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Black and Blue from Defending My Commission Fee

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? 

 

- Kathryn

 

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Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador

Century 21 Real Estate LLC
175 Park Avenue
Madison NJ 07940

Serving Brokers, Owners, and Agents Throughout New England

Cell: (508) 982-0686   
Email:
kasellshomes@gmail.com

Blog: Real Estate Blog
Twitter: @kacciari

Comment balloon 6 commentsKathryn Acciari • February 26 2008 08:56PM

Comments

I am an agent in beautiful Portland, ME, and I don't lower my fees, for listings OR buyers.  It is my responsibility to pitch myself. my expertise and what I bring to the table in a way that makes my value obvious. 

I remind clients that if I am quick to lower my fee, why would they want to hire an agent that can't negotiate effectively and is so quick to throw in the towel...is that the kind of agent they want?  I also remind clients that when we lower the price on their home, I AM lowering my fee, by reducing my commission. 

Price is what you PAY, but VALUE is what you get!

Posted by Deborah Rutter over 10 years ago

Thank you Deborah.  That makes the score 2-0 in favor of standing firm.  You make some very strong points.  Well-stated. 

It is nice to hear from another New England agent.  Portland is one of my favorite cities...hoping to get there this summer.  Have a great weekend and thanks for the comment.

Posted by Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador and Business Coach (Century 21 Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I am a new agent in CT, and I don't understand negotiating down my commission.

If you beleive in your product ( your service to clients) then promote it and show the value instead of giving in to people that ask to lower your commission.  Show them how you ( and the company you work for)  will go above and beyond the competitors.

People buy expensive BMW's, Mercedes and other cars because they see the value in it compared to say a Kia.

 

Posted by Jean Bolin (Prudential CT Realty) about 10 years ago

Jean, that is exactly right.  It's difficult to run a business at discount prices unless you discount your service.  And, needless to say, it is also much less motivating to work for aclient who wants to pay you less than your worth!

Posted by Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador and Business Coach (Century 21 Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Hi Katherine, I am not sure if you remember me???

I was searhing by the key word "entry only" as I wanted to vent in a cyber forum about it. I hope things are well.

 

Posted by Scott Strang, Licenced RE Broker and Realtor Office in MA&NH (Scott Gregory Group) over 9 years ago

Hey Scott!  How could I possibly forget you?  :->  How's VH going for you?  Running into some entry only stuff, huh?  Nice to hear from you.  Good luck!

Posted by Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador and Business Coach (Century 21 Real Estate) over 9 years ago

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