Why I Don’t Like Help-U-Sell and Assist2Sell

Look, I’m all for alternative business models and I understand that we’re all just doing the best we can and everyone is trying to make a living for their families. But as far as real estate professionals go, I don’t care for the philosophy that many Help-U-Sell and Assist-2-Sell agents take with regard to the business and their marketing. Of course there are agents at all national brokerages that offer better service than others, and it is not these two companies I don’t like, it’s agents who subscribe to certain business practices.

An example; There’s a home in the next neighborhood from ours that has Help-U-Sell signs all over the place. And this is a nice home and homes in this area are selling fast. But this one isn’t. And the sellers probably don’t realize why.

But I’ll tell you why I think it isn’t selling…

They’ve just paid thousands of dollars to be a FSBO. They are not on the MLS and the websites they are on are only Help-U-Sell sites, not top area sites like Realtor.com, utahrealestate.com, BlueRoof.com, saltlakecityforsale.com, etc.

Not many people go to Help-U-Sell’s awful website in this area to buy a home because they don’t have many homes there. I did a search in my city to find this home I am talking about and it’s the only home that is for sale on their site in the entire city (not to mention I had to register to get any info about it). Nothing wrong with placing the home on the site, but why would buyers register and look there when they could look on thirty other sites and see over 10,000 homes for sale, hundreds in that particular city?

But the sellers probably don’t know this. They paid $Thousands thinking that all these buyers will see their home, but really they just got a few flyers and some signs and their home gets put on a bad website that doesn’t get much traffic. And if they signed an agency agreement- that’s even worse because now the seller doesn’t have the option of hiring a Realtor who will give them additional exposure on the MLS and on websites that get a lot of traffic.

At the very least, they should make an impressive website so people will want to use it for their home searches.

If you’re going to be a FSBO and you want to pay a company thousands of dollars for flyers and signs that’s okay- it’s a choice sellers can make. Of course, you can get flyers from Kinko’s and signs from Home Depot for a whole lot less- and if you want someone to look over the contracts you can hire an attorney for about a grand. But if they feel comfortable with an agent from one of these companies, or any company, that’s okay.

The part that I really don’t like is how many sellers (of many different brokerages) don’t realize that their homes are not being listed on the MLS. They assume that it is because they are paying a real estate agent to assist them. And they don’t realize how it’s actually hurting them to be in this situation. No agents showing their home because they are not on the MLS and most of the people who buy FSBO homes (investors, looky-loos) think they’re listed because of the company signs.

We’re all trying to making our way, but representing our clients means giving them the best marketing exposure possible so we can bring them the highest price possible.

And at the very least, no matter which brokerage an agent works with they should inform the sellers what they mean when they say they “list” a home for sale so consumer do not confuse having someone to sit the open house with a Realtor who will market the home in every possible way, including the MLS.

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193 responses to “Why I Don’t Like Help-U-Sell and Assist2Sell

  1. I am an agent with Help-U-Sell in Illinois and I think you need to learn more about how our company works before you start bashing the agents that work there. First of all our clients don’t pay thousands of dollars to be a FSBO!! Our clients don’t pay out a single cent to us UNTIL the house closes. Second, our clients have a choice if they want to go into the MLS or not. Some decide not to because they don’t want to pay out the commission to another realtor. Help-U-Sell is no different from a traditional brokerage company except for the fact that we charge a set fee to list and sell your home depending on how much you list your home for. Again no fees are paid out unless the home sells during the time we have it listed. Should one of my listings get cancelled or expire I made nothing in commissions!! I have 10 listings going right now and only 1 of my listings is not in the MLS that is the clients choice. Also I will show a clients home anytime I get a call for a showing. All of our listings are on about 15 websites plus placed on the local newpapers websites & real estate magazine websites plus many many more. I have received many calls on my 1 listing that is not in the MLS because of our marketing. So I suggest you do some research into our company before you start bashing our company and telling people that they will pay thousands up front for just signs and flyers!!

  2. Christine, thank you for the remarks.

    This is a post about business models that I don’t like. Not people, but business models.

    You obviously believe in what you are selling, and that’s better than some agents (and salespeople from any profession) can say.

    About your 1 listing that is not on the MLS- what exactly do you do for them that they couldn’t do themselves as a FSBO? Just curious…

  3. I listed with one of these companies (but I won’t say who) and went through the same thing. I was told that they usually found the buyers for their listings and how other agents would say I was priced too high so I would make more money with them because they would find the buyer themselves.

    After a few months of other homes selling and my home sitting on the market I was upset and couldnt find my house on the internet as I was also looking to purchase a home. I listed with a different broker and it sold in less than one month to buyers who saw it on the internet where it wasn’t at before.

    My recommendation is go with full service!

  4. To –christine – August 21, 2006—

    Well…Christine…I wish we could have gotten you to sell our home. We are currently using Help U Sell…our agent is terrible. She’s lazy, doesn’t return phone calls…has even gotten into a fight with one of our neighbors because of a sign. Speaking of which it took 4 weeks to get a single directional sign in our neighborhood. The funny thing is, she still has yet to put a directional sign up in the front part of the neighborhood on the main road.

    My suspicion is that she has no intention of selling our house. In fact, we’ve had outside agents with other companies show our house more than she. She keeps pushing the MLS. Well…that makes since…especially for lazy sales people. She basically wants some else to do her work so she can make her 3000 dollars. That’s why she keeps pushing the MLS. We are in a nice neighborhood, very sought after location. I’m very, very displeased with Help U Sell, and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

    Those are my thoughts.

    • Mike, you got it all wrong buddy. A full service agent means you pay someone a high commission just to list your home in the MLS. That’s it. Nothing will ever beat the MLS in exposing homes for sale. Please stop believing that your listing agent will sell your home. Your listing agent lists the home for “Selling Agents” to show and sell. In regards to these Help-u-sells, etc., definitely these are over-paid agents because they do turn home owners into FSBOs. The best way, find an inexpensive way to list it in the MLS.

  5. People attract people like them selfs.

    Discount Commission = Discount Equity.

    • You can’t discount a commission in real estate because commission is negotiable (and it’s always been negotiable). How do you discount something that is negotiable? Help-U-Sell offers a flat-fee to list a home for sale. The money the seller ends up SAVING is added to their NET PROCEEDS after the sale. So, sellers who like to save thousands of dollars attract us to them if I’m applying your logic above correctly. The other selling agents from other brokerages still make their 2.50-3%….. I’ve done this for my clients time and time again with excellent results. Of course, I would say that an agent in any brokerage (Intero, Prudential, Century-21, Alain Pinel, etc…) who does not know what he or she is doing, can ruin the sale experience for the seller. Bottom line is, sellers should always qualify the Realtor they are planning to work with before making the decision to hire them. By the way, one of our Realtor/Brokers in my office (1 of 3 associate brokers) just received the Realtor of the Year for 2009 (South County Association of Realtors) award…he was nominated by many real estate agents from other brokerages.
      Adalberto V. Gonzalez, Broker w/ Help-U-Sell Real Estate of South Santa Clara County DRE Lic # 01424198

  6. Hello everyone, I am also a Realtor with Help-U-Sell and I am sorry for those few bad experiences. The truth be said, there and Lazy, rude and un-professional Realtors in every company! And how I would love to name a few! But I won’t, since that is un-professional. I have to agree with Christine, that our business plan is misunderstood. Many people think that all we do is plug a sign in the ground and get cash in the pocket, but that is not the case, otherwise everyone would do it!! Our office for example offers several different services and again the sellers get to choose which plan will work best for them. “We do full service for less” This is the slogan and honestly us agents with these companies don’t make 2.5% or 3% on the listing side, we make much less, that said the selling agent (from the MLS will make a full 2.5% or 3% Therefore our service is 100% comparable to other full service companies and we do the same (or better) work for less. That is why I am with this company, we work of volume not high commissions for every listing. If our clients don’t want MLS (so as not to pay a buyers agent) they don’t have to be. If they only want the MLS and no advertising, they can get that. Whatever they want to sell their property we can provide. What other company allows the same flexibility?? To contradict what you say about not being on Realtor.com, you will find if you search Realtor.com for properties in Marco Island for instance, you will see many Help-U-Sell and Assist-2-Sell listings there. Please do your research first next time and realise that consumers like choice, flexibility, Internet presents, and a good agent to work with, and there are plenty of good ones!!

    Thanks for reading my point of view.

    Realtor with Help-U-Sell

  7. I stopped reading after you mentioned your Web site in the same league with sites like utahrealestate.com. Give me a break. utahrealestate has all the listings.

  8. Tyler- Just FYI, BlueRoof.com has every listing from every brokerage listed in the MLS and it is updated throughout the day, not only once every 24 hours, like utahrealestate. Utahrealestate is owned by the MLS and is a template platform.

    The point I was making is that many agents don’t put their listings on sites that get traffic.

    Thanks for reading…

  9. Help U Sell is a joke. It only takes a couple of experiences with them to see how bad it can get. I am crusading against these types of companies as I have fun and educate on real estate and mortgages. I love your site. Just discovered it today. Lar PS I want to move to SLC

  10. greg you are so off base about hus …do your home work then ask why are so many major re co’s switching to hus get the facts because ..steve ozonian who is ceo came from remax ,realtor .com,and prudential, b of a as did many others…. sooo the many professionals are either out of there minds or they know something you don’t have a clue about …but please don’t try to insult our intelegience without knowing the facts….say hi to al mansell for me… oh and jim naccarrato too

    please do your homework on a national basis not a utah basis. growing with out your uninformed knowledge

  11. Rick my post is not about whether your CEO is from a traditional company, it’s about why I don’t like the model.

    “…. sooo the many professionals are either out of there minds or they know something you don’t have a clue about…”

    If I am incorrect in some fact about your company, let me know what those facts are.

  12. Greg, Here are some Actual true Facts about Assist2Sell. I believe that your post about alternative business models requires some additional facts. Assist2Sell offers 3 different programs for their sellers based upon what works best for each one and their particular situation. They offer choices. They do not offer ala-cart services and allow their clients to cherry pick services and make the client pay up front. The Assist2Sell model is an economic consumer driven model in that once a property is exposed to the open market, and when a motivated buyer and seller inter into an arms length transaction, the property sells. Commissions are a by-product of accomplishment and should never enter into the equation of what a consumer wants. As far as REALTOR.com is concerned, I can and will tell you that as far as tracking where my buyers have “found” the property, I can state as a matter of fact that only 1 property out of the hundred plus that I have sold, did the client say they had found it on REALTOR.com If an agent tells me that they will not show a listing because of our so called commission arrangement, (what the seller is willing to pay) I can say that from practical experience, that agents approach is short-sided thinking at best. How can one agent conclude that they. they are the only agent who has a buyer that will buy the home. Get real! How about supply and demand, the dynamics of the Real Estate Market vary from Market to Market and are rarely static. Florida is much different than Oregon etc. The Market shifts daily. Discount Brokerages are CONSUMER DRIVEN. After surveying 10 of my past clients when I was a REMAX agent….all 10 stated the same thing over and over again. “We love the service but 6% is too much to sell a home.” The consumer is demanding a change. Just like Charles Schwab and Goldman & Sachs created alternative business models…I believe they were called “Discount On-Line Brokerages” ie..OptionExpress.com…$14.95 per on line trade?
    Here comes Assist2Sell to put the home seller’s equity position back in their pockets. After all, it was the home owner who assumed the risk during the homeownership period!
    I believe that somewhere in your research you have failed to realize or point out the RENO NV office of Assist2Sell is larger than the local RENO/SPARKS MLS system when it comes to their own member owned data base. Could there be a reason why home appraisers in RENO want access to the Assist2Sell Data Base for Comparables? Before you start kicking alternative Real Estate Business Models in the ditch, you really owe it to yourself and your blog followers to get the facts straight!

    • I sold my townhouse with the help of assist to sell in Florida and it was a pleasure to work with the very knowlegable agent, not to mention all the money I saved. I have sold traditionally, and with assist to sell. The only difference was how much commission I paid.

  13. First, please note there is a *BIG* difference in Help U Sell and Assist2… We run a Help U Sell in San Diego and have an agent from Assist2.. Help U Sell is Full Service without Full Commission, not a discount or FSBO lookalike. The amount of work, qualifications and education required for a Help U Sell Real Estate agent in San Diego is enormous. We even have mandatory university type training. We are better in marketing than anyone else i know (including Assist2..) and our service is second to none. There may be some offices which did not adhere to our standards but that happens in any company/industry. We have a Full MLS IDX feed(like most full service broker) + Exclusive listings on all our corporate standardized sites. We also have a huge list of ad partners.

  14. I am a Help-U-Sell owner and made a choice to buy into Help-U-Sell after researching many different companies. We have an awesome system giving the home seller choices at a low set fee. We are full service and more, we are Realtors, we are liscensed and members of local, state and national boards. Our web site is IDX providing all MLS listings. It is the requirement of our local board not our office to sign onto our website before providing all MLS listings.
    Our days on market are 10% less than the MLS, We sell a higher percentage of our listings compared to traditional real estate and our list/sell price is closer than traditional realtors. We are honest, ethical and very professional in our business. Come and meet us and see in person what we have to offer.

  15. greg
    do you even know who steve ozonian is and why brad inman and alan dalton realtor dot com president suports everythig that HELP U SELL is doing you must not have a clue to who these people are do your home work and do not try to make excuses for your lack of knowledge….. maybe al mansell or jim naccarado can set you on the right path did you tell them hi for me?

    I think Help-U-Sell and Assist-2-Sell are the bottom rung on the ladder. And I think they really hurt the profession as a whole.
    rick

  16. greg

    top speakers and motivators work with Help-U-Sell you might want to contact brad inman or allan dalton if you have a clue to who they are…

    rick

  17. Ok… Help U Sell and Assist 2’s… let’s look at some Illinois facts… (I don’t want to offend anyone from Utah or California) My wife is an agent in Illinois and she has your “give the customers a bargain price” model beat. A $200,000 home @ 2% for the listing agent, comes to a whopping $4,000 commission. CORRECT? And it is to my understanding if you want your home in the MLS you would need to offer a co-op (usually 2.5% or 3% depending on if how urgent the sale of your home is)… CORRECT? So if someone were to list with her it would be safe to say that she would list it in the MLS, place the adds, perform a Realtor walk through, 1 open house per month (at the sellers discretion) for 4.5%… Now if the same seller on an Assist 2 or Help U wanted the “MLS Package” they would have to offer a competitive co-op as well… CORRECT? Not sure here… mathematics might be rusty, but if my calculations are correct, this same $200,000 home with my wife or Assist 2/Help U sell with the addition of the MLS package would be within $1.00? If the seller was also a buyer she would probably negotiate to 3.5% for the listing (1% for her and 2.5% for the buyer)… Now, all the Assist 2’s and Help U’s in the area have been on the market for several quarters (not months). And some are going on to their second year. Would it be safe to say that the owner purchased the “LESSOR” expensive package? Let’s assume for a minute that they did… would this explain the ALMOST 2 YEAR LISTINGS IN THE AREA WHEN ALL THE “PROFESSIONAL MORE EXPENSIVE AGENTS” ARE ACTUALLY SELLING THEIR PROPERTY? I don’t know how it works in other states but the assist 2 sell down the street has not had one walk through, not one open house and not one realtor walk through. Not to mention that they are not on the internet, not on the MLS nor are they even on the local Assist 2’s website… seems like this blog has hit the nail on the head. Why should someone pay $3,999 for a FSBO listing…? Oh and by the way… the Assist 2’s and Help U’s have a different “fixed Fee” for homes greater than $300,000… not sure what those number are? In conclusion 90% of the homes on their website are less than $200,000… that means if you are less than 200k and you use assist 2 or help u… you probably paid more than 2% commission to FSBO your home. You could have used a professional Realtor to sell you home in less than 2 years…

  18. Greg,
    I do not think Help-U-Sell and Assist to Sell are good business models either. How do you feel that Blue Roof is any better than either of these models? It seems to me that all you do is replace traditional services of a REALTOR and personal contact with a fancy website?
    Not only that, you allow people to “share” in a REALTORS commissions further de-valuing the services of all Real Estate professionals. I am all for innovated business models that better the industry as whole. However I feel that Blue Roof is another example of a company that sacrifices customer service and professionalism in the name of innovation. You subsitute QUANTITY for QUALITY and lower the standards of our profession.
    I am sure you disiagree, so I would love to see how you feel Blue Roof is different.

