This is a revisiting of a story I posted just about a year ago, with an update at the end:
On a listing appointment [last year], I was going through the listing agreement with the sellers and we came to the item regarding my compensation. These people had been referred to me, and seemed eager for me to list and market their home. So I was surprised when the sellers asked if my commission was negotiable.
My response was, "My rate is fair and it is not negotiable." The sellers then launched a counter that other agents would list their home for less, and that they wanted all of my services but not at full price. After reviewing all of the listing services that I offer, which the other agents did not provide, the sellers said they could not afford to hire me and asked if I would consider eliminating some of my services and thus cut my price. Well, that would have also cut their chances of the home being seen and being sold. I stood my ground, thanked them for all of their time, and ended the meeting.
Did I "get" the listing? Nope. They hired another agent at a lower commission, then cancelled the listing because they were unhappy with that agent. Then they went with a flat-fee entry-only listing, which expired. The sellers contacted me numerous times to ask if I would reconsider lowering my fee. I declined. I saw the property being advertised for rent in the local paper. The sellers have moved out of state. What a hassle for them.
Bottom line: I am a full service agent and I charge a fair, full service fee. I'll admit there was a moment when I considered caving in because these people really did need a full service agent and I wanted very badly to help them. But it was clear that they did not value the service that I offered to them.
I hope other agents will see that they provide value and not let themselves be negotiated down to a lower pay level. When the sellers told me that they could not afford my fee, my response was, "In this market, and with the exposure that your home needs, you can't afford to not hire me."
What are your thoughts? Do you leave room for negotiation in your commission structure, or do you stand firm even in a down market?
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Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador
Century 21 Real Estate LLC
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Madison NJ 07940
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