The Basics of Broker Fees

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The Basics of Broker Fees

Staff Writer · Nov 30, 2009

Broker fees serve as the main form of payment for those who show homes for rent or sale. Leasing agents or real estate brokers rarely make salaries or receive hourly pay, so the fees are their compensation much in the same way commission is for many types of salesmen. In the case of renting apartments, landlords are often willing to pay part or all of the fee to a leasing agent to ensure the process to rent their properties will be quicker and smoother than if they did it themselves.

Who

A leasing agent is the person who shows and sells rental apartment or home properties at a real estate agency. The leasing agent functions more of an independent contractor for the agency than its direct employee. Qualifications and training requirements for leasing agents vary by state, so be sure to research the laws in your state to understand that kind of background and skills your agent has. Real estate brokers are a more inclusive group and are those that are licensed to sell homes, in which case the fee comes entirely from the seller.

What

The broker fee is a percentage of the product being sold, either an entire home or property or lease term such as a year. For homes being leased, the broker fee is often equivalent to one month’s rent. In many cases, the landlord will pay the entire fee, in the hopes of decreasing the time it takes the lease the property or signing on more reliable tenants. This will often happen as the landlord has little time left to get the property rented for the upcoming lease term. Renters and landlords splitting the broker fee in half is also a very common arrangement, with tenants recognizing the conveniences and ease of employing the leasing agent’s services. On occasion, tenants will pay the entire fee. This is typically in situations where the property is in higher demand or if the landlord still has plenty of time to rent out the space.

Where

Broker fees can be found in pretty much any situation in which the landlord or owner is not leasing or selling directly to prospective tenants. The broker and leasing agents are the middle men in the situation and the fee acts to recognize their role in the process. Looking at apartments through an agency will almost always carry a fee, with the variation being which party pays it. Websites like Craigslist are more likely to have direct sellers, where no fee is involved.

Why

Broker fees can be looked at as a payment for convenience and service, on both the part of the tenant and landlord. Both parties stand to benefit from the work that the leasing agent does. Landlords who do not have the time to dedicate to advertising, marketing and showing their properties rely on leasing agents to connect them to their customers effectively. Tenants seeking out their next home use leasing agents to access a range of potential homes in one visit. Broker fees are essentially the cost for the one-stop shopping, for both renters or buyers and landlords or sellers.

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