HOW MOST HOME SELLERS GET TRAPPED!
by Neil Jenman
Reading Time: Apx 9 minutes
If you are selling your home, you need to learn a tip to save you thousands of dollars. It’s simple and easy to use. And yet, probably 99 out of one hundred home-sellers would never use this tip. They’ve probably never heard of it.
Here’s a fact home sellers probably do know: Most agents get paid too much for doing too little. Very few agents spend more than ten hours “working” to sell any home. And yet the average commission on the average sale by the average agent is near $20,000.
That’s two thousand dollars an hour. More than cardiologists. Or barristers. More than the Prime Minister and the state premiers – collectively. Check it yourself. It’s true.
If that’s not insulting enough, consider this: Most estate agents are paid more than rocket scientists – on an hourly rate.
Okay, but, as many sellers say: “At least our house sold, and we can get on with our lives.”
But what if the agent did not sell your house? What if someone else sold it? Or what if there was no “selling” – maybe one of your relatives bought it?
How would you feel paying $20,000 for nothing?
WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO PAY AGENTS FOR DOING NOTHING?
Here’s a hypothetical scenario: You sell your home to a mate. No agents. Lawyers handle it all. But your local agent is not getting a massive commission. And that makes you feel bad. So, you decide to pay the agent anyway.
Give it some thought – that flash European beast roaring down streets in your neighbourhood with your local agent at the wheel, it’s leased. And lease payments are not cheap. Nor is cocaine (so I hear).
The agent has expenses, you know.
Got it? Good.
So, you call your local agent and say: “Hey Nigel, I sold my home, no agent. Even though you didn’t sell it. Even though I did the “work”, I want you to be paid, mate. I calculated, based on $1.5 million – that’s $30,000 in commission you didn’t get. I am going to give that to you.”
Money for nothing to the agent.
How does this sound?
What kind of home seller would pay an agent $30,000 for absolutely nothing?
How about “totally out-of-their-mind”.
Yes, that’s better.
You’d have to be near crazy to pay an agent thousands of dollars for nothing.
Well, brace yourself…
MOST SELLERS ALLOW AGENTS TO DO NOTHING AND GET PAID!
Thousands of home sellers give agents permission to be paid for nothing. Yes, that’s right, when any seller signs an “Exclusive Selling Agency Agreement” they give the agent the right to be paid for nothing.
If the sellers later realise the horrific unfairness of what they did – and say to the agent: “Hang on mate, you did nothing, therefore you’ll get nothing,” – look out.
The agents will drag the sellers into court, force them to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees, and create stress on the sellers that reduces them to quivering wrecks.
Don’t think this doesn’t happen. Even the fact that it can happen – to nearly every seller who signs up with every agent – is enough to give all sellers sleepless nights. So it should.
Imagine agreeing to sell your family home to, say, one of your children. And then an agent with whom you signed an “exclusive agreement” demands $30,000 (or more). In addition, the agent places a caveat on your home. A caveat stops you selling your home to anyone until you pay the agent who had nothing to do with selling your home.
All because you signed an exclusive selling agency agreement.
DANGER DANGER DANGER
Here is what happens to 99 per cent of home sellers:
- They give the agent total control over the sale of their home.
- No matter how much (or how little) work is done by the agent, one thing is 100% certain – when the home sells, the agent gets full commission.
- You, as owners, can no longer sell your home to anyone without paying agents their full commission. None of your relatives can buy your home without you paying tens of thousands of dollars to the agent.
But surely, you may think: This is so unfair.
Get real please. Real estate is not based upon what is fair, right, or ethical. It’s based on what is legal.
Yes, L-E-G-A-L, that’s all that matters.
SOLE AGENCY IS YOUR SOLE PROTECTION!
Let’s keep you safe.
Instead of signing an “Exclusive Selling Agency Agreement” you should sign a “Sole Agency Agreement”.
A sole agency means exactly what it says – you give your home to one agent only. Now, that’s probably what you intended when you signed an “Exclusive Selling Agency Agreement”. But, by giving an agent the “exclusive rights” to sell your home, you remove your own rights.
Is that what you intended?
Did you intend to pay an agent if a relative or a friend bought your home – and the agent did nothing? Surely not.
But that’s what almost all sellers do these days.