  19. JR, MIKE, AND greg

    GUYS DO YOUR HOME WORK ON A NATIONAL BASIS NOT ON A LOCALIZED IL OR UTAH MARKET

    you are so off base about hus …do your home work

    get the facts because ..steve ozonian FORMER REALTOR .COM PRESIDENT remax ,and CEO/ PRESIDENT prudential, b of a, ETC

    they know something you don’t have a clue about …but please don’t try to insult our intelegience without knowing the facts….

    do you even know who steve ozonian is and why brad inman and alan dalton (realtor dot com president) suports everythig that HELP U SELL is doing you must not have a clue to who these people are

    do your home work and do not try to make excuses for your lack of knowledge….. maybe alan dalton, al mansell, AND brad inman can educate you

    as for your statement:
    YOU THINK HUS IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RUNG OF THE LADDER and THEY HURT THE PROFESSION

    When in reality you are unprofessional, uneducated and cluless about help u sell

    you might want to contact brad inman or allan dalton if you have a clue to who they are…

    FULL SERVICE REALTORS THAT ABIDE BY THE CODE OF ETHICS OF NAR’S ….ASK AL MANSELL

    GREG, ARE YOU A REALTOR?
    rick

  20. Rick

    You keep repeating the same points. Okay, we all get it- Alan Dalton, Brad Inman, Steve Ozonian, and everyone else that you respect and admire support your company! Fine…

    That doesn’t change our right to an opinion that differs from yours.

    I have done my homework and I have my own opinion. Some of the comments left by Help-U-Sell and Assist-2-Sell agents show me a different side, but frankly your constant bitching and whining about the same things don’t shine so well of a reflection on your company.

    Yes, I am a Realtor.

  21. Thanks I am glad you see a different side…. no more whinnnnnnng and bitching. Thanks Rick

    You are on my favorites and I’ll see you at the next social gathering when I am in Uah…Ski Canyons

    Rick

  22. I just had a really bad experience with Help U Sell. At one point I desperately needed my “agent” to respond to an addendum that was fast approaching it’s deadline date. He was nowhere to be found. I found a number for the corporate Help U Sell, (yes, I understand it is a franchise). I called the corporate number and asked them for help. I told them I needed to get someone who could respond to problems with my buyer in a reasonable amount of time. I also wanted to file a complaint against my “agent”. I was told that someone would call me back. No such luck. Now I can’t find that number, or any number to call and file a complaint. Does anyone know if Help U Sell has a process for complaints?

  23. Hi,

    I just used assist 2 sell to sell my home. I started out with just the basic listing which i was sure would sell my home. it didnt not even a walk through for almost a month. i then updated to the mls package, the pictures got onto the mls and within 3 days had 5 showings, house sold with the first person that came through that made an offer the following day. i cannt say it is a bad model, i think they push it that there going to sell your home using there cheapest package, which simply just aint the case. overall i must say my agent was very nice, it saved us about 1500 bucks going through them with the mls listing, would i do it again i dont know i have a new respect for realators, i see how much it costs them for the advertising they do that assist didnt. when we bought our other home we used a remax as a buyers agent and i must say he blew me away, always available anytime i wanted saturdays sundays friday nights he did what it took, and i guess thats what 6% gets u, to contadict myself one reason i wouldnt use them again is because i would use the guy that was our buyers agent. just my 1.5 cents

  24. DALTON GOES “SPRINGER” ON ZILLOW AT C.A.R. SHOW

    NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS AFTER THE RE-RUN OF COPS IS OVER…

    http://www.inman.com/blogger/2006/10/who-threw-chair-brad-inman-wont-give.aspx#comments

  25. TPT,

    Thanks for the link-up- it’s about time we get some big call-outs in the industry.

  26. As an Assist2Sell agent in NH, our company sold 58% of our own listings in 2005, the highest in our area. I was ranked among the top 5% of real estate agents in our area and the owner of the company was the number one non-new construction agent in So. NH. We saved sellers millions of dollars in fees (compared to paying 6%) and we do it ALL–we are different than HelpUSell and should not be grouped with them. We do everything an “old-fashioned” real estate agency does, only for less money. We list the home, advertise it extensively on the web and in newspapers, show it, negotiate the offer, handle all the headaches that come up after the P&S is signed, and get paid at closing. Our motto is “Full Service with Savings”. I would research the difference between HelpUSell and Assist2Sell before lumping them together.

    With the changing real estate market, it is more important that ever for Sellers to realize that they can save thousands of dollars and get the same (if not better) service plus the experience of an agency who has handled HUNDREDS of transactions and have the knowledge to make sure the sale actually closes.

    I have had offers from EVERY major real estate office to come over to their side, but I can not honestly charge sellers 5 or 6 percent to sell their home when I know there is a better and more effective method out there. I couldn’t sleep at night if I did.

  27. Ms. Sarlo,

    Saying that you are “Saving” people money is saying that there is a set price from which you are discounting, which I am sure you realize is not the case and legally should not be implied. How do you “save” money from a purely negotiable rate?

    Maybe you are actually over-charging because someone in your area will do the same job for $20. Maybe you should advertise that you may have over-charged clients $Millions of dollars (from the $20 rate).

    I do not like the business model of Assist2Sell OR Help-U-Sell because in my experience, and in my area, they operate with the same principles.

    There are probably good agents with these companies, and there are probably agents that are not as good. Either way- I do not like the idea of a selling thinking their property is benefitting from a full marketing program when, in fact, it is not.

    The advertising for Assist2Sell says “We’ll sell your home for $2995″

    Well, if the home is listed for $299,000 then how much are they offering to a buyers agent? The answer is NONE- because the property is not going to be placed on the MLS.

    So my question is, how does a licensed agent sleep so well at night knowing that they are promising “Full Service” as part of their “Full Service With Savings” without even placing their clients in the one place that attracts more buyers than every other source combined?

    Sounds like a load of Hooey to me…

  28. I must say I found this site very enlightening. Not only from the customer’s viewpoint but from the agents as well. Personally I’m interested in becoming a real estate agent and I’m trying to decide who to work for, a Full Service agency or a discounter. And just based on what I’ve seen and read so far I’m leaning more towards a Full Service company. Why? After reading these posts I conducted my own although limited investigation. I went over to a home for sale in my neighborhood with an Assist-2-Sell sign out front and I talked to the seller myself. He told me he was going through a divorce and only used them because he knew someone in the office. I told him his house was only 1 of 2 listed for our entire area on their website. First strike, limited exposure. Note: our area’s population is well over 50,000 I even checked Realtor.com, no listing. He told me to check today (Sat.) and I’d see it, I told him I already did and it wasn’t on it. He looked surprised. Lastly, he confided to me if his house didn’t sell soon he was going with Name Witheld Realty. Didn’t sound like he had a lot of confidence in Assist-2-Sell.

    BTW, he also mentioned there weren’t any open houses scheduled and there hasn’t been anybody to see his house yet. Although the house has only been up for sale for 2 and a half weeks I’ll be keeping track of its progress. I’ll update this board on any changes.

  29. I practiced traditional real estate for 19 years before buying a HUS franchise. I have never met a seller who was happy for paying THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS etc. for the sale of their home. 3 years ago I bought my franchise. Though no system is perfect, at HUS, we offer the consumer choices and options for savings. Selling a home is not rocket science, especially finding the buyer. Believe it or not, consumers who shop on Realtor.com are also driving neighborhoods, going to open houses, and buying my non-MLS listings with great savings to my clients.

    And, Greg, as far as the $20 business model? Grow up. I don’t have to charge triple my currrent fee to offer full service. Know how I know I do a great job? 70% of my business is referred to me!

    Last but not least, there are good agents and bad agents at ALL companies. I know agents, we all do, who dont know how to return calls, service clients etc.

  30. We just hired an agent from Help U Sell. Our home is on acreage and is in a growing community north of SF. The agents in the community are lazy and do not know how to have a normal conversation. We had our home listed with an agent in the Biz for over 30 years, he did not have a showing. We hired (what we thought) was huge exposure from a RE company out of SF. NOT again another 6 months and nothing! We even had current (very conservative) appraisals in which we paid for. LAZY CALIF agents! To many of them!!!! We were very impressed with the Help U sell Broker and her incredible marketing backround! Don’t knock em folks!!! Has she sold our home? you ask? OH SHE WILL! I have the utmost confidence she will!!

  31. I worked for a HUS office doing the advertising. That specific office advertised on about 39 websites, about 3 of those websites were popular sites. The other sites received about 1-5 combined hits per listing over a 4 month period. When it came time to do a listing presentation, the Agents in my office pulled out all of the advertising they had done in the past so that it would look like they did a lot of advertising. In reality, they were sending one mailer out to about 10K people every two months. I would recommend HUS if you plan on selling your home through the MLS. You would pay a 3% co-broke plus the HUS fee which would still save you money. If you don’t plan on going on the MLS then you are better off selling the home yourself. There are lots of websites that will let you advertise your home free of charge. Ask your local Title Company or Mortgage Lender for help with filing out your Purchase contract and other necessary forms and you’ll be surprised at how much free help is out there.

  32. Vanessa,

    Saying that you are “saving” people money implies that there is a set price from which you differ. So if an agent charges 7% commission they could also claim to “save” people $Thousands, by assuming that some people could be charged 9% commission.

    Some brokers charge $99 to place someone on the MLS and Craiglist (and BlueRoof.com) will let people market their homes online for free- does this mean that Assist2Sell is over-charging people thousands of dollars?

    By your definition it appears so.

    My beef with some companies has nothing to do with the cost of their services- it has to do with their business practices. Any agent, broker or company that convinces people to list a home with them by insinuating that they will be on the MLS but in fact, the sellers are not on the MLS. That is deceitful and borderline fraudulent.

    I am not saying that all Assist2Sell agents do this or that some people from other brokerages don’t- I am saying anybody who does is misleading people.

  33. My title expresses an opinion. The marketing from these two companies is similar in my area, both claiming to “Save” people thousands while providing the same service.

    This post is talking about how sellers do not always know that they will not be put on the MLS for the lower cost.

    But there is the additional issue of claiming that you “save” people money, when there is no set commission rate. Claiming that,

    “nationwide, Assist2Sell has saved their Seller-clients almost 1 BILLION DOLLARS since 2000″ is completely misleading because you are telling the consumer that there is a set rate of 6%, which is simply not true. Every agent and broker, from every brokerage negotiates their commissions differently from one another.

    If a seller can be placed on the MLS and several websties for $99, and have a real estate agent help them with their negotiating and do the openhouses- then aren’t you overcharging for your services?

    Does Assist2Sell also market how they overcharge based on this scenario? If you are concerned about the consumer being misled, start with being truthful in your marketing.

    There is no “saving” when there is no set commission rate- period.

    • I don’t know about other parts of the country, but were I live if someone is looking to sell there house and don’t have a friend or family member in the business they ussually interview multiple agents. I am an A2S agent and have never had someone tell me that XYZ Realty was offering the same services for what my commision rate is. We do offer a flat rate fee listing which we tell people is not an MLS listing and we also offer a MLS package that is a full service listing. I have not allways been with A2S and I can tell you that if I got out of the business I would list with any of the agents in my current office over my previous office even if I had to pay a high commision rate. The agents were I am now are that much better than the agents at my previous office. So don’t go saying that an entire company is worthless because you had one bad experience. There are good and bad agents everywere.

  34. We also state that all commissions are negotiable, by law, and that 6% is used for comparison purposes only. Most real estate agents do charge a 4% commission or more to list a home. We are saving most people money who do use us “compared to paying 6% ( or 4% or 5%)”.

    We do, in fact, mention that there are other “discount” models out there–some that cost more than we do, and some that cost less. By your definition, though, “discount” should not be used to describe any type of real estate practice, since it implies a lesser cost, and no commissions are set, per se.

    Just an FYI, all Sellers in our company must explicitly sign off on placing their home in the MLS within the listing agreement, and they have the option to utilize the MLS at anytime. They still save thousands of dollars (compared to paying 4, 5, or 5% since all commissions are negotiable, by law).

    I respect your right to an opinion. My opinion is that traditional agencies “screw” Sellers everyday by charging them too much. And, while some Sellers may think we do the same thing (overcharge) based on your above reasoning—most do not.

    By expressing your “opinion” on a mostly-public internet space, you are blatantly MISLEADING consumers based on one specific example of a HelpUSell company/listing in your specific area. You have no right to continue to mislead them by including Assist2Sell within the same classification as HelpUSell if you have no direct experience with them on a national level. It doesn’t appear you have much experience with them on a more local level either since you failed to answer my question as to whether or not you have ever worked with them before.

  35. Im a RE/MAX agent and us full service Realtors dont like hus or assist2 very much. Being that we are in one very over saturated market and at one point we were the 6th fastest growing county in the US, its hard to make money because theres so much on MLS and so little buyers. Sellers know this and know that in order to sell in our market they’re going to have to be very competitive in price. So they hire hus or assist2 to save on commission. What they don’t know is that most of the hus & assist2 agents are using their discount rates to fish for these desperate sellers, so they can later lock them in on ” traditional full service fees “. They tell these seller that they’re going to sell their house for $2995 and save them thousands ( knowing that it wont sell unless its in the MLS ). They slap in a $500 cancellation fee to lock them in for a # of months then approach them at a later time selling them the ” full service package “. This is how they fish for our clients and when I say our clients its because they eventually go full service. In the long run, it would of been cheaper to go with a traditional real estate firm when you consider the time they wasted before being up sold ( i dont know about you, but my time is worth money; on or off the clock ).

    -Nick

  36. Greg,

    1. The $3995 is all that they pay if another agent sells the home. They do not have to pay a co-op fee.
    2. For homes priced less than $150,000, our flat fee is less. We make sure everyone “saves money”. You must not have read our disclaimers.
    3. No comments on blog because our web hosting plan won’t allow it. People are encouraged to email or call with comments or concerns. I do have another blog: http://www.bigbadv.newsvine.com that has all my articles posted that does accept comments.
    4. The owner of the company was ranked as the #1 agent in closed sales transactions during 2002 and 2004. I was number 13, the other listing agent was number 17. Each year, we are within the top 5% for closed sales. I guess by your definition, I am worth a lot more than what I charge, but I am OK with that.

    Again, get your facts straight.

    Nick, in most cases I am the 3rd or 4th agent my clients hire to sell their home. After working with our company, they will never go with a traditional agent again. Our service meets or exceeds theirs, and we cost less, on average. You may hate A2S or HUS all you want because you think they are “stealing” your listings, but good agents–and by good, I mean top agents–have no problems working with us. It is the bottom-feeders and less successful agents who whine and complain that we are hurting their business. Maybe you should consider joining one of their offices. Of course, it is a different mind-set to adapt to, but once you do, you will probably make MORE money than the average agent makes in your office.

    During our high season, my commission checks have been as high as $30,000 for one month (and I was only 21 and still in college). Yes, I probably had to work a little harder to make that money since my volume of business is larger, but I’d rather close 8-10 deals a month instead of just one or two. There is more stability in income that way.

  37. Vanessa- your numbers don’t add up. If someone sells a home for $150,000 and you place them on the MLS and pay a co-broker commission of 3% ($4500) you would be losing money.

    If you offered a commission of even 2% (which would hurt the seller’s chances of selling) you would only make $995 and if you are offering “full service” as you claim, then you are spending almost all of that in marketing, and you would not be making any money.

    And I am sure you have some brokerage costs associated with doing business. If you work in an office there is a lease or mortgage payment, paper, electricity, and a staff… these are all expenses that must be paid.

    So educate me…

    I am a seller with a $155,000 home to sell. How do your fees and marketing work- what are my options if I list with A2S ?

