Strangers to negotiation - Mary Holm

Monday 16 August 2004

Q. There are many times I have been tempted to write to you. However, the exchange between Mr Woodley (president of the Real Estate Institute) and yourself in last weekend's Herald has finally pushed me over the edge.

The issue I wish to address relates to the misconception that real estate agents will negotiate their fee structure.

Earlier this year, I decided to

By The Landlord

list for sale a property at a popular beach. I sent out detailed information to 10 separate agencies, requesting among other things a marketing plan and fee structure with the objective of entering into a binding contract to sell the property with one agent.

I received nine extraordinarily professional responses but, surprise, surprise, the fees were all identical.

Having bought and sold several properties, my experience is that the only time the fee structure is really negotiable is when a sale could fail, over a few dollars. Then the agent is prepared to dip into their own pocket and discount the fee to save the commission.

A. Oh no, not more letters about real estate fees. I do not want to re-open the debate. But this is an important issue that hasn't come up before. So just this once.

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