How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

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CountryBoy
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How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by CountryBoy »

I will be selling my house at some point in the near future and would be most grateful if people would share their wisdom on the topic of:
How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house.

If you don't want to spend time writing it here maybe point me to a couple of books I should study.

I am definitely approaching this in full Bogelhead Diehard mode.

Thanks.
chevca
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by chevca »

I've used Redfin to sell a couple houses in recent years and would highly recommend them. There's my wisdom. :happy

I'm not sure what you're looking for? Pick a Realtor, meet with them, and if you like what they say go with them. If you don't like what they say, move on to the next one.
bluebolt
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by bluebolt »

Depends on your experience and comfort with selling a house. If it's your first time and/or you're not that comfortable, hire a broker and pay the toll. Use Redfin or a discount broker to save some money.

If you are experienced, hire a lawyer, pay their fee and be prepared to deal with a few hassles that the broker would otherwise have dealt with.
renue74
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by renue74 »

We did FSBO in our last house..but that way back in 2002. I actually have sold rental houses on craigslist and facebook marketplace in the last few years. Market is so hot, buyers come with pre-completed offers to purchase in their cars before seeing the home.

It depends on your state as to how easy/hard it is. In my case, I simply have a copy of the standard "offer to purchase" doc that is used in my state. If buyers roll up without a buyers agent, I give them the document and they can review and make an offer.

If they have a buyers agent, I would give them the 3%.

In our state, the buyer chooses the closing attorney and in most cases, the closing attorney does most of the heavy lifting (title search, etc.) . The only thing the buyers agent might do is make sure the buyer's financing is done, get termite or house inspector....but that's up to the buyer. Not you.

I've said this before...but I'm amazed that Bogleheads who hate, hate, hate to give financial advisors 1.5% will work with a real estate agent and give 6% away of their home sale.
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FIREchief
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by FIREchief »

I'm not sure there really is a Boglehead approach. The FSBO/Redfin vs. traditional realtor discussion is likely similar to the Nolo vs. Estate attorney discussion.

I've sold a few houses and learned a few things along the way. When I recently sold a house, I committed to myself to invest more time in selecting a listing agent. I looked at the history of a number of local agents on-line. How many houses have they sold? How many days were they on the market? Were there price reductions? etc. I decided that I would interview a minimum of three of the most promising. That was time very well spent. I had three recommended price ranges from three agents who were very active in my area. The mid-point prices for all three were within a $10K range. That gave me some confidence. We initially listed at the top of that $10K range. Had a lot of traffic but no offers. We dropped the asking price $10K and had an offer within a week. I was very pleased with the whole experience. About ten weeks from listing to close.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
adamthesmythe
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by adamthesmythe »

Not clear what you want. Do you want to hire a local listing agent and get the best deal? Do you want to use a discount agent? Do you want to sell it yourself?
bluebolt
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by bluebolt »

BTW, it's also very market dependent - if you are in a super hot market, it's a lot easier to sell without an agent. If you have extremely good comps, it's a lot easier to price it right. If you have a desirable property/house, it also makes things easier. Without any of those things, it's harder and an agent's experience could help.
mchampse
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by mchampse »

renue74 wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 4:13 pm We did FSBO in our last house..but that way back in 2002. I actually have sold rental houses on craigslist and facebook marketplace in the last few years. Market is so hot, buyers come with pre-completed offers to purchase in their cars before seeing the home.

It depends on your state as to how easy/hard it is. In my case, I simply have a copy of the standard "offer to purchase" doc that is used in my state. If buyers roll up without a buyers agent, I give them the document and they can review and make an offer.

If they have a buyers agent, I would give them the 3%.

In our state, the buyer chooses the closing attorney and in most cases, the closing attorney does most of the heavy lifting (title search, etc.) . The only thing the buyers agent might do is make sure the buyer's financing is done, get termite or house inspector....but that's up to the buyer. Not you.

I've said this before...but I'm amazed that Bogleheads who hate, hate, hate to give financial advisors 1.5% will work with a real estate agent and give 6% away of their home sale.
If a buyer is coming with a pre-completed offer before seeing the place, you are probably getting low balled. It’s not a question of if you can sell your home, but rather how much you get for it. Your home is not a commodity he way that a share of a Vanguard mutual fund is. Many factors can influence how much you ultimately get for it.