  38. Greg, our business model is based on volume, not commission per sale.

    Why do you think only giving out a 2% hurts a Seller’s chance of selling? 78%+ of Buyers find homes they want to see on the internet. Even those who are working with agents are receiving email updates that do not disclose the agent’s commission and are doing more and more of the “searching” for homes on their own. Agents no longer hold information under lock and key, as they did in the past. Buyers have instant access to ALL homes that meet their needs, regardless of commission fees behind the scene.

    Are you actually insinuating that a buyer-agent would ignore their fiduciary duty to their clients and *not* show them a home based on the commission being offered? That would also violate the Code of Ethics all Realtors must adhere to. Besides, any agent who does not show clients homes because they are not making a 3% commission or more on the sale is MISLEADING, DISHONEST, and should not be in the business. Do you really think a Buyer would NOT question their agent as to why a certain home was not shown to them? Or, even better, call the listing office and see it directly through them? I would hate to think you tell your Sellers that this happens since, to me, it makes me think that 1. you are doing the same thing on the buying side and 2. that this is a common situation, thereby helping to decrease the publics perception of a Realtor even more. (FYI, we do not have a great rep in the industry. Most buyers and sellers think agents are after one thing: to get a commission. You basically spelled out that same sentiment in your above comment to me).

    Also, Greg, while I am not going to go into inside information about “how” we can charge so “little”, I will say that you should educate yourself more regarding how Buyer-agency works.

    You can try to nit-pick and make unsubstantiated claims against my company all you’d like, but you are only proving how valuable we are to the marketplace and the consumer, and confirming my belief that traditional agencies and models are soon to be a thing of the past. The more you provide bogus and unjustified “facts” and examples, the more I am convinced that this business model is the ONLY way to sell real estate.

    Just an FYI, in our market, most homes are priced well above $250,000, so the lower end prices don’t usually come into play, however, our lower-priced Sellers still see significant savings in commission fees compared to paying 4, 5, or 6%.

    Greg, Have you ever “discounted” your commission, or in other terms, negotiated your commission to a lesser amount than you first stated you charged, or normally try to get? If so, you are a discounter. You just do it under the table so that all of your potential clients won’t know how low you went to list one home vs. another. Are you going to deliver the lesser-commission client with the same service and value that you give your typical-commission client? Why not? You say yourself that Sellers get what they pay for. I would expect you will do less for any client who doesn’t pay what you initially wanted up-front.

  39. Pingback: Blue Collar Agents Blog - Help-U-Sell and Assist2Sell - What’s Not To Like?

  40. Vanessa,

    I appreciate your energy and passion.

    I do think there are agents who are less likely to show homes with a 2% commission rather than a 3% commission. That is a harsh and sad reality of life. I do not agree with the practice, but it is there.

    Do you show your buyers every single home for sale when they look? Do you drive them around street by street, making sure you see every For Sale By Owner out there. Do you actively search FSBO websites looking for homes for them, or are you less- incentivized to show homes where you will not make money?

    My guess is that many people, probably including you, want to earn a living and would rather show homes on the MLS where they will be compensated.

    You say,”That would also violate the Code of Ethics all Realtors must adhere to. Besides, any agent who does not show clients homes because they are not making a 3% commission or more on the sale is MISLEADING, DISHONEST, and should not be in the business.”

    And I agree. It should not, and is not always the case.

    Does that mean it doesn’t happen? Of course not…

    And I am sure you have reasons for charging $3995 instead of charging $99 like some agents do in my area. Maybe your services are worth more than $99 or maybe you have decided that you can maintain a profitable business charging that fee but only charging $99 would not be enough, even though your business is based on volume and not price.

    I list homes at the rate I feel I am worth. As I said- my opinion about any company or agent has nothing to do with the commission rate they are charging. It has to do with business practices.

    Again, my post, and my opinion is not about commission rate, it is about business practices.

    I understand you don’t like my post. I will tell you that I have edited my post, including the title of it, to be more sensitive.

    I support you having your business and I think it is good that buyers and sellers have the choices they do when selecting a real estate professional to represent them.

    And I understand you and I may not agree about some things and that’s not a bad thing. The dialogue helps people understand choices and allows us to see our differences.

    Good luck to you in 2007.

  41. Same to you–I think your website is great, btw.

  42. Most agents have no idea how Help-U-Sell works. They have many ideas, most of which are wrong. I have owned my Help-U-Sell office for 3 years, and have sold 73% of my lsitings without the MLS. Thats reason enough for competitors from coast to coast to be intimidated and uneasy. It doesnt take much for any agent at any company, if a house is priced properly, to place a house in the MLS and let hundreds of other local agents show the home, sell the home. Where is the skill there, having 95% of the time an agent other than the lister sell the listing? When I sell my own listing, I don’t get DOUBLE like most traditional agents. As for anonymous agents who take pot shots at our system (on this blog), that speaks for itself too. They’re probably the same people who steal my for sale directional signs in the middle of the night. I love helping hundreds of clients per year, saving them money, while doing a great job.

  43. Mike,

    If you sell over 70% of your own listings then you are obviously doing something right. I’ve never heard of such a high rate of personal listings sold by an agent.

    I have no criticism of anyone’s commission rate. People will charge what they feel that they are worth and what it takes them to run their business. And whether an agent has a commission rate of 8% or $99- we all have our own reasons for it.

    I do not subscribe to the philosophy that just because someone charges less commission they must do less, just as I do not believe that charging less means you are worth anything at all. There are agents who charge very low rates and are not worth what they charge, and there are some agents who charge high rates and are worth every penny to their clients.

    It comes down to what value the client feels they receive.

  44. There is room in the industry for different models and different rates.

    Mike, I’m sure that many of the brokers who only charge $99 to sell a house would feel the same way toward your business model.

    Commission rate does not equate value.

  45. Bravo for them and for you for pointing that all out. Now, get in your car, go to their local office, get the broker of record to answer your questions, order your virtual tour and your post sign, get them to print you an extra 100 flyers, change the Talking House message, alter the scrolling text on their Realtor.com showcase ad, while they’re at it, have them make your house a feature home on Realtor.com, engage the broker in a 45 minute conultation about the changing market conditions, get a full disclosure of feedback from the past several showings, and oh, can you get them tto give you an extra 3 directional for sale signs leading buyers to the home?? By the way, that picture with the snow on the ground- can they replace that wnow that the snow has metled, give me a lockbox for broker showings, WAIT….THEY DON’T HAVE A LOCAL OFFICE OR DO THOSE THINGS…NEVERMIND. ARE THEY EVEN REALTORS? LICENSED? Do they have a track record of local expertise? Just what I thought. So, Greg, here’s what I believe: it’s usually not necessary to pay 5% or 6% to get a home sold, but $99-$399 gets you none of the above. But to get thorough, professional representation, four hundred bucks gets you a “do it yourself kit”. At Help-U-Sell, I professionally guide my seller every step of the way, and much to the chagrin of my family, 7 days a week.

  46. Greg:
    I remember when I thought I knew everything. I bow down to you. You know it all.
    I never said I had the biggest, best, lowest, highest, most, of anything. All I said is that your pompous arrogant post here is erroneous. I am independently owned and operated . What happens at HUS in Montana may be different than here in New Jersey. You were the one who attacked our model. You were the one who made us defend ourselves from your slanderous, erroneous babble. Isn’t your entire post a violation of the National Association of Realtors code of ethics? Are you aware of this? Perhaps I should send them a copy.
    You go out of your way to knock my model, then when I defend it, you knock my opinions. Your company name should be changed to Blue Blowhard. You are indeed a blowhard.
    Now for the record: I know the costs of things, and I know what you can get for four hundred bucks. Don’t go telling me they do more for four hundred dollars than I do for my fee. Don’t insult my intelligence.
    It’s slanderous.

  47. I don’t see how Greg is making slanderous attacks I think he is simply stating his opinion. I interviewed an agent from HelpUSell and they had the same demeanor as Mike Elliott, basically that every other brokerage was a rip off and if I didn’t list with her than I was stupid or something. Well, I listed with an agent from a different company and they did a fantastic job for me. It was worth it for me to pay for the service I wanted and to work with an agent who I felt was more professional.

  48. Greetings to all,
    I have been in the real estate business for over 21 years.
    I spent the better part of 2 years looking into various real estate franchises. I chose Assist-2-Sell because of their no nonsense, straight up approach. WE ARE FULL SERVICE! Period!! The only thing I do diffreent now from what I have done in the previous 20 years is NOT charge 5 or 6%. Think about it. IF your honest about it, you have to admit our job in many ways has gotten easier. However, due to home values rising, real estate agents have gotten a big fat pay raise. In reality (forgive the pun), agents have turned into equity partners. “The more valuable a home becomes, the bigger the agents paycheck” WHY?
    Too many times I have seen the agent get a bigger check at closing then the seller did.
    It’s the seller who has made all the mortgage payments, paid for repairs, regular maintenance and property taxes.
    There is not one company that can say they do more then we do to get a home sold. We work with many other agents and, once they ‘got it’, we are fully accepted and respected by our fellow Realtors. I have thank you letters that attest to this fact.
    Some agents have stooped to making up stories and lie about us in order to compete, instead of just simply being competative with pricing. But that’s OK. It works to my advantage. They end up looking bad once the truth is known.
    Sorry folks, the gravy train is coming to a stop. The public, the clients we SERVE, are seeing the light.
    I love what we’re doing and so do our clients.

  49. Realtors are service providers and charge what they are worth for the service they offer, as all service providers do. People who act high and mighty because the price they charge is less have no integrity, in my opinion.

    My guess is most of the people who are saying how all the other brokers are over-charging were each at other brokerages once and tried to charge a higher commission but could not earn it or justify it. So then why did they charge it back then?

    Price is simply another marketing strategy. Some compete on price, some on service, some of integrity, some on service after the work is done.

    Greg makes a good point- if it were all about price- then you are over-charging compared to brokers who charge $399.

    It is no different in my profession- some want to compete only on price, but the service they offer is not the same. I do not compete on price. My customers want the best service and they refer friends to me because of my integrity and the work I perform.

  50. Competeing on price only is a sure fire way to going out of business. We are above most and at least on par with any other company in regard to service. With no integrity I don’t believe you’ll last long either.
    The company that only charges $399 is not spending any money on advertising. We spend at least that much if not much more, per listing. So that argument, like all others, is flawed, to say the least.
    I love it when the only thing folks can say are untrue, periphial things that have nothing to do with the real world or the subject at hand. Things like “high and mighty” and “no integrity”. It proves my point. When people have nothing true to say or no valid argument, they make things up and go on the attack.
    We compete on price, service, integrity, and service after the work is done.
    It makes me laugh to think that some think that the more they charge the better they must be. Would you pay $500.00 an hour for a plumber when you can get the exact same service for $125.00 per hour? Or would you buy into the argument that “I charge more therefore I must be better.”?
    Thanks for the laugh. I wish you great success.

  51. Jim Petracht:

    I spent 19 successful years in traditional brokerage, and bought my Help-U-Sell franchise because consumers are begging for something different. I get 70%+ of my business referred to me because people love us.

    Assist 2 Sell Jim:

    Well Said!

  52. And a hush fell over the room……..
    C’mon guys and gals !! Don’t quit now!
    I love a good healthy debate. It’s great stimulation for the brain….

  53. …And a hush fell over the room…..
    C’mon guys and gals!! Don’t give up now!!!
    I love a good healthy debate. It’s good stimulation for the brain… (And I need all the brain strain I can get)
    Look I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, however, I firmly believe the Real Estate business, as we know it, is changing. Assist-2-Sell’s phenominal success speaks to this truth. I heard of another well known, conventional franchise that is currently trying to do the same thing we are.
    I saw the wind change and just wanted to be on the forfront.
    The gravy train may have come to a stop, but a new train is ready to take off…. ALLLLLL ABOARD !!!!

  54. oops….sorry to be redundant…. I didn’t think the first one got sent…… I got a server error message….
    By the way…
    GREAT blog Greg!!!! Well laid out and easy to follow….

  55. Thanks Jim.

    If you want to keep the conversation going, what is your opinion about the debate. Obviously you are with Assist2Sell so you probably have some experiences to share…

  56. The nice thing about the passionate debate is we all seem to really believe in what we do. And if we didn’t then we shouldnt be doing it.

  57. mmmm My opinion about the debate? Would that be like debating the debate???
    Welllllllll, I guess it would be that so long as name calling is kept out of it, it’s a great thing. I have many, many friends in the business that are with other companies that thought I was a traitor when I first bought into A2S. In fact, I was on the board of directors for our local MLS. (Imagaine how fun that day was when I made the announcment),
    Anyway,
    Now that they “get it”, I’m their friend again. They have all gotten paid selling our non-MLS listings and see that we really are full service. That seems to be that biggest misconception, that we are not full service. We are.
    I too am against limited service companies. I feel those folks my be setting up their “clients” for a world of hurt.
    It, (A2S), is a relatively new concept and us ‘ol timers need to adjust. When I first got into the biz, I was happier then a pig in mud on a hot summer day with a $1,200, after the split, check. Now that same house brings an agent a $6,250, after the split, check. And their not running around showing 20-50 houses like they used to do. mmmmmm
    Mary and Lyle, the founders of A2S, and I’m not just saying this, are absolutely 2 of the finest and foreward thinking people that I have had the pleasure of meeting. They saw this coming years and years ago. I guess the proof is in the puddin’
    Make a great week folks, the pleasure has been all yours…
    I MEAN MINE !!!! :)
    I’ll be looking for ya and ….
    I’ll keep the light on.
    Jim

  58. Jim:

    Offering sellers options is where it’s at. It seems to me that you palce all of your properties in teh MLS–with no OPTION for the seller to stay out. Many sellers call me here at Help-U-Sell because they dont want MLs–they dont want to be forced into paying higher fees just because the buyer driving by the signs works with a part-time agent at the State of New Jersey or wherever. CONSUMER choice is where it’s at. if you are only “saving” 33% of your sellers the MLS fee, then you’re clearly missing the boat. being the friend of my fellow real estate broker is not my mission. being the advocate for the consumer is. And, YES, there are many ways to serve the clinet other than FORCING them in the MLS.

  59. Hi Mike,
    Sorry, but you have at allllllllll wrong.
    EXCEPT, it is all about CONSUMER choice. Which we give.
    The CONSUMER is my boss.
    We do not FORCE anyone into the MLS.
    We have many.many, many clients. Some are in the MLS and some are not. It’s the CONSUMERS choice.
    Being a friend of my fellow real estate broker is not my mission either. But it is on my to-do list. Some do make it difficult. But that’s the way it’s been for over 20 years. Even when I worked for C-21……… People are people no matter what career you’re into. God made us all different for a reason…..
    Now, if He would only have made them all like me…….
    Naw,,,,scratch that idea…. Variety is good……
    Sorry gotta go….. Listing another property…..
    Got a buyer for the Whatcom County area???

  60. Jim:

    It’s funny, you say on one hand that agents don’t dislike you because they CAN get paid on all of your listings, but on the other hand, sellers dig your program because they dont have to pay another broker. You speak with forked tongue.

  61. Mike,
    I’m trying my best to be tolerent. Now you’re accusing me of lying. I am not.
    You really have no idea what you’re talking about.
    Have you ever heard the saying:
    It’s best to keep your mouth closed and let people think you’re an idot then it is to open it and remove all doubt?
    Go ahead and memorize this saying. You really need to take it to heart.
    I don’t mind a thought provoking discussion. But you’re just provoking and have no real thoughts.
    Unless your next tirade starts out with an apology, my discussion with you is finished.
    I wish you well.
    (Greg, I’m sorry that it fell to this level.)

  62. Jim:

    A2S / Discounting is a relatively NEW concept? LOL. I just caught that. You’re a riot. Also funny how ASSIST-2-Sell
    copied the Help-U-Sell name. Couldnt they be more creative?

