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A big advantage of online discount brokerage firms is that buyers can now obtain rebates up to 1.5% of purchase price of their home. Traditional Realtors generally do not offer rebates to buyers. For sellers, discount brokerage firms offer to list homes for up to 4.5% vs. traditional 6% commission. With average home price in San Diego County now over $400,000, such discounts are worth considering. The 1.5% savings amounts to $6,000 for a $400,000 home and $9,000 for a $600,000 home.
Another San Diego-based real estate site provides an opportunity for "FSBO" (For Sale by Owner) sellers to list their property on MLS. www.EfreeMLS.com will list any property on MLS for a flat fee of $299 vs. 3%, which is one-half of traditional Realtor fee. EfreeMLS rebates $299 to seller if they then buy a property through their service. For homeowners not looking to buy or sell, but who just want a good reading on value of their home, HouseRebate.com site is an excellent resource for sales comps: just enter your Zip code and last 100 sales for that Zip appear.
Online real estate portals also offer lots of educational links for homebuyers, including information on community schools, a glossary of real estate terminology in layman's terms, and tips on preparing your home for sale. Many have links to mortgage lenders, moving companies, and furniture stores.
And, armed with this information, you can walk into a brick-and-mortar real estate firm and ask about discounts, as well. Coldwell Banker is even getting into discount brokerage business with Blue Edge Realty. Currently company is testing model on East Coast and it is not currently available in San Diego County.
Kris Grant is a free-lance writer based in Coronado, California. Telephone (619) 437-8987 Cell Phone (619) 252-5525 email: KrisCorona@aol.com