Most people have buyers agents, so giving them 2.5-3% is a given. So then the question is that on a $1M home, could someone who sells homes for a living get $30,000 more for your home over yourself who has never or rarely sold a home in your life? With a good agent, I think the answer is yes.
renue74
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by renue74 »

mchampse wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 6:35 pm
renue74 wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 4:13 pm We did FSBO in our last house..but that way back in 2002. I actually have sold rental houses on craigslist and facebook marketplace in the last few years. Market is so hot, buyers come with pre-completed offers to purchase in their cars before seeing the home.

It depends on your state as to how easy/hard it is. In my case, I simply have a copy of the standard "offer to purchase" doc that is used in my state. If buyers roll up without a buyers agent, I give them the document and they can review and make an offer.

If they have a buyers agent, I would give them the 3%.

In our state, the buyer chooses the closing attorney and in most cases, the closing attorney does most of the heavy lifting (title search, etc.) . The only thing the buyers agent might do is make sure the buyer's financing is done, get termite or house inspector....but that's up to the buyer. Not you.

I've said this before...but I'm amazed that Bogleheads who hate, hate, hate to give financial advisors 1.5% will work with a real estate agent and give 6% away of their home sale.
If a buyer is coming with a pre-completed offer before seeing the place, you are probably getting low balled. It’s not a question of if you can sell your home, but rather how much you get for it. Your home is not a commodity he way that a share of a Vanguard mutual fund is. Many factors can influence how much you ultimately get for it.

Most people have buyers agents, so giving them 2.5-3% is a given. So then the question is that on a $1M home, could someone who sells homes for a living get $30,000 more for your home over yourself who has never or rarely sold a home in your life? With a good agent, I think the answer is yes.
I was using this as an example of a hot market. The buyer was a fellow landlord and paid $84K for a duplex I paid $30K for 3 years ago. The $84K...at that time was the highest comp in that neighborhood of duplexes.

Most folks aren't good marketers. I own a small ad agency. Photos and staging are key. When I sold my properties, I will stage and bring in strobe lights and studio cameras to shoot photos.

• It may be worth it to get good photos done by and outside vendor.
• Unless you're not like the rest of America, you probably need to declutter...plus remove any personal objects like family photos, art drawings from you kids on your fridge, etc. Get a mini-self storage box (Pack Rat) and declutter everything.
• For a flat fee, you can post your house on the MLS. Google "Flat fee MLS listing" and you'll find a service.
• Every region has a Realtor association. A group of agents who get together monthly and meet about whatever. They should have a website with a list of all agents and sometimes email addresses. After you have done all your due diligence, decluttered, etc. then email the listing to all those agents.
• Post your home on: Realtor.com (MLS listing service), Zillow, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor.com
• Share your listing on Facebook....maybe your FB friends might want to buy it or their friends.
• Have an open house. If there are competing homes in your hood that are for sale, piggyback on their open houses and have one the same day and time.
• Keep your house clean at all times. Be "flexible," when you get an inquiry. You should work around their schedule.
• Make your own sales flyer. Google "home sales flyer template" and do a good, professional job. (Most realtors suck at copywriting and brochure design.)
• Have fresh flowers or make cinnamon cookies right before a showing....make sure the prospect enters a home that smells great.
• Natural light...open the blinds. People love natural light.
• Touch up stuff. Touch up your paint issues inside and out.
• Make your front porch inviting. Make sure there are nice flower planters with great color.

That's all you have to do. Be a house seller "over achiever" and you'll sell your home. I'm amazed at all the houses I've been in that are for sale....that they don't prep so well. Over achieve and win.
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CountryBoy
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by CountryBoy »

adamthesmythe » Tue May 28, 2019 5:28 pm
Not clear what you want. Do you want to hire a local listing agent and get the best deal? Do you want to use a discount agent? Do you want to sell it yourself?
I want to sell my house in Westchester County, NY and move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community in PA.

I guess I need:
-ask certain questions but I am not sure which.
-to call a couple of local realty agencies in the area
- find out what agentsI feel comfortable with
-ask them re commissions, etc.
-have them quote a price that they think the house will sell for
-follow their directions re preparing the house for sale
-then go from there?

I don't have any insight on how to sell a house. I have everything to learn.

Thanks for your questions and answers.
mchampse
Posts: 275
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:45 am

Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by mchampse »

renue74 wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 7:04 pm
mchampse wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 6:35 pm
renue74 wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 4:13 pm We did FSBO in our last house..but that way back in 2002. I actually have sold rental houses on craigslist and facebook marketplace in the last few years. Market is so hot, buyers come with pre-completed offers to purchase in their cars before seeing the home.

