Will Your Home Equity Buy a Tesla For a REALTOR and a Fiat For Their Kids?

Home equity is the buried treasure of most homeowners. Other than borrowing, we uncover the gold coins by selling the home it’s buried beneath. Regardless of what we will do after we exchange the deed for cash, you and I, and all of our friends, sell for the same reason- free the equity to do the next thing.    Other people get their hands on our home equity treasure by selling our houses.

At the time of sale, our opportunities to increase our equity are over. What’s there is there, and the money owed reduces the balance we have to do whatever we have planned for our investment. The way to increase our net equity is to decrease our costs to sell. Your most expensive selling cost might be the real estate broker fee. Like a regressive sales tax, a broker fee (commission) based on a percentage of the sale price consumes an unfair share of home equity for people who can least afford it. 

 How 6.0% becomes 24.0%

You and I sell our homes for $400,000. We sell with the same real estate broker; she charges you 6.0% of the sale price, and she collects the same 6.0% from me. On our closing statements, you and I see the same real estate commission of $24,000.00. Everything is equal. Or is it? Probably not. You have a mortgage of ZERO. Your gross home equity is $400,000. I, on the other hand, have a mortgage with a balance due of $300,000. My home equity is $100,000. Your $24,000 broker fee is only 6.0% of your home equity. For me, I will need 24% of my capital to pay the broker.

You pay for lifestyles that are not your own.

BMW. Volvo. Audi. Range Rover. Tesla. You may not own one of these luxury automobiles, but if a REALTOR is driving one, someone’s paying for it. In a driveway sits a Suburban, a Jeep Wrangler, a Tesla, a Fiat. Upon parking the Fiat and exiting the car, the REALTOR-owner announced, “The last person out of the house in the morning gets stuck with the Fiat. It’s the kid’s car.” To people who want you to believe the car they drive are an indicator of their success, getting stuck with a $30,000 Fiat is as bad as it gets. I can point to a few incidents that opened my eyes to why the public needs alternative real estate solutions, and this was one. There is something wrong with taking large chunks of equity homeowners could use for the well being of their families and spending it on luxuries for our families. The real estate market runs at a pace where the least capable licensee can collect expensive cars to appear successful, and take 24% of your earned savings, doing nothing more than signing a listing contract. 

Know where your money goes

Cars, trips, real estate, luxury goods, self-promotion, lead generation, client appreciation parties, pre-game tailgates, fundraising for clean water for wealthy lake property owners become business expense write offs for some brokers. Your home equity is the revenue they use to pay the bills. Fortunately, as more brokers create alternative real estate business models, the homeowners and buyers will have a choice to keep more of their money for themselves and pay less for the lifestyles of other people. It’s essential to know the fee the broker charges and where he/she will spend your money. When your dollars are spent on luxury cars that you don’t drive and vacations you don’t take, you have the right to know where the money will go. 

Essential Real Estate’s $499 and 1.0% broker fee means more equity for you.

Buying things you don’t use is never a good idea. Buying those things for other people is charity you can choose to be part of of or not. Essential Real Estate was created to give home sellers a choice to keep more of their home equity and pay less in real estate broker fees. It’s not just the listing side of the commission where our clients save. We busted the myth of the 3.0% buyer broker commission. Our home selling clients are paying an average of 2.4% commission to buyer agents. For the person selling a $400,000 house, that little .6% is a big $2,400. Financial security is achieved by saving and paying fair prices for quality service. As long as real estate broker fees are negotiable, expect to negotiate. And if negotiating isn’t your thing, call us. We negotiated a lower broker fee and better selling terms for all of our clients. $499 plus 1.0% of the sales price is our fee. You decide how much you want to offer to a buyer broker. More of our clients offer no more than 2.0%.

Control of Your Home Equity…Problem Solved

The reason to start a business is to solve a problem other people have. All different intents are outcomes. I’ve never heard anyone say; There are too few real estate companies. We need one more.  My son Patrick and I set out to apply our skills and talents to solve a problem, and it didn’t take long for us to identify a solvable situation.  

Inspired by the ideas of Seth GodinSimon Sinek, and Malcolm Gladwell we began by asking “Why” questions. Why do brokers charge 6.0% commissions? Why do homeowners pay 6.0% commissions? The answers lead us to ask “What” questions. For example, What do brokers do with the commissions they collect? What do home sellers use to pay the broker’s commissions? What do home sellers get for the commissions they pay? More or less, the answers looked like this: Brokers charge 6.0% commission because home sellers are willing to pay 6.0%. The commissions are paid from home equity savings earned by the homeowner and spent to support other people’s lifestyles. So, what’s the problem? We believe the problem in need of a solution is as homeowners, we pay an unfair share of our home equity for overpriced real estate service from under-skilled practitioners who provide no discernable service difference, all of which achieve the minimum standards of the law.