An “exclusive” agreement should be called an “EXCLUDED Agreement” – because you, as the owners, are forced to pay full commission no matter who buys your home. Thousands of dollars.
If you ask most sellers: “What’s the difference between an Exclusive Agency Agreement and a Sole Agency Agreement?” they won’t know the answer.
Indeed, many sellers think an Exclusive Agency and a Sole Agency are the same. They think it means they are hiring one agent and excluding other agents.
And that’s true.
Except that, with an Exclusive Agreement, as well as excluding other agents, the sellers are also excluded.
And that is NOT what most sellers intended to do.
Most sellers do not want to give up all their rights – especially to an agent they hardly know – and be forced to pay thousands of dollars no matter what. Even if the agents are rude, hard to contact, never give proper feedback, the sellers must put up with it. There’s nothing sellers can do once they sign an exclusive agreement – other than hope the agent turns out okay.
But why take a dangerous risk?
WHO DO YOU TRUST MORE – YOURSELF OR THE AGENT?
If you feel that you and your family are more trustworthy than the agent, do not give all control to the agent. Do not give up your own rights. Do not exclude yourself from being able to sell your own home.
No one knows the future. You might meet someone at a bus stop. You might strike up a conversation with a stranger. Next thing they want to buy your home. They are sure buyers. But something else is sure: You can’t sell your home to them as you have signed-away your rights. You must pay the agent. For doing nothing.
It gets worse.
Most agents have buyers known to them. These buyers do regular business with the agents. They are close to one other. This means agents favour certain buyers – all based on the quid-pro-quo of what buyers do for agents later, probably as sellers. Most agents do what’s best for agents.
So, do not give up all your rights. Do not ‘bench’ yourself.
THAT DREADFUL WORD – “EXCLUSIVE”
The danger for sellers is the word “Exclusive”.
To keep themselves safe, sellers must reject the “Exclusive Selling Agreement”. Instead, they should sign a Sole Agency Agreement. Or an Open Agreement (another topic).
Unlike an Exclusive Agency, a Sole Agency allows sellers to keep important rights. Such as the right to sell to someone known to them – a relative or friend, perhaps – without paying an agent who has done nothing.
NOW YOU CAN EASILY SPOT GOOD OR BAD AGENTS!
Good agents will have no issues with a Sole Agency. But bad agents want total control over you. They’ll make such laughable statements as: “But what if the sellers cheat us?”
Cheats are people who expect the world to act like them. “I cheat so therefore you must cheat too. Who has the blackest heart? The darkest thoughts?”
If an agent won’t agree to a Sole Agency instead of an Exclusive Selling Agency, then such agent is not worth considering. Almost certainly a crook.
Any decent agent should be proud to be chosen as the Sole Agent for a home. Agents who truly places the interests of sellers first will be honoured. Only crooks will complain.
So, there it is – an ever-so simple, but powerful way of protecting yourself when selling your home. A sole agency gives you security denied to most sellers.
It’s what should happen with all sellers.
DON’T SIGN UNLESS YOU’RE SAFE. PLEASE. FOR YOUR SAKE!
Be careful with the one thing over which you have complete control – your signature. Don’t sign anything until you are sure that you are safe.
With you keeping your fundamental rights, you stand the best chance of getting the best result when selling your home.
As a bonus, you’ll feel less stressed. You see, almost all stress is caused by people being in positions where they feel they have no control.
An Exclusive Agency gives control to agents. That’s why agents call these listings “controlled listings”.
A Sole Agency gives most control to sellers. Where it belongs.
So, if you are a home seller, ask yourself one question: In whom do I have the most trust to do the fair and ethical thing – the agent or myself?
If you are more trustworthy than the agent, never sign an Exclusive Selling Agency.
Insist on a Sole Agency.
If not, then remember three words: Don’t Sign Anything!
IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE: Some people say the best real estate book I have ever written is ‘DON’T SIGN ANYTHING!’. Although published 20 years ago (2002) it’s even more relevant today. Sure, it’s the longest of my books, but if any seller follows its suggestions, they’ll be better off by hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are a subscriber to the Jenman website and you are genuinely considering selling your home, please email me on email@example.com and I will mail you a copy at no cost to you – either for the book or the postage. But please, genuine sellers only. And no agents pretending to be sellers. It happens!