Here are a couple new, interesting websites I received an email about last week. They are designed to save you money when you sell your house and make you money when you buy it. But before we get to them and what they offer, let's review the home selling and buying process.
When a home is sold, the realtors involved (buyer's and seller's realtors) earn a 6% commission on average for selling the home. That commission is paid for by the seller. Generally, the commission is split evenly between the listing agent and the selling agent. If the listing agent also sells the home, he keeps the entire 6%. So if your home sells for $200,000, you'll end up paying the realtors involved $12,000. That's a pretty big chunk of change, but theoretically it goes to pay for all the ads, MLS fees, and other work done by the realtor.
On the buying side, you don't have realtors fees as all of these are paid for by the seller (though some will argue that they are factored into the cost of the house, I'd say the house sells for what the market declares to be a fair price and the fees are then paid by the seller after the fact.) But that doesn't mean realtor fees don't factor into your buying efforts. For instance, if both you and the seller have agents, you'll pay $200,000 for the house above while the seller will get back $188,000 ($200k - $12k; yes, there are other fees, but I'm trying to keep this simple.) But if you find the seller or he finds you without any agents involved, he is now willing to take a lower price since he'll "save" $12,000 if you buy from him. So let's say you split the difference and you buy the house for $194,000. With no realtors, you save $6k on the home and he makes $6k more. It's a win-win situation!
The two sites I noted above are designed to help you eliminate the realtors' fees as much as possible so more money goes into your pocket. Here's how they do it:
- IggysHouse lets you list a home you want to sell on the MLS system in your area. Since this is something that's usually closed to people looking to sell their own homes and is a key to getting your house in front of agents in your area, this is a valuable service. The site also gets your house listed on Realtor.com (a major real estate website) and offers some other benefits as well. And all of this is FREE. You'll still need to do the other marketing for your home, but this is a big step to saving a bundle (at least 3% of the selling price of the home as you won't have an agent and maybe the whole 6% if you find a buyer without an agent). For details on how this works, visit their how we do it page.
- BuySideRealty basically acts as your agent -- though for a much cheaper rate than normal. The reason they can do this is that they offer fewer services than a regular agent (translation: you have to do much more of the work -- see their how it works page for details) But your reward for doing so is that they'll give you back 75% of the realtor fees they generate. So in the example above, they would have earned $6,000 in realtor fees from the seller and they would give you $4,500 back. Not bad at all for doing a bit more work yourself.
I see sites like these becoming more and more common as people look to eek out whatever equity is left in their homes. It could even work for us, IF we decide to sell our house when we buy the new one and IF we had the time to do much of the legwork ourselves (which we don't.)
I'm interested in your opinions -- what's your take on these sites and/or this do-it-yourself trend?
And for those of you who are skeptical out there, no, this is not a paid post for them. Though I wish it was! ;-)