  63. Greg,
    How is the market in your area? We’ve seen a slow down but not at all like was foretold. I have noticed the phone ringing more, which is kind of a de-facto thermometer.
    I live up in the NW corner of Washington State. I was talking with an agent from Windermere and they have seen the same thing.
    If the interest rates stay low, maybe we’ll end up with more buyers in the market since prices have softened, or as “they” say, ‘corrected’
    Jim

  64. Jim,

    The Salt Lake market is strong, all three offers I got accepted last week were in multiple counter situations. They were all under $300,000, which explains part of it.

    Homes that are priced well are selling fast. Homes that are priced high are taking longer. We have a lot of demand, but a good inventory also.

    This is the best market to be in as far as I’m concerned. Sellers are getting good prices and buyers are buying into a market that is still rising and get them appreciation.

    I thought Washington was pretty strong right now also?

  65. Hi Greg,
    Campared to some markets, we are very strong. Just not where it was last year. I would call this more of a “normal” market. We have people looking at properties for the Winter Olympics. That’s not for another 3 1/2 years. I’m thinking it will get even better.
    We have about the same thing going on. Some buyers and lots of inventory. Which, of course, is great for buyers.

  66. I gotta thank all of you. I am about to put my house in the market and decided to research Assist2sell and HUS today before I met with anyone. From what I gather, it seems that if I go with HUS they will charge 6,900 dollars for a $500,000 home here in California, that’s about 1.4%. BUT it seems that if an agent finds the buyer I will pay that 3% plus the 1.4%. It looks like going with the HUS will total up to 4.4% worst case scenario. If the buyer has no agent, than the total fee would be 1.4% (yes that’s including MLS, I called and asked). So I could go with a reputable company and pay 5 to 6% because they claim they can’t go any lower since the umbrella company does not allow anything lower than 5%. hmmmm I can’t decide, it seems that I would get complete service for just .6% I might just end up going with the reputable company. It seems like nickle and dimeing when it comes down to the real numbers.

    HUS can promise that they’ll find a buyer who doesn’t have an agent, they actually quoted “60% of our buyers are with out agents” so that sounds like a really good number.

    But what if the worst scenario did occur, then what? I would have done all this work that as a homeowner I am just not familiar with. I don’t know what to say and what not to say at an Open house. I guess I’ll decide tomorrow. Still trying to do the FSBO stuff for now.
    -Maria

  67. Maria,

    Thank you for the update. If you have time, please let us know what you decide to do and keep us updated as to the progress of your home sale. It would be great to hear from yo uas you go through the process, whichever company you decide to go with.

  68. Maria:

    Most Help-U-Sell offices, like mine, provide training before you do your first open house. Holding an open house, when done properly results for the sale of approximately 70% of my listings. Remember this: The buyer buys the home, you can’t sell it. It’s not a presentation you are making. After the open house, your HUS broker will follow up with you about the results. In my office, our sellers fax us the results Monday morning, then we call ALL buyers for feedback. If a buyer is interested, we either schedule a 2nd showing or take their offer.

    If the buyer “has an agent”, if you decline to pay them, our diilaogue to the buyer is just that. We can handle the rntire process for a fraction of what your “reputable?” company may charge.

    With the “reputable” comapny, there is NO CHANCE for savings.

  69. Mike,

    When a seller lists with HelpUSell- that owner has to do their own open houses?

  70. Hi Mike & Greg,

    Yes, this office of HelpUSell says I have to do my own open houses and the secretary knew nothing of training….Also I have to pay $250 dollars- non refundable as a deposit, up front. They said if the house sells with them they will rebate me the money but if not, they keep the $250. It’s only $250 but it says no up front fees everywhere. The flyer says no upfront fees that I got right then and there. But that’s the first thing they asked for…can’t say that didn’t make my husband and I feel a little weird.

  71. Greg:

    Our sellers do not have to do their own open houses (or show their own home). I have licensed staff to provide that service if needed. For a slightly higher fee, we can do their open houses for them. Most of our sellers expect and prefer to show and do open houses. Some of my sellers are unable to do them due to health-schedule issues.

    Mary:

    Talk directly with the owner- I am sure he / she provides guidance and training in order to make you comfortable. If their upfront fee was the FIRST thing they asked for, I would feel weird too.

  72. Hi Mike, the owner just called me and said yes, they will council us as to the various conversations we might have during the open house. We’ll see what happens, I can’t wait to sell this house!

  73. I dont know if anyone is still following this blog. I do find it fascinating that there could be one devoted to a “Why I hate….”. There are so many different business models in use throughout the USA for real estate sales that I am wondering why these 2 were called out. I am in SW WA and in just my area alone, there are over 20 different business models (most local companies), along with the traditional fee brokerage firms.

    I purchased an Assist2Sell in Oct of last year after being with RE/MAX for 3 1/2 years. My first year with RE/MAX, I was Rookie of the Year and have been in the Top 1% of Realtors nationwide every since – not to mentioned ranked in the Top 25 in our area for all real estate agents. Clearly I had success as a traditional fee realtor and that hasnt changed because I have embraced a new business model. I am still the same top agent and my marketing is still the same great program – the only thing that has changed is my fee structure. We have been received very well by the public and our fellow realtors (in part because of my reputation prior to opening the franchise).

    Let us remember that our country is built on free enterprise and the cool thing is that business is infinite in the real estate field. When we stop looking at it as finite, folks will not feel threatened and realize it is okay for each business owner to run their business as they see fit – with this thinking, there doesnt need to be a “Why I hate..”.

    I know that the Assist2Sell I own offers the best marketing and representation available in my marketplace. I wont ask anyone on this forum to defend their customer service so I dont expect to have to do this myself. I know from past experience that there are many RE/MAX agents for example who offer subpar service and representation as is the case with any company I am sure. However, on forums like this one, I never see those folks having to defend themselves and the bad reputation they give our industry.

    It is the feeling of scarcity in the amount of business that drives others to despair different business models. We should all accept that there is more than one way to successfully run a business and be more concerned with the quality of professionals in our industry, regardless of company affiliation. Heres to a great 2007 for all!

  74. Wow, this post has been seriously edited. It barely resembles the original article. Even the title has been changed. I guess having angry “discounters” all over this post helped accomplish that, but I think they real reason it was changed was to paint the author in a better light. I am young, internet savvy, and professional…I would be all of this if I weren’t a real estate agent as well. I have never hired anyone who has talked badly about their competition to do work around the house, my taxes. etc. Instead, I call the company/person who was bad-mouthed and see what they have to say—most of the time, I then hire them instead of the “other guy”.

    I have actually “won” listings by saying one simple line: Even if you choose to work with another company, by sitting down with you today, I am saving you money.

    The Sellers say: How?

    Answer: If you mention me to another agent you may interview from a traditional company, they will most likely do two things: cut their fee to list your home and talk badly about me/my company. Now, if we didn’t work and the bad things they said were true, why would they lower their fee? Why not just let you learn for yourself and offer to list the home after it doesn’t sell with XXX Discount Company? Because we sell 99.6% of our homes at 98% of the asking price on average 30 days less than traditional agencies do. They know we work, they have seen us work, and they know our model is a huge threat to their income. We’ve all heard the old saying “you get what you pay for”, but at Assist2sell you get much more than you pay for.

    Seller: Where do I sign?

  75. Vanessa, that was one of the best commenst / dialogues I have ever seen. Very cool. I am buying lunch.

  76. I am fascinated to watch this debate. I am a home owner that wants to sell his first home in order to pay for the second home I just bought.

    What amazes me is the fact that most of you are quite illiterate actually. I worked hard in school and many of you – regardless of whehter you are are HUS agend or a full whack commission barron – just have a hard time constructing a decent sentence. It has given me new inspiration to buy a book and learn the ropes related to my local laws. I am a marketing manager and I sell products that require far greater complexity in understanding than any of you really could probably grasp and am saddened by the fact that people that profit from the sale of homes, are all escaping a small stake in the nugget we call reality. No I didnt say REALTY.

    God bless and I wish you all a fat commission on that house that your grandmother’s best friend used to occupy.

  77. Eric:
    It’s a blog, not a toast to the Queen.

    By the way, you have a typo (agend) and definitely a run on sentence tucked in the back of your soliloquy.

  78. I have no clue what that rant was for from you Eric, but I hope it wasn’t directed at the discounters—you know, the “good guys”. ; )

  79. When I was selling a house a few years ago I interviewed several agents from different brokerages, including one that I was referred to by a friend. Two of the agents (one was a broker) told me that they were with “discount” brokerages and I would save money by enlisting their services. One of them showed me a beautiful bar graph which proved that his listings sold in an average of something like ten days while the average agent’s listing took around thirty days to sell.

    The values these two agents placed on my home were between $520,000 and $540,000, which I told them I thought was low. You know what one of them told me? He said that buyers don’t care what price I want and he would not take an over-priced listing. The agent I decided to list with (the one referred by my friend) listed my home for $594,000 and we settled with the buyers for $589,000.

    By “saving” with the discount agents I would have lost $50,000 or more. I have no doubt they would have sold my house quickly and used it as an example of a successful sale with the next seller they met with, but I’m sure glad I wasn’t their next “success”.

  80. Bruce J:

    Ahhh, the market of 3 years ago. Yes, crazy times when folks would throw out a crazy prize, then just month(s) later would be shocked to get asking price.

    As for your discount broker = under pricing, I know MANY agents who charge 5-6% who under price just to blow out a listing and look the the hero in the neighborhood. Many agents, including myself, made pricing mistakes in 2004.

    In a stabilized market, pricing becomes much easier, since it is not a wildly moving and changing target.

  81. I have worked in real estate for 5yrs. and I have seen good and bad in all types of companies. It is the agent that makes or breaks your home. If your agent doesn’t know how to price your home correctly your can loose 1. time (if priced to high) 2. money ( if they priced way below market value just to make a quick sale) and 3. RESPECT for that agent. I would alway suggest an interview w/3 agents, have in writting (like a good faith) of what they will do for you and if they don’t do what they promise have it in writing that you can CANCEL. Whether discount or traditional brokerage they can only be good as the work their agents do!
    As for those innovators who want to change the industry, I say why not. Take our code of ethics, it is a living document which is changed as necessary to meet the challenges of new business concepts which has developed during its history. Our real estate industry changes all the time, some things stay constant, others change permanently, and other go back to the way things were.

  82. I’m late to the game but wanted to share something.
    I worked for a board of realtors for 2 years. Near the end of my time there, most brokers did not want HUS to be allowed on the board. This was illegal. As were all the negative statements realtors were “sharing” with their clients about HUS.
    HUS does not “save” people money; nor do they force a seller to take care of all the “business” themselves. It is not legal for any realtor or broker to say they will advertise properties on an MLS and then not do it.
    HUS, in most cases, will cost the client less money in the long run. Yes, the seller has the choice of how much involvement they want in selling their own house – who will hold the open houses, who will field the phone calls, who will fill out the paperwork; each of these cost money for someone to do it.
    If a HUS agent states they will place a listing on the MLS, they must do so or suffer a financial penalty (and business). However, if the client does not want the listing on the MLS – or advertised in any way – this is their choice.
    It is up to the agent – ANY agent – to sell the house at the best possible price. This means the agent must do research and must divulge all available selling tools to the client.
    As a business model, it is a good one.

  83. I was an agent with Help-u-sell in Washington state….I was with them for MAYBE 2 weeks before I woke up and realized this was not where I want to be. I am not a discount agent, why should I work for a discount brokerage?

  84. Hmmmm…it took Bob 2 weeks to figure out that HUS charges a flat fee? Were you heavily medicated during your interview, Bob? Or just asleep?

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  86. Pompous, self-servers. That’s a consumer’s opinion of real estate agents especially the so called “Full Service” agents. It’s time for a reality check. All compensation is up for review and with the cost of real estate where it is, so is the standard 3%. When airline pilots, despite their obvious responsibility in regard to life and death, are now only worth about 40% of what they were making, it’s time for a market adjustment for agent’s commissions as well. Flat fee, or half the commission at most is more the order of the day.

    It could also be easily argued that the present commissions are contributing to the cooling of the market as well. Buyers and sellers are both having a problem with paying the commissions when everyone is taking paycuts and paying more for goods and services.

  87. Vanessa,
    You are so angry. Do you not get enough hugs in a day?

  88. I was googling help u sell base on a friends suggestion/recommendation when I found this website and I was intrigued by the exchange of dialog.

    There is a bottom line here:

    The fact that having a 2% or 0 commission to the buyers agent reduces the likelyhood of that house being “shown” reinforces that the commission business model very needed. It confirms what type of motivation is stimulated by the % formula.

    If nobody gets paid until the close of escrow, then you have the opportunity to make the listing agent (discount or not) perform according to the contract to avoid it being null and void (requires an informed consumer).

    An uninformed or nieve consumer is at risk (won’t happen with compentent, ethical people, but the reality is some business people aren’t) of finding any service dissapointing.

    An agent who is committed to providing good service and MORE importantly building long term repeat clients will perform at their best whether they are getting the whole 6% or whether they are getting nothing.

    I once had a property for sale in a market, listed if with a full service Century 21. The property set for six months without any offers and when the third 60 day renewal expired, they didn’t even call me to relist. In addition, they didn’t call within that six months to discuss adjusting the price or additional marketing strategies.

    I had another agent in that same market and we were involved in a transaction that was frought with delays. She was working her fingers to the bone on this deal, but about two weeks past our closing date, the seller said he was going to cancel the deal unless both agents agreed to take zero commissions. Now mind you my agent’s boss told her NO, “we can’t start letting ourselves be blackmailed like that”, but she knew I really wanted the property and she continued to work JUST AS HARD until the deal closed. She finally ended up splitting $1,000 with the seller’s agent and that went to the brokerage. Needless to say I run back to her whenever I have business in that market AND I refer other clients to her. She still sends me a christmas card every year (3 and counting).

    A person who has done many RE transactions may not need full service, I am an investor and I once sold a property with a 1/2 page contract. In most cases that simply isn’t possible, practical or recommended.

    I could be wrong, but my perception is that objection to the whole business model seems more like defensiveness to an industry threatened with change and uncertainty. At least that how I interpreted the original post.

    If I am selling an investment property out of state, I want (need) a full service agent. If I’m a distressed or desperate seller squeezed for equity, I want (need) something like help u sell, BUT I believe ending up with a bad agent with either model will create equal disaster for the client.

  89. I apologize for all the typos in the above post, I’m not good at typing in a little box. That being said, the third paragraph is unintelligible and should read:

    The fact that having a 2% or 0 commission to the buyers agent reduces the likelyhood of that house being “shown” reinforces that the non-commission business model is very much needed. It confirms what type of motivation is stimulated by the % formula.

  90. Here’s an example;

    I listed a home a little over a week ago. We went over comparables and when we priced it we put it above what any other homes had sold for in the area because we felt it was worth it. That night, before it went on the MLS the next morning, I sent out emails to many agents in the area that I know and do a lot of business in the area, put together some marketing, and made a few phone calls about it.

    There is a home for sale a few doors down that’s been for sale for a while now with Help-U-Sell. I can’t see any information about it because it’s not on the MLS.

    We got the home sold and have a back-up offer waiting if the first one fails, which works well for my sellers, as they have already found the home they want to buy.

    The buyers found the home because of their agent, who found it on the MLS (and received an email from me) and they didn’t even see the one listed with Help-U-Sell, because it is basically FSBO (The sign even says contact owner for appt.).

    The buyer’s agent is someone I’ve worked with before and does good business. Would they have shown my listing among the dozens of other listings if I were not offering a full commission to them? Maybe they would have- but I don’t want to give anyone any reason to not show a listing I have so I always offer a full commission.

    And that’s why my listings MUST go on the MLS, which is so important in selling. Without the MLS I’d be losing all the agents and their buyers and I’d be losing all the top internet sites, which are fed from the MLS.

    So, have the sellers of the Help-U-Sell home actually saved any money? No- they haven’t even sold their home and it’s been over 45 days and that’s a while in this market. I think they are goin to have a difficult time selling because buyers who want to find the “deals” looking at FSBO’s won’t see this home because it’s listed and no buyers working an agent will see it either because it’s not on the MLS or any websites (other than the Help-U-Sell site that noone goes to)

    Seems like everyone wins with my listing. The people buying the home I listed win because they are getting a fabulous home that they love (and wouldn’t have seen if my sellers had listed with Help-U-Sell or had gone FSBO).