Essential Real Estate Solves The Problem of Excessive Equity Loss

Broker commissions are a form of a regressive tax. Six percent of a $400,000 is $24,000 for everyone who sells a home for $400,000. The regressiveness is that the $24,000 is not 6.0% of the home equity held by everyone who sells the $400,000 house. It is 6.0% of their equity of they owe ZERO, but few homeowners owe nothing against their home. A typical seller of a $400,000 home might have $100,000 to $200,000 in equity. At 12% to 24% of a person’s equity, that broker fee is significantly more of a burden. 

Take Control of Your Equity and Expenses

Homeowners pay dearly because of two false beliefs about real estate commissions. (1) Real estate agents don’t decide which homes their clients see based on the commission offered to them. The same buyers who would see your house if you promise to pay 3.0% to their agent will see your home if you offer 1.0% commission to their agent, and there is no evidence to prove otherwise. That’s nonsense, and we can get more into why I know that’s a false assumption. (2) Commissions are not heavily invested in marketing your home. The lion’s share goes toward real estate broker self-promotion, capturing more buyer and seller clients, company overhead, staff, and lifestyle choices. 

The listing consultation you receive from us shows you how to take control of your home equity and your selling expenses. If controlling the spending of your capital sounds like a good idea to you, talk to us. Anyone can sell your home. We make sure the transaction is negotiated to your advantage with you keeping more of your home equity.

Essential Real Estate, LLC Leaving you with control of your home equity.

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?
Maybe.

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.

OR

$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

Less Acquisitive. Why 4.0% is a fair and reasonable broker fee for when the median days on market is 9.

We believe 4.0% is a fair real estate broker fee when the median time on the market is 9 days.

Acquisition. The question is never, What don’t you want for Christmas? This is the season of receiving. It’s an important season in American culture. The American is an acquisitive creature.

To live in a material acquisitive world Americans become adept at trading as little as possible for as much as possible. And we expect it. A tried and true method to acquire more for less is sell the sizzle. A handy example of selling the sizzle is an appealing ad for the incredible shrinking fast food hamburger. When you buy the burger that looked so good in the advertisement the burger you are handed has less meat, smaller buns, 1 pickle not 2. Less substance. More price will continue until one day we hand over $10.00 and the person at the counter will show us a picture of a burger with everything on it. And we’ll be satisfied.

Why would we expect anything more? To fund a lifestyle at a level one has become accustomed to, there needs to be more revenue and less cost. Selling sizzle instead of steak when you can get the same price for sizzle is going to keep happening until the consumer quits buying less for more. Or a business flips the script and provides more for less, and stays in business.

The new generation is more inquisitive than acquisitive. Maybe because they have more choices at their finger tips and more information they are more likely to ask why where we and our parents were quick to ask how much.

Patrick and I designed our company, Essential Real Estate to be a healthy choice for people who want all of the service at a fair and reasonable price. People who want substance. Essential Real Estate set fees at 33% of the price the market will bear. And we did that because we believe this is true, “Help enough other people get what they want in life, and you’ll get everything you want in life.” Simply put, you can make a profit charging a fair price and leaving more for the customer. We don’t need to acquire more of your home-equity.

Real estate transactions are governed by transaction law. The service a real estate firm is paid to provide is the service they’re licensed to practice at a high standard. The transaction is substance. Our expertise is in the essential real estate service our license expects us to provide expertly. When knowing nuances of the real estate transaction is not your thing, the smoke from the sizzle might cover your substance deficiencies…until someone gets burned.

The six percent, more, or less broker fee is a choice businesses are free to charge. In the next decade the consumer will demand and receive more choices. They businesses that deliver those choices will be built less on the acquisitive model and more on solution at a fair price for expert service model. Essential Real Estate is that choice today.

We believe 4.0% or less is a fair fee when the median time on the market is 9 days.

Is Your Fee Negotiable? The answer to the next question is decisive.

“What;s your fee?” That’s the easy question to answer. “Have you ever charged less?” That’s the critical question home sellers must ask to know if the answer to the first question is sincered.

Real estate broker commissions are not all the same. Rates vary even among agents in the same firm. Even if the agent makes a convincing defense against a commission concession you can still negotiate a lower fee. Agents are confident in their answer to questions like “Is your fee negotiable?” It’s such a common question Google will give you about 127,000,000 connections about answering. It’s the next question that Google has no answer for. The truth is in the pause.

The topic of a recent company meeting at a local firm was the book Never Split the Difference. Negotiating is the skill the book aims at improving. Nothing of the strategy the author proposed came close to misrepresentation. Honesty. Trust. A sincere commitment to see the other person as deserving of your consideration are clearly part of the strategy presented. Here’s how well the book impressed this firm.

