FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DISCOUNT BROKERAGE
Q. Is it true that discount brokers do not provide the quality of service that the full price brokers provide?
A. That is a myth perpetuated by over priced providers. A discount broker, like Berkshire Real Estate, is actually better positioned to provide excellent service. We don't have to overcharge for our services because of high overhead, costs associated with training inexperienced agents, or unneeded high cost advertising designed to enhance company image. Our agents are seasoned professionals working from well equipped home offices. Overhead expenses are allocated to state of the art technology, which allows us to present your home at its best. We never take on more listings than we can effectively handle. Most of our sellers say that they actually got better service from us, a discount broker, than would have been expected from a full priced company.
Q. In order to offer the lower fees associated with discount brokers is the seller expected to take over some of the functions normally performed by the Realtor?
A. While many discounters do expect the seller to take over functions such as showings and open houses, Berkshire Real Estate never pushes its responsibilities off on the seller. We are a full service broker, period. Based on our experience, for the purpose of getting top dollar, a buyer and seller should never meet. Seller involvement in the selling process is not only inconvenient for the seller it can also be counter productive.
Q. Is it true that other Realtors won't show a listing offered by a discount broker?
A. That practice would be a violation of Federal fair trade
regulations. We have found that our sellers actually get more showings
than average. Other Realtors readily show our listings because we do
not take "junk" listings. Our listings are quality homes offered at
competitive prices. Because of the enormous success of our program, we
have the luxury of picking and choosing which houses we will accept. We
have been around long enough to earn a good reputation from the real
estate community. Our listings receive good showings in part, because
we encourage our friends and colleagues from other companies to show
them by being as helpful as possible and treating them with respect.
Anyway, how do you think buyers would react if their agent refused to
show them a quality house, because it was offered by a discount
Q. If you take our house at a discount, won't other agents avoid showing it because they will get paid less?
A. Some discounters may expect an outside agent to accept less, but we are the ones offering the discount and not our colleagues who show your home. We do not use the standard 60/40 split formula in compensating buyers agents. They receive the same amount they would normally get on any other listing. Usually the buyer's agent receives more than we do.
Q. Buyers will offer less knowing a seller is getting a discount.
A. Many discount brokers make the mistake of putting prices for listing services right on their signs and in their "for sale" advertisements. In our opinion, this practice only serves the best interests of the company as an advertisement for future listings. Our signs and advertisements on your home are designed to sell your home, not our services. You will never see Berkshire Real Estate engage in self-serving advertisements at your expense. We have a reputation for selling the highest priced home in a neighborhood. You don't get that reputation by encouraging low offers.
Q. Many of the large companies offer special selling incentives for their agents that sell company listings and conduct tours to show your home to their sales force.
A. While tours sound good on the surface rarely do the established agents go on tour. Busy agents can't afford to take the time to tour, besides all the information they need is on their computer. The established agents do not get a selling incentive because they are already receiving the top rate. Ultimately, any agent with a buyer will show your home because it is just good business. Our efforts are devoted to concepts that sell homes and minimize your inconvenience.
Q. What is "buying a listing"?
A. It is an auction for your business. Some real estate agents will inflate the value of your home to encourage you to list with them. Often they use a replacement cost method to value your home by multiplying your square footage by an arbitrary dollar per square foot figure. It looks scientific, but there is no validity to it. Make sure all agents that value your home can substantiate their valuation by showing you a detail sheet (available on their computer) of comparable homes in your neighborhood that have recently sold. The only true value is the market value! Any listing taken at an inflated price will ultimately have to be lowered to attract serious buyers. Remember, buyers have access to the same market data agents have. They are well informed. Don't lose valuable market time by overpricing!
Q. What good would it do for an agent to inflate the price of a house if it can't be sold?A. Listings attract buyers, either through calls from the sign or from prospects searching on the Internet. A listing, even an over priced one, can provide a savvy agent with prospective buyers, and ultimately a sale. Unfortunately, it won't be your house that sells.
Q. Won't a larger firm be able to give my home better market exposure and effect a quicker sale?
A. You would think that the larger the firm the better the exposure,
but in reality it doesn't work that way. Virtually all companies
use a multiple listing service (MLS) to advertise their listings to the
real estate community and prospective buyers. We use two, the MLS
centered in Omaha and the MLS centered in Council Bluffs. Placing our
listings on both services gives our sellers extra exposure. We also
place our listings on numerous third party websites that cater to buyers
looking beyond Realtor listed properties. All agents, whether from
large or small firms draw from the same pool of buyers. The key in
attracting the buyers and their agents is in producing a quality
advertising piece. More information on our marketing strategies can be
found at the Marketing Plan link.
Q. Do you offer special discounts for bundled services?A. No, we don't believe that is fair or in the best interest of our clients. The problem with requiring the utilization of all services in order to get a discount is that very often all services are not needed. We believe that you should be free to choose your selling agent, buying agent, insurance company, closing and escrow company and mortgage provider without being compelled to use in house services. If you find a better provider on one or more of the services, you should be able to use them without penalty. All of our services are discounted individually. We provide unbeatable value for each service we provide, whether you utilize one or all.
Q. Why do some agents discourage using the services of a discount broker?
A. They want your business. When the only real difference is price,
how else can they justify charging you more? The real estate business
is no different than any other business, good old fashion common sense
and logic are the best tools for evaluating which option makes the most
Serving Bellevue, Bennington, Carter Lake, Council Bluffs, Elkhorn, Gretna, La Vista, Omaha, Papillion, Ralston and surrounding communities.