Below is a collection of frequently asked questions about our Commission FREE Services and those that people have when looking to sell or buy a home, condo, or townhouse. If you have a question or two, that is not listed here, feel free to call Max at 412-552-9811 or email him at MaxWilson@MaxBusinessGroup.com to submit your question and receive an honest answer.
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1. Are all your services Commission FREE?
Yes! All our services are based on an hourly rate of service NOT a percentage of the property’s sales price.
2. How different are your services from those offered by a "Traditional" Agent?
Although there are major differences between our business and service models, compared to the more typical agent services, in the end, our goals SHOULD be the same. How we get you to the finish line, the savings you receive from our hourly rate of services, and the soft benefits of how we use our expertise to drive winning strategies when writing, negotiating, and closing on deals, will be very different from any previous experience you may have had. Every action we take is to your complete benefit! See how we are like other firms, and how we are so very different: Our Commission FREE versus Commission Based Services. Please know that we view charging a consumer a percent of the sales price as "price discrimination"- as it has different people paying different prices for the same work- and to us, that is highly unethical!
3. How do you get paid?
Our contact with you is for you to pay us an hourly rate for the work we do for you- not on the sales price of the property. Buyers and Sellers save thousands of dollars by hiring us to represent them in the purchase or sale of a home. Please know that we view charging a consumer a percent of the sales price as "price discrimination"- as it has different people paying different prices for the same work- and we see that as highly unethical!
4. What do you charge for your services and how much can I save?
We consider our retainer as a show of commitment and trust by you to work with us. The retainer will be used as a down payment for future services to be rendered and will be listed as a credit on your first itemized invoice of our work- so you know exactly what we did for you, how long it took, and what our fee to complete that service was. How well do you think some agents work for you when you have nothing invested, nothing to loose but time, and they run their business based on "hope"- the hope that you hang in there long enough for them to get lucky with a sale?
6. Can I hire you to only do what I need you to do for me?
Yes! Our full line of services have been designed so that the client can create a customized bundle of services by picking and choosing only those activities they want to hire us to do for them. Two of the most common pre-bundled services are the Traditional Full Service Representation (like other agents but at a much lower price) and Buy or Sell-it-Myself Support Services- for those that only want us to complete all the paperwork and contracts to reduce their legal liability and to assure they are meeting all the state regulations in PA.
7. What happens to the commissions that you would typically get paid from other firms?
As you have paid us for the work we do for you, 100% of the commission we collect from other brokerage firms in the deal, are returned to you. How and when you leverage or receive those savings will depend on the savings strategy you select.
8. Why do other agents charge a percent of the sales price to represent me?
To help answer that it will be important to know how real estate agents conduct business. For example, lets say an agent has 10 clients- 5 sellers and 5 buyers. Now, of those 10 clients, it would be common for about half (5) of them to actually close on a deal- creating a paycheck for the agent. However, the agent put time, effort, and resources in serving the other 5 clients that did not close- so in the end, the agent collects a lot of money from the few that did close to support the work of those that didn't. At MBG, we have always believed that sellers, buyers, and investors, should ONLY pay for what their agent does for them, not what they do for everyone else- and that's one of the places from which our Commission FREEService model was born. Please know that we view charging a consumer a percent of the sales price as "price discrimination"- as it has different people paying different prices for the same work- and we see that as highly unethical!
9. Knowing that some agents are more experienced and trained than others, why do agents all charge the same commission?
Because percent of sales price commissions is the way Realtors® have been charging for services for over 100 years (NAR Code of Ethics, 1913- see #10 under Duties to Clients). Now, in reality all commissions are to be negotiated between the client and their agent, but since ALL firms have the right to set minimum commissions- all agents seem to be charging the same so how to you identify the best from the worst? Having to pick from one option (want it or not) is not choice. Our Commission FREE Services provides consumers flexible ways to choose and pay for real estate services- saving you thousands and thousands of dollars in your next transaction. Please know that we view charging a consumer a percent of the sales price as "price discrimination"- as it has different people paying different prices for the same work- and we see that as highly unethical!
B: Savings & Rebates
1. What do you mean- rebate?
A rebate can be defined as any amount paid by way of reduction, return, or refund on what has already been paid or contributed. Our business approach and work as financial strategists, will provide you a variety of strategies to leverage those savings into the greatest financial benefit to you and your situation. However, how you receive your savings is your decision. Receiving a rebate after closing will be one of many options.
2. I come from a state where a few progressive companies provide rebates back to their clients. Is that legal in PA?
Yes. Commission rebates or refunds are legal in 40 states, including Pennsylvania. To learn more about rebates in Pennsylvania, click on this link. Increasing competition in the marketplace for real estate services tends to reduce costs to consumers and is supported by the findings of the The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Click on this link to the DOJ page: Competing Models for Real Estate Brokerage. A note: Although our business model is mentioned on the DOJ site, as far as we know, our firm is the ONLY firm in the country that offers such a wide range of buyer, seller, and investor services that are based us being paid an hourly rate of service for the time spent on completing tasks for you- not a percent of the sales price.
