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Be Sure the Discount Isn't a Dead End

Spotlight on Real Estate

Hiring a Discounted Listing Agent

Last week we shared some news about a trend in listing homes that is catching on with home owners. All the photos in the article are from homes we were hired by the homeowner to shoot. We've seen some great success, but we've also heard a lot of sad stories. If you're considering using an agent who is willing to discount their services for you, it may be just the thing for you, but it could also become a dead end.

Some folks think they can do everything they need to do to sell their home as well as a real estate agent would. Some of them are right, but others aren't. It depends on your motivation and on the real estate agent.

Let's be honest, some real estate agents don't earn their commission. The reason for this can be everything from laziness to inexperience, but the situation can't be sugar-coated. This sad fact does not diminish in any way the incredible value a good agent brings to the table, but it has discouraged many people about the real estate industry.

I Want to Save Some Money

The primary reason some people choose to go the FSBO route is because they think they are saving money. That is not necessarily so. NAR statistics support the fact that using an agent will increase your selling price enough to pay for the agent and agents bring other value, like reduced days on the market and a book of tried-and-true vendors and contractors.

However, the new trend seems to be leading away from going it purely on your own and utilizing some form of discounted listing service - either an agency that gets you on the MLS without any representation or an agent who is willing to take a reduced listing commission while offering limited representation. This route may be for you, but it could also be the worst mistake you ever made.

"We've Been on the Market a While"

There's one thing we usually hear from home owners who call us about photographing their home. They start the conversation with, "We've been on the market a while." To us that's a pretty sad thing to hear. That means they've missed their target selling date for some reason and now they have to try something else. Perhaps the fault lies with their discount listing agent, who didn't properly inform the homeowner of the potential pitfalls or they oversold the value of a sign in the yard and a spot on the MLS. Or perhaps the agent did cover the potential pitfalls, but the homeowner thought it was all a sales pitch for more commission. Whatever the case, we will be facilitating Plan B and we are sorry that is necessary.

Knowing the value of good images to the successful sale of the home, we are dismayed at some of the situations associated with discounted listings. Often the agent has shown up with their phone, taken a few pictures and slapped the raw photos on the internet. What a disservice, but to be honest, some full price agents do the same thing! What is even sadder to us are the agents who tell the home owner to take their own photos and send them via email. That's almost criminal negligence!

There's Good News, Too

While far too many home owners call us because their home has lingered too long on the market, that's not every call. Sometimes we get a call from homeowners who have their ducks in a row. They've done their research. They've gotten their home market-ready, which includes doing the necessary repairs, sprucing up the exterior and staging the interior. They've identified an agent they want to do business with and they want us to take their photos for the MLS. We walk into these homes and know they are going to sell and soon.

To be clear, the percentage of commission an agent receives is fully negotiable. It is based on the price the market will bear for the services offered. Don't assume you know what an agent is supposed to do or what it should cost. Make them explain their marketing plan and then keep them honest. If you think you've got what it takes to sell your own home, but just need a spot on the MLS, then go ahead, negotiate a discounted commission, but you still need to know exactly what the agent is going to do and what you are responsible for. And please be sure someone is going to hire a great real estate photographer like Spot On Images!

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