Defending Your Commission

Everyone wants a bargain, and sellers are no different. In fact, the top reason FSBO sellers give for not using a real estate practitioner is that they want to avoid paying a commission fee, according to The 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Nearly two in five FSBO sellers used FSBOs because they didn't want to pay the fee.

Many sellers will ask you to slash your commission, but remember, you’re worth it. Explain that they need a top negotiator working on their behalf when offers come in. Author Carla Cross of Carla Cross Seminars in Issaquah, Wash., suggests asking, “If I capitulate on my commission with you, how effectively do you think I can hold my ground when I’m negotiating the best deal on your house?”

Dispel the notion that you’re getting rich. Show sellers where your commission dollars go—advertising, insurance, taxes, and so forth. Also, remind them that you share more than half of the commission with your broker and the practitioner on the other side of the transaction. “People often pay more for cars than they intended when the salesperson educated them about the quality they will receive. Do the same in selling yourself,” says marketing speaker Lauren Harper-Haden of Lauren Harper-Haden Seminars in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

If all else fails, just say “no.”

“I don’t negotiate on my commission one nickel,” says Judy McCutchin of RE/MAX Preston Road North in Dallas. “I have plenty of business and people who are willing to pay me what I’m worth.”

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