WHAT IS A FEE FOR SERVICE REALTOR®?
Most Birmingham Realtors® offer Sellers an “Exclusive Right to Sell” Listing agreement. Birmingham Real Estate Agents usually charge a 6% commission at closing. This is an umbrella charge for all the services they should provide during the course of the listing, plus a commission for the buyer’s agent, if there is one. (If there is no buyer’s agent involved in the sale of your home, the listing agent keeps the full 6% commission anyway…ALL of it!) Either way, the Seller is committed to paying the full commission when the property is sold. The true dollar value of the services provided by many Birmingham Real Estate agents is frequently far less than the total cost of the commission the Seller must fork over at closing. Crawford Realty of Alabama is a different kind of Birmingham Realtor®, and unique to the Birmingham Real Estate market.
It’s important to understand that Crawford Realty of Alabama is a licensed Birmingham Real Estate Brokerage (agency) every bit as much as any of the other Real Estate companies in town. However, we believe in a different way of earning our commission and the gratitude of our Sellers. It’s called “Fee for Service” Real Estate, and it has saved our Sellers an average of over $7,800 in commissions when they close. “Fee for Service” IS full service (we can do absolutely anything any other Birmingham Real Estate Agency can do) but services are provided and billed ONLY as needed. Here’s how it works: We believe that Sellers should be able to have all the services they need, but not have to pay for services they don’t need or don’t want. Therefore, we have an a la carte menu of services that our clients pick and choose from, and a reasonable charge for each. Many of our Seller clients want to be actively involved in the sale of their property…and who could be a stronger advocate than the owner? No agent could ever know as much about a home for sale as the Seller does. Furthermore, many sellers have sold on their own before, or found that, even with a traditional “Full-price” listing, they were doing much of the work themselves, either by choice or necessity.
The a la carte services in our “Fee for Service” menu that Sellers choose
most frequently are:
- $500 to list the property in MLS®. This covers our time to meet you, the Seller, complete the listing agreement, evaluate the property, get all the right information to market it well, and do the data entry. We also list the home in For Sale By Owner websites, to market it to the 10% of the buying market that traditional Birmingham Real Estate Agents never ever reach. The $500 also gets you a Crawford Realty yard sign and a directional to guide traffic to your door. (Once you get an offer, Crawford also helps you negotiate the offer to a binding contract and then coaches you to get through all the pitfalls on the way to your successful closing celebration. The fee for all this is only ½ of 1% at closing.)
- $100 for an electronic lockbox. This gives 4,000 agents the ability to enter and show your home according to your instructions (and with your knowledge) without you having to be there. In today’s tough real estate market, no one can afford to miss even ONE showing to that prospect who might become your Buyer! (If you want to buy a combo lock, Crawford Realty doesn’t charge the $100.)
- $50 for digital pictures to place in all the listings. Done at the time we come to your home to list, we add photos to all the listings. The more photos, the longer prospects will look at your listing. A picture really IS worth a thousand words. (If you can email us digital photos, we add them to the listings for you at no charge.)
- 2.5-3% Selling Commission to the Buyer’s agent: YOU, the Seller, determine how much you will offer a Birmingham Real Estate Agent to bring you a Buyer. If your eventual Buyer doesn’t have an agent, then we don’t take that money from you, like other Birmingham Realtors® do who have already built it into their commission.
We offer many other services, all priced individually, such as holding open houses, printing flyers, and placing ads in other media like newspapers and magazines that feature Birmingham Real Estate. As a matter of fact, we offer some 70 points of marketing, all available at fair and reasonable costs. But our Sellers usually tell us that they would rather do these things themselves, and save the money. The less they spend in commissions and fees, the more competitive they can be with their price—and the more they can walk away with from the closing table. Our sellers can often make a deal just BECAUSE they’re not locked into a 6% commission that they have to build into their asking price. Many save as much as 5 ½% over the cost of their neighbors’ traditional full-price listings.
“Fee for service” is a new and unique concept to the Birmingham Real Estate market. No other Birmingham Realtor® does it like we do. IT JUST MAKES SO MUCH SENSE to do a little bit of work and save a whole lot of money. We work in high volume, so we’re experts at knowing how to meet our Sellers’ needs. And, since we work SO many contracts, we also know how Buyers think (invaluable when it comes to negotiating a deal that can actually close.)
A recent client told us he felt like he “had been robbed” by his agent the last time he sold his home. We suspect many people feel that way, but don’t know they have an alternative. Well, maybe they didn’t up until now. Crawford Realty of Alabama truly is “A BETTER WAY.”