It depends on your state as to how easy/hard it is. In my case, I simply have a copy of the standard "offer to purchase" doc that is used in my state. If buyers roll up without a buyers agent, I give them the document and they can review and make an offer.

If they have a buyers agent, I would give them the 3%.

In our state, the buyer chooses the closing attorney and in most cases, the closing attorney does most of the heavy lifting (title search, etc.) . The only thing the buyers agent might do is make sure the buyer's financing is done, get termite or house inspector....but that's up to the buyer. Not you.

I've said this before...but I'm amazed that Bogleheads who hate, hate, hate to give financial advisors 1.5% will work with a real estate agent and give 6% away of their home sale.
If a buyer is coming with a pre-completed offer before seeing the place, you are probably getting low balled. It’s not a question of if you can sell your home, but rather how much you get for it. Your home is not a commodity he way that a share of a Vanguard mutual fund is. Many factors can influence how much you ultimately get for it.

Most people have buyers agents, so giving them 2.5-3% is a given. So then the question is that on a $1M home, could someone who sells homes for a living get $30,000 more for your home over yourself who has never or rarely sold a home in your life? With a good agent, I think the answer is yes.
I was using this as an example of a hot market. The buyer was a fellow landlord and paid $84K for a duplex I paid $30K for 3 years ago. The $84K...at that time was the highest comp in that neighborhood of duplexes.

Most folks aren't good marketers. I own a small ad agency. Photos and staging are key. When I sold my properties, I will stage and bring in strobe lights and studio cameras to shoot photos.

• It may be worth it to get good photos done by and outside vendor.
• Unless you're not like the rest of America, you probably need to declutter...plus remove any personal objects like family photos, art drawings from you kids on your fridge, etc. Get a mini-self storage box (Pack Rat) and declutter everything.
• For a flat fee, you can post your house on the MLS. Google "Flat fee MLS listing" and you'll find a service.
• Every region has a Realtor association. A group of agents who get together monthly and meet about whatever. They should have a website with a list of all agents and sometimes email addresses. After you have done all your due diligence, decluttered, etc. then email the listing to all those agents.
• Post your home on: Realtor.com (MLS listing service), Zillow, Facebook Marketplace, and Nextdoor.com
• Share your listing on Facebook....maybe your FB friends might want to buy it or their friends.
• Have an open house. If there are competing homes in your hood that are for sale, piggyback on their open houses and have one the same day and time.
• Keep your house clean at all times. Be "flexible," when you get an inquiry. You should work around their schedule.
• Make your own sales flyer. Google "home sales flyer template" and do a good, professional job. (Most realtors suck at copywriting and brochure design.)
• Have fresh flowers or make cinnamon cookies right before a showing....make sure the prospect enters a home that smells great.
• Natural light...open the blinds. People love natural light.
• Touch up stuff. Touch up your paint issues inside and out.
• Make your front porch inviting. Make sure there are nice flower planters with great color.

That's all you have to do. Be a house seller "over achiever" and you'll sell your home. I'm amazed at all the houses I've been in that are for sale....that they don't prep so well. Over achieve and win.
If you are doing a private sale between 2 parties who've agreed upon a price, I would agree with you that you don't need an agent. If you've bought and sold real estate frequently, I would also agree that you probably know as much or more than any agent that you may find. You noted owning an ad agency which also helps.

That said, the list you gave has a number of items that have a cost that many times agents will cover as part of their commission. Agents also have a good idea of the market and can look to market your home to whichever demographic is buying. Most buyers have an agent and many agents don't want to deal with FSBO homes and will discourage their clients from buying those homes. Both because they want to discourage people from doing FSBO as well as its a lot more hassle for them to deal with an owner. Obviously, its slimy but ultimately you want the best price that you can get. Don't get me wrong, I think real estate is a total racket. The commissions are way too high, but to get the best price, you need to playing game. I didn't even consider a Redfin type agent. On a $1M home, for $10k you get someone to do everything on your list and their knowledge and expertise.

I live in an area where bidding wars are common. Generally the advice here is to completely move out of your home and let it be staged with none of your belongings and you not around to mess the place up. I would say that it's probably more important here to have a good agent. They can help you market your home and set an asking price that will encourage a bidding war. When a home is on the market for over a month, people start to assume that there's a problem with it and don't bother. Your home will eventually sell, but probably for a lot less than it otherwise could have.

Certainly for you, you don't need an agent but it probably makes sense for the person who only owns their own home.
mchampse
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by mchampse »

CountryBoy wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 8:01 pm
adamthesmythe » Tue May 28, 2019 5:28 pm
Not clear what you want. Do you want to hire a local listing agent and get the best deal? Do you want to use a discount agent? Do you want to sell it yourself?
I want to sell my house in Westchester County, NY and move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community in PA.

