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  • Writer's pictureDiana Marshall

Real Estate Changes as I See Them--Agent's Perspective, Fee Transparency & Flat Fee

Real estate changes from agent's perspective: You may have heard about changes in how brokerage fees are paid by buyers and sellers caused by recent court challenges. Verdicts will be appealed, some defendants have settled, and changes are already being made by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and brokers nationwide. These changes will mean more fee transparency. I was notified by my local MLS that they will be removing the requirement for sellers to pay a co-broke fee entirely later this month. It was already a one dollar minimum but will now be as low as "0" dollar.

From my perspective, what this means is that Sellers will be informed they do not have to offer buyer's agents a fee to show their home and bring offers. Keep in mind the brokerage fee seller paid was always paid to their agent who then split the fee with a buyer's agent. Further, I do not imagine all Sellers will choose to pay zero. Some may fear they will have fewer showings. I am not so sure that will be the case since priced right and attractive homes on MLS will also be on and Zillow where buyers can find them and ask to see them. I for one will not be eliminating homes to show based on compensation offered. But I cannot work for free so...

eat-in kitchen in new home

My buyers will be informed up front the fee for their agent may ultimately be their responsibility at closing. Without getting too deep in the weeds, at closing the settlement statement is a balance sheet with charges for buyer and seller on opposite sides of the page. The seller brokerage fee will be on their side and buyer's brokerage fee may be on the other. I don't see this change as a bad thing. Offering a blanket 2% or 3% to all buyer's agents regardless of experience and ability was probably never a great idea although it worked for many years to make sure buyers had representation. The buyer agent fee seems better negotiated between the buyer and their agent.

Flat Fee of $3,995.00

In my business going forward I have already decided to offer services to Tampa Bay Area home buyers for a flat fee of $3,995.00. This works out to about 1% on $400,000.00 homes and is much less for higher priced properties. I will rebate at closing anything over the amount sellers offer to pay (as approved by the lender, of course.) I find the process of buying a home is pretty much the same, regardless of home price.

On average a home purchase should take approximately 32 hours:

couple looking at laptop home shopping

1) Initial Meeting and preparation for same (2 Hours)

*Setting Appt with Lender

*Creating Home Profile (wants & needs)

2) Select Homes (2 Hours)

* Follow Home Profile

3) Show Homes (16 Hours)

* On Site Time

* Drive Time

4) Write Offer (2 Hours)

5) (Negotiations) (3 Hours)

*Offer & Repairs, etc.

living room in sold home with brick wall, bookshelves and fireplace

6) Shepherd To Closing 6 Hours)

* Inspections

* Appraisal

* Phone consultations

* Text messages

* Email preparation

* File maintenance

* Final Walk-Through Inspection

7) Attend Closing (1 Hour)

As I see these changes moving forward, I will continue to provide the same excellent service to buyers and sellers as I have been doing all along. I am a self-employed individual with plenty of expenses and I will be working as efficiently as possible and cutting costs where I can but not the quality of my service to the buyers and sellers who choose to work with me.

Are you buying or selling a home in Tampa? I welcome your questions. I have answers to share.

Diana Marshall is a residential real estate agent serving the Tampa Bay Area of West central Florida. Diana has been serving buyers and sellers for 30 plus years, has 100+ homes sold and many happy customers. People's Choice Realty Services, LLC is a local independent brokerage firm located in Tampa, Florida.

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