    The seller wins by selling for more than they thought they could, the buyer wins by finding the perfect home for them, and I win because I make money and get the job done.

    Just one example, but it illustrates how there are win/win situations for my clients, and sometimes “saving” money isn’t actually saving you anything at all.

  91. Greg:

    Here’s the real question:

    Do you charge double when you sell your own listing vs. when another agent sells it?

  92. Let’s start off and look at what you do? You work for Prudential Real Estate, as traditional as it gets. Yet you charge 6-7% and send a sign to the client and put their home the MLS. Help-U-Sell is happy to put any home on the MLS, our clients have a choice!
    As we are all members of the same board as you and are members of the NAR, and abide by all the rules you do. Our clients, bottom line: WANT TO SAVE MONEY.
    Second, yes marketing we do they can do as a FSBO, it will cost them four times as much as we charge and they pay for it up front if the home sells or not. Our fees are due at closing when the home sells ( Help-U- Sell’s national sales times and yes, in Utah too, are far shorter than the MLS check your data before you open your mouth). We have a proven system with 1000 offices nation wide. There is obviously value in our model. Plus clients have the guidance of a professional Realtor when it comes to the contracts and getting the home sold. Remember it is one thing to market and another to close the deal once a contract is penned.
    Next, as far as web exposure other than the 3 you mention that require you to be on the MLS (remember Seller it’s not free it’s 3% to be on those sites and I am sure you only look at one website when you are searching for a home..ha..ha…) We are on far more sites than you can offer.
    POINT # 4 BUSINES 101: If you have to downplay and talk bad about a competitor and you don’t have enough confidence in your own company to make a sale – get out of the business. Better yet as showing an ounce of your own pride eliminate your post and links regarding this matter off the internet and focus on your own business. Not someone else’s!

    Justin Finn
    Owner/Realtor
    Help-U-Sell Sundance
    Draper UTAH

  93. I find it interesting to read the posts and replies from agents/brokers from “traditional” real estate firms that criticize the HUS model and the supposed way their agents do business. I guarantee you that right now, even as I type this, meetings are being held in the corporate offices of the so-called “mainstream, traditional” real estate corporations about offering their clients something closely resembling what it being offered by the HUS’s and the A2S’s of the world. Coldwell Banker already offers a discounted (God, I hate that word) fee service. And it has nothing to do with how much you think you are worth as a realtor or how much more you offer than the realtor down the street. Home sellers are getting fed up with the exorbitant commissions charged to sell their homes and they are looking for high-quality, lower-priced alternatives. And guess what…we give it to them.

    • Denny,

      We have been trying to decide whether to list with an agent or go an alternative direction. You hit the nail on the head. It has everything to do with 6-8% shared commission on a property that they haven’t put years of sweat, money, taxes, interests, etc. in; in addition to the “bubble” bursting. We can’t afford to pay that commission. #2-Why are real estate agents still making that % commission–the real estate market bubble bursted why hasn’t reality set in for them. We had friends put their $350,000 home on the market. It sold in 3 days. The listing and selling agent walked away with a big, fat paychecks that were bigger than what our friends, who owned and made the improvements on the house, walked away with. I’m sorry….but my real estate investment is not for their retirement it is suppose to be for mine. We are in Oregon and have interviewed a couple of real estate agents that have quoted 6% commission on a $270,000 home. That is a whopping $14,200. It is hard not to look at the possibility of selling it for $3000 and keeping $9200 for our retirement. I do not understand why there are people out there that do not “get it.”

  94. I agree with Denny!

  95. Agreed! Anyone notice the recent email update from NAR about how to “unbundle your services” and offer a menu of low cost alternatives to the traditional plan to sell a home? Very interesting—and you know that NAR would not be encouraging the practice if it wasn’t already in existence in some form or another in most real estate companies (who want to survive the next decade).

  96. This a has been quite a long running discussion. I’ve used Help-U-Sell and I too hope it is the model of the future. I can totally understand why traditional agents criticize it–if something challanged the way I make a living, I would be critical too.

    But the original post starting this discussion is not fair. It makes it sound like Help-U-Sell does not list properties on the MLS. It DOES. When I used them, they plainly set explained that they have a MLS program and a non-MLS program. It was my choice which one to use. The criticims set forth in this discussion should actually be geared to using the non-MLS program, not Help-U-Sell at large.

    The only difference between using Help-U-Sell’s MLS program and a “full service” agency is that is that I pay Help-U-Sell a set fee as my agent instead of a percentage commission of the sales price. I alos did ny own open houses. For me, the fee was less than half the 2.5-3% commission I would have had to pay a “regular” agent.

    My only fear in using them was that unethical agents representing buyers would not show their clients my home because they did not want their buyers to be exposed to Help-U-Sell and learn about them for future transactions. I strongly suspects that happens, but you cannot base your home selling decisions on the unethical behavior of others. The only way to fight this is for more and more sellers to use the set fee model.

  97. Those of you that are using your real first and last name should probably consider the fact that your customers – not to mention potential employers – can easily Google your names and see you behaving like gradeschoolers. You should also consider switching to a career that doesn’t foster this kind of scrappy argument.

  98. We are having the worst time with our local Assist2Sell office in Everett, WA. $1,000 Cancellation fee? Who does that? It should not even be legal. Why isn’t this advertised or mentioned when the contract is signed? The “no hidden fees” line is really a joke. What if we cannot sell our home anymore? Why should I be forced to keep it on the market? It’s outrageous. Not only did they not show us the two offers we had on the house, but only one, the client they brought in ended up not qualifying, which is costing us a lot of money. We went for the MLS listing, but they did not keep it up until closing. We have to start from scratch. How can you still do business with an agent you don’t trust anymore? I just cannot believe this. We and our friends will definitely know better next time.

  99. Sabina, you should consult an attorney ASAP because, if what you are saying is true, their failure to show your home and removal of your listing from the MLS may constitute breach of contract, enabling you to get out of the $1000 fee. Additionally, check your paperwork – if that fee is not disclosed anywhere (read the fine print) you should simply not pay it because nowhere did you sign up for it. It is unlikely they would sue you for the fee anyway. We don’t have an Assist2Sell anywhere near us but, from everything I’ve read in this blog, I wouldn’t go near one if we did. Their agents are defensive and their business practices seem at the very least suspect.

  100. Why do have the feeling there is more to THAT story? (I am not an A2S broker). In my experience, the grander the story about the agent, the less reliable the seller is. I have a very difficult time thinking this stuff is true. IU have had selelrs say to me ” we didnt have 2/3 offers.” The I re-email them the offer, which I do as practice, and they say “Oh, I didn’t count THTA one”. That one was LOW. Lmao. People are amazing.

  101. Well, quite an interesting Forum!
    I feel that people today demand value for their hard earned dollars, I also have witnessed commission norms drop from 7 to 6 to 5% as an average fee. What will the future bring? If your honest with yourself, you know the rates will drop even more in the years to come. Are we all going to have to discount our commissions? Do we do it now? Would we do it? I’m sure each of us as realtors would do what it takes to get the sale and beat out our competition!
    I think that all the bad experiences had with the HUS or A2S models can and do happen everyday with every major company. The key there is good management and training of agents. So, is the model bad? I don’t think it is. I do think that we all could incorporate the good and bad rates/procedures/methods into our own salespresentations. If these companies had limited from agents competing not complaining, their model would not attract so many.
    I used to run a large sucessful independant service company, eventually, however, I could not compete with the discount franchises offering maybe not as good service, but offering slick marketing and cheaper prices. I got out of the business after a decade of beating my head against the wall. I submit to everyone here on this blog that the EXACT SAME THING IS HAPPENING NOW in real estate!
    People of the Y generation are DEMANDING pay for service type models, everything else is going the way of the dinasoar. The thing is, you HAVE to change your way of thinking! Money will still be made, you’ll have to work harder and smarter for it.
    Don’t bang your head against the wall, change your thinking process by changing your sales process and you will not be left as a fossil.

  102. We live in a neighborhood where there are a ton of houses for sale and inventory isn’t moving very fast. The only two houses that have sold recently were Help-U-Sell listings. Both were in the MLS. Because we may sell our house soon, I walked over to talk to the sellers before they moved and both were very pleased with their decision to retain Help-U-Sell. I will probably use them as well.

  103. Seems to me that that better products go for more money. Basic economics. I would never use one of these agencies myself because they alway s struck me as fairly sleazy, like a check-cashing place on a city corner – any company who uses the dollar sign in advertisements (Assist2Sell’s logo is something like Service with $avings) is not a classy place.

    But, to be fair, maybe these companies serve a purpose for people who can’t afford better quality. Since these companies live by volume and each agent must support a higher workload to make the same money as a traditional agent, unless the U2S and A2S agents are superagents who magically do more than other agents, they have to be cutting corners on each individual client. There aren’t enough hours in the day, otherwise.

    My thought is, if you have to shop discount, you should. But if you have the money to shop at Bloomingdale’s, why go to Wal-Mart?

  104. Help-U-Sell is a different business model. Some of our sellers like doing things to help themselves, instead of waiting for an agent to do it. (like hold an open house)

    There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING a ReMax, Coldwell Banker, or Prudential agent does, or can do, which I do not. It’s that simple.

    The problem is our name suggests that we don’t do so. Maybe some day we will change the name. If it makes you feel, better, I will charge you more.

  105. Eric:

    One of the great things about the web is that people can make strong comments anonymously. People with guts can use their real name. Folks with guts, strong beliefs and confidence start their own blogs. Thank God for Thomas Paine.

  106. This post sure has been going on for a while…but I thought I would put my opinion in anyways.

    I practiced real estate for a couple of years before moving across the country. I wanted to comment on the commission and how I feel about it both as an agent and recently a buyer.

    First of all, a seller’s agent does not sell the house. They do everything they can, hopefully, to get it out to the buyers and buyer’s agents through ads, MLS, etc., but ultimately, they are not out there looking for buyers for that specific house. Even when doing open houses, they are typically more interested in getting buyers for other properties than selling the house they are representing.
    This isn’t exactly a bad thing, but just something that most sellers don’t realize. When I had sellers, I told them that we could do an open house, but it typically doesn’t sell that particular property. This way, they knew if it was worth it to have people trampling through their house.

    Don’t get me wrong, selling agents do a lot for their sellers if they are good agents. But being a buyer’s agent and also a buyer myself, it is a hec of a lot harder to represent your clients on that side than on the sellers side. Being a new agent, I also worked my butt off to make sure my buyer knew every house that was out there through the MLS, FSBO’s, newspapers, huds and any other thing I could think of that might fit their needs. I would call them when I saw something and was always available to take their call if they came across something. I would get them to a property most of the time that day if need be and never hesitated to make sure they knew I was there for them. Due to financial circumstances, and family changes, I ended up working with one of my buyers for a total of 6 months. After the closing of their home, I in turn made a total of $3000. While this may seem like a lot, is it really to be at your clients beck and call for 6 months of work?

    On the flip side, when I would list the house, I would be just as attentive to my clients; however, you are dealing with one home on the market taking in consideration only the comps in the neighborhood. If you are a lazy agent, which there are a lot of them as we all know, in a good market, you can sit on the house and just wait for the buyer’s agent to bring along a client. The selling process, atleast in my opinion, is a lot more clear cut and dry than the buying process. I say this based on my work and my experience as a client.

    So when I would list a house, I wanted to pay the buyers agent more than I would get. If it wasn’t for them looking and getting the information out to their buyer, then the house would still be sitting there unsold. I am more likely to reduce my commission in order to get the traffic through the house by offering the buyer’s side more. Also, I would expect to be paid for my work as a buyer’s agent. It is hard work!!! Many homeowners don’t understand what it takes to find someone something they like. It is more than looking at “pretty” houses. Suddenly, while we aren’t supposed to be, we end up playing the part of inspectors, lenders, and many other different roles. We are the ones diligently looking for the signs, listings, and best deal for our buyers.

    When we bought our house recently, it was a FSBO, and the commission for our agent ended up coming out of our pocket. The seller thought they had “sold” the house when in fact they put a sign in the front yard. Our agent also, against his better judgment, ended up helping the sellers in a lot of different areas since they weren’t that educated in the home selling process. I couldn’t even fathom the thought of him doing all that work and coming out empty handed.

    All in all, if you are a homeowner, your representation is VERY important, but you have to think about the other side too. Without buyers, your agent does absolutely no good. It is just food for thought, but before you list your house, you need to think about who is really selling it in the first place.

  107. In response to Karen:
    1. You are an agent who could not make it in the industry, yet giving advice. Why? Your isolated story is one of many different outomes. I am not trying to be rude, but to point out that your experience in the industry didnt advance your experience.
    2. If a home is not in the MLS and a buyer “finds” it online, or at an open house, can the buyer and seller determine a better way to allocate the $20k in commissions?
    3. You are giving us advice, but yet paid your buyer agent after you found a FSBO? Why? If you know what the process is and what to do, and can give advice , why did you just not order title on your own, gte your loan, inspections, then settle?
    4. At Help-U-Sell I have sold hundreds of homes as a dual agent, and 95% of those buyers (who were forced to buy thru me) in turn hire me to sell their home when they sell, because it was a good experience.
    5. Open houses do sell homes. But when they are in the MLS, the buyer runs back to their agent, makes a 2nd appt for a day or week from then, then buys it. I know this, because I have sold hundreds of homes from open houses. If a FSBO or HUS client holds the open house, the buyer is instructed that if they insist on using their agent, with big fees to be paid, the seller becomes less negotiable.

    Too many chefs in the kitchen. How many are needed? It depends on the house, the price and the timing.

  108. Mike,
    First of all, it was not a matter of me not making it in the industry. I moved across the country and knew nothing about the city I moved to. I thought it wouldn’t be smart of me to jump right into the real estate market when I didn’t even know what the market was like. In fact, I had a closing on a house the day before I left town.

    Second, our agent found the FSBO. Are you saying that I should have just dropped him after he worked months with us and we should have just dealt directly with the buyer? That would be rude, inconsiderate, and completely against any moral code one would follow. We went with an agent in the first place because A) we didn’t know the city B) We both have demanding jobs that take up most of our day; and C) I don’t have access to the MLS and in a tight market we were in within our price range, we needed to know what was out there when it came up.
    Also, buyers “run” back to their agents because they want representation. They want someone that is on their side. Even if you are practicing dual agency, if you start on the sellers side, there is still loyalty there. Are you saying that you actually tell potential buyers to drop their agent so they will have more negotiating room with the sellers? How would you like it if someone did that to you?

    Last, don’t say you aren’t trying to be rude because you know you are and you are meaning to. Your attitude doesn’t do much for you and they way people feel about your company. If you are in an industry where your clients are your number one concern, then maybe you should take some lessons on kindness and humility. Maybe if you want to sell your company as something good on this post, you should show people that good and decent agents come from it. You just don’t do a good job of putting yourself or your company in a good light with your attitude.

  109. Karen:
    Your comments in your original post speak volumes about you. Most agents do not “take buyers from that listing to sell other homes”. Quite honestly, there is a big difference btwn an agent who sticks a house in the MLs and relies upon the MLS 80% of the time, versus someone like myself who gives seller options, AND buyers options. If a buyer’s agent is so good, then his client would not mind signing a BAA with them, then they cannot leave him. But if his service were so good, he wouldnt need the BAA (Buyer agency agreement).

    Consumers demans choices and options, and I feel that we can invest their 20k better than you. Even in your case, you bought a FSBO. Think about it. I am so straightforward because we are put on the spot every single day with trad agent bashing the daylights out of our model. Even the DOJ is in the act, as they seem to feel the consumer is not getting enough competitive options.

    Greg: I am surprised you have not commented on the DOJ vs. NJAR issues of anti trust.

  110. Hi, I wonder how much of the success of HUS and A2S and others has to do with the market conditions?….Some of these markets mentioned in above posts sound like they are doing MUCH better than the norm nationally.