A dozen or so agents around the table, including the owners and leaders, were confident to the point of enthusiastic as they shared their prepared responses to the question, Is your fee negotiable? The quick quips were right out of 1970 sales training. “NO. Nope. Can’t do it. Company policy.” To a person, everyone knows there is no such company policy. Based on every agent’s past history any version of NO is not the truth. And yet the seasoned agents were proud of their answer and the unseasoned agents were impressed. I was not.

I asked this next question and their silence told me the answer I just heard was bullshit. The decisive question was simply, “Have you or your firm ever charged less?”

This conversation turned out to be a defining moment in my career. When deception is encouraged by the owners the culture is poisoned and the future is determined. Building something better is easier when the status quo can’t honestly answer a simple question about their fees. So I did.

There is no question, broker commission fees have not been reduced by the presence of the internet even though the buying habits and methods of consumers has changed substantially. Apparently the broker fee is immune to market pressures or the market pressures are to not pressures at all.

It’s not collusion that keeps fees as they are. I believe inflexible fees are the norm because real estate business owners are committed to doing today what worked in the past. Few leaders get to the top when most members want to be followers of leaders who are taking them right where they are and no where near their discomfort zone. The obvious choice in this environment is to be the change. As I see the world, it’s not important to be a leader. It is essential to see wrong and try to right it. Leadership is overrated. Look around. There are effective leaders behind every crime against humanity. The bigger challenge is to be a wise follower and a committed instrument of change.

I started looking at the broker fee problem from the point of view of the home owner. This is what I saw: The conversation about commission tends to be related to a percentage of the purchase price. It occurred to me that this focus on purchase price minimizes the problem and distracts attention from the real problem, which is, real estate fees are paid by the seller from their home equity, not from the purchase price. As a percentage of purchase price the cost is a single digit. As a percentage of the only real money in the transaction, the equity, this cost becomes a double digit problem. A typical American with $70,000 in home equity is probably going to pay 20, 30, 40, and even 50% of their equity in real estate commissions.

Go ahead, ask Essential Real Estate the questions you want to ask. “What’s your fee.” Answer. $499.00 at the time we sign the contract, plus one percent of the purchase price as our Success Fee at the time of closing. We suggest you offer at least another one percent to cooperating broker who procures the buyer. More than that is up to you. ”

Be sure to ask us the second question. Have you or your firm ever charged less? The answer is, Of course. Our clients set the fee they’re prepared to pay within the range of fees we’re offering.

When starting a business relationship on honesty and keeping more of your home equity in your hands is your thing call me. 608-332-8331.

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The incredible shrink proof commission.

Real estate companies are fueled by real estate commissions. Those commissions are paid from other people’s money, specifically their home-equity. Where does that money go?

Texas Instruments calculators. If you had one in 1988 you were on the cutting edge of real estate technology. If you could operate it for anything more than multiplying a number by 7.0% you were likely trying to pre-qualify people. Eventually, you turned them over to a mortgage lender who knew how to use the machine.

Thirty years ago we booked air travel, rental cars, and hotels through a travel agent. We got our messages on pink paper notes, folded lengthwise and inserted into a lazy Susan-type message holder with slots for everyone. There they would remain until we returned to the office…which we did most every day.

The travel agents are real estate agents now, and they get their messages in an instant without needing to set foot in an office. Do we book our trips ourselves because the agents left, or did the agents leave because we book ourselves? Either way, when we miss our connection we have no one to blame but ourselves.

The end of this first decade of the 21st Century is near. This black electronic apple on my desk is a calculator, computer, cordless phone, radio, and television. Oh, yes. It’s also a movie production studio. I pay $100 a month for this gadget. And with it, I can spend more money and every store in the world is open 24/7.

Real estate commissions are no bargain. Despite the fact that the typical buyer spends three to six months researching and discovering the market without intentionally contacting a realtor, according to Zillow, the typical broker commission is 6.0% of the purchase price. How is it that a travel agent, who’s service was required far more often, is out of business while real estate agents are everywhere and their fee has gone down 14% while the average house price grew 108%. If you have the TI-68 please tell me if 6% of $383,000 is more money today than 7% of $135,000 adjusted for inflation.

Real estate companies are fueled by real estate commissions. Those commissions are paid from other people’s money, specifically their home-equity. I haven’t seen an ad for a house for sale in any media forever. Online sure. I’m a REALTOR and when I search for real estate outside of the home I use Zillow.com. I like the Zestimate. Last time I looked, the cost of placing a property on Zillow and a thousand other websites is between zero and zero.

Where does the money go? Billions and billions of home equity dollars are paid as real estate commissions. Some of it is absolutely earned. Maybe someone could analyze the cash flow to see what is spent on essential service and what is misspent on the lifestyle enhancements of other people?

Essential real estate services are listed in Chapter 452 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Nothing in the law obligates the licensee to spend money on more than annual fees. Extravagant expenses are not required to be a highly-skilled, effective real estate agent.

Do you think a real estate company can be profitable and sustained by investing in delivering essential services and charging unselfish fees?