Every heard the statement, "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is"?  It's widely known in the Real Estate industry that what real estate sales professionals lack in skill, and marketing ability, they give up in commission.

Are you familiar with the "Bait and Switch"? It's basically goes like this:  You are offered a product or service to get you in the door, and then the salesperson pulls the old switch-a-roo on you and offers you something totally different.

That's unfortunately what is happening with the discount brokers offering 1-1.5% real estate commissions when listing your home. What they fail to make you aware of before you set an appointment is that you still have to pay, in all probability, the buyer's agent additionally between 2-3% for a total of 4-4.5% commission. The real estate sales associate acts like you would be aware of that and is basically playing on statistics. The stats show that somewhere near 70% of sellers list with the first person that comes to their home, and the real estate industry knows this. Once they are in the door, they believe they can schmooze there way past the other side of the commission.

The question to ask yourself is do you want someone having to use a gimmick to get in the door to be in charge of marketing and negotiating one of your most valuable assets? I would think you would want to head more toward quality of service and the ability to market your home to the masses over receiving a slightly less commission rate. The focus should be on the net amount of money the seller walks away with after closing, and that is mostly accomplished by the full service agents that do much more than the typical salesperson utilizing the 3 P's System. Put a sign in the yard, Put in on MLS, and Pray that it sells. With a discount broker, this is typically all you get, and today's real estate needs a whole lot more. In fact, you should save your money and just pay one of the services to list on MLS for $250-$500, instead of paying 5-10 times that amount or more to get an agent that doesn't do much more if anything.

Here are Things to Research when Considering a Realtor and whether the "Discount" is actually going to cost you money

1. Reviews:  In today's review-based economy, you can learn a lot about the level of service and care from reading about not only a company's reviews, but look into the actual agent or team themselves to see what reviews they have on Google, Facebook, Zillow, etc. Be sure and look for actual client reviews and not just the sales associates filling up the pipes to pad the image.

2. Organic and Pay-Per-Click 1st page positioning on Google:  Google is still the dominant search engine by far and you want to make sure the agent you select has their website front and center for all the relevant search terms for your home, i.e. South Tampa Homes, South Tampa Real Estate, MacDill AFB Homes, MacDill AFB Real Estate, etc. Being page 1 on these terms or the relevant terms for your home is a critical place to be to have your home featured in today's day and age.

3. Specific Ad Campaign Results:  Is the Sales Associate/Realtor able to show you specific ads on properties they ran, and how many times it was seen, clicked, and how many leads produced? Telling is not selling and the proof is in the pudding when you can see how the actual ads performed. Sales associates just telling you, "Yeah, we advertise on Facebook" is just not cutting it anymore. Customers want to see the results you have had with your ads to see what type of skill level you or your marketing company has.

4. Professional Photos:  Do they have exceptional photos, virtual tours, etc or do they get away with hiring the cheapest photographer they can that does just enough to call them professional. A picture is worth a thousand words and it's critical to exceptional photos.

5. Facebook and Instagram presence and followers along with current website visitors:  How many followers do they have on Facebook and Instagram? This makes big difference when you know how properly market to them. Is the Sales Associate/Realtor able to bring you a list of how many active buyers and sellers are currently on their website searching homes? This is a critical measure of the opportunity they will have to market your property to their own list of buyers and possibly save you some money by reducing the overall commission.

6. Sponsorship with any Marketing Organizations: Does the sales associate or Realtor partner with any of the local social presences with a huge following? In the Tampa Bay area, there are several of these including Tampa Bay is Awesome and That's So Tampa. The Preferred Realtors that partner with these organizations have the ability to share your property with all of their followers to get maximum exposure for your listing.

7. Involvement in the Community and Community Service: Are they part of a local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary or any of the civic organizations locally that do so much for our local community? Are they involved with any military groups or organizations that help support MacDill Air Force Base or the military in general?

The question you want to ask yourself is, Do you want an agent that has to use a gimmick to get in the door, or would you do better choosing the agent known for superior service, marketing and putting the most money in a seller's pocket when selling. Your up-front discount may end up costing you a ton of money in what you actually walk away with when selling, so choose wisely.

I'm Buster Levin with the Selling South Tampa Team and the Homes and Living Group, and I would love the opportunity to show you how we maximize exposure for your listing through our exclusive marketing channels that result in netting our sellers the most money in their pocket when selling. You can always reach me on my cell at 813-294-1420 or email me at buster@sellingsouthtampa.com. Thank you very much!