Real Estate Agents, Revisited
Still skeptical (even after evidence like this) about Levitt and Dubner’s conclusion in Freakonomics that having a real estate agent sell your home won’t necessarily result in a higher sale price? Stanford economist B. Douglas Bernheim and Stanford grad student Jonathan Meer provide further evidence in their working paper, “How Much Value Do Real Estate Brokers Add? A Case Study.” Their findings are described as follows:
Sales commissions for residential real estate brokers historically average nearly six percent of a home’s closing price. Do brokers add sufficient value to justify those commissions? We address this question using a unique data set pertaining to sales of faculty and staff homes on the Stanford University campus. We find no evidence that the use of a broker leads to higher average selling prices, or that it significantly alters average initial asking prices. However, those who use brokers sell their houses more quickly.