A Full-Service Discount Real Estate
Offering Substantial Savings for Both Buyers & Sellers
Pacific Century Realty is the area's only true full-service-plus discount/rebate real estate brokerage.
Based on a truly unique USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of financial rewards for "Good Buyers" and "Good Sellers" (modeled on the auto insurance industry's "Good Driver" discount concept), Pacific Century offers qualified consumers the very best deal currently available in today's marketplace, typically resulting in savings of tens of thousands of dollars.
By reducing unnecessary overhead
and skillfully leveraging technology, our advanced business model enables both
our clients and our associates who serve them to share the wealth represented
by the tremendous value of real property. The trademarked company name is
derived from the conviction that "the
21st Century will turn out to be 'the Pacific Century.'"
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ List)
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Pacific Century's managing broker, Daniel Berman, began his real estate career as a licensee in 1988. Pacific Century's first office was established in the
Q: How much commission will you charge for listing my
A: The listing office commission, which can be as low as 1%, is calculated on the basis of a variety of factors, including the listing price and how closely you match our "Good Seller" profile. As a general rule, the 1% listing office commission is limited to properties with a minimum market value of $1M (one million dollars). For properties with a minimum market value of $750K, the listing office commission for qualifying sellers is 1.5%.
Q: How much commission will you charge if you also
represent the buyer?
A: The buyer-side commission, in a "dual agency" scenario, mirrors the listing office commission.
Q: Is dual agency legal?
A: In certain states—including
Q: How likely is it that you would also represent the
A: Historically, this happens about 25 to 30% of the time. If you are interested in increasing the odds, to benefit from our 1% buyer-side commission (resulting in total real estate commissions of 2%), please request our detailed information sheet on this topic.
Q: What forms do you use (from whose library)?
A: All the forms we use are provided by the California Association of Realtors (CAR). These are for the most part the same forms used by all conventional brokerages.
Q: How can you offer quality service for such a modest commission?
A: The key is that our services are offered selectively, only to those sellers who represent a good fit with our program, as described below. This allows us to operate more efficiently—and to pass the savings along to you.
Q: Won’t you be boycotted by buyers' agents because you are offering lower commissions to sellers?
A: No buyer's agent would pass up a commission by refusing to represent clients who want to purchase a particular property. And, for the most part, other agents are unaware of our listing/commission arrangements with sellers.
Q: Can't I save even more by just selling my property
myself or using a flat-fee limited services company?
A: We encourage you to select whichever option you feel most comfortable with. First be sure to educate yourself about what you're getting into. Ask yourself this key question: "If I were to 'save' $5,000 in commissions, while losing $50,000 in selling price, would I really be saving, in terms of my bottom-line earnings?" Almost always, the 'savings' achieved in FSBO-type scenarios are actually false economies. (FSBO, pronounced "fizz-bow," is the acronym for For Sale By Owner, a scenario that you can read more about here.)
There's a good reason that some 99 percent of all properties are sold through commission-based, full-service real estate brokerages, who cooperate with each other, channeling their buyers and sellers into a single efficient system.
Considering the near certainty that your bottom line will suffer, that you will endure substantial frustration, that you will increase your legal exposure (liability) and so on, is it not sheer folly to pit yourself against a highly developed system that could be working in your favor?
Sellers who subsequently turn to us for assistance have reported a number of problems with the "flat fee" model. The flat-fee agent, when representing the seller, is disincentivized from getting the listing sold at the highest price possible. Typically, no discounts are offered when the listing agent also represents the buyer, as the brokerage is hoping to make its profit on the "back end." For this reason, there is a built-in disincentive to cooperate with other agents, which ultimately works to the sellers' disadvantage.
Q: What about RedFin and Zip Realty: How do you compare with them?
A: What we hear from clients who come to us following experiences with these companies echoes the complaints you can find through a search on Google, using phrases along these lines:
• negative reviews of
[name of company]
• the problem with [name of company]
• [name of company] complaints
• complaints against [name of company]
• [name of company] sucks
"I never actually met my agent in person. We only talked by phone." "The company didn't deliver on its promises. We didn't get the discount/rebate we thought we would be getting." "Our agent wrote the offer for us without ever actually seeing the house!" These are comments that appear online, in response to the searches listed above.
Q: What about HelpUSell and Assist2Sell: How do you compare with them?
A: We would urge you to do the same kind of searches on Google as the ones illustrated above. In a nutshell, the problem with these kinds of limited fee-for-service programs is that sellers do not get the help they need with their listings, usually to the great detriment of their bottom line.
Q: What do you mean by "Good Seller"?
A: In the insurance industry, Good Drivers receive "Good Driver discounts," based on the fact that these drivers are likely to generate savings for the insurer, which the company can then pass along to the consumer. They are assigned "Good Driver" status on the basis of their profiles, which reflect driving experience and driving history. If someone is an experienced driver and has a clean record (no history of serious accidents), for example, that individual is likely to consume fewer resources and be easier to service.
real estate industry fails to reward Good Sellers and Good Buyers, who in
effect are saddled with subsidizing the costs of carrying the
not-so-good—high-maintenance—customers, with their disproportionate demands on
Pacific Century Realty is different. Our generous discounts and rebates are based on the logic that clients who save us time and money are entitled to special rewards. They deserve to get some of that money back, in the form of discounts and rebates.
Q: Are you a true "full-service" brokerage?
