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The Great Commission Shakeup: How Realtors Can Still Thrive

For Sale Sign with House and news line that reads how realtors can thrive with the new real estate commission rules
The world of real estate is experiencing a significant shift, one that has the potential to reshape the industry and how realtors earn their living. A recent lawsuit settlement and ongoing legal discussions regarding buyer-agent commission structures have sent shockwaves through the National Association of Realtors (NAR). While some see this as a potential disaster, others view it as an opportunity for adaptation.

Let's delve into the heart of the issue and explore how realtors are navigating this "seismic shift" to how they get paid.


The Commission Conundrum

For decades, a well-established system governed realtor compensation. Traditionally, seller-agents received a commission (typically a percentage of the sale price) split with a buyer's agent. This commission was paid by the seller and factored into the overall listing price. However, a recent lawsuit settlement between the NAR and the Department of Justice (DOJ) has disrupted this long-standing model. The settlement eliminates the NAR's ability to set rules that prevent sellers from negotiating buyer-agent commissions directly with the buyer's agent. This opens the door for potential commission reductions and a more flexible commission structure. Additionally, legal discussions are underway at the state level that could further alter how buyer-agent commissions are determined.



The Fear Factor

Many realtors are understandably apprehensive about these changes. They fear a "race to the bottom," where buyers pressure agents to accept lower commissions. This could potentially erode agent

income and impact the quality of service offered to clients.



Agent Exodus? Not So Fast: lets focus on buyers

Despite the anxieties, a mass exodus of realtors is unlikely. The fear of lower commissions is certainly valid, but it's important to remember that buyers are not obligated to negotiate commissions. Many buyers recognize the value a skilled agent brings to the transaction, including:


  • Market Expertise: Realtors possess deep knowledge of local market trends, pricing strategies, and neighborhood nuances. This knowledge empowers buyers to make informed decisions and find the right property at the right price. Inform your clients of this attribute.

  • Negotiation Skills: A skilled agent can negotiate on behalf of the buyer, potentially saving them significant amounts of money on the purchase price of their dream home. They can also navigate through complex contracts and ensure all contingencies are met. Let your clients know your skill sets, and don't be remiss to highlight them.

  • Streamlined Process: Buying a home can be a complex and stressful process. Realtors guide buyers through every step, from pre-approval to closing, ensuring a smooth and efficient transaction. Remind your clients how you can ease the stress and make the experience exciting for them.

These are just a few examples of how realtors provide value to buyers, justifying their commission fees. However, a proactive approach is crucial to navigate the changing landscape. Let's explore some workarounds and strategies agents can adapt to continue being profitable.



The Agent's Arsenal: Adapting to a New Reality

  • Highlighting Value Proposition: Realtors need to articulate the specific value they bring to the table. This involves crafting a clear and compelling message that showcases their expertise, experience, and negotiation skills.

  • Specialization is Key: In a more competitive environment, specialization can be a powerful advantage. Focusing on a specific niche market, such as first-time homebuyers, luxury properties, or a particular neighborhood, allows you to become a recognized expert in that area.

  • Data-Driven Decisions: Leverage data analytics to gain valuable insights into buyer behavior, market trends, and competitor activity. This data can be used to personalize marketing strategies, target specific client segments, and optimize pricing strategies.



Tech to the Rescue

Technology can be a powerful tool for realtors facing a changing commission landscape. Here are a few ways technology can enhance efficiency and client service:


  • Virtual Tours and Staging: High-quality virtual tours and digital staging can allow buyers to explore properties remotely, expanding your reach and saving valuable time.

  • Client Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: Utilize CRM tools to streamline communication with clients, manage leads, and personalize marketing campaigns.

  • Automated Marketing Tools: Explore automated email marketing solutions and social media scheduling tools to save time and maintain consistent client communication.



Social Media: a tool of its own

Social media can be a powerful tool for realtors to connect with potential clients. Here are some ways

you can leverage different platforms to attract new business:


  • 1. Choose a Platform(s)

  • Facebook: Great for local marketing, sharing community events, and running targeted ads to reach specific demographics of buyers and sellers.

  • Instagram: Ideal for showcasing beautiful property photos and videos, connecting with younger demographics, and providing lifestyle content related to real estate.

  • YouTube: Perfect for creating informative videos about the local market, home buying/selling tips, virtual tours, and client testimonials.

  • Nextdoor: Excellent platform for hyper-local marketing, connecting with neighbors and potential clients in specific neighborhoods.

  • LinkedIn: Useful for building connections with other professionals in the real estate industry and establishing yourself as an expert. 2. Post Engaging Content

  • Don't just list properties: While showcasing listings is important, focus on creating valuable content that educates and entertains your audience.

  • Share market trends: Provide insights into the local market, like recent sales data, neighborhood trends, or mortgage rate updates.

  • Offer home buying/selling tips: Share informative content on topics like staging a home, negotiating offers, or the home inspection process.

  • Highlight your local expertise: Showcase your knowledge of the area by sharing local events, hidden gems, or neighborhood profiles.

  • Post high-quality visuals: Professional photos and videos of properties are essential, but also consider lifestyle content or infographics.

  • Go live!: Host live Q&A sessions to answer viewer questions about real estate or the local market. 3. Be Social and Build Relationships

  • Respond to comments and messages: Engage with your audience, answer their questions, and show you're available to help.

  • Run contests and giveaways: Encourage engagement with fun contests or giveaways related to homeownership or local businesses.

  • Partner with local businesses: Collaborate with businesses that complement real estate, like mortgage lenders, stagers, or home inspectors, for cross-promotion.

  • Use relevant hashtags: Include relevant hashtags in your posts to help people find your content.

  • Share positive client testimonials: Showcase the positive experiences your past clients have had working with you. 4. Utilize Social Media Ads

  • Target your ideal audience: Most platforms allow you to target your ads based on demographics, interests, and location to reach the most relevant potential clients.

  • Promote specific listings: Highlight specific properties with targeted ads to generate interest from qualified buyers.

  • Run brand awareness campaigns: Build brand recognition in your local market with targeted ads showcasing your expertise and services. 5. Consistency is Key

  • Develop a content calendar: Plan your social media posts in advance to ensure consistent engagement.

  • Post regularly: Aim to post several times a week to stay top-of-mind with your audience.

  • Track your results: Analyze your social media insights to see what content resonates best and adjust your strategy accordingly.



The Client's Perspective

While the commission changes primarily impact realtors, it's worth considering how they might affect buyers as well. Here are some potential scenarios:


  • Increased Buyer Choice: Buyers might have more flexibility in negotiating commission fees. This could potentially lead to lower closing costs for some buyers.

  • Potential for Unethical Practices: There's a concern that some unscrupulous agents might prioritize speed over quality service in an effort to secure more clients with lower commission rates.

  • Greater Responsibility for Buyers: With more responsibility for negotiating commissions, buyers need to be well-informed about market rates, the value a good agent brings, and the potential drawbacks of choosing an agent solely based on lower commission fees.



In Summary

The real estate industry is facing a potential revolution in how realtors are compensated. A recent lawsuit settlement and ongoing legal discussions are upending the traditional commission structure, raising concerns about reduced income and a potential "race to the bottom" for realtor fees. However, this doesn't necessarily spell doom and gloom.


The long-term impact of these changes remains to be seen. However, by adapting, highlighting their value, and embracing technology, realtors can continue to thrive in this evolving landscape.

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