Please wait while the search results are loading...

Internet-Based Home Sales and Cheap Commissions Rock Residential Brokers, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Today, the real estate broker as an intermediary is facing intense competition from internet sites that connect buyers and sellers directly.  A good analogy can be found in the travel agent industry, in which travel consumers have turned to the internet for a vast portion of their purchases and information needs, and travel agents have been forced to downsize or become providers of enhanced services, unique expertise and value-added packages.
The days of 6% commissions for real estate brokers are under pressure thanks to maverick real estate brokers such as Foxtons.  Instead of the usual 6% commission, a small number of upstart brokers’ fees are as little as 3% and up to 5% of the selling price.  They are able to cut costs by capitalizing on the power of the internet to advertise homes for sale, listing homes with accompanying photographs and virtual tours, but not always including services such as conducting in-person showings and open houses or negotiating prices.

Redfin ( is a technology-powered real estate brokerage firm which provides information on real estate listings, home appraisal and past record sales while allowing buyers, sellers and renters to connect with real estate and mortgage professionals.  In contrast to traditional firms, Redfin agents do not receive a full commission from transactions completed.  Instead, a portion of the commission is refunded to the customer and usually applied to closing costs.  The Redfin Estimate tool gives homeowners real-time data on the estimated value of their home.  The company offers services in 100 markets in the U.S. and Canada, and partners with many other real estate agents across the country to service areas not covered.  Subsidiary Redfin Mortgage acquired Bay Equity in 2022, enabling the company to offer a full mortgage product suite in 49 U.S. states and Washington D.C.  Title Forward offers title and settlement services in 27 U.S. markets.

     Another discount alternative for a seller is to pay a flat fee (usually around $500) to a discount broker to list their home in MLS.  Sellers then do the showing and negotiating themselves.  A different tweak to this option is, where owners choose from packages of services at modest prices.  For an upgraded fee, the property may be listed on MLS.
Some online home-selling sites regularly mine MLS listings and then post those listings on their own sites.  In order to have access to MLS data, a broker employed by the site must be a member of the local Realtors organization.  Some online sites have been known to hire a member Realtor to feed MLS data to them.  Disputes frequently break out between local boards of realtors and such sites as to whether MLS data is proprietary.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has spent millions on television and radio campaigns that highlight the benefits of using a realtor and the difficulties homeowners face when selling on their own.
SPOTLIGHT:  Compass, an Innovative Nationwide Brokerage with Aggressive Marketing
Growing numbers of experienced realtors are abandoning their positions with traditional realty firms to join Compass (  The firm offers top realtors generous commissions, with some agents collecting entire fees for up to their first eight sales (with no cut going to Compass).  The company also pays sellers to stage or have cosmetic repairs made, a practice traditionally funded up front by the realtors themselves.  In addition, Compass offers a bridge-loan program for motivated sellers, enabling agents to rack up more listings.  In total, these aggressive recruiting and marketing practices are giving Compass a great competitive advantage, but at a steep cost.  The company employs a team of software engineers to support agents with online listings and streamline contract generation.

A Representative List of Organizations that Have Used our Research and Products:


I’m amazed at how much information is available and the various ways to access it. This will be a major resource for our serious job seekers.

Career Services, Penn State University

Plunkett Research Online provides a great ‘one stop shop’ for us to quickly come up to speed on major industries. It provides us with an overall analysis of the market, key statistics, and overviews of the major players in the industry in an online service that is fast, easy to navigate, and reliable.

Wendy Stotts, Manager, Carlson Companies

I really appreciate the depth you were able to get to so quickly (for our project). The team has looked through the material and are very happy with the data you pulled together.

Hilton Worldwide, Marketing Manager

We are especially trying to push Plunkett since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Library Services, St. John’s College

We are especially trying to push Plunkett’s since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Gary White, Business Materials Selector, Penn State University

Your tool is very comprehensive and immensely useful. The vertical marketing tool is very helpful, for it assists us in that venue, as well as targeting customers’ competition for new sales…The comprehensive material is absolutely fabulous. I am very impressed, I have to say!

Tammy Dalton, National Account Manager, MCI

The more I get into the database, the happier I am that we’ll have it–REALLY happy!!! Between the quality and affordability of your product, its appeal to and value for our users, and the inestimably ethical and loyalty-guaranteeing conduct of your business, I will always have more than sufficient praises to sing for Plunkett Research.

Michael Oppenheim, Collections & Reference Services, UCLA

Plunkett Research Online is an excellent resource…the database contains a wealth of useful data on sectors and companies, which is easy to search and well presented. Help and advice on how to conduct, export and save searches is available at all stages.

Penny Crossland, Editor, VIP Magazine
Real Time Web Analytics