A: Yes. We provide the same services as any of the companies that do not offer discounts or rebates. Your property is listed in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), we market the listing, arrange "virtual tours," produce effective brochures, hold the "open houses" for you and so on. In fact, our high-quality clientele focus enables us to work more effectively and achieve better results for you. For a more detailed "marketing plan"—and how it compares with conventional high-commission companies, please see page two of our new summary brochure.
Q: Is the range of services you
offer identical to that of the conventional full-commission companies?
A: We actually offer a wider range of services for our clients, than the conventional full-service companies provide their clients, charging tens of thousands of dollars more.
Q: Can you give me some examples of these additional services?
A: A dedicated property address website for each listing (along the lines of 123MainStreet.com), at no additional charge to the client. Not just a URL/website address that points to an agent's page—or the typical images-only virtual tour—but a highly effective, stand-alone multi-function website with "virtual tour" and detailed information relating to the property, clearly articulating the property's most unique and desirable features. A dedicated toll-free 800 number extension featuring a professionally written and recorded audio tour. Lighted yard ("For Sale") signs, when appropriate, to make your listing more noticeable and give it an extra edge over any others that may be available in the vicinity. An Internet-based feedback system, for monitoring buyer agent interest and activity. Additional Internet promotion, on numerous websites, beyond the standard MLS profile. Professionally designed and written flyers focusing entirely on your property, with no space sacrificed to listing agent photos and personal self-promotion. See a detailed list on the "25 Advantages" page.
Q: By reducing overhead, aren't
you cutting back on services?
A: The reduction is achieved by cutting out the "fat" that weighs down conventional brokerages. Examples include expensive, "image"-type office space, large administrative bureaucracies and company parties. Reigning in non-essential overhead such as this enables us to remain "lean and mean," passing the savings along to you, the consumer.
Q: Do you hold open houses and, if so, how many will you do?
A: Yes, we do hold open houses, unless the seller prefers not to have them. Generally, only one weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of open houses is necessary when a property has been correctly priced and effectively marketed.
Q: Do you provide free staging?
A: In many cases, we can show you how to stage your home without paying for staging services. When professional staging is called for, we can make recommendations. We ourselves do not provide staging, either free or for a fee.
Q: How can I qualify for your 1%
full-service listing commission program?
A: The three main characteristics of a Good Seller are: (1) a straightforward sale scenario, (2) willingness to sell at reasonable market value and (3) willingness to conduct routine communication by email. Each of these main characteristics is discussed in some detail in our new summary brochure. Please note that, as stated above, the 1% listing office commission is limited to properties with a minimum market value of $1M (one million dollars).
Properties with a minimum market value of less than $1M but more than $750K may qualify for a 1.5% full-service listing office commission, with the same percentage for representing the buyer in the transaction (a total of 3%). Such listings are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Q: How can I qualify for your buyer commission credit?
A: At this time, we are working with buyers in these two categories only: (1) existing clients and (2) buyers who offer through us on one of our own listings.
Q: What is your service area?
A: We are currently focused on Silicon Valley, primarily the cities of Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. In terms of counties, we primarily cover
Q: What does your signage look like—and does the word
"discount" appear anywhere on it?
A: Our signage—like all of our marketing collateral—is pleasant, professional and upscale in appearance (click here to see a daytime photo and here to see a photo of what the signage looks like when illuminated, after dusk). You will see that our signage does not include the word discount anywhere. We are actually not a "discount broker." Ours is a full-service brokerage that offers generous terms to qualifying clients.
Q: What about other related service providers I will need?
A: We have an entire team at the disposal of our clients: escrow/title company, home and termite inspectors, stager, house painter, handyman, etc. We can also provide you with referrals to accountants, attorneys, financial planners, insurance agents and so on.
Q: As the seller in the transaction, what fees am I
A: A seller's main costs of sale are the real estate commissions, title insurance and escrow fees (in Santa Clara County), as well as at least a portion of the property transfer taxes (this varies by city). After listing, we will provide you with a statement from the title company, itemizing all credits and debits, showing your estimated net proceeds at close of escrow.
Q: How do I know how good you are?
A: Have a look at our testimonials and our growing number of reviews on Yelp. Have you ever seen another brokerage with this large a collection of outstanding testimonials, with the names of real people, companies and locations (as opposed to just a handful of statements with initials only, the standard fare at most agent Websites)?
Q: What's the next step for me
A: Buying or selling real property is a major financial undertaking. It's advisable to thoroughly educate yourself about your options, before entering into an agreement with any brokerage.
In addition to reading through this FAQ, we request—at a minimum—that you also either read our summary brochure or view our summary video, as well as read through our reviews on Yelp.
Then email us, for an informational message. If, together, we determine that we have the potential for a sufficiently good fit, we will arrange for an in-person meeting and on-site evaluation of your property.
Q: So you don't agree to work with everyone who comes to you?
A: That's correct. It's only by focusing on those who meet certain criteria that we are able to offer the generous discounts and rebates that we make available to our exclusive clientele.
We recognize that there are good people who may not meet our "Good Buyer" or "Good Seller" criteria. The conclusions reached by the underwriting parameters that we are obliged to follow in order to make intelligent business decisions with regard to extending special discounts and rebates are not intended to carry over into any other context.
Even if we do not end up working together, we may be in a position to give you referrals to competent real estate professionals with other reputable companies who would likely be able to meet your needs. We will still do our best to help you, utilizing our extensive referral network and years of professional experience!
HAVE A QUESTION NOT ANSWERED ON THIS LIST? FEEL FREE TO EMAIL TO ASK.
*Terms & conditions apply. Inquire for details. All offers subject to change & cancellation without further notice.
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