In a supercharged real estate market where selling prices top reserves in a blink, there’s an increasingly-common search for reasonable agent commissions among sellers.
Depending on location and the work involved, commissions can hand a 3.5 per cent stake to an agent.
“In Australia we are unfortunately charging more than any other country to transact property,” Sydney realty executive James Kirkland said.
“The idea of anywhere between two and three-and-a-half per cent to sell a property is outrageous in any other country.”
His solution, as sales director at Upside Realty, is a flat-rate sales fee.
For the majority of Australian residential properties, that sell for between $450,000 and $1.5 million, that amounts to $9990.
While some people argue discount brokerages do little more than list properties and stick for-sale signs in lawns, Mr Kirkland explains the deal includes the full treatment: online marketing, brochures, sideboards, professional photography and copywriting.
The company employs a network of agents who market, manage inspections and conduct negotiations just like traditional realtors.
However it also centralises a lot of the administration work so they can focus on sales and get a quicker stream of listings.
The arrangement also involves an online vendor platform to monitor buyer inquiries and inspection numbers.
Queensland mum Sarah Parker was up for $35,000 in fees when she recently put her home on the market. Instead, a flat-rate deal left her with an extra $25,000 to reduce the debt on her next home.
Upside has seen listings per agent rise 62 per cent, while sales per agent have shot up 74 per cent in the past quarter.
Some of it has to do with a hot market but Mr Kirkland said it also showed customers are keen to shave years off their next mortgage by selling through fixed-fee agents.
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute research shows mortgage debt especially among older Australians has blown out 600 per cent since the 1980s, accounting for inflation.
Nearly half of home owners aged 55 to 64 are said to still be paying off loans, up from 14 per cent 30 years ago.
In regional Australia mortgages can be repaid in 20 years. In cities it’s more like 80 years, or never.
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