Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for Buyers

  1. Q: How does it work?
    A: As buyer agents, we work following the same process as a traditional agent, yet we are compensated differently. Normally, buyer agents are paid 3% of the total price as commission at closing. Instead, we charge $150 to show a house, then take $1,500 at closing for all other services and refund the rest of the 3% commission back to the buyer. Our "how it works for buyers" page further explains this process.

  2. Q: Are commission rebates legal?
    A: Yes, commission rebates are legal in 40 states, including Texas. Both the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) clearly allow and even encourage rebates.

  3. Q: How is the rebate paid?
    A: The rebates will show as a credit on your settlement statement at closing and/or show as price reduction. Price reduction may help the loan approval rate and reduce property tax in the future. Rebates should be disclosed to all parties, especially your lender. The credit can be used to pay the closing costs, which will reduce the amount of money you need to bring to closing. Most lenders limit the percentage a borrower can receive from other parties, especially for investment property, new construction, or VA loans. This article explains the lender limitation in more detail. We are not allowed to send you a check after closing to compensate the unused credit.

  4. Q: Are rebates taxable income?
    A: No, a rebate is not taxable income. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a clear answer to that.

  5. Q: When is the commission paid?
    A: We have two types of commissions.
    A) We charge a showing fee of $150 per house. This must be paid right after we show the house, and it is not refundable.
    B) We charge $1,500 for the remainder of our services. This commission will be paid at closing by the seller.

  6. Q: Why do you charge $150 upfront? Can it be less expensive?
    A: For a real estate buyer agent, the biggest uncertainty is the buyer's seriousness and intent. By charging $150 per house upfront, more uncertain buyers or those who may be "just looking" won't use our services, which lower our risk and cost. Therefore, we can give more rebates to and eventually benefit our serious buyers. For serious buyers, paying the house showing fee upfront has little impact financially. But the reward is big – a much heftier rebate. Also, charging $150 per house upfront gives us no motivation to push clients to make an offer. Therefore, our interest is aligned with our clients, which enables us to focus on providing better services. Like most professional independent contractors, real estate agents have overhead costs. We calculated the price of $150 per house based on the efforts involved and the overhead we bear. It simply cannot be less.

  7. Q: How do we pay the $150 showing fee?
    A: It can be paid by check or cash. If paying check, please make the check payable to "All Side Realty".

  8. Q: How do I save more?
    A: The only variable risk for our clients in our pricing model is the showing fee of $150 per house. However, you can cut this cost to as low as zero if you are willing to tour homes on your own. For example, you can visit many open houses to get a good feeling for the market. You can also contact owners directly to ask for a house showing. If we assist you in purchasing a house without any showing service, our entire buyer agent's commission is only $1,500.

  9. Q: What is your position in the market?
    A: The majority of buyer agents in the market take a 3% commission at closing without any rebate. Most large broker firms do not allow their sales agents to offer rebates. A small percentage of buyer agents offer rebates based on house price. The rebate amount normally ranges from 0.5 to 2%, though a 2% rebate is very rare. Other agents charge a flat fee based on their services. We are the exceptionally rare third type. We believe that people should pay only for the services they receive – no more, no less.

  10. Q: What don't we get?
    A: We cover every service that traditional buyer agents provide.

  11. Q: Can I switch from you to other agents?
    A: Yes. If for any reason you want to use other agents, please feel free to do so. You do not even need to notify us. We do not require our clients to sign buyer/agent contracts. Using our buying service is low-risk, and our buyers won't face the dilemma of getting stuck with a certain agent. You are in control.

  12. Q: Can I switch from other agents to you?
    A: We do not solicit business from other fellow agents. You are certainly welcome to use us if you terminated your relationship with other agents or your term has expired.

  13. Q: Can you make an offer on a house that other agents showed me before I met you?
    A: With your best interests in mind, we do not make offers on houses that you have seen previously through other agents.

  14. Q: Can other agents make an offer on a house that you showed to me?
    A: Yes. You are free to ask other agents to make an offer for you on houses that we showed you.

  15. Q: Can you represent us to purchase new homes?
    A: Yes. You can visit new model homes with or without us. To get a rebate, please let the builder know that we represent you and give them the following information:
    Broker: AAXY Services LLC dba All Side Realty, 13284 Pond Springs Road, #405, Austin, TX 78729, 512-377-6580, License # 537407.
    Agent: Huiming Gu, 281-223-6538, hgu@loc.com, License # 665904.

  16. Q: How do I get started?
    A: Please click here to start.

FAQs for Sellers

  1. Q: How does it work?
    A: As seller agents, we work following the same process as a traditional seller agent. The only difference is that we charge a flat fee of $3,000 as our seller agent commission while the traditional seller agent charges 3% of the sale price. Our "How it Works for Sellers" page offers a further explanation of the process.

  2. Q: How do you market the listings?
    A: Like most agents, we market your property by listing it on MLS and put a For Sale sign on your property. The listing on MLS will be syndicated to major real estate websites, including har.com, zillow.com, trulia.com, realtor.com, and others. In today's market, more than 99% of the sales start from searches via major real estate websites, open house, or sale sign on property. In addition, we give extra 3% off to unrepresented buyers, which is a very strong selling point. In our knowledge, we are the only real estate agents offer this.

  3. Q: Will other real estate agents avoid our listings?
    A: No. We offer the buyer's agent the same 3% commission. Therefore, they have no motivation or reason to avoid our listings.

  4. Q: What don't we get?
    A: We work the same way as traditional agents, but we do not print or distribute flyers because in today's market, flyers have no impact on marketing a property. From our research, we believe it is a waste of time and money to print flyers.

  5. Q: What is your position in the market?
    A: There are approximately three basic types of seller agents in the market. The most common are the traditional agents who charge a commission based on the percentage of the sale price paid on closing. That commission percentage is normally 6%. In some cases, seller agents may charge percentages as low as 4%, which is very rare. Another type of seller agent is the so-called flat-fee agent. They normally charge a few hundred dollars for the listing fee upfront. The services of these flat-fee agents are normally very limited; their main service is listing your property. Many won't even list your property on MLS, which is the main marketing channel. We are the third type of seller agent; we provide full services and charge a flat commission fee at closing.

  6. Q: When is the commission paid?
    A: The commission is paid at closing. There is no upfront cost to you as a seller.

  7. Q: How can I get started?
    A: Please click here to start.

Other FAQs

  1. Q: How can you make money with such a low commission?
    A: The founder of loc.com is a veteran IT professional and also the founder of a series of successful online ventures. We know how optimize our listings online to best automate the routine processes. Also, unlike many, we do not run our business in a luxury building with high-end technology or equipment. Therefore, we are more efficient, which enables us to make money with a low commission.

  2. Q: What area do you cover?
    A: Currently, we serve The Woodlands, TX and the surrounding areas.