What’s Negotiable in Real Estate — and What Isn’t

Everyone seems to know that home prices are negotiable. So it’s logical to assume that realtor commissions are, too. Unfortunately, I tell prospective clients, my commission is not.

When I practiced corporate law, my firm billed me out at $185 an hour. Could clients have found a cheaper attorney? Absolutely. Could I discount my billing rate for them? No.

Ditto when I worked as a CPA (although my billing rate was $135 an hour — I was fresher out of college then, and not a J.D. yet).

Counter-intuitive as it may seem, what really matters when you engage an attorney or CPA is whether they’re worth what they charge. I personally know of many attorneys who are a bargain at $250 an hour — and others who are overpaid at half that.

When you sell your home, what’s most important isn’t whether you pay your realtor 5%, 7%, 4.5% or some other number — it’s what your home sells for.

When clients hire me, they know — because I explain all the things I do — that I’ll get top dollar for their home, whatever it is.

Any realtor who can say that and deliver is worth what they charge.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
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