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What is a Quick Sale in Real Estate?
The commission paid to the Real Estate agent is a serious amount of money and a concern in any transaction involving the sell of Real Estate. Where did this six percent commission come from?
The idea of a 6% Real Estate commission being paid to the agent originated during the 1940's when local Real Estate Boards openly engaged in price fixing to establish a standard rate. This process was an out and out case of an unfair practice, but the 1940's was a time when the attention of the country was directed to some serious external matters and the idea took hold and spread quickly through the industry.
In the early 1950's, the Supreme Court ruled that an established 6% commission was illegal. Rather than open up commissions to a more competitive and free market system, the Real Estate Boards merely shifted gears with a bit of fancy linguistic footwork and began to call the 6% commission the "suggested" amount. During the 1950's and 1960's, they managed to get away with this practice without much trouble as the majority of real estate agents complied with the suggestion.
In the 1970's lawsuits brought against the Real Estate Boards effectively put the skids on this practice. The Real Estate agent's commissions were opened up to competition without the Boards either being able to mandate or even suggest 6% as the carved into stone rate. However, the rate did not alter very much in the years following these court cases. Although the rate may not have been carved into stone, it was pretty much established in the Real Estate market as a standard.
Generally, competitive markets benefit consumers. As long as someone is willing to offer a discounted rate, it would seem that the consumer stood to save money. However, the proponents of a standard 6% rate commission point to such things as health care to argue that the standard rate may actually be helping the consumer by holding the commission down to 6% rather than propping it up to that level. Although the cost of health care is not regulated, the general trend has been straight up off the charts.
Real Estate agents would be quick to point out that if you were to take a close look at just about any service or product being offered or sold in the 1940's, you would find a very serious increase in cost to the consumer. Except for Real Estate commissions which are still right around 6%. The amount being paid to the agents has increased greatly merely because the value of the property being sold has increased. Today, the internet has been responsible for a few chips in the rock of the 6% commission by offering some straight fee or reduced rate services that allow the sellers to list their own properties. The results are still mixed and the 6% commission is still the standard.
The Origins of the Six Percent Real Estate Agent Commission
Keeping all of the different agreements and contracts present in the world of real estate straight can be tough, especially since so many of them seem to do similar things as other already existing contracts. A real estate license agreement is used by a land owner who is looking to license a piece of land to another party for use. Such examples would be a university licensing a piece of land to a company to build retail space on or to a company to rent out a retail space for a set period of time. A university could also use a license agreement to rent out land or buildings to a fraternity or any other outside party. Let's break down one of these real estate license agreements and see how they work.
Compared to other real estate forms and agreements, a real estate license agreement usually runs about ten pages and is considered a fairly lengthy legal document. Just like most contracts, a real estate license agreement starts by defining the parties involved in the legal agreement and the address of the property that is being licensed. This section will be followed by several "Whereas" definitions that lay out who owns what, who is in what position relative to each other and any other legal jargon that needs to be ironed out for the rest of the contract to make sense.
In the next section, the group that is giving the license will outline everything they expect from the lessee in terms of what they can do with the property, how they can use it, what the limitations are and what happens if they violate the terms of the lease. While we are dealing with real estate license agreements, you may come across similar agreements if you're a sports fan looking to buy season tickets as many sports teams now use personal seat licenses, or licenses for suite rentals at arenas and stadiums.
The rules sections of most real estate license agreements start by defining the term of the lease then move on to officially declaring that the current lease holder is giving control of the property to the lessee. The following sections tend to be lengthy and are very important to the meat of the contract. The renting party will spell out all of the rules and regulations you must abide by during your license agreement. Most of them are common sense, but some companies have been famous for inserting unreasonable clauses into the rules section which, if signed, are legally binding.
The next part of the contract talks about any responsibilities the outside party has in the way of repairs and maintenance, while the following section will talk about the rights the owning party has when it comes to visiting the property and inspecting it.
Every real estate license agreement has a clause or two about new additions or changes the renting party can make on the property, as well.
As you can see, the average real estate license agreement can be a bit complicated, so if you aren't familiar with how they work, get some advice before you put your pen to paper.
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