There IS NO Set Rate
Due to the Sherman Anti-Trust of 1890 price fixing was made to be illegal. This means when selling your house there is no set commission fee. You have options. All commissions are negotiable. With this information you can see that the term "discount" is not a true description. Since there is no "set" fee, what are you discounting from?
There are different models out there. The most well known is a Full Service Listing model. This is where the agent you choose will handle all aspects of the transaction such as pictures, negotiating price, repairs, coordinating with the lender and closing attorney. A Fiduciary Relationship is also established with Full Service Listings. Limited Service is a choice that may or may not handle the services previously listed....there may be things you have to do yourself, such as negotiations and contractual paperwork. Lastly, there is the Flat Fee model, where you pay a flat fee to a Firm to 'enter' your house on the MLS, but you may be solely responsible for ALL other aspects of the transaction and also paying a buyer's agent commission on top of the flat fee.
In my opinion, with almost 15 years experience of selling Real Estate, the Full Service model is the way to go. This does not mean you have to pay a high commission fee. There are many Firms out there that will represent your best interests when selling your home and the fees may vary between Firms. My Firm advertises to list homes for 4.5% total commission or less, which does include the buyer agent’s commission. We are indeed a Full Service Firm as well.
It's The Agent, Not The Firm
When looking around for an agent to represent you, probably the biggest factor to consider is the actual agent, not the Firm. Ask around. Read reviews. Google them. If an agent has been around for a while you should be able to dig up some information on their sales history and areas they cover. The amount of commission they charge should not be the sole reason for choosing them; whether it is high or low. Their character should be revealed and considered.
*One common "selling point" from certain Firms is that a higher commission fee results in a faster selling time and higher dollar amount. There is no evidence I have ever seen to support this theory. The biggest names in Real Estate have all had challenging listings that take more time to sell. I have also seen Entry Only/Flat Fee listings sell in 1 day. Let's be fair.
Three Other Things to Consider When Choosing a REALTOR®
EXPERIENCE- Ask the agent how long they have been in the business and their opinions on certain aspects such as market statistics.
LIKABILITY- You have to like the agent you are working with in a Real Estate Transaction.
HONEST and TRUSTWORTHY- Based on an agent's past references and reviews you should be able to tell if they will be looking out for your best interests.
Three Factors To Consider When Selling
Your agent will advise you of market conditions and best practices. Please heed their advice. It may be tempting to watch the reality shows, but the experience of your agent will be crucial in helping you understand the market.
TIMING- Sometimes it takes the right weekend, the right weather, the right job promotion, etc. There are so many subjective matters that go into selling a house. Timing is huge. Sometimes it may take more than 30 days to sell a house even if the average days on the market is 20. Sometimes a buyer that viewed your home is not ready to buy, but they come back a month later and it works out. I have seen it all.
CONDITION- Just because the market is hot does not mean your house will sell immediately. Condition of the house is a crucial element. Clean and clutter free is imperative. If you have an older home updates are very important. If your home is not updated you will have to price it accordingly. There is a lot of new construction out there to compete with these days. Though older neighborhoods have more character in my opinion, in order to compete you have to have a 'somewhat' updated house.
PRICE- The obvious one is price. If your agent suggests a price range and you demand listing it $30K higher, it will likely sit on the market with few showings and no offers. This is the market doing it's thing. Your agent cannot control how many showings and/or offers you get, but positioning your house is crucial. Positioning your house too high is the best way to accumulate days on the market and make buyers hesitant to view.
**I'll throw in a fourth....Seller Motivation and Attitude- As a seller you have to be motivated and aggressive. If you have 2 showing requests within an hour of the house going active, DO NOT decline them. If you get continuous feedback such as "stinky carpets and dark red painted walls are a deterrent"....react to this feedback. The market is in control and this is something that agents as well as buyers/sellers have to acknowledge.