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Raise your hand if you’ve heard this one, “Why should I list with an agent when I can sell it myself and save the commission?” Classic, right?
The challenge for most agents when they get this objection is that they stumble through it, trying to answer it with weak justifications. But the real reason why agents struggle with answering this objection is because they aren’t really convinced themselves that they can help a seller net more. Think about it — if agents aren’t sold on their own value, how on earth can they possibly convince a seller?
That’s why the most important thing for you to do before you start handling the commission objection is for you to know your value. To know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a seller is much better off hiring you than going it alone as a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO).
Let’s break down just five quick reasons why you’re worth every penny you charge.
1. Statistically, homes sold by agents sell for more
These statistics aren’t a fluke, aren’t a one-off. They are consistent, year after year, whether we’re in a buyer’s market or a hot seller’s market.
The most recent National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Profile of Home Buyer and Sellers stated, “The typical FSBO home sold for $217,900 compared to $295,000 for agent-assisted home sales.” Based on those numbers, homeowners certainly net more money in their pocket after they pay the commission.
2. You bring a whole different kind of buyer
Buyers today are more savvy and more educated than they’ve ever been. If they’re working directly with a FSBO, they are there to look for a deal and to save money.
Let me ask you something: If you wanted to buy a new couch, would you go to eBay or Ethan Allen? The answer lies in your expectations. A typical eBay buyer is looking for a good deal, usually on used goods, but knows there’s a little gamble involved and certainly no quality guarantee.
However, the Ethan Allen buyer is looking for quality, an experience they can trust, and a guarantee that their purchase will be safeguarded — and they are fine with paying a little more for those safeguards.
The same is true for homebuyers. The buyers who are engaged with an agent and are looking at listings want to be sure their interests are covered, and someone is negotiating on their behalf, and they’re willing to pay for that. That’s a big reason why homes sold through agents sell for more.
3. There’s a lot more to it than a sign in the yard
Yes, even in a hot seller’s market, there’s a lot more that goes into the sale of real estate than the sign in the yard or a few dollars to a flat-fee service to list a property. If there weren’t more to it, why does every state require extensive training and a license to do it?
As a licensed and trained agent, you can protect homeowners from miscalculating price, misrepresenting themselves, negotiate win-win offers — especially in multiple-offer situations — market homes to ensure the best possible exposure (which increases to potential for above-asking price deals), and so much more.
4. You separate the lookers from the buyers
FSBOs are letting complete strangers into their house without any screening or safety considerations. As a licensed agent, you’re like TSA for a homeowner. You’re the safest bet in town.
To come through one of your listings, buyers are screened, prequalified and recorded. They have the security of knowing who is in their home, when and why. With our world in that state that it is in — that alone is worth your commission.
5. You protect them from legal woes
There’s a good reason attorneys don’t represent themselves. Ever hear that old adage, “When you’re in the picture, you can’t see the frame”?
The same is true for FSBOs. They’re often downloading contracts from the internet without fully understanding if they are even valid, and certainly don’t come with assurances that their best interests are being served. Add to that an opportunity to get overzealous in a multi-offer situation, and a FSBO can really land themselves in legal hot water.
You can find example after example of sellers who’ve inadvertently “sold” their home to more than one buyer, and not only have to try to legally extract themselves from one or more contract, but find themselves legally responsible for more than one commissions!
These five reasons are truly just the tip of the iceberg of why you’re worth your commission. The sooner you lean in and learn all the incredible ways you benefit your clients and become your most skilled at communicating those benefits, the more confident you’ll be when facing FSBOs or anyone who asks whether you’re worth it.
I have three powerful words for you: Know your value. In a world where it feels like things are changing faster than the speed of light, people need professionals who will advocate for them, protect their investments, ensure their family’s safety and be a resource for answers in the midst of all the confusion.
That’s what you do. You’re that advocate. Know it. Believe it. Then communicate it.