How to save thousands when you sell your home, according to the New York Times


Sponsored By DC Home Buzz.

DC Home Buzz is a real estate company in Columbia Heights.

Created By BlankSlate

As part of a series of profiles of women who own their own businesses, The New York Times profiled DC Home Buzz’s real estate broker Ati Williams, where she discussed how homeowners can save thousands through her newly introduced initiative, “Full Service, Flat Fee.”

Introduced last April, the program is open to all home sellers and developers in the DC metropolitan area (DC, Maryland and Virginia) who list with DC Home Buzz, regardless of home price.

“When brokers sell a house,” writes Colleen DeBaise of the Times, “they typically collect a commission of 3 percent of the purchase price [while] another 3 percent goes to the buyer’s broker. Brokers like this model, but consumers increasingly want lower fees, Ms. Williams said, particularly as the Internet has changed the way people market houses.”

Instead of collecting the standard 3-percent commission, DC Home Buzz collects a flat fee of $9,900 from the seller and 3% for the buyers only if the home sells. This fee includes tailored marketing (including photos, video, and social media advertisement), plus complimentary staging and an expert agent in charge of pricing, handling offers, and negotiations.

To get more information and a free, no-obligation estimate of your home’s value, you can get started here.

12 Comment

  • I’m sure that I’m missing something here, but here are the problems that I see with a ‘flat-fee’ system. First, what about the buyer’s agent’s commission? If there is no provision, do you have to negotiate it? Directly with the buyer’s agent? That will never work. No buyer is going to put up with a deal falling through because the seller couldn’t come to terms with the buyer’s agent. Conversely, If the commission is built-in to the flat fee then buyer’s agents will simply steer their clients away from properties marketed under a flat-fee agreement because the commission will be better elsewhere…anywhere. And unless they buyers are very savvy, they won’t even know that it’s happening.

    There must be more to this.

    • I think the buyer’s agent still gets a 3% commission. You save money on the seller’s commission only (because it’s a flat fee rather than 3%.)

      • …unless your house is worth less than $330k, in which case the flat fee is more expensive.

        • My guess is that it’s only for houses over that $330k price point. Otherwise, that would make absolutely no sense for homeowners under that price point to list with them.

    • That is just her fee. The seller would still be responsible for the 3% commission to the buyer’s agent. This is still too high. Houses in DC sell themselves, so not sure why anyone should have to pony up 6% (normal), 4.5% (redfin), or whatever percentage her fee ends up being. The only work the realtors do is take pictures and post on MLS.

  • It would be good if there were a set 6% on the first say $100,000, then a smaller percentage on anything over that. I get that realtors have to do a certain amount of work for any sale, but it seems ridiculous to pay the same percentage for the entire purchase price. Does a realtor selling a $500,000 house do half the work of a realtor selling a $1 million house? No. But that’s how the standard fee works.

    • Yeah, fair points. But then again, does a realtor selling a $1 million house do exactly the same amount of work of another realtor selling a different $1 million house? Probably not. The amount of work can vary a lot depending on the people involved (buyers, sellers, agents, banks…) not to mention the disposition of the property involved, so the fee-to-work ratio is not constant anyway.

    • this is exactly what I negotiated with a realtor when I sold a previous property in the DC area. realtors will vigorously resist this arrangement but if the property is in good selling shape in DC it can be done.

    • I bet it’s harder to get a ready willing and able buyer to a high price home and convince them that your home is the home.

  • DC Home Buzz!

    All the best wishes to them

  • Sell under the current arrangements and you’ll pay 3% to you’re agent, 3% to theirs, and ~1.4% to DC. 7.4% gone before you get to the mortgage.

    real estate transactions can be pretty straightforward. Rather than drop that kind of coin i took long&foster’s “agent” course, evenings over a two week period i recall (maybe ~$500 bucks, can’t remember). Afterwards i knew about as much as most real agents out there, was familiar and comfortable with the process (timeline, inspections, title company, lenders, et al) and all the associated paperwork. When i sell i’ll do so myself, skip the commission. Also, buyer’s agent commission is whatever the seller deems it, doesn’t have to be 3%, i personally think 2% is more than fair.

    It’s 2014, buyers do all the searching nowadays anyway, i don’t personally think listing FSBO is any great hindrance to selling.

    • Do brokers still pay referral fees to licensed but inactive agents? If so, that’s another way to make a little cash with a realtor’s license.

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