Cue the Cocktail Party Music

‘So, what do you do?’

‘Well . . . do you remember that big real estate sales commission last time you bought or sold a house?’

‘Urgh!  Don’t remind me!  I think the Realtor netted more than I did!’

‘That’s not all that unusual today.  . . But, me?  I’m in the equity preservation business.’

‘What?’

‘I help people have great real estate transactions at a fraction of the cost – which helps them hang on to their hard earned equity rather than turning it over to a salesperson.’

‘Oh, you’re a Realtor.’

‘Yes, Realtor with a twist.’

‘What’s that?’

‘I’m a Help-U-Sell Realtor.  We are a Set Fee Real Estate Company.’

‘Set Fee?’

‘Yeah.  Instead of a fat 6% or 7% commission, we charge a low Set Fee.  It usually saves thousands of dollars over what the other guys do.’

‘So you’re a discount broker?’

‘No, I’m a different kind of broker.’

(puzzled look)

‘I do everything they do and a number of things they don’t do, but my business is organized differently.  I’m leaner, more efficient and I use technology to produce the same results they do at a fraction of the cost.’

‘And it works?’

‘Let me put it this way:  Last year the average agent in our MLS closed 4.75 transactions.  There are just four people in my office:  me, my  assistant and two agents who work with buyers.  Together we closed 74 transactions last year – which works out to what?  18 each or something.  Sure it works.’

‘Damn.  Wish I’d met you six months ago.’

‘Why’s that?’

‘My home’s on the market with Acme Realty right now.  One of my neighbors works for them.  Anyway:  it’s not working.’

‘Where is it?’

‘Over on Elm.’

‘Oh, the two story? . . . with the fenced yard?’

‘That’s the one.’

‘I showed that last month.  Yeah.  I had an out of town buyer.  I remember he liked it all right but he was really wanting something with a basement — which is what I eventually sold him.’

‘Oh; so it goes.’

‘What I remember is the price.  You were right at the top of the market, probably a little above it; and with prices still dropping (slowly now, thank goodness), it didn’t compete all that well with others on the market.’

‘That’s why it’s not working out with my agent.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I haven’t heard much from her since the listing was taken, but I’ve told her a couple of times I think we need to lower the price.’

‘What does she say?’

‘She says she doesn’t think that’s the problem and that she’ll do some research and get back to me . . . which she hasn’t done.’

‘Well, it’s your listing.  You control the price and terms.  Maybe you should start telling rather than asking.’

‘What I’d like to do is cancel the listing and try another agent . . . maybe you!’

‘I really can’t talk with you about that while your home is listed.  When the Acme listing ends I’ll be happy to talk with you, but right now – assuming the listing is still in effect – I really can’t go into that with you.’

‘I wish there was something I could do.’

‘There is.  Call your agent, set an appointment to meet with her – at her office if you prefer – and have her pull a new Market Analysis for you.  Then set a reasonable price.  And remember:  if you’re basing your today price on the prices of similar properties that closed 90 days ago and more, you’re probably setting it too high.  When pricing today, you really have to anticipate and reflect the trend.’

‘Have you got a card?’

‘Sure.  Here it is.  I hope you can work things out with your agent and I wish you luck.  If things don’t turn around, I’d be happy to talk with you.’

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