Profile picture for horsyhorsyhorsy

Buying in $400-800K range

I plan to purchase a condo or townhouse in the area close to downtown Seattle (Beltown/capital hill) in the next 6 month.  I would like the help of a broker on that mission.  I had 3 real estate transactions over the past 10 years and my best experience was with a realtor on a hourly pay structure.

Any good broker in Seattle work only an hourly rate basis?  I'm also willing to consider alternative incentive structures that'll pay commensurate with performance.
  • December 05 2013 - Downtown
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Answers (12)

Profile picture for daveskow
Horsy --how is the property search going ?  Do you need any loan/ mortgage related  assistance  yet?
thanks and all the best
  • April 15
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Profile picture for daveskow
1/30/2014

Follow up - how is the property search going ?
  • January 30
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I really do not understand why everyone is making it so complicated.  You asked a simple question.  I would be glad to meet with you and discuss a deal whereby I credit you the full selling office commission and in turn, you compensate me an agreed upon amount, be it percentage, a flat fee, or an hourly rate.

I am an experieced, full time agent with 13 years experience in Seattle, as well as a life long resident.  I can find you a great home.  Of course, the compensation would have to be adequate for me to give you the full service I give to all my clients. But it could also depend on how much time and effort I need to put in. For example, if you went out to open houses (harder with condos) and found the place yourself, but relied on me for advice, representation and negotiation, as well as seeing it through the closing process successfully, that is one thing. If you also want me to search out the homes which you would like, which I am good at, preview them and report back to you, to reduce your time involvement in the preliminary stage, and also the rest, that would be more.  But however you would like to work, as long as I make a reasonable amount for my efforts and successul conclusion, I am game. 
  • December 06 2013
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Profile picture for nwhome.us
Discount the full selling office commission from the price of the property. That's a pretty simple way to achieve the same result.  The best value is achieved with a combination of a good negotiator and a willing seller and a buyer who recognizes the value of a specific piece of property in a specific neighborhood.

You might want to visit the Redfin site and work with them.

Your challenge is that the listing agreement is between the seller and the listing office and contains language that conforms to rules that are followed by all members of the NWMLS. You'd have to convince the seller to amend that agreement with the listing agent for your deal. So now you've paid your broker an hourly rate and the seller sees no advantage to altering that agreement because it would require paying an attorney to do it.  What then?

The last creative idea that I ran into was a seller who wanted to split the closing costs in half. Yes, each party pays 1/2 of the escrow fee and each party pays their specific share of a title insurance policy.  No, the excise tax is not split. The seller pays it now and the buyer will pay it when they sell.
  • December 06 2013
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One more thing.  Don't assume that buy working with the seller's agent there will be a reduction in the commission or that there will be a dual agency situation.
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  • December 06 2013
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There's the old joke about the attorney who appears in heaven and is surprised that God has decided it's time for him to die because he's only 35 years old.  The response he gets is that his billings to clients indicate he is 92.

The point of that is that unless you want to waste your time by not having the agent preview first, how are you going to know how much time is spent?  There's also the issue of whether you pay even if no property is found.  If the fee is contingent on actually finding a place, the hourly rate would need to be higher.

To answer your question, I've worked on an hourly basis on various matters, but it's typically expert witness type work.  I've not done that on a buyer or seller side representation, although I did have one listing where the percentage rate was based on how long it took to sell.  When the seller asked if I'd be willing to do that, I said probably, but did have to inquire as to whether he wanted my compensation to go up or down the longer it took.  ;-)  I think it's really unworkable to do either on an hourly rate.

What you really need is a rebate broker.  I would suggest Walaw--but note their fees are not contingent, but that's part of what makes them lower. (Note:  I haven't reviewed their current terms--just assuming they are similar to the last time I checked.)

http://walawrealty.com/fees/

  • December 06 2013
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Profile picture for horsyhorsyhorsy
yes, the buyer's broker is paid by the seller directly.  However, fundamentally it's still the buyer, who's writing the big check, paying for the commission.  I understand that directly working with the seller's broker may result in a dual agency situation, that's why I'm looking for an agent here who will be paid by me on an hourly or alternative structure, and I'll receive a 100% buyer's agent commission rebate as part of the closing.  
  • December 05 2013
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Profile picture for daveskow
Do you have the need for  financing ?   if so how have you worked with lenders on your previous deals  ?
  • December 05 2013
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Just a short F.Y.I. Agents that tell you that the Seller is paying the commission is not necessary correct. When an Appraissor goes out to assess the value of the property, he automaticly includes the cost of marketing such as closing costs, concessions and commissions. Based on that fact the Buyer pays the commission. If the Buyer understands that, the Buyer will have a choice whether he will trust the Seller to be a dual agent, ( without a license ) to look out for your interest. If I was a Buyer, and I wanted to buy a house from the Seller directly, then you are both representing yourselves, and no commissions should be counted in the offer.
  • December 05 2013
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As a buyers agent, I am compensated by the selling broker (who is compensated by the seller) and the buyer does not pay directly for representation. 

If you forego working with a buyer-agent, the seller's agent will represent both parties and get paid both commissions. 

You do not save money working directly with a seller's agent; without a buyer-agent you have no advocate who will represent your best interests (and you'll risk paying more than necessary). 

Find an agent you like (trust and respect) and make a plan to visit in the spring to familiarize yourself with the city, the housing inventory and narrow down your favorite neighborhoods/streets/buildings.  And of course, you should call me, I can help (for free ;-)

SheSellsSeattle, but works for you! 


  • December 05 2013
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Interesting.  I would be willing to discuss an hourly compensation set up. I have never heard of an agent doing so for buyers, but I am always open to alternative ways of doing business.  I have lived and spent a lot of time around Capitol Hill and Belltown all my life.  I love those areas.  I have sold several loft condos and other condos in the areas as well.  

Not exactly what you would have in mind for based on performance.  Most agents only get paid when they are successful in helping you buy a condo.

Get in touch and let's have some coffee and see what we can come up with that will work for both of us and get you into a cool condo or townhouse.
  • December 05 2013
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Hi there, In Washington State commission is paid by the seller in most transactions. This means that most of the time when you work with a buyers agent, you don't owe them any compensation because they get paid by the commission the seller pays. Some agents will ask you to sign a buyers agency agreement that says you will pay them x amount should the seller not pay the normal commission or any commission. I am not one of those agents...I get paid by the seller or I don't get paid and I would love to talk to you more about what your looking for. Check out my profile, and contact me if you'd like to get together to talk about working together. Thanks and good luck in any case!
  • December 05 2013
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