To discount commissions or not?

by Dustin Graham28 Jan 2015
Recently, I’ve been seeing the topic of real estate commissions come up quite a bit, both online and through local and national news. For example, REP recently published an article on the online service FeeDuck.
For those of you who don’t know, FeeDuck is a website designed for consumers who want to sell their home and have Realtors “bid” for their business. Ultimately this leads to discounting commissions.
The argument to discount or not has been a topic for quite some time now, but in the Greater Toronto Area we’re faced with the reality that discounting is common practice. Our industry is ever changing, and we can’t alter that fact.
However, we have control over the services we offer. Like it or not, most Realtors offer a similar service, we just put different spins on it. Of course, some perform these services better than others.
If you don’t want to discount your services then you have to ensure you are worth your price. Be on the leading edge of the business, educate yourself and, most importantly, provide a service to your clients that will give them no choice but to refer you to others.
Conversely, if you decide to discount your services, do so knowing that you are either undercutting yourself or not providing full service. Don’t confuse full service as simply providing an MLS listing, staging advice, and marketing materials. Full service goes well beyond the transaction; it is a long-term commitment to your clients.
All of this is perfect – if we lived in a world where all consumers understood the value of one service versus another. But as we know, this is obviously not the case and many consumers are looking for a “deal”.
One possible answer to these types of clients is to break down your services into individual parts and provide a “menu” approach. If they want an all-in approach then they pay the full price of commissions, but if they only want parts, then perhaps a reduced fee is appropriate.
Be creative, but don’t complain about discount or full-commission Realtors. Rather, work around it and position yourself appropriately within the market.

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