    As I write this its July 9, 2007 and I was just told my a Remax agent (saturday) that the market in Chicago is DEAD, I mean in ALL price ranges. No exceptions. He said nothing is selling, even the lower priced (under $200,000) he said due to tightening of Subprime rules is not selling. …so, not too encouraging.

    I’ve only had my place for sale for a week FSBO, and live walking distance to a HUS office. (also I just found a A2S 2 towns over) I had planned on talking to HUS due to the convenience, perceived cost saving etc. I’ve sold through realtors in the past and on own – have no prejudice one way or the other. EXCEPT, since I’ve only owned this home 2 years, I will be taking a loss, so I’d like to mitigate it as much as possible.

    There’s a lot of experience evident on this message board, so I’m open to suggestions and reasons. I guess I’m asking, “what would you do?” Thanks you for sharing. BruceR

  111. Bruce:

    Meet 3 brokers, with HUS being 1 of them, and trust your instincts. One thing that gets lost in the shuffle with HUS is that when they sell your listing “in-house”, their fee is still usually less than half of most others. Make sure your agent knows your neighborhood. I would never list with someone who was spreading the word that the market is “dead”. Can you imaging what they’re saying to your buyers? I’m not sure what dead even means, have them quantify sales in your town versus # of sales YTD for last year, prior years etc.

  112. Bruce,

    Do a short sale—or try to. Don’t list with an agent who has no experience working these kind of transactions. Ask to see proof. Most Assist2Sells and HelpUSells are experts at dealing with the kind of situation you are in and can guide you through it. I also wrote a VERY brief guide to short sales on my company’s blog that can be accessed via our website link above.

    Good luck!

  113. Thanks Mike and Vanessa — since my post I did meet with 2 agents and about to interview a third. The HUS agent/owner was excellent. He knows the like properties, since they are in his back yard and has 2 basic models sales models he felt would apply to me.

    ONE, would be him and ME selling it: total fee is $2495. The other option would be to ADD the MLS for an additional 2.5%. He recommends adding mls since the percentage he has been able to sell in this “buyers market” has been low. He never said exactly, but did say “if all his client sellers did as instructed (weekly open houses, house staging etc, getting him prospect names for follow-up etc) his HUS office would probably be selling 50% of their own listings!

    ….unfortunately, that is NOT happening, and I got the feeling the percentage was substantially lower. Eevn with the close proximity to my house, I felt it woudl take the MLS to stand a chance of selling in this present market here.

    The more traditional agent I met charges “2.5% to list and 2.5% is what you should be paying the selling agent at a minimum”, she said. So, 5% total, which would be slightly more than the HUS plan with MLS. Also a very expereienced agent, great rapport, and has a positive ‘upbeat’ attitude about the market, imo.

    The “nothing is selling” agent I mentioned above would not be someone I’d list with anyways after how he comes across in general. I even did some research and found he has only had 3 listings this year total, NONE of which have sold! (he also appears to be part-time)

    I was also advised by a neighbor to look into a local company that will put the house on the MLS for $250, but all other marketing is my responsibility — and I would be paying out 2.5% to a buyers agent.

    Vanessa, since I am NOT behind in payments, I don;t believe a shortsale is doable here. Also, I did call the A2S office a few towns over to compare ‘Discounters’. They charge $2995 to market it, but at least by phone the agent admitted only 1 out of ten was currently selling under that model. She strongly suggested adding MLS (2.5% to buyers agent) and when I added it all up it was within $1500 of the traditional agent. (House is comped at $180,000 approx – which is what I paid for it)

    Oh, and I also spoke to an very old established company by phone that charges 6% ($10,800) and pays out 3% to co-op broker. They do everything: signs, open houses, extensive ads, tours, sales sheets, etc.

    So, I have a bit more research to do. I will say anyone who thinks “all realty companies charge 6 or 7%” has not really looked at the current landscape today. Bad market not withstanding, there are a lot of choices today, imo. Thanks.

  114. I am currently in a contract with Assist2Sell for 6 months and I am extremely unhappy. I feel I was “fooled” with the $2995 flat rate since this does not include MLS. I am not listed with MLS and we are not getting anywhere. I had one buyer (they happened to have drove by our house and saw the sign) look at our home but I had to call my agent 4-5 times to ask about the buyer and never got a call back from him. Finally the receptionist called me back and said that they left a message with the buyer but have not heard back from them. I have been told that I can list on MLS for around $100 and put in my ad that I will pay a 2.5% commission to an agent that sells my home. I really want to do this but how do I get out of my agreement with Assist2Sell? Am I stuck until December?

  115. Personally, I suggest you meet with your agent face to face and discuss: 1. the slow activity. 2. your price. 3. the MLS. 4. why you feel deceived. 5. if open houses can help you. I would start there.

  116. If I can get him to call me back I will gladly speak with him about the items you listed. I chose to go with Assist2Sell because we cannot afford to pay the high commission. If I go on MLS with them I will be paying that anyway. He told me the market was “dead” also when I signed. I see now I should not have signed with him. I am definitely learning the hard way. What if we decide not to sell our home? Would we owe them money?

  117. You probably won’t owe him money if it does not sell. But that’s btwn you and him and your contact. If he doesnt return your calls, get his broker-owner, go to the office, or call their corp Hq’s.

  118. Here in Florida the sales are slow but we cannot make buyers BUY! The homes are there. The secret here at our Assist2sell office is PRICE IT RIGHT..it will sell. So many are trying to sellhomes when the market was at the high and are trying to sell and make a profit..that unfortunately is not going to happen. We have actually chose NOT to list due to homes priced too high too sell. So it is not just to “lock seller sinto a contract”. As realtors, we often forget to understand the buyer’s end. Due to a higher sales volume, we can offer programs that save the sellers $ in commission which also makes it available at the right price for the buyers. A Win Win!!
    It is all about understanding. I personally used a traditional realtor(before I was in the business) to sell my house and dealt directly with the Owner Broker only to get screwed out of $17K in commission. I advertised it, I showed it and I even did the walk thru with the buyers. This is proof that the real estate office is only as good as it’s agents. maybe that is the true difference.

    Vicky

  119. Does anyone think there’s a relationship why there’s never been a single HUS or ATS agent in the top 1,000 agents on the continent? Or that there’s never been a dominating local top producer from any discount brokerage firm in any city across the entire continent? Do you think that it’s because top real estate negotiators don’t align themselves with discount brokerages… or perhaps discount brokerages don’t align themselves with top real estate negotiators?

  120. Wow—so full of information!! I have to say- I too am a Help-U-Sell agent in Gilbert/Tempe Arizona and I love our model!! There is so much for traditional agents to learn about our model and options for our clients!! What is amazing to me is that very few see (agents included) is that you SAVE with HUS and you GET MORE!!
    May I also add that why aren’t those agents stepping up that compromised their commissions (which they claim they never did/do) on listings and buyer sides? Now come on people I received those great postcards that offered such services from big national companies…dare I name a few?
    There is plenty of room on this planet for several real estate models and personally I would love to be the consumer who saves big with our plan!! If you think about it, it’s no different than yours!! Full Service, Big Savings, the experts next door!! Oh by the way…one of the top franchises and over 800 offices nationwide…WE MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT
    I have learned volumes, have saved thousands and delivered full service to my clients! The best part is my realtor friends that have been in the business decades longer than me are calling to inquire of real estate issues!!
    Knowledge is priceless!! I love doing what I do and I hope you do too and you find we respect your models!!
    Multi-Million Dollar Producer in Arizona

  121. Paul: Not sure where you get your wealth of knowledge from, but you’re very wrong. I havent filled a form for “million dollar club” in yrs. Whats the point when I qualify by the end of January? Not sure why you take such a stance, when it’s your model which is as outdated as a leisure suit. On a positive note, I like your white shoes and white belt.

  122. Hmmmm. . . So I want to sell quickly. If I use a realtor, I may be able to sell and break even – but it will be close. Or I could gamble with A2S or HUS and come away with a bit of cash.

    I wish I had a better idea after reading this blog. . .

  123. Lori: Cut the commission, cut the price (appeal to the consumer) and sell it fast! HUS agents are Realtors.

  124. One of the problems in the different business models is that they are portrayed as a full service brokerage just at a lower price. I do not use the word discount broker. Why? Because discount is not bad. Look at Costco, they offer the same product for less money, that is a discount. However limited service brokers are not discounts, they are less service PERIOD. In spite of what they say. It stands to reason if they offered the same service for less money then everyone would use them. Of course in the last two years, there model seemed to be a successful model. Last year a dead agent could sell a home, that track record doesn’t count.

    So my question I ask the so called discounts. Are you really a discount?

  125. Hi all!

    Very interesting information! Thanks!

    Bye

  126. For clarification. There are two sides to a sellers misfortune in blaming A2S and HUS. These are both viable business models and offer a value proposition to the consumer. Take a deeper look and find out why homes are not selling. How about this. Price and Location is what sells homes. As far as being charged a cancellation fee…How about those home sellers who fail to disclose that they are heading into forclosure and misrepresent material facts to a broker? Why should a brokerage spin in circles with no hope of a return on investment when sellers lie..up front? As far as Mr. Paul stating that top producers do not align themselves with discounters, what a myth that is…nice try! I was a top producer, still am and purchased an A2S franchise for one reason. The consumer wants it and the business model is in demand! By the way..Paul..I think you are the guy I ran into at Wal Mart ( a discount store) shopping for white shoes! How Ironic!

  127. Maybe it’s just about perceived value and service.

  128. Obviously there is room for different models in the real estate market. Consumers vote with their actions when they choose to buy & sell. Some will like their experience and some will not. There will always be the room for the volume or discount options and high end services whether we are talking about real estate, grocery stores, shoes stores, autos or the travel industry just to name a few. There will always be good, bad and in between in services, owner’s, agents, clerks etc regardless of options. Regardless of you opinion or preferences of service, you have value to people in your market area. Quit pointing you fingers at the other each other. The other folks aren’t the real reason you’re angry or struggling. If you are confident in your products you don’t need to rip the other guy up to prove you point. Let your services do the talking. So cool down and be the best at what you do, whether a discount Wal-Mart or Nordstrom full service. Both and in between are needed and ok.

    Not everyone wants the same services. I don’t go to McDonalds when I want a nice steak dinner. We live in a free country so your opinion doesn’t count if you disagree with my choice of what, when or where I choose to eat. The same should apply to real estate services. Incompetent people need to be reported to their MLS and or Realtor association when applicable and or state licensing department. We are licensed to protect the people we serve. We owe them & each other nothing less.

    I don’t believe that the differences in real estate services are exactly the same as the choice between horse & buggies and those dang automobiles. However, when folks started buying automobiles over horses because they wanted something they thought was an improvement on the previous mode of transportation. The need for carriages and buggy whips and other goods & services declined. Time will tell! Not that long ago the travel industry went through big changes when price line, expedia and others came along. The bulk of business travel went this direction, however there is still plenty of room & need for travel agencies. For personal travel many people believe they get better prices for the service they receive from travel agencies but expedia is still doing fine. So the people have spoken for now.

    All of us in the real estate industry need to adapt to the needs and demands of our markets. I believe that some of the real estate discounters will price themselves out of business. Especially in a market where listings are plentiful and costly to maintain if you really provide full service. I have been told that one local discounter is now charging $125.00 as buyers agents per showing. Who is saving who money on that especially if you need to see 10 to 20 homes to find the right one? Consumers aren’t stupid; if we over promise & under deliver we won’t last, especially in this buyers market. I think we will see the Elite service types also in trouble if they do the same or refuse to adapt and have more consumer friendly options. The people will speak! Will you be listing or pointing your finger at the other guy?

    In case you’re wondering. I’m a broker at a full service typically non discount office. I’m proud of my services and the value I provide to my clients. I sleep well at night knowing that I have provided the best possible service to my happy clients whether they are buyers or sellers. I do have a very limited discount policy that is equally available to all of our clients. When clients ask me to provide reduced service for a discount, I recommend the local discount guys as long as they are clear about what they get for what they pay. I have never lost a client that direction to date. If that’s what they want, we are not the right company and I’m not the right guy for them. Again my recommendation to all of you is to be the best at what you do. There is room for all of us!

  129. Please pardon my grammatical errors in my previous ramblings on getting along together. It’s late. Good night!

  130. Rick: I assume you are referring to the laws of natural selection. While consumers ultimately decide the fate of us, perhaps the best is yet to come for them, and has yet to be developed. I don’t think anyone has the industry nailed on the “Great Value, Great Service” end of things.

  131. Fellow realtors: I spent 26 years in traditional real estate. I’ve made all of the “clubs” based on production, I’ve managed 65+ agent offices with a national franchise and
    I’ve owned my own independent brokerage company.

    The agents that are true professionals never spend their time complaining about “some other business model”. They are secure with their choice of business model and services. They know that whining about a competitor speaks volumes about how insecure they are. Consumers have radar for that type of approach.
    I purchased a HUS franchise 5 years ago and enjoy a good relationship with my “traditional model” competitors. However, I’ve had a couple of experiences with agents, attempting to gain favor with my clients, by trying to drop negative innuendos about HUS’s business model, etc.

    In response, I’ve been forced to innoculate my clients by explaining that if an “SOB” (Some-Other-Broker) starts to denegrate our company, it’s financially motivated because they’re threatened. Once the client is briefed that it could happen, (and why) they have fun watching the methods of trying to slyly “zing one” in there!
    Luckily, for all of our shared professional image, it is rare.

  132. I know, if anyone points out things they don’t like- they must be insecure…

    Keep telling yourself (and your clients) that. Funny how it’s “American” to question things and it’s acceptable with any other profession or politics or religion or anything, but when it comes to discount real estate brokers- they just can’t see how not liking a business model might actually just mean that you don’t like the business model.

    I don’t like the business model, and at the same time- I am very secure with my business. I like the full-service approach, that’s just me (and my clients).

  133. Agree, wait til they sell your house they are out for the buyer not you the seller. they wanted me to do unnecessary repairs so they could get a quick sale and get their commission that is all they are interested in their commission for doing nothing. They did nothng to sell my house themselves just put up a sign and waited for other realtors to sell it.
    It is a scam.

  134. I am a seller and I had firmly believed in standard realtor. However, after putting my second house on the market I have decided to go with Assist2Sell. The second house was on the market for 9 moths with Remax with no offers while lesser home in my sun division kept on sellings. And yes, price was comparible. My remax agent did the following for my listing.
    1. Put house in MLS. – Assist2sell did the same
    2. Put a sign – Same
    3. House showed up in MLS. – Same
    4. Wanted to do Open hose. I declined since I have never sold a house during Open House.
    5.She did Relator open house. – Basically it was fre lunch for cheep agents who didn’t want to pay for their lunch that day.
    Now, assi2sell provided EXACTLY the same service for much less. I sold my house in 4 weeks.
    My conclusion. There is no difference who lists your house as long as it is in MLS and on the realtor.com. Most agents put a sign in front of your house and forget about you. My agent in 9 months did not show my house once! She said she never sells her own listings. Then why am I paying her 3%?

  135. In our experience the marketing cost in Real Estate is staggering. I am creating myself all the marketing, still commissions of 1% – 1.5% are barely covering for the cost. There is a misconception that MLS is free or very cheap. MLS is very successful due to the millions of agents that follow it, the real cost of MLS is huge since it should cover in fact their income and the marketing costs. Discount brokers are abusing a very expensive resource without paying the real price. Here in California I have seen listing services of $149 or one even for $0. This kind of dumb competition will kill the MLS. Due to abuse it looks to me the MLS system will start to disappear or be irrelevant. This will push the commissions way up since a large number of agents are depending only of MLS as marketing resource.

    Alex V.
    AROOLY Inc.

