CONSUMERWATCH: Flat-rate realtors
Published Monday, April 23, 2012 3:04PM CST
For more than a year, Manitoban homeowners have had the option of choosing what services they want from a realtor for a flat fee.
Typically, real-estate agents charge a commission on homes sold – about five per cent. But some real estate agents are now offering a flat-fee service.
Homeowner Vi Stanlake said she expects to save almost $10,000 using a flat-rate realtor instead of a commissioned realtor.
Stanlake has lived in her home for more than 40 years and said she was grateful for the options. "If I wanted the minimum, I could get it. If I wanted the full service, I could get it, but it wouldn't cost me as much," she said.
Stanlake's realtor Kendra Eisner with Setrate Services recently began offering three packages to homeowners with varying degrees of service. Packages range from $900 to about $4,500 and include as little as listing the home on the national MLS website to full realty service.
"I've talked to quite a few people who've said, ‘Finally there are options there for us.' Because there is such a huge gap between a ComFree service and a fully commissioned real estate agent," said Eisner.
Eisner said the difference can be between $20,000 and $30,000.
The Manitoba Real Estate Association said it doesn't know how many people are currently using the flat-rate method, but Eisner hopes more people will be open to it.
"People can be wary about trying something new," Eisner said.
Lorne Wiess of the Manitoba Real Estate Association cautions anyone who is going the flat-rate route to look at exactly what they're getting.
"If I was selling the most important investment I ever made in my life, I'd want as much advice as I could get, and I'd be prepared to pay for it," said Wiess.
But Stanlake said she's happy with her decision. She got the help of a licensed realtor without having to pay hefty commissions. "Bottom line – it's all about the money," said Stanlake.