Real estate broker disagrees with discounter label

To the Editor:

In her recent real estate column, Debbie Walter attempted to explain different compensation systems in the real estate industry and the work agents do to earn their money ("What's the scoop on Realtor incomes? Debbie Walter, April Kirkland Courier, real estate section)

She broke the business into two options: "full service" or "discounters."

This certainly seems to be an oversimplification of a dynamic and changing industry.

Northwest real estate has been appreciating 9-25 percent annually for some time now. As the cost of homes skyrocket, commission earnings certainly have, too.

But our overhead hasn't increased that amount. The services we offer, like advertising, open houses, the multiple listing and tours, certainly aren't that much more expensive. In fact, customers use Internet technology to view more houses more quickly than ever.

Many real estate agencies are devising new ways to better help people buy and sell today's homes. A more realistic approach to real estate commissions is one meaningful way to serve our customers.

Ms. Walter's column described these "discounters" as "agents who have little skill, limited negotiating powers and complete inexperience."

Our own firm reduced commissions to better reflect the cost of housing. We don't consider ourselves "discounters." It isn't a discount. It is a fair reflection of our costs.

In addition, our agents provide the same services as the writer's firm with very experienced agents. The difference is we operate profitably on half of the so-called traditional commission.

Defending the decades-old commission level in today's housing market is antiquated thinking. More important, it's not very competitive. Eventually the marketplace will decide.

Catherine Ferrera
Resource Real Estate
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