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Selling FAQs

  1. Can Empire Realty get top dollar for my home?
  2. How can Empire Realty offer more marketing and service and still sell my home and only charge 3.5%?
  3. What type of home marketing can I expect from Empire Realty?
  4. What's the catch?
  5. Will my home be listed in the Multiple Listing Service?
  6. Will buyer agents show Empire Realty listings if they make less than 2.5%?
  7. How does Empire Realty Save me more money when they sell my home and also represent the Buyer of my home?
  8. Will I receive a higher price if I pay more money to a buyer agent?
  9. What type of service can I expect to receive?
  10. If I list my house with Empire Realty and I buy my new house through an Empire Realtor, do I save on both transactions?

Buying FAQs

  1. When I buy a house, what can I do with my $1,500 rebate?
  2. When do I get my rebate if I buy a house through Empire Realty?
  3. Do I have to buy a house listed with Empire Realty to get the rebate?
  4. If I list my house with Empire Realty and I buy my new house through an Empire Realtor, do I save on both transactions?

General FAQs

  1. Why do I need a Realtor?
  2. What influence do real estate agents have over the market?
  3. How do Realtors determine price?
  4. Why have real estate commissions remained at such an inflated rate for so many years?

Can Empire Realty get top dollar for my home?

A reduction in fees would be meaningless if your home did not achieve its maximum value on the market. The good news for Empire Realty's clients is they not only save thousands of dollars in fees, but average higher prices and almost identical marketing times than other homes sold in the market. Our highly trained professional staff fights to get you the most for your home.

How can Empire Realty sell my home and only charge 3.5%?

The truth is, it does not cost any real estate agent more than 3.5% to sell a home. Fees in excess of 3.5% represent an excessive charge to the home seller for the use of a real estate agent involved in an old, inefficient and costly system. Instead, you should be asking: "How can Realtors continue to charge five and six percent commissions when the average home is sold in less than 35 days?" When you consider the fact that home prices have virtually doubled in the last four years, how can Realtors keep the commission percentage the same and essentially double their fee? Your conventional agent is asking you for a 100% pay raise in 4 years, and he wants you to pay for it.

A 3.5% commission in 2005 is the same dollar cost as 6% just four years ago when you factor in home appreciation. This is how we can offer full service for 3.5%.

Do you really think Agents should earn TWICE as much just because your home value has doubled in the last four years?
Sales Price$250,000$500,000
Traditional 6% Commission$15,000$30,000
Empire Realty's 3.5% Commission $17,500
YOU SAVE $12,500

What type of home marketing can I expect from Empire Realty?

When it comes to getting top dollar for your home, look no further than the marketing plan of your agent. Full exposure of your home to the buyers in your market creates competition for your home, resulting in the achievement of the highest possible price. Conventional real estate firms use independent contractor agents who must (in most cases) pay for and create the real estate advertising. They are economically incented to provide the bare minimum. Empire Realty provides the support of a dedicated in-house graphic design studio to implement the marketing plan at the company's expense. Here is the difference:

Marketing EffortsProvided by Conventional FirmsProvided by Empire Realty
Yard SignYesYes
Newspaper AdvertisingAdvertise 40%-50% of active listingsAdvertise 100% of active listings
Home Photo Included50%100%
Address and Price Disclosed30%100%

Multiple Listing ServiceYesYes
Just Listed MailingsLess than 10%100%
Enhanced Realtor.com ListingLess than 10%100%
Realtor.com Web Hit ReportsLess than 10%100%
Open HouseYesYes
Data compiled from the Inland Empire market. Papers surveyed include: LA Times and Press Enterprise. Firm by firm data may vary.

What's the catch?

Paying 3.5% today costs you the same dollar amount as a 6% fee in 2001 due to home values doubling. That is why there is no catch. Empire Realty charges nothing up front and no extra fees. You only pay when we successfully sell your house. If we can't sell your home you pay nothing!

You would not pay a 10%-12% commission to sell your home in 2001, so why would you pay 5% or 6% today. Extra commission paid to your agent will not achieve a higher price or faster sale. Remember, 6% = 3.5% service + 2.5% fat.

Will my home be listed in the Multiple Listing Service?

