Chances are you probably know a real estate agent personally. It is very likely that you even have a close personal friend or family member that is a real estate agent in Vermont. Therefore, when you decide to sell your home you will likely call or text your friend or family member to assist you.
When you do, it is important to ask not only how much your agent will get paid but also how the buyer's agent will get paid. While sellers appreciate how much they are paying, they may not appreciate how the buyer agent's compensation affects them.
First ask your agent how much they will get paid if your house sells. Unlike our innovative Flat Fee approach where we charge $3,500 for seller representation, most firms charge a 5% commission for seller representation. Even for friends and family there is rarely a discount so you are likely going to be paying more than you need to if you hire your friend or family as your seller's representative.
Next ask "how will buyer agents be paid?" Even though you may only care about the 5% your agent is collecting, there is a chain of questioning that flows from the answer to this question. If the buyer has an agent then it is likely that your agent is going to split the commission with the buyer's agent. Therefore, it is likely that your agent is willing to represent you for a 2.5% commission.
You should next ask "what happens if the buyer does not have an agent? Do you still get paid 5% or 2.5%?" The answer is likely that your agent will still get paid a 5% commission even if the buyer does not have an agent.
The next logical question to be asked is "why should I pay you a 5% commission when you are willing to provide the same service for 2.5%?" We already established that if the buyer is represented by a buyer's agent then your agent is likely going to represent you for 2.5% and pay the buyer's agent the other 2.5%. Therefore, we know your agent is willing to work for 2.5% but they will charge you a 5% commission for their representation if they can.
Would it not make more sense for you to simply pay your agent a 2.5% commission and if the buyer has an agent you can pay them the additional 2.5% directly? That way if the buyer does not have an agent you don't end up spending twice as much as you should have.
At Flat Fee we charge $3,500 for our seller representation. If the buyer is not represented by a buyer's agent then the total fee due from the seller is $3,500. If, however, the buyer has an agent, our clients pay the buyer's agent directly. Our clients pay a 2% buyer agent commission (rather than a 2.5% or even 3%) directly. That way our clients know that they will not be charged twice should the buyer not have a buyer's agent.
Be smart and ask your agent a lot of questions. Sellers should demand transparency. After all it is your money not theirs.