SLO County Homes

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Unnecessary Fees

One factor that creates expensive fees to list a home is that the commission is split between multiple entities in the traditional real estate business model.  

The Listing Brokerage gets a piece of the commission pie. If the Listing Brokerage is a franchise (like C21, Remax, Sotherby’s) the corporation gets a piece of the commission pie as well. Others that may get a piece are agent team splits, agent referrals, relocation services, or Internet leads. For example, filling out a “How much is my Home Worth” form on a website can make the website thousands of dollars (paid by the Seller through the commission charged). What’s left of the commission pie goes to the Listing Agent.

Let’s look how the commission could be split up for a one million dollar home at 2.5% listing commission which is $25,000.

The Listing Agent, the one doing all the work, earns $9,660.  The other $15,340 go to businesses that have little to do with helping with the sale of your home.  We eliminate the unnecessary fees and pass the savings on to the Seller. Our $9,900 flat-fee for the listing service is close to what the Listing Agent earns in the above $1 Million home sale scenario. 

Because of being an exclusive listing brokerage, our overhead is low as we don’t have the expenses associated with being a brokerage that represents Buyers. This is also key in our ability to offer our comprehensive listing service at $9,900. 

Any Agent can also eliminate the unnecessary fees, as we are doing, and some already do.  They would need a brokers license (80% of agents only have a salesperson license) and start their own independent brokerage. Our difference is that we pass along the savings to sellers, not pocket the savings for ourselves. 

 

Percentage vs. Flat-Fee Commission

Listing and Selling a home is a SERVICE and a real estate agent should get a fee for this service. We believe the service fee should be for the work performed, not for a percentage of what the house sold for.

Say if you had a painter that painted two houses with the exact same floorplan. One home, the painter charged $10,000.  The other home, which was located near the ocean, the painter charged $20,000 but used the same materials and crew as the other home. I’m sure getting a reputation of price gouging in neighborhoods with higher priced homes would not help the painters business.  

But in real estate, the traditional practice is to take a percentage of the Sold price as the compensation for providing a Listing Service. For 2.5% commission on a one million dollar home is $25,000.  For a two million dollar home, it’s $50,000.  Ask an Agent what is different in their listing service for a 1 million dollar home vs a 2 million dollar home to justify twice the cost of the service. The reality is that Listing Agents provide the same service regardless of the price of the home.

Our $9,900 Flat-Fee Listing Service

For the $9,900 listing service we create the digital presentation which includes professional photography, a 360-walkthrough tour, a visual floorplan, and interactive model, and a property website with its own internet address. We also hire a professional and very experienced Transaction Coordinator to handle all the documents and disclosures, keep the timeline, and helps with achieving a smooth transaction through escrow. 

And after your home is sold, we provide a Transaction Archive. This includes both printed and digital copies of all documents from the transaction. The printed copy is presented as a bound book with each page numbered making it easy to find a document when you need it.

We offer optional services including aerial (drone) photography, time lapse video, twilight/night photos. We will suggest one of these if it will help showcase features of your home.  We plan to add 3D VR180 video as an option later in 2024 for the fast-growing Virtual Reality (VR) headset market.

Digital Presentation

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) does a yearly survey of Buyers and Sellers. The most recent survey released at the end of 2023 showed, for the first time, that 100% of Buyers used the Internet during their home buying process. This shows that the digital presentation of your home is a very important piece of a listing service. A digital presentation is not only for the Buyers, but for their family and friends that are participating in the home buying process with them.  

The Buyer and Seller survey asked Buyers what they want to see when looking at homes online. 

The majority of Buyers want to see:

Since these three are what the majority of buyers want to see, it’s a MUST HAVE in a listing service.  On the Central Coast, over 90 percent of listings do not provide all three. Charging $25,000 (or more) for a listing service and only uploading photos to the MLS is not a full service. 

Photos are the first thing Buyers see. We hire a professional photographer to make sure the photos of your home look great.  

We also create a Matterport Tour which includes a 360 degree walk through, a visual floorplan, and an interactive model of your home.  Matterport is currently the #1 for virtual home presentations. There are other products sold to Realtors that call themselves virtual tours but don’t have a 360 degree walk through or floorplan. 

A property website for your home is created that contains all the media; photos, Matterport tour (walk through and visual floorplan), and property details. The property website can also be used to highlight selling points of your home using other media, such as aerial photography, twilight photography, time lapse photography, or videos. Any additional media is not included in the $9,900 listing service and we’ll present it as an option if we believe it will help you feature strengths of your home. We plan to add 3D VR180 video as an option later in 2024 for the fast-growing Virtual Reality (VR) headset market.

Our property website also displays high resolution photos for prospective buyers with high resolution monitors. When you hire a professional photographer, most shoot high resolution. Our photographer we hire provides us photos that are around 5449 x 4087 pixels. When we upload these to the MLS, the first thing the MLS system does is reduce the size to well under half what the original photo is. When Zillow, Realtor.com, etc. download photos from the MLS to display on their sites, they further reduce the photo to as low as 1/5th the size (resolution) of the original photo.   Since we custom develop the property web sites, we have implemented a photo gallery that can display the full high resolution photo from the photographer. Your home photos are going to stand out to any prospective buyer with a high resolution display!

