about FSBO, Discount and Full Service Real
Selling a property in today’s market has many
sellers overwhelmed by the numerous
selling methods available. Many sellers wonder
whether it’s best to sell FSBO (For
Sale by Owner), use a discount brokerage with a
reduced fee or service, or a full service
brokerage. For most sellers it really comes down
to this question, “What’s the best way
to sell in order to put the most money in my
pocket?” Let’s start by breaking down each
FSBO is selling your property and doing all the
work yourself. You are responsible to
price, position, market, stage, show, negotiate,
understand legal contracts and disclosure
requirements and coordinate your closing. The
following questions may help you decide
if selling FSBO is right for you:
1. Do I know how to price my home so that it is
competitive in today’s market?
2. Can I be unbiased about my property’s value?
3. Do I have time in my schedule to market and
show my home?
4. Can I show my home during the day if a buyer
wants to see it the same day?
5. How much money am I willing to spend in
marketing and advertising costs up
front before I switch to either a discount or
full service brokerage?
6. Do I know how to effectively market a
7. Do I know the profile of buyer that my
property’s floor plan, neighbourhood and
style will attract and how to market to that
8. Do I know what wording to use to attract my
target market to my property?
9. Do I have experience and skill in selling a
home? Have I sold a home before?
10. Do I know how to pre-screen prospective
buyers so that they don’t waste my
11. Can I be impartial when showing my home if
someone does not like the floor
plan, décor, street, price or they have an
12. Do I know what to say and more importantly
what not to say to a prospective
13. Do I know how to protect myself from
liability or misrepresentation when talking
directly with a buyer?
14. Do I know how to protect myself and my home
against theft or crime?
15. Am I current on the latest trends and lender
programs when buyers ask?
16. Do I know what to say to a REALTOR® who has
a legitimate buyer and inquires?
17. Do I know how to negotiate my property’s
value in today’s market?
18. Do I know how to write an offer and the
wording to use for all the terms and
conditions so that a savvy buyer cannot take
advantage of me?
19. Do I know how to handle multiple offers
20. Do I know what to do if anything goes
21. Do I have an experienced person I can call
for advice if an issue arises?
22. Am I the best person to represent my home in
today’s changing market?
By asking yourself these questions you will be
better prepared to sell your property
yourself. If this list sounds a little daunting,
then you may want to consider getting some
professional help from a REALTOR®.
Regardless of whether you are considering a
“Full Service REALTOR®” or a “Discount
REALTOR®,” all REALTORS® work for a Brokerage. A
Real Estate Brokerage is an
organized real estate company under which a
REALTOR® (called a Licensee) holds their
license. Some common brokerages are RE/MAX,
Century 21, Sutton, Flat fee, Assist-2-
Sell, etc. They are all Brokerages with
Many brokerages want to differentiate their
overall brand by being recognized as either
a “Discount Brokerage” or a “Full Service
Brokerage.” Therefore, the Brokerage may
have an office policy stating that the Brokerage
is full service, discount, or have no office
policy on the issue leaving it up to each individual REALTOR® as to the level of service
they will provide and compensation they will
The scope of services for a “Full Service”
REALTOR® and/or Brokerage typically
includes taking care of the entire selling
process including a comparable market analysis
of similar home sales, a client consultation, a
comprehensive listing and marketing plan,
helping stage the home for sale, coordinating
the showings and providing feedback,
negotiating any offers, removing conditions,
assisting with the due diligence, providing
advise to the client, notifying the client of
changing market conditions, assisting with
move details, the closing and helping find a new
home or another agent in another city.
A “Discount Brokerage” is a combination of
reduced services and/or reduced fees. The
“Discount Brokerage” may allow you as the seller
to coordinate the showings with other
REALTORS®, they may provide a limited marketing
program, reduced service, offer a
less experienced REALTOR®, or simply be willing
to work for less to gain experience
So why are the fees and or commissions so
different from one Brokerage or REALTOR®
to the next? Well, some Brokerages pride
themselves on discounts, flat fees or pay as you
go, while other Brokerages pride themselves on
full service and/or experience, not price.
Here’s the truth. Any REALTOR® in any Brokerage
can charge whatever they decide.
Just like any REALTOR® in any brokerage can
offer as much of a discount as the
individual REALTOR® is willing to provide. As a
lawyer sets their own rates, so too
does each individual REALTOR®. There is no set
rate or set service.
The rates are established by each REALTOR® based
on their personal experience,
qualifications, level of service or service
programs, expertise, the brokerage behind them,
network, marketing plan and methods, track
record, demand, whether they work full time
or part time, and costs and expenses associated
with being a REALTOR® and having a
A REALTOR® who is a specialist in a certain type
of real estate may be able to offer
specialized advice, or they may have a proven
track record with years of knowledge and
experience. That REALTOR® may charge more than
one who has just passed the exam
and has very little practical experience.
A REALTOR® must also take into consideration
their Brokerage’s office policies and
how the REALTOR® is paid by their Brokerage.
Depending how a REALTOR® is paid
by their brokerage may also have an impact on
any discounts or incentives the individual
REALTOR® is able to offer. Most REALTORS® have
to either share their commissions
with their Brokerage and/or pay a monthly
franchise and/or desk and/or administration
fee regardless if they sell a home or not.
Many sellers who select a discount brokerage do
so with the intention of saving money.
Several “Discount Brokerages” recommend saving
money by offering a low commission
to the Buyer’s REALTOR® (the REALTOR® who
represents the buyer). However, many
Buyers are now buying with an EBA (Exclusive
Buyer Agency) agreement through their
Under the EBA agreement, the buyer is
contractually protected under Agency Law just as
a Seller is protected through a Listing
Agreement. The REALTOR® is now at a fiduciary
level with their Buyer. The commission that the
Buyer’s agent will be paid is established
ahead of time between the Buyer and the Buyer’s
REALTOR® and outlined within the
EBA agreement, regardless of what a seller or
seller’s Brokerage is offering. So, when a
REALTOR’s client is buying a property with a
commission that is less than the Buyer’s
REALTOR® has agreed to work for, the EBA kicks
in. Therefore selecting a selling
method based solely on fees and/or discounts may
not achieve what you are trying to
If you answered the FSBO list above with
confidence, then head in that direction when
selling. If you want partial assistance with
limited service, experience, knowledge and/or
advice, then a discount brokerage may be the
best option for you. If you want experience,
full service, more market share, a specialist,
or a better negotiator who can achieve a
higher price, then a “Full Service” Brokerage
may be the answer for you.
Ask yourself, “Who do I want representing me and
my property?” If it’s not you, then
decide what you do want, ask around for
referrals and enjoy the process of selling your
home with a professional.