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Realtors: Frequently Asked Questions

Another mystery of the universe: What does my Realtor actually do?

Do they just stick a sign in your yard and wait to collect the commission? Speaking of, what is a commission and how to they earn it? There are lots of details about Realtors that most people just assume they know. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to Realtors:

Why should I use a Realtor? I can buy and list a house on my own using and save money on the commission.

These websites are not meant to replace your Realtor. Instead, they are there to “augment” the buying and selling process. With these websites, you can search and filter through hundreds of homes right from your couch. No more long days in the car with your Realtor. You can preview the inside and outside of every home with the click of a button. Then you make a short list of the houses you’d like to see personally, and take your weekends back. Also, do you really want to deal with buyers and sellers yourself? We have all heard stories about how creepy and dangerous is it to buy a TV from somebody on Craigslist. Imagine doing that with a house!

Speaking of these online sites, why is the value my Realtor gave me so much lower than it says on Zillow?

The value is different because your Realtor actually took the time to physically look at your home and compare it to other houses in the area. Simply put, the people at Zillow have never been to your house. They don’t know about how the upkeep of the lawn, whether the paint is peeling, whether it’s been remodeled, finished basements, is there a pool, the list goes on.

How do Realtors get paid?

Most realtors get paid at the closing table by taking a percentage of the sales price right off the top. So if the sale is for $100,000, the Realtor’s cut might be $6,000, and the seller gets the rest: $94,000.

How much do Realtors get paid?

Technically, it’s negotiable, but the “going rate” is 6% of the sales price—which is then split between the Seller’s Realtor and the Buyer’s Realtor, so roughly 3% each. However, like any other service, there are some Realtors that will charge less. Just remember this: There are plenty of lazy Realtors out there right now charging full price, so just imagine the type of service you’re going to get for less than full price!

Realtor, Broker, Real Estate Agent, what is the difference?

A person passes the real estate exam and becomes a licensed Real Estate Agent and signs with a Broker like Century 21 or RE/MAX. In order to access the databases and search for houses, the agent then becomes a member of the National Association of Realtors and becomes a Realtor. Also, an individual Realtor/Real Estate Agent can become a Broker on his own by getting a separate Broker’s license. This way, he doesn’t have to sign with a big company like Century 21 or RE/MAX. You might also see a “Realtor Group”. For example, four Realtors who all work at Century 21 decide to work together.

One is better with paperwork, one is better at getting listings, one is better at driving people around, and so on. They can cover more ground, get more customers, and split the commission. This is like being served by a couple different bartenders who split their tips at the end of the night. It’s a “Zone Defense”.

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