We leave more home equity dollars in the hands of our clients.

When we talk of real estate commissions as a percentage of the sale price we overlook the fact that the fee is paid from home equity, not the sale price. As a percentage of equity that 6% can be an enormous 20, 30, 40%.

From the day we buy through the day we sell our home equity is at risk of being depleted. By paying attention to where the money comes from to pay costs, expenses, concessions, and commissions our clients see the importance of wise negotiations and reasonable fees.

When we think of real estate commissions as a percentage of the sale price we overlook the fact that the commissions are paid from equity dollars, not from the price. Six percent is not the same for everyone. For example, everyone with a $400,000 house could be charged a 6% broker commission. For the person with $100,000 in equity, a 6% commission of $24,000 will consume 24% of their equity dollars. The less equity a person has, the greater drain the fee will be on their savings, jeopardizing their ability to do the next thing they have planned in life. We think the consumer should have more choices.

Collusion or price fixing is not what’s happening here. Given a choice to charge as much as the market will bear or less, very few firms will concede the higher price. We can say real estate commissions are not fixed and they are negotiable. What we can’t say is that the consumer has many choices. Without choice, there is no real negotiation.

It is the essential real estate services required by license law that the consumer is least prepared to concede. A system that ties less real estate service to a lower fee is incomplete at best. The only reason there are not more options for complete real estate agency service at a more affordable rate is choice. Few talented people are choosing to fill the void.

One day more firms will look at home equity as a person’s treasure the way we do. And when more firms strive to leave more equity with home sellers they will offer smarter services and everyone will benefit. Until then, Essential Real Estate is showing that it can be done. Lower fees. More ideas. Better choices. Safer contracts.

Essential Real Estate. A Free Market Choice by the Numbers.

Compared to 4.0% a home seller who pays a 6.0% commission will pay 50% more money from their equity. Saving that equity is now a choice.

For a market to be free there must be a choice on both sides of the transaction. Do we have a free market real estate service economy?

Real estate representation is a licensed service. The standard of performance is the same for every real estate licensee. There is no choice as to which legal obligations a licensee will perform. There is a minimum standard though, and we expect some licensees to rise above the minimum to be a choice of higher-skilled service for the consumer.

What about the price? As long as the consumer is willing to pay *6.0% broker fees the market will be dominated by firms that choose to offer the same real estate licensed service for the same 6.0% price. Eventually either the consumer will demand a range of prices for the legally obligated services or licensees will choose to structure their business model to be profitable and sustainable at an alternative fee.

Essential Real Estate, LLC was created in 2019 in Madison to be a free market choice for home sellers who want to keep more of their home equity by spending less on broker fees. These are the numbers.

When the fee of choice tends to be 6.0% of the sale price the regressive nature of the “tax on value” hits those who can least afford the fee the hardest.

$400,000 Value. $300,000 mortgage. $100,000 equity
$400,000 x 6.0% = $24,000.
$24,000 is 24% of the equity.


$400,000 x 4% = $16,000
$16,000 is 16% of equity.

To pay a 6.0% commission the home seller will pay 50% more money compared to a 4.0% commission.

50% more, in this scenario, is $8,000. By moving that $8,000 back into the hands of the seller the difference is impressive:

The $8,000 is a 33.3% reduction in the price of the commission.
The $8,000 is a 10.5% increase in retained equity.
The $8,000 applied to the next down payment will reduce a monthly payment on a 30-year mortgage at 4.1% by $39.
$39 per month is $468 per year
$468 per year for 30 years is $14,040.00

Finally, home owners have a choice to pay less in selling commission and keep more of their home equity. Essential Real Estate has set the market free.

Listing fee: $499 at signing. Commission of 4.0% or less due at closing. We will show you how to make that 4.0% less.

* The Internet Didn’t Shrink the 6.0% commission

Catch the Seller’s Attention Without Overpaying.

Offering more money than the home is likely worth came into our market via the escalation clause a few years ago. As I previously wrote, the typical clause was a watered down version of a true promise to pay more than someone else, but it did serve its purpose of catching the seller’s attention. More often than you might think the seller’s attention drifted when they looked closely at the clause and discovered more money might happen, but at the cost of more uncertainty, greater risk, and some long days waiting.

What happens when we pay more money for a house than the house is worth? We spend our equity before we earn it. Paying $275,000 for a $250,000 house and using $30,000 as a down payment might leave you negative equity. That’s a tough way to begin ownership of an home and an unwise way to make an investment.

Fortunately, when working with agents who know how to construct a custom contract to present your full ability you have more than money to use to catch the seller’s attention. We use the offer to appeal to the seller’s desire for security and safety. A sure thing at a fair price has a better chance of being accepted than a high price with high risk and lots of uncertainty.

It sounds easy enough. And yet, it remains an uncommon skill. Essential Real Estate is created to customize offers for client and make the contract terms work in their favor while being appealing to the seller.