Getting Real Estate Advice From Uncle Sam?

As anyone who has decided to buy or sell a piece of property can tell you, the entire process can seem daunting and intimidating. Many who seek the help of a professional real estate broker spend many a sleepless night trying to decide who is taking advantage of them more: the broker or the bank? While there is no cure-all to this ages-old dilemma, there is a new pamphlet available that helps real estate newbies navigate their way through some of the red tape that comes with buying or selling real estate.


And it’s from the United States Government.


No, really.


The Federal Trade Commission has recently issued a helpful guide that helps new buyers or sellers with some frequently asked questions concerning real estate. Titled Selling Your Home? Tips for Selecting a Real Estate Professional, the guide focuses on the proper amount you should expect to pay for a real estate commission, the ins and outs of contracts as well as business models.


While the guide is a bit slim, weighing in at only four pages, it does come with some useful info. Under the section about commissions, the guide explains that while six percent is the industry standard, it is negotiable, and if your real estate agent tells you there is a local or federal law on the books that says the commission must stay at that rate, they are lying and it’s probably a good sign to find a different broker who will be honest with you.


The guide goes on to encourage prospective clients to try to negotiate for a lower commission, since the broker needs your business just as much as you need theirs.


In the next section, the guide explains the difference between full-service real estate brokers, and discount brokers and emphasizes that if you go with a discount broker, you may have to do more of the leg work yourself. The guide also says that while a full-service agent usually provides all needed services for one flat rate, the discount broker is more likely to have an “a la carte” approach, where for each additional bit of help, there is an additional cost.


The guide goes on to provide advice on negotiating contracts in your favour and not the banks, as well as info on hiring a trustworthy real estate broker.


While taking advice from the federal government on, say, invading Iraq may not be a good idea, this pamphlet may end up being a godsend for those needing basic real estate advice. The pamphlet can be picket up at the FTC’s website