
  • http://www.designsponge.com/2012/11/before-after-grey-green-bathroom-redo.html

Fix every single problem, such as leaks, plumbing issues, clogged shower heads and drains. Leaks and other common problems that arise but often go unfixed for months or years scream “poorly maintained”.

Finishing Touches

  • While walls, furniture and rugs should be relatively neutral, strategic arrangements of flowers or plants throughout the home can add splashes of color that are always well received.
  • Consider placing large mirrors where they can be of benefit.
  • If a room has smaller windows, a well placed mirror can reflect natural light into the room.
  • If a room is small, a mirror can make it look larger.

Some Thoughts on Home Condition

Sell As-Is or Make Improvements? What’s Best for You? Do a cost-benefit analysis. The HomeDepot has a great landing page about ten steps to updating a bathroom. If you can update a master bath for under $1500, is it worth it?

Pro Tip: Go through all of your records since you first purchased your home and list all improvements you made and their cost. Share this with all potential buyers.

Is it Really About Location, Location, Location in Real Estate?

Yes, it is. It is all about location, location, location!

In the world of real estate, the age-old mantra “location, location, location” remains as relevant as ever. This principle underscores the paramount importance of a property’s location in determining its value, appeal, and potential return on investment. While many aspects of a home can be altered, renovated, or upgraded, its location is a fixed attribute that can significantly influence a buyer’s decision-making process and the property’s market value.

Understanding the Influence of Location

The location of your home relative to key amenities, community features, and comparable properties for sale plays a crucial role in attracting potential buyers. Properties situated in desirable neighborhoods, near excellent schools, convenient transportation links, shopping centers, and recreational facilities, often command higher prices and attract more interest. Conversely, homes in less sought-after areas or close to less desirable features, such as industrial sites or noisy highways, may see a diminished interest and lower selling prices.

Of course, you can’t change your location as a seller. What you can do is understand the influence of your home’s location on buyers’ decision making processes. Your location relative to comparable properties for sale is either going to enhance or detract from your maximum selling price. For this reason, it must be a factor in pricing when you re-list your home.

Maximizing Your Home’s Appeal Through Location

  1. Leverage Local Amenities: Make sure to highlight nearby amenities that can enhance the living experience, such as parks, gyms, cafes, and cultural venues. These features can make your property more appealing to a broader audience.
  2. Transportation and Accessibility: Properties with easy access to public transportation, major highways, and other transportation links often enjoy increased demand. If your home offers convenient access to these services, make sure to emphasize it in your listing.
  3. Community and Lifestyle: The character of the neighborhood and the lifestyle it offers can be a strong selling point. Whether it’s a vibrant community life, quiet and peaceful surroundings, or access to outdoor activities, highlighting these aspects can help potential buyers envision themselves living in your home.
  4. School Districts Matter: For many buyers, particularly those with children, the quality of local schools is a top priority.

Pro Tip: Check out your school district’s reputation and things like average test scores and college admission rates. Those who don’t have kids can ask friends with kids, and average SAT scores for local high schools can often be found online as well.

While you may not be able to change your property’s location, understanding and leveraging the strengths of your home’s location can significantly impact its appeal to potential buyers. By focusing on the positive aspects of the area and how they enhance the living experience, sellers can effectively highlight the unique value proposition of their property, aligning it with the needs and desires of prospective buyers.

What Actually Gets Your Home Sold

Buying a home is one of the largest investments a person can make. Similarly, selling a home is one of the most important financial decisions you can make. When it comes to real estate, contempt prior to investigation is the number one offender for home sale failure. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you or your agent knows why your home didn’t sell. Re-evaluate everything from buyer feedback surveys to market conditions to your own actions and thought process when you re-list your home.


Let’s start with your goals and why you wanted to sell your home in the first place. Are these goals still the same or have they changed? To dive a little deeper, do you have a good reason for selling your home? Do you have to sell? Are you trading up or down? List out your goals… Really, do this: List out all your goals related to why you want or need to sell and prioritize. To help you brainstorm, here are some of the most common goals:

• Being closer to loved ones or work.
• Lowering monthly costs, whether it’s downsizing after the kids have left the nest or taking advantage of the historically low interests rates out there.
• Retirement or looking to make a move to a new area.

There are a ton of reasons. Which ones are your primary? Which ones are your secondary? List your top 3 goals and keep them in mind when you’ll read our next post.

Do You Know Your Competition? Step Into a Buyer’s Shoes

When you’re selling your home, it’s important to know your competitors. Although this may seem like a time consuming thing to do, it doesn’t require much effort at all.

Schedule Time to Look at the Competition

Consider walking through the 5 to 10 properties that are most comparable to yours in terms of proximity, price and type. Make sure to take notes and photos of each property, considering the layout, feel and condition, as well as any upgrades or value adds that a buyer might consider in comparing the home to yours. It’s best to look at 3 to 4 properties at a given time. Otherwise, the properties can begin to blend together in your mind; however, the whole process shouldn’t take you more than a day.

Why Knowing the Competition is Important

Getting to know your competition is invaluable! It blows us away when home sellers tell us their agent has never suggested that they should get a feel for their competition. By looking at what competitors have to offer you put yourself in a potential buyer’s shoes and the perspective gained from knowing what’s on offer on such an intimate level is simply unparalleled.

Pro Tip: If you have a smartphone, download a good “Notes” app, such as Evernote. Some apps let you take pictures, write notes and organize your entries by title (you can even make it the listing address). Take photos with notes of the front, back and inside photos of the kitchen, bathroom, master suite and ANYTHING unique or different (good and bad).