Real estate a la carte: it’s what consumers want

Can new business models drive the change?

The comment simply added an international flavor to what has become an ongoing wrestling match about real estate commissions. Simon Baker, a successful Australia-based publisher of real estate information who is now managing director and chief executive of Ltd., a Web site posting property listings in several countries, was part of panel discussing how and where high-net-worth individuals were purchasing real estate around the globe. Many high-end agents based in the United States had explained how they had contacts and clients in foreign countries -- Russians, Germans, Italians, Japanese -- who had come to the United States and bought expensive homes and apartments. "But if you have a U.S. client looking to buy a second or third home abroad, don't expect to receive a commission or a referral fee," Baker said. "Commissions are a lot lower in other parts of the world. They are 1.75 percent in the U.K., 2.2 percent in Austria, about 2.5 percent in New ...