Updated March 7th, 2019
There are many “limited service” brokers and realtors entering the marketplace these days. And they are meeting a massive demand. Real estate is shifting thanks to the power of the internet. The clients are smart, able, and maybe even know enough about buying and selling a home that they think they don’t need a full-service realtor. If you don’t need it, why pay for it?
One solution is to hire a limited service agent to do some of the more complicated legwork. This kind of deal sounds dreamy, right? Let’s dive a little deeper and discuss what it means to work with a limited service real estate agent. Then you can decide if it is right for you.
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What is a limited service agent?
Despite its name, a limited service agent is quite a dimensional agent option. They serve everyone—from brokerages that place listings in the MLS to companies that offer a limited menu of fee-for-service options for owners to pick from.
A limited service agent is an agent performs only the services selected by the client. In general, this includes the property’s listing in the MLS database, basic signage, a lockbox, limited marketing and limited consultation time for pricing strategy and negotiations. An agent may or may not be present for the closing. The seller is typically on their own when it comes to showing the home, paying for and doing additional marketing, plus researching pricing and negotiating strategies.
Working with a limited service real estate agent can only be done when the agent’s representative discloses to the clients that the agent is acting as a restricted service agent. The representative must also provide a list of specific services the licensee will contribute, and includes a list of specific duties of a standard agent that the limited service representative will not offer to the client.
Is there a risk when working with a limited service agent?
So, using a limited service real estate agent can save you money! Sounds like a great idea, right?
Maybe. Remember you are dealing with your most expensive asset–your home. Working with a limited service agent only to save money might not be in your best interest. There are many incredible agents out there, so the agent isn’t the risk. It’s the services they provide–are the basics going to be enough to meet your needs?
If You Opt for Limited Service…
If a limited service agent is the right choice for you, you’ll be pleased to know your choice comes with some perks. Limited service companies offer for either a reduced commission, flat fee, hourly rate or some other combination of compensation a “discount” usually for services they do not perform.
At the extreme, you may find a “listing-only agency” who will place a listing in the multiple listing services for $200, for example. They only put the property in the MLS and buyer’s agents and buyers can contact the seller directly. Sometimes these agents offer hourly rates for any additional services the seller may want later or a package of services at a discount.
Remain cautious when entering an agreement to work with a limited service real estate agent. Be sure you are clear on what services they offer, and which ones you need to take care of on your own.
Limited Service Agent vs. Clever
While you might find yourself interested in a limited service agent—despite the issues you’re likely to encounter—there is another option: Clever Real Estate. When you list with Clever, you get the benefits of a limited service agent—reduced or flat-fee commission—while still getting all the perks of a full-service agent, like full marketing of your home, staging, photography, and someone to assist you throughout the entire selling process.
How do we do it? We partner with the top 5% of agents in your local area so you get the best for less. Get in touch with a Clever Partner Agent today.