I guess I need:
-ask certain questions but I am not sure which.
-to call a couple of local realty agencies in the area
- find out what agentsI feel comfortable with
-ask them re commissions, etc.
-have them quote a price that they think the house will sell for
-follow their directions re preparing the house for sale
-then go from there?

I don't have any insight on how to sell a house. I have everything to learn.

Thanks for your questions and answers.
I would ask around and see if any friends or colleagues have worked with an agent that they like. Get a feel for the agent and if you think that you can work with them. Ask them if they have listed similar homes to yours and what the outcome was. Get an idea of how many transactions that person does and whether they are working with buyers looking for homes similar to yours. Ask them the commission that they are asking for and what's included. Have them look at your home and suggest repairs as well as give an approximate price. See if they have any homes on the market currently and go through them during an open house.

Be careful not to choose the agent that tells you what you want to hear. The person that thinks your home will sell for the most might not be the best fit. No matter whom you choose, I'm sure your home will sell for a good price no matter what.
chevca
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by chevca »

CountryBoy wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 8:01 pm
adamthesmythe » Tue May 28, 2019 5:28 pm
Not clear what you want. Do you want to hire a local listing agent and get the best deal? Do you want to use a discount agent? Do you want to sell it yourself?
I want to sell my house in Westchester County, NY and move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community in PA.

I guess I need:
-ask certain questions but I am not sure which.
-to call a couple of local realty agencies in the area
- find out what agentsI feel comfortable with
-ask them re commissions, etc.
-have them quote a price that they think the house will sell for
-follow their directions re preparing the house for sale
-then go from there?

I don't have any insight on how to sell a house. I have everything to learn.

Thanks for your questions and answers.
That's pretty much it. They will get the comparable homes for sale near by, take a look at yours, and recommend what they think you should list it for. It's ultimately up to you what you want to try and sell it for. They work for you, remember that. It's really not all that difficult selling, in my experience.

I second the recommendation of asking around. Hearing from folks you can believe who might be a good or bad Realtor in the area is a good way to go.

If Redfin covers your area, I really do recommend them. Especially in your situation of not knowing about selling a home and all. They take care of everything and their fees and commissions are set and reasonable. It's too easy with them.
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CountryBoy
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by CountryBoy »

Wow! Our thanks to mchampse and everyone for the comprehensive answers. We are learning so much.
jharkin
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by jharkin »

renue74 wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 4:13 pm I've said this before...but I'm amazed that Bogleheads who hate, hate, hate to give financial advisors 1.5% will work with a real estate agent and give 6% away of their home sale.
What does that FA do for the 1.5% ? push a couple buttons to move some money around and make trades into crappy funds you could do yourself in 5 minutes or so.

We can argue if a sellers agent is worth their 4-6% but you cant argue they do a LOT more, especially if your house is not a cookie cutter tract home that will sell in a day (mine is not). Mine arranges the house stager, they retain a professional photographer, they setup a custom house website, do a web/snail mail marketing campaign, host open houses and do all the direct contact/negotiating with potential buyers. Far more than I want to be bothered with.

Just like not everyone on here is a doctor or silicon valley programmer, not everyone on here owns a cookie cutter generic ranch house with the stereotypical black granite, dark wood cabinets, white on white trim HGTV interior.
renue74
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by renue74 »

jharkin wrote: Wed May 29, 2019 11:49 am
renue74 wrote: Tue May 28, 2019 4:13 pm I've said this before...but I'm amazed that Bogleheads who hate, hate, hate to give financial advisors 1.5% will work with a real estate agent and give 6% away of their home sale.
What does that FA do for the 1.5% ? push a couple buttons to move some money around and make trades into crappy funds you could do yourself in 5 minutes or so.

We can argue if a sellers agent is worth their 4-6% but you cant argue they do a LOT more, especially if your house is not a cookie cutter tract home that will sell in a day (mine is not). Mine arranges the house stager, they retain a professional photographer, they setup a custom house website, do a web/snail mail marketing campaign, host open houses and do all the direct contact/negotiating with potential buyers. Far more than I want to be bothered with.

Just like not everyone on here is a doctor or silicon valley programmer, not everyone on here owns a cookie cutter generic ranch house with the stereotypical black granite, dark wood cabinets, white on white trim HGTV interior.
1.5% of a $2M portfolio = broker is taking $30,000
6% of a $800,000 home = 2 realtors are splitting $48,000 of the seller's $.