3. Are Real Estate Rebates Taxable?
Per an opinion by the IRS, rebates of real estate commissions are NOT considered taxable income to purchasers because they represent a reduction in the purchase price of the home. Since the rebate is not taxable, a IRS 1099 will not be issued to you. Click on this link to download a copy of the IRS Ruling. You should always consult your tax professional with any tax questions about your specific situation.
4. Does a rebate received after closing go on my Closing Disclosure (formerly known as a HUD-1)?
No. A rebate received by a client after closing has no impact on the lender qualifying the client for a loan- and therefore is not reported on the Closing Disclosure. However, if you have selected a saving strategy where you use those savings “inside” the transaction, for example by allocating some of your Commission FREE savings to reduce the amount of cash you need to bring to closing, that amount WOULD show up on your Closing Disclosure.
1. Who is really paying the agent’s commission?
In a financial analytical research project, we set out to answer that question. In reality, it is the BUYER who pays ALL the commissions in the transaction. The seller, when listing their property, included the cost of both buyer and seller agent commissions in the listing price of the property. At closing, the Closing Disclosure will show that commissions for both the buyer’s and seller’s agent are paid out of the seller’s proceeds. If the seller sold-it-themselves, there would be NO commissions to be paid out of their proceeds and therefore should cost the buyer less. For these reasons using our Commission FREEServices can provide major financial benefits to a buyer and setting a strategy and writing the contract to purchase the property as the lost cost possible.
2. If my home sells in three days, do I still owe a full commission?
Not when you use our Commission FREE real estate services, where we charge a fair hourly-fee to complete only those things you want us to do for you- so the less hours we work, the less you pay. It is the fairest and most ethical way we know to charge for our services.
Now, it you hired a Realtor® who charges a percent of your homes sales prices as their commission rate, YES, YOU WOULD OWE THEM THEIR FULL COMMISSION AT SALE! For examples, lets say you home is on the market and goes to contract in ONE DAY, it sells for $400,000 with a negotiated 6% commission. At closing, you would still owe the Realtor® their full $24,000 on day of close.
Our estimated fees to list your home and get you to close, using our sales strategies, would be around $7,000- a savings of $17,000- and that doesn't include what you would save in the way we strategically write contracts, and negotiate throughout the transaction.
3. What are my savings when my listed home sells and how do I receive those savings?
Once you know the listing price of your property, based on an accurate comparative approach of other like properties that have recently sold in your area (1 mile and 6 months is standard appraisal criteria), click on this link to calculate your estimated savings: Saving Sellers Thousands / Calculator. The amount you save will be the difference between paying us our hourly rate for only those things we do for you and the pay commissions to agents based on a percent of the sale price of your property.
4. I prefer to go-it-alone and do all the work myself. I don’t need a broker but could really use the rebate. What can I do?
First, we suggest that you consider our Buy-it-Myself Support Service. We provide this service for those that choose to do it themselves. It will depend on the level of services that you require. The only way we can legally provide a rebate/refund, is when we represent a client, get paid a commission from the seller, and then once we receive the commission after closing, we return the net received commissions to you. If we don’t represent you in the sale, we can’t return something we never received. You could also do it all yourself, and possibly only need a bit of time with our Consulting and Coaching Services- where we would coach you on the best ways to structure your deal in ways that reduces your costs to purchase the property to minimal levels.
5. I’m looking to sell my home. Can I get a rebate in the sale of my home?
Well, yes you could, but it would be a rare and special situation for you to consider executing such a strategy. Why would you pay us only to have us return the money to you? During our first seller’s strategy meeting, we will provide you many savings strategies to pick from. We will provide you with all your options and implications for those options- but the final decision will be yours.
6. If you list my home, will other agents bring qualified buyers to view my home?
Yes. In fact, nearly 99% of all sales happen between the cooperation between a listing agent (the one who listed the property and name is on the yard sign) and a buyer’s agent- the agent hired by the buyer to represent them in the purchase of your property. In addition, most home buyers search the internet for homes before even contacting an agent to represent them in the sale. If a buyer wants to see a home, their agent has a fiduciary duty of "obedience" to show them the home- one of the agent’s fiduciary duties required by law in PA. In addition, cooperation between brokers and their agents, is required at both the state and local multi-list levels.
