Help-U-Sell Real Estate offers to sell your home for a flat rate to help homeowners save on commissions. But, there are some drawbacks and you may not save as much as you think. Here are some things to consider about Help-U-Sell’s fees before working with one of their agents.
Help-U-Sell is a flat-fee real estate brokerage with offices throughout the United States and the District of Columbia.
Help-U-Sell agents charge a single fee to sell your home regardless of its selling price. In comparison, most traditional agents charge a percentage as their commission — usually around 3%. This means you’ll likely pay less in commissions when working with Help-U-Sell.
But, not so fast. Help-U-Sell offices aren’t available in every market, and they may not be your best option or get you the highest selling price.
Other options may save you almost as much but provide a better experience. Which option is best depends on your specific situation.
Get a free, no-obligation consultation to find out other ways to save on commissions and get matched with a top agent who fits your needs.
Here’s everything you need to know about Help-U-Sell fees and if they’re worth it.
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What is Help-U-Sell Real Estate?
Help-U-Sell is a real estate brokerage with full-service agents who sell your home for a flat rate, not as a percentage your home’s price.
The company has been around since 1976, with offices in about half of U.S. states. Help-U-Sell agents are fully licensed with their local real estate associations, as well as the National Association of Realtors.
Each local office is owned and operated independently, so you’ll find they each have their own fee structure and services offered.
Help-U-Sell Real Estate’s Services
Most Help-U-Sell agents provide full real estate services to their clients, similar to those offered by a traditional agent. Services may include marketing your home, listing it on the multiple listing service (MLS), conducting showings or open houses, dealing with inspections and negotiations, and helping you complete the final paperwork.
Some agents may divide these services into several price options, with lower fees if you opt to take on certain tasks — like showings and open houses, for example.
Not all Help-U-Sell offices offer this more tailored pricing, so it's best to reach out to your local office for a full list of fees and services.
Want to save on commission costs but not sacrifice service?
Clever can help you sell for less!
Help-U-Sell Real Estate’s Agents
Help-U-Sell Real Estate has more than 100 franchise offices in 26 states and the District of Columbia and say they are the largest fee-for-service real estate franchise in the United States. Offices tend to be in most major markets, especially those along the coasts.
As independent offices, each Help-U-Sell franchise can decide what type of agents they hire, which means the quality and experience level will vary across the country.
Help-U-Sell believes that the traditional 6% commission model for real estate agents is outdated — they prefer working for a flat fee, since they put the same effort and services into every sale, no matter its value.
In the traditional model, the seller pays 6% of the selling price to the listing agent. The listing agent then splits this with the buyer’s agent so they each get 3%. The buyer usually does not have to foot the bill for agent commissions at all — instead they usually pay higher closing costs than the seller.
Help-U-Sell real estate agents charge a flat fee to sell your home. This fee varies depending on the local marketplace and which office location you opt to use.
A Help-U-Sell agent’s flat commission is likely to be significantly lower than that 6% commission rate. The company charge less because their franchises are streamlined with low overhead and a small team. Instead of actively recruiting and managing agents, they focus on promoting their clients’ listings.
But not so fast there, bargain hunter! To make sure you’re getting a good deal, we have to compare apples to apples.
When Help-U-Sell provides you their flat commission rate, they’re quoting you the fee to hire them as your listing agent. But this doesn’t include the buyer’s agent fee.
There is very little mention by Help-U-Sell of paying a buyer’s agent commission — typically around 3% of the home’s value. If a potential buyer has their own agent already lined up, that buyer will expect you to pay for that agent’s commission.
You could refuse to pay the buyer’s agent, but then the buyer would have to. This would scare many potential buyers away or require a lower asking price to make up for the cost of the commission.
Bottom line: while you may get excited by a Help-U-Sell’s low fee, it may not tell the whole story.
One office in the San Francisco Bay Area offers a basic plan, an MLS plan and a full-service plan.
The basic plan markets your home directly to buyers, removing the need for a buyer’s agent or their commission. But with this package you are responsible for showings and open houses.
On a $200,000 home, the fee for the basic plan would be $5,950 (instead of the typical $12,000 for a 6% commission). For showing service, you’d pay an additional $1,500 — bringing your total for full-service to $7,450.
The MLS plan also includes listing the home on the local MLS and would cost the same amount, plus about 3% to the buyer’s agent. All these fees — with the exception of the buyer’s agent commission — stay the same regardless of how much your home is worth.
Note: this is just one example from one of Help-U-Sell’s many offices. As mentioned before each office can set their own fee structure.
Top Alternatives to Help-U-Sell Real Estate
Flat-Fee MLS Listings
When you list your home on a local MLS, it will be widely seen by potential buyers and their agents. This is one of the main places real estate pros go to find homes for their clients. Plus popular sites like Zillow use MLS data to fill out their own listings.
But, since you have to be a licensed real estate agent or broker to list a home on the local MLS, you have the option of paying them a flat-fee to do it on your behalf. They won’t be involved in the sale beyond listing your home unless you pay for additional services.
Flat-Fee MLS brokers charge in the range of $50 to $500, with most right around $100. On a $200,000 home, you’re likely to pay $6,000 to the buyer’s agent and $100 to list it on MLS, bringing your total to $6,100.
By contrast, traditional listing agents cost about 3% of your homes selling price — but, they do provide end-to-end service with your home selling experience.
If you’re willing to put in all the work yourself, consider a "for sale by owner" (FSBO) sale. A true FSBO means you’re not using a listing agent or a flat-fee MLS broker at all. Instead, you’re counting on your marketing expertise and free sites like Zillow and Facebook marketplace to get the word out about your home for sale.
There are definitely pros and cons to this approach.
While listing with a traditional agent could cost 3% of your home’s value, you’ll pay zilch by doing a FSBO. Plus, the entire ball is in your court. But, this isn’t always a great thing — seasoned agents are great at negotiating and it can be good to have someone who isn’t so close to the home evaluate it for correct pricing.
According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2017 data, they found the average FSBO sold for $65,000 less ($265,000 vs. $200,000) than agent-assisted sales. This isn’t necessarily because FSBO sellers price their homes too low; it’s likely they priced them too high initially, they sat on the market too long, and then had to accept a lower offer. It can be tricky to find the sweet spot when pricing your own home.
A true FSBO also means your home won’t be listed on the MLS — where many agents and buyers go to find homes for sale. They’re also not featured as predominantly on sites like Zillow. This could be a missed opportunity resulting in less buyers seeing your listing and money left on the table.
Also keep in mind that, while you won’t be paying for a listing agent, it’s typical for a seller to pay for the buyer’s agent as well. You could still be on the hook for that agents 2-3% commission. On a $200,000 home, you’re likely to pay $6,000 to the buyer’s agent.
Clever Real Estate
If you are in the market to sell your home and want to save money on realtor commissions without giving up the support of a full-service agent, consider a discount realtor.
Clever Partner Agents are top-rated real estate agents from major brands — like Century 21 or Keller Williams. Experts in their local markets, they can get you the best deal on your house without breaking the bank.
They offer the same full service as other agents while working for a flat fee of $3,000, or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000. You get the same quality of service and more money in the bank.
Contact Clever to learn more and get connected with a top, local who can help you get the best price for your home while leaving more money in your pocket.