Should you pay your broker more to get your house sold faster?


In case you've been holed up in a cave watching re-runs of Little House on the Prairie, it's a pretty tough real estate market. With volume and prices down considerably, many Realtors aren't coming close to the earnings they had during the bubble.

But they may be able to make up for some of it with higher commissions. According to BusinessWeek, "Most agents charge 6% and will sometimes agree to less. But more and more agents, especially successful ones, have started charging more than 6%, in part because selling a house is more time-consuming and expensive than it used to be. And fewer homes are selling. Sellers in some parts of the country are paying up to 8% and sometimes more, agents said. Builders, eager to get rid of inventory, sometimes offer more than 10%."

There's something wonderfully ironic about this. At the height of the bubble, Realtors sold people homes at inflated prices. Now that those people are looking to dump mortgages that they can't afford, they'll have to pay a Realtor more to sell the home.

Is paying a Realtor extra to get your home sold worth it? I'm not so sure. With a sluggish real estate market, there are plenty of agents looking for listings. And shouldn't they be working hard to get your home sold anyway? If paying extra will make them work harder, does that mean they aren't giving it their all? I would question the quality of an agent who only tries hard if you pay him more money.

If you do opt to offer a bigger commission to get your home sold quickly, try to get something tangible in return: more advertising, free staging, etc.