Yes, Empire Realty is an active member of two Multiple Listing Services covering our service areas in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange County. Our research shows that the regional migration trends are from Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley to the Inland Empire, by listings your home in both Multiple Listing Services we have found that we greatly increase your homes exposure to more buyers. We also pay more than half of our commissions (2% to cooperating buyer agent - 1.5% to Empire Realty) as fair compensation for their efforts and encourage their participation. Our research shows that offering a cooperating buyer's agent anything else will greatly limit their participation in the sale of your home.

We hate to answer a question with a question, but what do the following real estate companies have in common?:

Some agents competing with Empire Realty for your business utilize scare tactics to convince you that buyer agents will not show your home if you don't pay a 2.5% or 3% commission to the buyer agent. This argument is solely designed to get you to pay their firm more money? Ask them how Empire Realty's percentage of transactions with cooperating buyer agents is 85%, if no one will show these homes. The fact of the mater is that thousands of homes are successfully sold paying buyer agents 2 percent in our markets.

When it comes to steering buyers, the vast majority of agents are honest good people. They know that arranging showings by amount of commission earned is a violation of the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors and immoral behavior at best. Most agents are representing family, friends, or repeat/referral customers. With such customers there is really no personal incentive to steer their buyer to the highest commission because the agent really cares about their client. These buyer agents also know that buyers are out actively searching for homes and don't care if their agent earns more commission. Like every business, a small minority of agents probably do show homes in order of commissions paid. But honestly, missing two or three possible buyers out of a hundred won't stop us from successfully marketing your home.

Don't be fooled by self-serving fear tactics and get the facts for yourself.

How does Empire Realty save me more money when they sell my home and also represent the Buyer of my home?

By lowering our Buyer's agent commission to 1.5% the same as our listing agent commission we save you an additional 1/2% in selling your home. How could we justify receiving more money to sell your home than we receive in listing your home, we cant, so you save!

Will I receive a higher price if I pay more money to a buyer agent?

No. The pressure to pay higher fees to buyer agents benefits the real estate community, not homeowners. In fact, paying excessive fees to a buyer agent sets the tone that the homeowner is in a weak negotiating position because they are offering more than normal. Accurately priced and heavily marketed homes don't need to offer excessive fees.

Market Results:
In both San Bernardino County and Riverside County Multiple Listing Service in 2004, sellers offering 2% to a buyer agent obtain better results than those paying a higher commission to the buyer agent. Commissions to Realtors do not increase the price achieved or speed in which your property sells. It is the properties condition, price, and exposure, which determine value, not the commission.

What type of service can I expect to receive?

Empire Realty understands that some people are still skeptical about the ability to receive excellent service at commission rates of 3.5%. Empire Realty will provide you with a written service guarantee that allows you to terminate the listing agreement if we do not perform the functions stated in our listing presentation (subject to terms of the agreement). We don't expect any home owner to take our word for it. Please view the many strong company testimonials. See what our clients are saying!

If I list my house with Empire and I buy my new house through an Empire Realtor, do I save on both transactions?

Absolutely. We will list your home for only 3.5% commission on the sale of your home, over a 40% reduction from the typical 6% listing office commission. And, we will rebate $1,500 on the purchase of your new home.

When I buy a house, what can I do with my $1,500 rebate?

Your rebate is paid to you at closing. If you are financing your home purchase, it can typically go directly towards closing costs, reducing the amount of cash you need to close your transaction. If you are paying cash, it can go for moving expenses, new furniture, or a cash credit at closing.

When do I get my rebate if I buy a house through Empire Realty?

At closing.

Do I have to buy a house listed with Empire Realty to get the rebate?

No. We will credit you $1,500 on any house you purchase through Empire Realty that is listed in the Inland Valley or Southern California Multiple Listing Services, not just our listings.

Why do I need a Realtor?

Purchasing or selling a home can be a complicated process. It is a legal transaction that requires care, knowledge and expertise for it to proceed smoothly. Your Realtor will help you through each step of the process.

If you are selling a home, your Realtor will help you determine the best price for your home, be available to answer questions from other Realtors and potential buyers, market your home to potential buyers, and represent you in the purchase and sale negotiations. Find out more on what we offer for sellers.

If you are buying a home, your Realtor will help you find the perfect house. They will represent you in the purchase negotiations and help you throughout each step of the process through closing. Find out more on what we offer for buyers.

What influence do real estate agents have over the market?