  136. Once the deal was sealed on our home in AK, we ran into mechanical problems and other items that were “inspected” by an inspector hired by Assist 2 Sell. Since we have moved in, we replaced a boiler, and have found leaks in the crawl space that we paid to have repaired. Also, we paid to have an exhaust fan vented to the outside that was not. After contacting the office they back peddled so fast it gave me whiplash. It’s funny that when these real estate hacks are selling they are real nice and will answer the phone, but when the sale is final, they can’t be reached. So, my advice is fight with them as much as you can to ensure you get what you paid for if you are buying, but if you are selling, pay the freight and have a nationally known company sell your home. These companies are the used car salesmen of the real estate industry. As a military family, I’ll do what I can to ensure they are not involved in transactions involving military families.

  137. The fact of the matter is that these companies have been around for over a decade and still hold a very very small percentage of the market share… Coincidence, I think not.
    Just remember the old saying “you get what you pay for”

  138. Rob: One might draw those conclusions, but the fact is the biggest armies win. HUS offices are usually very small.

  139. It is interesting to read about the experiences and perceptions here. As the owner of a Help-U-Sell Real Estate in Naples, Florida I can tell you that our company represents true VALUE for our customer, not a “discount” with a compromised level of services. What many people may not be aware of is that in most cases, the “traditional” larger firms DO NOT PAY ANYTHING to market individual properties, advertising is 100% the responsibility of the INDIVIDUAL AGENT. Most of these agents pay monthly fees to be associated with the company and you could almost compare it to a “landlord/tenant” situation. That’s why the large firms may have 100 or more agents in their office. There is also NO financial incentive (at least anywhere I know) for an agent in a larger firm to sell another listing represented by another agent within that firm. There are good and bad agents at offices all across America, but being part of a larger firm does not make them more qualifies or competent by any means.
    In terms of value,sellers who list with Help-U-Sell Reed and Associates here in the Naples,Bonita Springs, and Estero areas get premium advertising on realtor.com, television ads on cable, photos and virtual tours of their property, signage, brochures, magazine ads with high distribution, well written MLS descriptions and accessiblity to their agent at all times.
    A seller may never know the value of having a competent lising agent until a buyer’s inspector discovers mold presence on a property…or radon gas…or a property doesn’t appraise at a particular price. Our agents are prepared to deal with these issues as well or better than any agents I am aware of with larger firms. It is probably more challenging than ever to keep deals together in today’s real estate climate.
    The bottom line is that at our Help-U-Sell office, we attract quality listings through our agents annd marketing program, provide true value for our customers by giving them ways to save money, and deliver results in order to earn future business and referrals. I’m just trying to dispel some of the misconceptions that realtors at value-oriented companies are less qualified and marketing consists of a couple of signs put up in a seller’s front yard.

  140. Wow. I just came accross this list and had to share my recent experience. My wife and I are home sellers in Riverside, CA who just sold our home using Help-U-Sell. As you might imagine we have had a significant decline in home equity in the market within the last 12-18 months. We decided to try Help-U-Sell because we were looking to save money. The local Help-U-Sell office was nothing short of amazing. They were professional and attentive to all of our needs. They were prompt and delivered amazing service. We sold our home 6 weeks ago and it was under contract in a week and sold for nearly our asking price. We were not the lowest priced home in our neighborhood and Help-U-Sell exceeded our expectations. They did everything they promised to market and sell our home and it worked! I would never pay a 5-6% commission again. We saved probably around $15,000 and our home sold in record time. Call it what you may, but there were 3 other homes for sale on our street and haven’t sold in 4-5 months – and they were priced fairly closely to ours. One was even priced $25,000 less! The Help-U-Sell office we used heavily marketed our home and I do believe the interest that was generated was as a result of their marketed. They also had several buyers they were working with the second they listed it. I’m sure there are unqualified Help-U-Sell offices out there, just as there are poor operators of Remax, Century 21, Pruidential, Assist2Sell, etc, but I have to say the office in my market did an amazing job.

    Ron

  141. I recently ended my contract with Assist2Sell 1st Choice Realty in Orange Park, FL. We were with them for 6 months. Things seemed great in the beginning and we were excited about getting full service at a discount price. We choose the MLS route with our home advertised on Realtor.com, Homes & Land magazine, the local Assist2Sell magazine and Assist2Sell’s website. The problems we encountered were that our listing was never correct (wrong price, wrong picture, recent updates to our home were not advertised and much more). We found out from other agents that Assist2Sell is able to provide discount pricing because they don’t allow other agents to show the property. They purposely don’t returns calls from other agents. That way they don’t share their commission. We were told by putting our home in the MLS other agents could show our home. And another weird thing is our road signs were constantly being removed. After our contract was over, Assist2Sell continued to advertise our home on Realtor.com and Homes & Land. I felt this only confused buyers since we went with another company and they were also advertising our home.

    But it seems we can’t get away from Assist2Sell as they showed our home a couple of days ago. And it went badly. The agent was 2 hours late and will not returns my agents calls.

    My advice is to think twice before using Assist2Sell. Most of the homes that were put on the market around the same time as our home, are now with different agents. I’m guessing it’s because they had the same experiences.

  142. Thanks for telling it like it is Greg! I wont show homes listed by these companies becaus they are leaches and actually weaken real estate as a legit business. I love going on listing appointments with people who picked Help U Sell then were stuck for 6 months with a lame agent. I actually send a thank you to the lame agent along with a copy of my check when it closes. Its not help-u-sell its…….
    …..HELP-U-FAIL !!

  143. If you google any company, and place the word SUCKS after it, you will find stories about an agent or office who made most of these same mistakes. I am, like many, a former HUS broker (they peaked at about 880 offices, and it’s rumoured to be under 500 in less than 18 mos) who was let down by arrogantg leadership, world-worst technology, and a horrbile attitude from most at corporate staff. They are the most defensive group I have ever seen. But the model works. For some of these jerks on this blog to make a blanket statement that all HUS or A2S agents are lame or weak is just ignorant. It’s like saying all PRudential agents suck. That would just be childish, and wrong. Some of the best, most caring brokers I have ever met are still there. Anyway, I must admit, it’s nice not being under the constant, relentless attack from everyone about my former model and system. I won’t miss that. and I certainly dont miss HUS’s management. By the way, they “postponed” their annual convention, set for this month in Vegas.

  144. Dennis: Grow a set and let us know who you really are. Man up !

  145. Mike,

    What happened? You were an owner/broker who defended HUS tooth-and-nail just a few months ago. Just curious what specifically caused you to want to leave the brand…

  146. Hey Greg. Lots of things happened. as you look back at my emails, I defended the model, which has alot of merit. I never said leadership at the franchise level was easy to deal with etc. There were many franhisee-franchisor issues, as former HUS offices are closing, merging or whatever to stay afloat. as you know, there are many reasons why a business closes. Some are market reliant, and IMO the HUS model is good-market reliant. In every wash out market, they lose offices in huge chunks. i would be happy to chat more 1-1, but don’t want to drill too deep here for liability reasons. But I will say their management was arrogant and ostrich-like from the beginning. But hey, has Steve Ozonian ever improved any company where he has been? He is blaming this all on the market, but in reality caused problems with his aloof attitude from DAY 1.

  147. Our Help U Sell (HUS) selling our house works this way…

    $2999.00 to advertise, put in MLS, submit to search engines, provide signs, show the house to those that contact their HUS or we show if they contact us, We conduct open houses and they do follow ups.
    HUS negotiate and bring the sale to closing.

    Any realtor associate in the HUS office (outside the original HUS Realtor that you listed with) gets 1.5% for the sale.

    ANY realtor outside of HUS who brings a buyer to a sale gets 3% of the sale price.

    How much more simple is that.

    So if I sell they house on my own and bring the buyer to my HUS realtor I save myself THOUSANDS and I sold my house.

    If an outside realtor sells my house I have still sold my house.
    Win Win situation for all

  148. I am intrigued by what “HB” said – I see that happening more and more in my area. It will be interesting to see if 3% will continue to be the standard fee for listing a home to sell – What do you think?
    I believe these alternatives have cropped up as a result of the efficiencies of scale the internet has created – IMHO We are struggling with this ourselves – our costs have changed as we don’t advertise in the paper, hold lots of open houses, etc. What are the real costs? What’s fair compensation? What’s the value proposition?

  149. Hi, Greg. Since I last commented, HUS cancelled their convention, then their CEO, Steve Ozonian stepped down. They are looking for investors, as Inman News reports. I could not be happier that I left. The model has merit, but it was run into the ground by horrible leadership, poor planning and awful marketing from corporate.

  150. And by the way– the dirty secret that most HUS or A2S brokers don’t want you to know is this– they need the MLS to sell most of their listings, good market OR bad. So, most of the “savings” gets eroded. So, if you’re a seller interviewing them, ask for proof of how many they sold themselves. Also, for that extra 1.5%–hey– that’s NOT part of the original HUS plan, as I was taught. That’s the other problem with HUS, they tried to infus an “idea of the month” upon their franchisees. Has Ozonian had success anywhere?

  151. I agree that David Swan in Salt Lake City is the worst Realtor in Utah. When they and their Assist2Sell office could not sell our home they wanted us to pay them to buy our way out of a listing contract! THIS IS THE BIGGEST SCAM I HAVE EVERY SEEN! They need to be exposed for the poor Realtors they are! Don’t even consider Assist2Sell you will be Sorry!

  152. Great post. I did not know what Realtors thought about these companies in Utah. I have a new view on what they are all about and what other “professionals” think about them. I talked to on of those “HelpUSell” people a while back on they were just begging for business. It didn’t sound like their business model was working for them. Thanks a lot.

  153. My father opened up the first Assist2Sell in the state of Utah back in 1998! I was a newly licensed agent and able to see & witness first hand how fellow realtors, Buyer’s, & Seller’s reacted to the Assist2Sell model! Like the posts on this blog, we had those that were very skeptical and critical, and on the other hand came across many who were anxious and ready for our approach in selling real-estate. We would always be upfront with seller’s on what we offered, and what they could expect from Assist2Sell. We took great pride in our full service commitment and our work ethic. We knew that education was critical when selling homes! We knew it was important for home seller’s to know the following to position themselves to sell there house. Who was there competition today? How many homes like there’s have sold in the last 90 days? How many under contract? What is the average selling time? Of the homes sold, why did they sell? Etc,etc,etc. Communication is critical! We believed that it was important as agents to stay on top of everything that was happening in our clients neighborhood, so that we could pass that information on to our clients. We would run this information on a weekly basis to make sure our clients were in front, not in back of the competition. We were aggressive in our marketing and advertising approach. From the web, to the magazines, to our color brochures and our bright red yard signs. We were proud to place our homes on the top home search sites that buyer’s go looking for homes across the internet. We offered all services that a traditional brokerage would, including MLS if desired. We would be upfront with the power of the MLS, and Realtor.com, and then let the seller decide what the best approach would be for them. We proved over and over that homes could be sold with or without the MLS. For seller’s who decided to place there homes on the MLS, we continued to be aggressive in finding a buyer for there home. We were not comfortable in placing our homes on the MLS and being satisfied with another agent bringing the buyer. After all, we had a lot to prove, we had to prove ourselves in every sense of the word. We continued to be aggressive in finding a buyer and often times were successful. Either way, we were proud to save our clients money, and to offer them full service for less. We have passed the test of time, and are very excited about the future. We have built solid relationships with fellow real-estate agents across the state of Utah, and have enjoyed working with all of them. We are proud of the clients we have been able to help and work with throughout the years. And last, but not least, we are proud of the steady repeat business that continues to come from satisfied customers that have put us to the test. Nearly two years ago, I left my father’s brokerage to open up the 8th Assist2Sell office in the state of Utah. I am very optimistic about the future of real-estate in Utah, and am excited for the opportunities it brings. As there are many opinions about the Assist2Sell model, It is the opinions of those I have personally worked with that matter the most to me. I would be happy to provide a list of past clients with there opinions for any who might be interested.

  154. Help U sell must be running into big problems as other posters have mentioned. Locally, the office I contacted last fall (which was walking distance from me) just closed their doors. While some realty offices in my area are consolidating, I see almost none closing EXCEPT these cut-rate places like HUS or A2S.

    Apparently in anything but a strong sellers market, these folks have an especially hard time. This particular office, after having been open 2 years, had only ONE salesperson.

  155. Bruce,
    Coldwell Banker, C-21, Prudential, Help-U-Sell, Assist2Sell, etc,etc,etc, are all facing problems with the real estate crisis across the country. To say that it is isolated to Help-U-Sell & Assist2Sell is a little short sided I think! To have any office regardless of who they are going out of business is sad in my opinion. Where are you from? And do you really think this is affecting only Assist2Sell & HelpUSell?

  156. My first question is how long have you been licensed in Real Estate. I am a Broker for Assist-2-Sell. The last three listing that I closed were the only listings in the tract with “Sold Signs” on them. These neighborhoods each have several dozen listings and yet I’m the only one with “Sold Signs”. Also a check of the MLS does not show and pending or contingent sales being reported. You seem to take delight that you can find an incident that the “Discount Brokerage” has a listing that is not selling while everything else in the neighborhood is selling. Are you holding back some info, like price or condition of the property. You do not have the knowledge to understand the large companies incorporation of the “Avon Lady” approach to Real Estate marketing that boomed in the late 60′s. Email me and I will be happy to give you a class in the Real Estate marketing history that is not taught in your Association or MLS classes.
    Respectfully,
    Loyd

  157. I have a question from the point of view of someone using a buyer’s agent, who wants to buy a home listed with Assist2Sell on MLS. If I make an offer of 375,000 on this house, and someone NOT using a buyer’s agent makes an equivalent offer, isn’t it in the best interest of the seller to accept the offer from the party WITHOUT a buyer’s agent? It would seem to me that Assist2Sell’s business model can creates a disadvantage to me because I have a buyer’s agent. I mean, it’s really a no-brainer. Given a choice to pay a flat fee of $3495 at closing because the buyer was not represented by a buyer’s agent, or pay a 4.5% of agreed sales price at closing (someone WITH a buyer’s agent), what would YOU as a seller choose? Am I correct?

  158. Scott,

    If you were the seller, which offer would you take? After all, it is the Seller’s money paying your agent! While it may not be fair to the Buyer, It is very fair from a Seller’s standpoint! You have every right to contract with a Buyer’s agent, but the seller remains in control of how much he or she will spend to get the home sold!

  159. If I listed my house with Assist2Sell, it’s a no-brainer which offer I would take. The one which would save me the most money! Basically, I was told by my buyer’s agent, that once an Assist2Sell home is on the MLS system, it is a level playing field – whether my buyer’s agent sold the home, or one of Assist2Sell’s agents sold the home. I do not think that is true, and I was trying to confirm my suspicion that she was incorrect in her assertion to us. I was looking for someone who understands how A2S works, to tell me whether or not I am correct that I am at a disadvantage because I have a buyer’s agent and I offer the same amount for this house as someone who does not have an agent. She says I’m not at a disadvantage, I say, I AM. Am I right?

  160. Scott,
    Owning an Assist2Sell franchise I’m pretty familiar with how Assist2Sell works! The buyer who brings the best offer and nets the seller the most, has the advantage. So, in your case, your offer will net the seller less, and you would be at a disadvantage. With that said, the buyer you are competing against could have some unappealing conditions and contingencies that would make your offer (with a buyer’s agent) more appealing. You might have $50,000 down, while the other buyer has nothing. You might also be in a position to close in 2 weeks, where the other buyer needs 40 days to close. So, even though you both offered the same amount, there are so many different components to look at that make an offer appealing to the seller. If you like the home, go for it!

  161. Jim, Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Interesting that our buyer’s agent did not know how A2S works. Or worse, that the broker actually told her it was “level playing field” once an A2S seller opted for the MLS option. I still can not figure out how the A2S agents make any money. It amazes me that one agent within the A2S network lists the house, another agent within the A2S network brings the buyer to the house, and they BOTH split a $3495 flat fee? That sounds preposterous, obviously there is more to the compensation package that outsiders are unaware of.

  162. Had nothing but trouble with Assist2sell in Sandy Utah. They could not sell my home last year before sub-prime mess. Then lost my key out of the key box. So un-professional! Don’t go with them! They are worthless in my opinion! Finally sold my home by myself!

