Gone are the times when brokers collected the real estate fees in cash or checks. Most transactions now happen via the internet. However, even while paying the fees online, consumers can choose to via multiple modes. In this guide, we will discuss the different ways in which you, as a broker, can collect the fees from your customer.
Understanding the Real Estate Fees
Before understanding the different ways you can collect the payment, let’s quickly understand the main components of the real estate fees.
The real estate fees, also known as the real estate commission, are the fees the customer pays to the real estate agent (property agent) once the house is sold.
The brokerage fee is usually split into four components:
- Fee for Listing Agent – Seller pays this fee
- Fee for Buying Agent – Buyer pays this fee
- Fee for Listing Agent’s Broker – Seller pays this fee
- Fee for Buying Agent’s Broker – Buyer pays this fee
However, this fee is not necessarily split four ways every time. If the broker lists a home and finds a buyer directly (without the involvement of listing agents), there is no need to share the fee.
The National Association of Realtors usually controls and caps the rental market commission fee to prevent exploitation. Although they are negotiable, the commission rates are generally 4-6% of the home’s total cost.
Now that we’ve understood the basics of real estate fees, let’s take a look at the different ways in which you, as an agent, can collect them.
Collecting the Fees Using Wire Transfer
Wire transfer has been one of the most popular methods of transferring money for several years now. Heavy transactions often occur on the wire transfer network due to its overall security and convenience. However, it may not always be the best possible option.
Pros of collecting fees via wire transfer:
- Fast transfer: Wire transfers are lightning-fast. Transfers over the wire transfer network usually take minutes, if not seconds.
- Easy tracking: Tracking a wire transfer is easy for both the buyer and the seller. Each wire transfer is associated with an automatically generated unique code which can be coupled with a note. Tracking and comparing these codes on the receiver and sender ends can help with reconciliation errors.
- Requires minimal preparation: Unlike most other modes of money transfer, wire transfers require minimal preparation. You can send a wire transfer with basic bank account details and routing numbers within a few minutes.
Cons of collecting fees via wire transfer:
- Hefty transaction fees: The biggest problem with wire transfers is their hefty transaction fees. It is preferred to transfer smaller amounts with wire transfer because it does not operate on a flat fee model. Instead, the cost for a wire transfer usually depends on the total amount sale price. The customer may have to pay a 2-3% transaction fee for every wire transfer.
- Painful reversal process: Let’s say your customer paid the wrong amount or to the wrong bank account number. It is almost impossible to get the amount reversed back with wire transfers.
- Not the best authorization process: The authorization process associated with wire transfers still needs improvement. Customers often sacrifice an excellent authorization process to speed up the transaction by a day or two.
Typically real estate transactions are the costliest kind. Therefore, paying through wire transfer is not always the best option. This is where the ACH technology steps into the picture.
Collecting the Fees Using ACH Solutions
ACH payments are becoming the preferred mode of money transfer for all big and small amounts. The network, previously known for being notoriously slow, is now speeding up thanks to massive technological advancements. Here are some reasons why consumers and business owners prefer using ACH solutions to process real estate transactions.
- Fast transfer: The ACH transactions that usually took 4-5 business days now only take 2-3 at most. Most ACH transfers now happen on the same or the next day. Nacha (The governing body of ACH transactions) regularly implements newer and faster technology to speed up the transactions. Learn about the transfer times associated with ACH payments and wire transfers.
- Easy reversals: It is easier to reverse an ACH transaction. In case of a mishap, the payee can ask for a reversal by contacting the ACH operator quickly. Since the transfer process is relatively slower compared to wire transfer, one can easily block/stop the transaction as and when required.
- Low processing costs: The most significant selling point for ACH solutions are lower processing fees. Unlike wire transfers, ACH transfers usually have a fixed flat fee for every transaction, no matter how big the amount. Usually, the flat cost associated with ACH ranges between 25 to 50 cents per transfer.
- Automated transfer: Some customers prefer setting up a payment plan instead of a single shot payment. They need to pay the security deposit or the agent’s commissions periodically in such cases. The customer can automate the payment plan using ACH payments to facilitate the transaction and save costs. By setting up a recurring payment plan, you, as an agent/broker, can receive payments from your customer without any manual intervention. Companies in the B2B real estate business can also pay their vendors seamlessly with payment automation tech.
- Superior authorization process: The authorization process of ACH is the best in the payments industry. Tracking and maintaining records of transactions with ACH is extremely simple and convenient. Home sale payments can be automated on a systematic plan with a one-time authorization process. Both the buyers and sellers can keep copies of the authorization forms to settle any financial or transfer-related disputes later.
On average, a real estate agent’s fee may seem super expensive (especially if you are buying a costly home). However, in most cases, the deal you get offsets the overall cost of fees. The best agents negotiate on your behalf and ensure that you get the best deal possible. These real estate agents have extensive experience in home sales; therefore, they keep scouring the market for the best deals. If you are a home seller, you can also rely on them to create the listing agreement to attract the best offers.
Financial officers who deal with payment processing on these real estate agencies and brokers should explore ACH technologies. By giving an option to pay through ACH, you can help your customers save a ton of money and give them excellent service too. You can partner with a reliable third-party payment processing gateway to accept ACH and credit card payments.
The top payment processors offer reliable services and seamless integration with your payment portals to record and analyze your transactions. They also can create custom dashboards to help you generate essential business reports for P&L analysis. If you need help setting up your payment processing gateway, schedule a 15-minute call with our experts today!
Date originally published: January 27, 2022
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