We pay for a custom domain name (123Main.com) and put it on a custom yard sign rider from a graphics company in San Luis Obispo.   A yard sign rider with the property website address is the replacement for flyer boxes used years ago.  Not having a property website address on a yard sign is like not having a brochure box (or having an empty brochure box).  

Transaction Coordinator

A great listing service should do the following for you:

To get the most money in your pocket we want to get you the best sale price and save you on expensive commissions. Getting a Buyer (or hopefully multiple Buyers) to make an emotional connection with your home raises the chances of getting a good selling price and the digital presentation is a critical piece of this. 

To help keep you out of court and to make the transaction as stress-free as possible, we hire the best Transaction Coordinator in California! A Transaction Coordinator is responsible for getting all the contracts and disclosures needed, interacts with escrow, and keeps the timeline of when contractual items are due to help with a smooth transaction. Most top producing agents use a Transaction Coordinator. 

The Transaction Coordinator we hire has a brokers license and manages over 1000 transactions a year. Her experience with the contracts and process is invaluable! 

Since we don’t do Dual Agency, we also help you stay out of court. Dual Agency is a legal risk as the Agent (and Brokerage) can’t do anything to benefit one party over the other. If they do, the damaged party can sue the other party. The last thing you (and we) want is a lawsuit!

After your home is sold, we provide a Transaction Archive. This includes both printed and digital copies of all documents from the transaction. The printed copy is presented as a bound book. Each page is numbered and there is a table of contents which makes it easy to find the document you’re looking for.  For the digital archive, a USB flash drive is attached to the book which contains all the documents separated into folder categories. The document names are used for the file names. When you need a document (such as the HOA rules or home/pest inspections), you can either grab the book or plug in the flash drive into your computer and have your document in no time!

Dual Agency

In a home sale transaction,  the buyer and the seller have opposing interests. Sellers want to sell their property for the highest price while buyers want to pay the lowest price with the best terms. You hire a real estate agent to represent your best interest and help achieve your goals.  But there’s this thing called Dual Agency that allows the same agent to represent both the buyer and seller. What?? Read on!

In California, dual agency (or what agents call “double dipping) is when a listing agent also represents the buyer (and gets the entire commission) or when the listing agent and buyers agent are under the same brokerage.  Dual agency is already illegal in eight states and hopefully will soon be illegal in California as it DOES NOT BENEFIT THE SELLER!  Listing Agents will use dual agency to lower the total commission but, according a report released a few years ago, agents fail to disclose to Sellers what agents can’t do under dual agency.  When you enter into a dual agency, you go from full representation to no representation and risk being sued if the buyer feels the listing agent favored the seller. 

Scenario 1: Seller and Buyer represented by different brokerages. 
Result: Both parties have 100% representation.

Scenario 2: Seller and Buyer represented by the Listing Agent.
Result: (by law) Agent needs to stay neutral. Can’t advise either party. Can’t negotiate or anything else that favors one party over the other.

Scenario 3: Seller and Buyer represented by Agents in the same brokerage.
Result: (by law) Both Agents need to stay neutral. Can’t advise their client. Can’t negotiate for the client or do anything to favor their client over the other agent’s client.

If you had a two million dollar home and paid 5% commission (2.5% for listing brokerage and 2.5% for the buyers brokerage) that would be $100,000 in commission. If the listing agent also represented the buyer and lowered the total commission to 4%, the seller would pay $80,000 (savings of $20,000).  The listing agent could no longer (by law) look out for the seller’s best interests.

With SLO County Homes, a seller could pay ($9,900 flat fee listing service + 2.5% for buyers brokerage) or $59,900. That’s a $40,100 savings and the seller would still maintain 100% representation. The only one benefiting from dual agency is the listing agent as they’ll receive $30,000 more in commission (using the above example) and doing less work.

Here are a couple of articles on dual agency:

https://www.nar.realtor/magazine/real-estate-news/commentary/dual-agency-doesn-t-benefit-consumers

https://activerain.com/blogsview/5044645/dual-agency-should-be-banned-in-all-states

To find more articles online (there are a lot!), Google “dual agency real estate”.

There is another drawback for sellers.  If the seller agrees to dual agency this must be disclosed in the MLS listing. This lets buyer agents know that the listing agent (and listing brokerage) are going to compete with them for the entire commission.  This goes on the MLS listing the day a home is listed and will be a red flag for agents.  Only a very small percentage of the homes disclosed in the MLS actually end up with the listing agent also representing the buyer.  So most sellers that agreed to dual agency had this “red flag” on their MLS listing and didn’t get anything positive in return (no lower commission). Most agents that have been in the industry for awhile have either experienced (or heard about) issues with an agent (or brokerage) representing both the seller and buyer.  A common complaint is “My client had the higher offer but they took a lower-priced offer from an agent within the brokerage”.  It’s because of the shady nature of dual agency that make agents weary of a listing with a potential of dual agency.  As a seller, you want as many buyer agents as possible motivated to bring offers. Don’t scare them away!

If you don’t want dual agency, you’ll want to pick a listing agent that doesn’t have a large number of agents within their brokerage. None of those agents could bring you buyer offers as that is also Dual Agency.

Since SLO County Homes is an exclusive listing brokerage, we will never abandon looking out for the sellers best interests.  Our sellers receive 100% representation throughout the selling process.

We look forward to assisting you in your home sale!