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Transcript: Lower real estate commissions

Anchor Intro: The housing crisis has made selling a home more difficult than ever, and the cost of selling isn't helping. Commission costs to sell the average home can easily top $10,000. But Bankrate.com has some ideas to get the same service for less.

Voice over 1: Signs of the times. Depending on where you live, selling a house is ranges from hard to impossible. And even if you do find a buyer, go the traditional route and you'll pay thousands to a Realtor to do the deal.

Voice over 2: But there might be a way to get full service for less. Ask. According to a survey described in this recent issue of Consumer Reports, abut half of sellers ask for a discount from the standard 6% commission...and almost three quarters of those who ask get one.

Voice over 3: But as the survey suggests, not every Realtor is willing to discount just because you ask.

SOT: "I don't cut commissions. It's very simple. You need my marketing. You need my expertise. I don't need the listings. And I don't mean to sound cocky, but you know what? I turn down more listings than I actually take."

Voice over 4: That's why if you're going to ask for a discount, the best way to get one is to decide what you can do yourself and offer to that in exchange for that lower commission.

Voice over 5: Of course, if you're going to do everything yourself, bypass traditional Realtors entirely and pay a discount firm a few hundred bucks to get your house in the multiple listing service.

Voice over 6: But the worst thing you can do is pay full-price and get half service. So if you are paying big bucks to a Realtor, make absolutely sure you're getting what you pay for by asking lots of very pointed questions before you sign on the dotted line.

SOT: You need to see what their internet presence is. How many websites will they be on? How else is it going to be out there? What are their personal contacts? How long have they been in the business?

Standup: Bottom line? Negotiating a lower real estate commission is like negotiating anything else. Decide what's fair, ask for it and stick to your guns. And maybe be prepared to do some of the work yourself. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: Oct. 31, 2008
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