7. Do I Need to Use the Listing Agent that the Seller Hired to List their Property?
No, in fact, whether you use our services or not, we highly recommend that you don’t use the same agent to buy the property as the one that listed it- and it has buyers and sellers wondering- Who is my agent really working for? That Listing agent, under a business relationship contract, represents the interests of the Seller. Their goal is to get their seller, the most amount of money, in the shortest period of time, under the most favorable conditions for them. You “buyers” agent, would deliver the opposite- to get you the most home, for the least amount of money, in the most appropriate time line for your situation, and under the most favorable conditions for you. Under Pennsylvania Law, all agreements with real estate agents that obligate a consumer to pay a fee must be in writing. To learn more, see our page: Representing Only You!
8. Will you conduct a free Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for me so I can find out the value of my home?
No, and there are a couple reasons we don't. First, every agent in the world, looking for business, will advertise that they will conduct a FREE Comparative Market Analysis, that will help you answer your question of How Much Is My Home Worth, and use that free analysis to get in front of you and get you to list your home with them. And, although all agents use the same data to create such an analysis, the data sets used for analysis can be manipulated to achieve higher than conservative results- as agents know that if their price comes in higher than other agents- they will get the listing nearly 100% of the time- and with a lot of luck, their commissions will be higher!
At MBG, we SELL homes just not list them, and, since our fees are based on an hourly rate for only those services our clients hire us to do for them, and NOT based on a percent of the sales price of the home, we have absolutely NO reason or motivation to provide our clients, at any time, under any situation, with anything less than the most honest and truthful answers, data, and insights we can. The best decisions can only be made when you have the best information. In addition, it would not be fair for us to provide some people free services while charging others for that same service. Our new Commission FREEServices model as designed to treat everyone we service equally and that is a value will will not dilute.
9. Selling a $100,000 home takes the same amount of work as an $1,000,000 home. So exactly what are agents doing to earn the $54,000 difference in commissions?
NOTHING! The answer to this question is what has driven us to develop our Commission FREE Services- an ethical business model that doesn't penalize sellers of higher priced properties. The process is the same, the contracts are the same, the marketing in the same, managing the process is the same- and we know because we have take the time to separate out all the activities (our `a la carte menu) it takes to sell a residence and how much time/money it should take to complete those activities. So in our new model a $100,000 property gets the same high quality work completed for the same price as $1,000,000 property. Shouldn't people and their properties be treated equally?
1. Who really pays the agent’s commission?
In a financial analytical research project, we set out to answer that question. In reality, it is the BUYER who pays ALL the commissions in the transaction. The seller, when listing their property, included the cost of both buyer and seller agent commissions in the listing price of the property. If the seller sold-it-themselves, there would be NO commissions to be paid out of their proceeds and therefore should cost the buyer less. For these reasons using our Commission FREEServices can provide major financial benefits to a buyer and setting a strategy and writing the contract to purchase the property as the lost cost possible.
2. What are my savings when I buy my dream home? and How do I receive those savings?
Once you know the listed price of a home of interest, click on this link to calculate your estimated savings: Saving Buyers Thousands / Calculator. Your savings based will be returned to you based on the savings strategy you select during our selling strategies sessions.
3. I have already found my dream home on my own, can you still help me save thousands on the purchase of the home?
Yes. With our hourly rate business model, you can hire us to help you at any time, no matter where you are in the process. The more you do, the more you save. Please know that for us to save you thousands, you would need to select our Traditional Full Service Buyer Representation. If you decide the best way we can help you is by you using our Buy-it-Myself Support Services, or our Consulting and Coaching Service, you will be negotiating your own savings with the seller.
4. The home I’m interested in is listed through another broker. Will they work with you?
Yes. In fact, nearly 99% of all sales happen between the cooperation between a listing agent (the one who listed the property and name is on the yard sign) and a buyer’s agent- the agent you hire to represent you in the purchase of the property. The Max Business Group Real Estate Services is a licensed brokerage firm for service in PA (license # RB066098). Max, our broker (license# RM420267), along with all our partners (agents), are also PA licensed real estate brokers, associate brokers, or sales persons. We are also long time members in the local multi-list. Cooperation between brokers is required at both the state and local multi-list levels. See our page: Representing Only You which describes the five ways you could hire a real estate professional to help you if you choose to.
5. Can you show me houses across different counties in Western PA?
Yes, but not until we have a signed business relationship that gives us the right to and puts us all on the same page. Agents that jump to show you houses without first understanding your needs, or the right to represent your interests (all agents, by default, represent the seller until a buyer agency agreement is signed), tend to be agents that only have their best interest (commissions) in mind.
6. I am not in the Pittsburgh area, but want to buy in Pennsylvania. Can you represent me and get me a rebate?
It depends. We provide “savings” back to our clients that hire us to fully represent them throughout the transaction. Rebates after closing, is only one way for a client to receive the financial benefits of working with us but rarely provides the best use of those funds. Call Max at 412-552-9811 to discuss your situation and learn more about which of our services would best meet your needs and maximize your savings.
Commission Free Real Estate Services
Our hourly fees will save you thousands when buying, selling and investing in real estate!