Sunday, March 24, 2013

Selling Your House, List With A Cooperative Agent

      In almost all cities, there is a Multiple Listing Service (M.L.S.).  This is almost always part of the Association of Realtors. 

     If you list your house with the Realtor of your choice, your agent submits your listing to the M.L.S. .  Any Realtor in town can show your house to their buying prospects.  This is good for you. The buyer's agent and your agent agree to share the commission.  Theoretically, they share in the work of  getting the transaction to closing.  In real estate, we call this cooperating.  There is the listing agent and the cooperating agent.

     Some listing agents cooperate better than others.  Most laymen believe that a good agent will list my house,show my house and sell my house.  The truth is that cooperating well with 4999 helpers, other Realtors, will get the job done better and faster. 

     One way you can tell how well your listing agents cooperates is to look at the way they split the commission in the M.L.S..  A listing agent that wants to encourage cooperation will split the commission fifty fifty between the listing office and the cooperating office.  A listing agent that wants  to discourage cooperation will list a house at 7% with 4% going to the listing office and 3% going  to the cooperating office.  This decision is entirely up to the listing agent.  The cooperating agent has no control over this.  The client does.  If you are the client you can insist that the commission be split fifty fifty.  The listing agent is bound by Florida law to obey your instructions.  Splitting commissions fifty fifty encourages cooperation.  Cooperation is good for the client.  If you really want to get your house sold quickly, have your agent list it for 8% and split that fifty fifty.  There is no incentive like a financial incentive. 

     Another thing that listing agents do to encourage cooperation is to make the house easy to show.  Realtors know that houses that are hard to show are hard to get to closing.  Making the house hard to show discourages cooperation.  If you want to get your house sold, make it easy to show.  This encourages cooperation from other Realtors.  This is good for the seller.

     Some listing agents discourage cooperation by "holding offers" until it is convenient for the listing agent  to present them to the seller.  This discourages cooperation.  A smart client will insist that any offer that is presented to listing agent is presented to the seller before the suns sets on that business day.  Many listing agents will get an offer from a cooperating agent on Tuesday and NOT tell the seller about that offer until Friday.  There is no advantage to the seller.  Insist that your listing agent that you want to see all offers the same day they receive them.  Accept the offer.  Reject the offer. Counteroffer quickly.  Insist that your listing agent notify the co-op agent immediately of your decision.

      If you have your house listed with a uncooperative listing agent, there are some things you can do to help your listing agent be more co-op friendly.  Suggest to your agent that we raise the commission and be certain it is split fifty fifty in the M.L.S..  This is much more effective than a price reduction.  Also insist that you see any offer that comes in on the house the same day it comes in to your listing agent.  There is no upside to "holding offers" to the client. If you (the client) instruct your listing agent to do this in writing, they are bound by Florida law to obey your instructions.   There is no advantage to "holding offers" to the seller.  There may be an advantage to an unscrupulous listing agent.

     List your house with an agent that likes to cooperate with other Realtors.  It is the best way to get to closing quickly.                


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