It’s a very personal, a very important thing. Hell, it’s a family motto. Are you ready, Jerry? I wanna make sure you’re ready, brother. Here it is: Show me the money.
– Rod Tidwell, Jerry Maguire
I was recently researching a somewhat different topic (deflation, inflation, and price sensitivity in real estate) when I came across a paper written in 2007 by a trio of economists at respected institutions. This paper has me in a tizzy. I need to know what you think of it, and how we as an industry might answer it.
The paper is called The Relative Performance of Real Estate Marketing Platforms: MLS versus FSBOMadison.com (PDF) and the authors are Igal Hendel and Aviv Nevo at Northwestern University, and Francois Ortalo-Magne at the University of Wisconsin.
The findings are… disturbing to say the least if you work in or near the real estate industry:
After controlling for houses and seller heterogeneity, we find no support for the hypothesis that the MLS delivers a higher sale price than FSBO. Considering that realtors charge a 6% commission versus $150 for FSBO, FSBO sellers come ahead fi nancially. The lack of a MLS premium does not mean realtors do not provide value to the seller. It means instead that the cost of the convenience provided by realtors seems to be the full commission.
The raw price comparison shows that the average sale price of homes that sell on FSBO is higher than the average price of homes that sell with a realtor. The characteristics, reported in the city assessor’s database, of houses sold on the different platforms are somewhat different. However, after controlling for these observed characteristics a significant price gap persists. Naturally, platform selection is the main suspect behind the persistent premium. We take several approaches to deal with selection. All the approaches support the same conclusion: MLS does not deliver a price premium.
Emphasis are mine. If you are so inclined, read the whole paper. I read through it, but didn’t have time to dive in. For that matter, I don’t have the Ph.D. in economics to really criticize their work.
But the paper supports the argument that, unless you’re the kind of person who needs a little help through a “stressful and maybe difficult period,” and unless you’re unwilling to wait a little longer to sell your house, then the commission that you pay your Realtor is in essence a big fat tip.
Oh wow. This is a problem, y’all.