  163. Jim Wrote: Bruce,
    “Coldwell Banker, C-21, Prudential, Help-U-Sell, Assist2Sell, etc,etc,etc, are all facing problems with the real estate crisis across the country. To say that it is isolated to Help-U-Sell & Assist2Sell is a little short sided I think! To have any office regardless of who they are going out of business is sad in my opinion. Where are you from? And do you really think this is affecting only Assist2Sell & HelpUSell?”

    Hi Jim, if you re-read my comments, I did say that other offices and companies were CONSOLIDATING, but just not completely going out of business.

    In the Chicago area, where i’m at, yes, HUS particularly and also A2S’s have closed. It is significant as they didn;t have many offices here to begin with. I’ve heard rumors that the HUS region here is for sale also.

    In 31 years in RE as an investor and active observer of the market and re brokerages I’ve been through many good and bad markets.

    It has been the case, at least here, that a run of good “seller” market years produces a large growth in discount brokerages like HUS, A2S and other smaller discount independents.

    Then, when the market inevitably turns the first ones to fall out in major way are these same discounters (whether they are franchise or not). I can only report what I’ve seen with my own two eyes. This is not a recent phenomenon.

    To directly answer your question, It IS ‘affecting’ ALL types of RE companies not just HUS, A2S. BUT, ‘affecting’ is not the same thing as causing the doors to close of a significant percentage of all their offices. ….big difference.

    I know of C-21 offices that have eliminated ALL newspaper advertising. Other companies that have shelved all expansion plans. Independents that have dropped franchises to save fees. Offices that now aggressively pursue property management deals to help even out their cash flow.

    But, I know of NO Coldwell Banker offices that have folded locally. No larger independents Like Baird and Warner, or for that matter ANY RE organization that has seen the melt down that HUS has incurred here locally.

    BTW, nationally, I just read that HUS has lost almost 40% of their offices. (they claimed almost 1000 offices 2 years ago in press releases. According to Inman News, they had only 650 offices in late 2007 and it has almost certainly fallen since then). Has c-21 or Coldwell B RE franchise even come close to those office loss percentages recently?

    So, yes I think HUS is suffering FAR more than other RE companies – locally and nationally. A2S now only has 7 or 8 offices in all of Chicagoland so its harder to estimate how they;re doing.

  164. I am amazed to hear some of this stuff about A2S. I have been an agent with this company for 2 years. Yes, not long.
    The agents I work with are great. The clients I have worked with have been great and they are tired of paying 5 & 6 % commission.
    A2S is a Full Service Agency. In our office in Massachusetts, home-owners that choose MLS for Less are shown on more than 65 different sites. We all subscribe to Realtor.com and add, edit information on that site. The MLS for Less is a 3.5% commission with 2% going to the co-broke. Yes, that means we keep only 1.5%.
    I noticed that someone thought the agent was lazy because other agents were showing thier home. That is ridiculous. When you put your home on MLS, most likely that will happen no matter what agency you list with. The only difference with A2S is that you are going to pay less in commission. The flat fee programs are offered but we always tell our clients that it is a buyers market and they need to be in MLS. If a client is in a flat fee, they are advertised everywhere except MLS or Realtor.Com. There are other places to put listings and have them seen. If an agent comes with a buyer, they can write in the commission. At 2% most of the time it averages out with still only paying around that 3.5%. 3.5% is actually cheaper.

    When a home sits on the market, usually it is the home owner that does not want to list at a competitive price or there are other homes that are more attractive. This can happen in any office. Since MLS and the internet have changed so much, we are all on the same playing field. I never have less than 10 listings at a time. And yes I sell. It is just that home-owners are taking a little control. They no longer want to pay so much to sell thier home. People need money in the times we are in. Most have to sell not want to.
    If your not showing a home because of the commission you might receive you are not doing your clients justice and it is also illegal to boycott. I don’t know if I would want some of you for agents that would consider that.
    If A2S didn’t come along, home-owners would be paying 7% or more.
    Home-owners, think about it. There is good and bad in everything. If your experience was bad, it is one in a million. Most Agents, in every company work hard to please thier clients. We all are required to maintain our license. We all try to learn as much as we can and keep abreast on new technology. No matter who I work for, I will always work hard to get the job done, make the client happy and make the transaction as smooth as I can.
    And yes, I do save my clients from paying 5 & 6%. What’s wrong with that.
    I hope you all have a good year because my year is going pretty good.
    A2S Agent.

  165. Bruce’s post on May 2nd is as close to a bullseye as I have seen.

    I wouldn’t count out the “concept” of Assist2Sell, or Help-U-Sell, or similiar companies. With all their mistakes they must surely be learning.

    The company that finally perfects the “concept” will become a force.

    Ralph

  166. Correction to Ralph’s above July 20th post.

    Bruce’s May 2nd AND June 11th posts.

    Ralph

  167. Do I smell fear? Sure there are bad apples in every firm. That is why the commission needs tougher policies to let people get liscenced. But downing nother company is just like talking behind a friends back it is all about insecurity. dig deep read alot maybe even medicate if you are having panic sttacks about real estste cos. that you do not know squat about. Perfect your business , spend more time doingthat than being so unprofessional that you feel you have to drag down others to try to be on top. It rally does you no good and perspective buyers and sellers will pick up on your negativity. By you bad mouthing you are wasting time in your sales presentation. Give it up do your homework. If the model did not work we would not be in business.

  168. I am a current client of Help U Sell. I find that the original post did not fairly describe the services offered by HUS. My first question during our initial interview ( we interviewed 7 broker from different companies) was, “what type of advertising will be used in order to sell my property?” MLS, newspapers, agents website, craiglist as well as mailers and real-estate publications were all available and included in a set fee with HUS. The other agents did not offer any other type of additional advertising service that gave them an edge over HUS. In fact they all conceded that there was no major difference when it came to advertising our property. Most of the other agents touted that the additional cost of their service was due to their own expertise as well as there so called “connections” within the industry. Some even mentioned that the % was determined by there Firm and was non-negotiable. We listed on a Sunday and sold it on Tuesday for asking price during our second requested showing, that’s right just 3 days in today’s slow market. This was before our broker’s open as well as our Sunday open house. As far as pricing, that decision is really up to the seller. We all want the most for our home and reality can be bit difficult to swallow if your not willing to. No matter how beautiful and well taken care-of your home may be. You must pay attention to the market surrounding your home as well as all the competition. I think it is important to mention that ideally brokers should have there clients best interest in mind, but the sad reality is that most brokers are looking out for their own pockets. We were told by every agent including HUS to offer a minimum of 3% to the buying broker in order to promote showings. Why would a broker take a motivated and prepared buyer to see the perfect home with only 2% when they can most likely find them another home that is as good for 3%. By the way, the buyer was a young internet savvy professional who told his broker about the home and insisted on seeing it even though his broker thought otherwise.

  169. Pingback: The Right Industry, The Wrong Revenue Models « Good to WOW

  170. I attempted to subscribe to your rss feed, but had a difficulty adding it to google reader. Could you please look at this.

  171. After reading many of the postings here I have come to the conclusion that the lack of punctuation, grammar, and correct spelling pretty well speaks volumes for the individuals who are not only out of touch but uneducated as well. Even if you don’t understand certain aspects of a subject… at the least learn to spell! For those of you who have the ability to converse on line professionally… This is not meant for you.

  172. After two previous experiences as FSBO (one that worked out perfectly and the other not so much), I used Assist2Sell and had a good experience although the agent didn’t really help me to set a good price. I decided to use them again to sell our current house. Our mistake was to pay an up front fee in lieu of the post sale fee. Our agent was nice but it was hard to get in contact with him and when we did he often forgot to make changes on price. He also suggested to set the price and we thought it was way too high. Even on his website, he put our house in the wrong city and even misspelled that city. It took several months of calls to finally get that fixed. The long and short of it is that we should never have paid a fee up front. He now refuses to return the fee even though he did not live up to his promises.

  173. I sold my house and the buyer used Assist to sell in Kingsland Georgia these people were so rude to us and i will never recommend them to anyone. You cannot complain to the corporate office they don’t seem to care next time i will know

  174. Don't Get Ripped Off !!!`

    I saved $20,000 by using HelpUSell.

    Basically, they charged me a flat $1500 to sell my $350,000 home, instead of the usual 6% that agents do.

  175. I have read several postings spread over the past 4 years and it seems that as many said, there is a mixed bag of so-called Realtors here. Are HUS agents actually licensed?
    That is not a guaranty of efficiency of course but it infers a certain amount of professional liability.

    My comment is based on a buyer’s point of view.

    I came to FSBO/HUS to see what was available in that category in my area. FSBO had a few – but not much.
    HUS HAD NOTHING – In Raleigh NC !!!
    “Res Ipsa Loquitur” The facts speak for themselves.

  176. We should really be wise with our decision it’s really hard nowadays…

  177. Had one of the HUS agents in my hotel. Acted like he was the shite. He booked thorough a discount site and only paid about 50% of the normal rate. While we normally treat these guests as any other, he thought he should be treated as a 5-star guest. He wanted upgrades, and eventually a refund because the ‘accommodations did not live up to his expectations’. Ummm, What do you expect when you stay at a Knight’s Inn. Sorry, dude! you are not as important as cheap as you are!

  178. Greg -

    Perspecting from a consumer considering using help-u-sell.

    Would another reason to consider discount realtors be when you already have a buyer lined up? If I’m selling to someone I already know, why would I want to pay 6% for someone to do some paperwork?

    Additionally, most people now find their homes through zillow and trulia, and for $39.99 you can be listed on both (as zillow is 39.95 and trulia is FREE!!! )

    Just thoughts..

    • Good point, if you already have a buyer lined up and would like someone to help you with the contracts and through the transaction then it might be a good option.

  179. Boy have you all got it wrong. A seller in this market is basically giving away their equity which is only about $16,000 to 2 realtors who only listed the house and did some paperwork for about $8,000 a piece. I get out with nothing because 2 realtors showed my house – my house sold itself. No one buys a house because of a real estate agent. It’s because they like the house. In my opinion the listing agent should sell the house – not sset on his or her fanny and let someone else sell it and collect half the money. You all get a life. I can’t even make ends meet because everyone out there is trying to get what little money I have with high pricing.

  180. I have used assist-2-sell twice as a seller in California and Hawaii.
    In both cases I paid a 2.5% commission to buyers agent and was listed in MLS.

    In California my house got multiple bids. In Hawaii it took a little longer because the market was slower and I opted for a $2k program where the agent lists on MLS and checked over my paperwork. MLS was enough to pull in buyers and it sold within 6 weeks.

    I didn’t have any problems, but i did save a LOT of money so I would try them again (or help-u-sell, etc.).

    The other option is to list in MLS yourself then hire a real estate attorney for the paperwork. Could be cheaper.

  181. Jacqueline Beane

    I’m very happy to discover this page. I want to to thank you for your time posting about your opinion of different companies. I didn’t realize before how these companies charged a commission lower than others, but didn’t even think that it could be because they were not including MLS agent commissions.

  182. Jacqueline: The blog post was incorrect. MLS is offered by HelpUSell. It just means if an MLS broker brings you a buyer, you still have to pay the buying broker’s 2.5-3.0% commission. Your choice. If it doesn’t sell, you pay nothing.

  183. I had similar experiences with the Help-U-Sell in Wmsbg,VA. Family members are now looking for a similar company to help with their house sale, and I cannot recommend Help-U-Sell, because the agents here were rude, disrespectful, and very unprofessional. They would not return my calls, and on more than one occasion they did not call me before bringing a potential buyer into my house. (In one instance I was sick and had just gotten into bed, when total strangers entered my house.) However, the issue that really impacted my opinion about this company, was that as we neared the end of our contracted partnership, they became more and more aggressive about pushing buyers on me. When I turned down an offer, which was entirely too low compared to the value of my house, one of the realtors called me to accuse me of holding out, so that I wouldn’t have to pay them their commission; which I don’t believe you could do, anyway according to the agreement. But she was angry, frustrated at a time when few houses were selling in the area, and I think, desperate for her money. I, on the other hand, was not in a hurry to sell, and so, I could wait for an offer that I felt was fair. But her calling a client to bitterly accuse them of unethical behavior, told me a lot about THEIR ethics and lack of professionalism. Needless to say, I did not renew my contract with them after that experience, and about a month or two later, a buyer came in after seeing my own FSBO sign that I had placed in my window. Her agent was with her, and the agent called from the car outside my house to ask if they could come right in to see it, and they put in an offer that night. Had the Help-U-Sell agent been respectful and professional, I would have continued to work with them, and she would have gotten her commission after all.

  184. This is what usually happens when listing with a “discount” broker (and I only say discount because it is a term that is recognized amongst consumers and agent alike. There is really no such thing a s a discount brokerage because you cannot discount something that is not “fixed” in the first place. Commissions are negotiable. Many consumers think that 6% is a fixed rate. So, “discounting” is not happening anywhere. Any brokerage that is using the word “discount” should be reported to the state real estate commission for insinuating fixed prices which is against antitrust laws.

    This is what happens:
    Seller gets excited because they are saving money with their broker because they are “discounting” their fees. They are also “discounting” the fee they pay to the buyers agent if advertising in the Mls. Buyers agents while obligated to show any home that fits their buyers needs, will show it, but it will be last on the list. If buyer runs out of time on showing day, they won’t be seeing that discounted broker’s listing at the bottom of the list. It is highly likely the buyer will find something else before they see that listing. Thus, the seller who has chosen the lower priced option is sitting on their house while others are selling. Now, the sellers whomchose them”discount” brokerare considering a price reduction to bring more buyers while their listing is going stale. I have seen homes reduce their price by 10% and then finally decide to fairly compensate a buyers agent for their time (usually they reduce their price by 10% then pay the buyer’s agent 2.5-3%). Now the buyers agent has the incentive to move your home to the top of their showing list but your house is stale, so the buyer doesnt want to pay full price and will lowball you.Now you have dropped your price 10% and have decided to pay a higher compensation after sitting for 60 days longer than comparable homes and haventomentertain lowball offers.

    If you decide to reduce your price and still do not decide to pay more in commission, you may receive an offer, but the buyer will probably request you pay their buyers agent anyhow.

    So, isn’t it better to pay from the get go, not run the risk of having to reduce your price and go stale and sell it quickly? It seems like trying to save a few thousand dollars in commissions is attractive, until you have actually lost more in the end because of price reductions and paying a decent commission anyhow.

    Also, these sorts of companies quote ” consumer savings to date”. This does not account for how much less their homes sell for than the competition….so nobody really knows what the “savings” are, because a home could end up selling for 20k less than a comparable home on the same street, thus resulting in consumer losses.

    I’ve seen this trend quite a bit with a newer brokerage in my area touting themselves as a full service discount brokerage and offering buyers agents a 3000 flat co-op fee because it only costs a buyers agent 3000 to sell a house.. Is this going to be the first house on my list to show my buyers that I have worked with for 6 months, spent hours and hours scouring and previewing the listings trying to meet all my buyers needs in a home, prepared countless pricing analysis on homes that they may want to offer on, shared my expertise and knowledge of different areas, styles of homes, pricing, researched zoning surrounding the properties, drove them around for hundreds of miles trying to find the best area/city for them, saved them from making an offer on another property that could have cost them over 100k to cure a county violation that was undisclosed, etc…etc….etc?..The list goes on and on in describing the various activities of your buyers agent, plus the countless areas of liability a buyers agent takes on when assisting a buyer and making sure their earnest money is safe at all times by monitoring and meeting all deadlines, making sure their contract is tight and knowing what questions to ask the listing agent to determine the best structure for the offer with the most likelihood of obtaining acceptance and getting to the closing table. So, getting back to the question..”.is the discount broker’s listing going to be at the top of my list when helping my buyer’s choose the homes they want to view? The answer is “no”. I want to work with an agent with the same philosophy as I, who understands the value of the work i do, and present a fair offer to the seller knowing they have been educated on the process by their agent and not possibly been misled on the value of the work a buyers agent brings to the table (and told how this process actually saves them money in the long run). If my buyer wants to see it and buy it, I will negotiate a fair commission for myself as part of the purchase….period.

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