I understand the "Far more than I want to be bothered with." But the tasks you lists: call a house stager, get a photographer, custom house website, etc. It's just sorta/kinda pushing buttons....just like a broker.

Great article on the 6% agent fee: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/15/economy/ ... index.html

I use a buyers agent when I look for rental property. But, in essence, why would I? There is really no incentive for a buyers agent to push me to offer a lower number...because well, the lower I buy a property, the less commission my own agent receives.

The real estate industry should had been ripe for structural adjustment. But why hasn't it? For example, I own a super small ad agency. Been in the business since 1999. Since the early 1900s, the agency 15% commission was the way agencies did business. An agency would take 15% of the media buy that the client did. So, a client spends $1M on TV commercials, the agency would take $150K...and that was all for the work they did.

In the 90s and 2000s, the agency commission was largely scrapped....just over the course of 2 or 3 decades. Clients reveled and said, "nope, we're not paying 15%....we'll go around the agency and make our own media buys and just pay the agency for creative services."

So why have real estate agents held onto their 6%? The internet makes their job easier. No more trekking to the county courthouse to get comps. No more taking photos and getting them developed at the quickie photo mat. Buyers actively search out their own homes on realtor.com.

It's all well and good that we are not all doctors or software engineers....but those professions takes years of hard work to master. Me selling my own house....not so much. In my state the "heavy lifting," of a real estate transaction is done by the closing attorney.
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747driver
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by 747driver »

renue74 wrote: Wed May 29, 2019 1:47 pm So why have real estate agents held onto their 6%? The internet makes their job easier. No more trekking to the county courthouse to get comps. No more taking photos and getting them developed at the quickie photo mat. Buyers actively search out their own homes on realtor.com.
+1 and totally agree. Total racket for those of us who can take a decent photo, build a decent WP site, or hire it out on our own. We need a Bogle figure to kick in the teeth of the 6% rule. I applaud places like RedFin for attacking the cabal that is the Realtor® community. It's not 1970 anymore.
A clear conscience is a great pillow.
mchampse
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Re: How to deal with a broker and contract when selling my house

Post by mchampse »

747driver wrote: Wed May 29, 2019 4:48 pm
renue74 wrote: Wed May 29, 2019 1:47 pm So why have real estate agents held onto their 6%? The internet makes their job easier. No more trekking to the county courthouse to get comps. No more taking photos and getting them developed at the quickie photo mat. Buyers actively search out their own homes on realtor.com.
+1 and totally agree. Total racket for those of us who can take a decent photo, build a decent WP site, or hire it out on our own. We need a Bogle figure to kick in the teeth of the 6% rule. I applaud places like RedFin for attacking the cabal that is the Realtor® community. It's not 1970 anymore.
Real estate commissions are a racket without a doubt. That said, I still think it is worth going with a discount agent when selling. It's not a question of if your home will sell if you FSBO, but how much it will sell for.

The first point is that almost every buyer has an agent. None of them are going to suggest your home to their clients if they are making bupkus, so you are pretty much paying that side of the commission regardless.

If you do pay a commission to the buyers agent and FSBO, the agents are more likely to suggest your listings to their clients. However, most of them don't want to deal with FSBO's because they have to do the handholding that a seller's agent would typically do. Also, no doubt discouraging people to FSBO is also part of it. Fewer buyers is generally going to mean a lower price for you.

So if you go with Redfin, you are paying $20k on a $2M home to the selling agent. So then the question is can someone who does this for a living get you a better price. They know the market, know the things that will encourage people to buy, and have experience selling homes. Think of your own profession. Are you 1% better at it now then when you first started? Between the experience they bring to the table and buyers agents being more likely to recommend you home, do you think they can get you $20k then you would have gotten otherwise? I would say its pretty likely that they can.

I bought an investment property not too long ago where the agent was also the seller. From what I gathered, he had accumulated some amount of property and became an agent only to save/get the commission on deals that he did. My sense is that he had few clients that weren't himself. His inexperience showed.He very early on made it pretty clear to us that he was desperate to sell and we were able to get a price well below what he should have accepted and we were able to negotiate credits for repairs well beyond what sellers typically accept. Our experienced agent was no match for him. Even if he used anybody off the street to act as a buffer between himself and our agent, that person could have more easily kept their cards closer to the vest.

To be clear, real estate commissions are a racket but unfortunately you have to pay-to-play to get the best result for yourself. The realtors have figured out some clever means of protecting their monopoly.
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