The answer is very little. Below you will find listed the major items that influence your home sale and who controls the item:

  • Price: The buyers dictate home values. A homeowner can set any price they choose, but the home is not sold until a willing and able buyer agrees to a certain price and completes the transaction. Factors influencing buyer's ability to pay top dollar for a home include: interest rates, personal income growth, tax laws, consumer confidence, etc. The seller and the real estate agent have no control over these underlying economic issues. The real estate agent must be able to help the homeowner set a reasonable expectation of asking price or risk having the home be ignored by the market. In addition, if the appraiser does not agree with the price, you will risk the having the transaction cancelled when the buyer cannot get his loan approved.

  • Location: Your property's location is not subject to change.

  • Condition: The condition of your property will have a huge impact on your ability to sell your home. This is under the home seller's direct control.

  • Ease of Showing: The ability for buyers to access your home is critical to building a sense of competition between buyers early in the listing period. If the home is difficult to show (no lockbox, large dogs, etc.) you will be limiting your ability to attract buyers. Again, this is under the home seller's control.

  • Exposure: Like any product for sale in this country, the more exposure your home receives, the larger pool of buyers will be reached. Obviously, when a home reaches a great number of prospective buyers, competition for the home intensifies and the home will sell at its highest potential value. This is the only area under the direct control of the real estate agent.

Empire Realty is a full service real estate company. All we do is market homes for sale and help Buyer's find their next home. Open up your local newspaper or visit Realtor.com and experience the major difference in the level of exposure Empire Realty provides. This is also why we choose to market homes, not our agent's photograph. In addition, all marketing costs are incurred by Empire Realty, not our agents, to ensure proper funding for the marketing plan. Most companies force their agents to personally pay for home marketing costs which can result in a desire to reduce the resources expended (not in the client's best interest).

In summary, each party has an influence over the ultimate sales price received. When choosing an agent, pick the one that will professionally promote your home. This is really the only major area where a Realtor will help you achieve the highest price.

How do Realtors determine price?

Most real estate agents have a good street sense of the market demand and can look at competing homes for sale and recent transactions to give you a very good ballpark range of where your home will sell. Empire Realty (and most real estate companies) will prepare "Comparative Market Analysis" reports to prospective clients at no charge or obligation. Request CMA.

Unfortunately, some agents routinely employ two potentially harmful tactics in order to get your business.

  1. If you are not interviewing any other agents, you will find that some agents will tend to recommend a lower listing price to make the job of selling the home very easy. Since many of them are paying for the home advertising personally, an easy sale is very profitable because virtually no marketing dollars are spent.

  2. If you are interviewing several agents, you may find one or more overshooting the value of your home. The agent usually employs this strategy because they understand human nature. Sellers want to believe their home is worth more than it is, and the agent telling the seller what they want to believe usually gets the listing. At this point, the agent uses the home as bait to find other buyers to work with and promote themselves in the market. Over the next several months they begin putting pressure on the homeowner to continually lower the price.

It is wise for sellers to speak with several agents about the value of their home, but do not choose the agent that gives you the highest value automatically. Pick the agent that will best represent your interests, and discuss the different valuations with that agent. Most agents will agree to market a home at a higher price with the understanding that it will be reduced if the demand does not exist. Using this strategy, you are assured to achieve the highest price, and you do not reward agents who act unethically by purposely recommending unrealistic pricing.

Why have real estate commissions remained at such an inflated rate for so many years?

Since home prices have skyrocketed, this remains a disturbing question. The answer is twofold:

  • Independent Contractors - Almost all agents are independent contractors. Even though they may represent a well-known firm (which are primarily franchises), in actuality, they work for themselves (even at times vigorously competing for clients within their own firms!). As a result, many agents must pay for home advertising and other expenses out of their own pocket. Agents do not want to risk the personal funds needed to market a home unless a very high commission can be earned. Very low industry productivity in this system is a huge problem (1.2 million agents for 6 million US sales per year). This has contributed to keeping the commission rate so inflated.

  • Part time agents - Frankly, there are too many real estate agents. Since everyone knows someone with a real estate license, it becomes difficult for most agents to sell enough homes per year to drive down their personal costs. High fees for sometimes little work are an attractive incentive for many real estate agents to stay in the business. Unfortunately, the consumer is paying for the poor efficiencies of this system.




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