New York

It used to be a no-brainer to list your home in the spring. But a major shakeup in the real estate industry complicates the equation.

That shake-up follows a $418 million settlement the National Association of Realtors announced last week with home seller groups that could go into effect as early as July. The settlement eliminates the long-standing standard 6% commission paid by the seller, which could ultimately make it cheaper to sell your home after the settlement.

But is it worth waiting to list your home and possibly risk a sale?

Would you rather unload boxes from a moving truck during a possible snowstorm or heat wave than when it’s a pleasant 60-degree day?

That’s one of the main reasons why spring is the most popular season to buy a home.

It is also an ideal time for families with children to close at home, because they can then stay at the same school.

By spring, people are also more likely to have paid off debt they took on during the holidays, said Phil Crescenzo Jr., vice president of the southeast division at Nation One Mortgage Corporation.

The settlement could pose a major disadvantage to homebuyers.

In the current system, the buyer’s agent’s commission is included in the total he pays for a house. This meant that buyers could pay those extra costs over the entire term of their mortgage.

But after the settlement is finalized, many may have to pay agents a lump sum up front. That would increase the financial burden for home buyers – especially first-time buyers. And that’s on top of coming up with all the money they’ll need for their home down payment, closing costs, an attorney, and all the other costs associated with buying a home.

Buyers may therefore be more inclined to close on a home sooner rather than later.

There is also no guarantee that a federal court will sign off on the settlement as is. The unknowns that come with it are reason enough not to wait to list your home, Crescenzo said. From conversations he’s had with real estate agents, he says he sees no sign that the NAR settlement is slowing down listing activity.

“There’s no reason to wait,” says Mike Downer, a broker with Coldwell Banker Realty in Naples, Florida. “The seller does not currently have to pay any compensation to the buyer’s agent.”

The biggest benefit of waiting to list your home until the settlement is finalized is that you can reduce an agent’s commission more than would otherwise be possible. Additionally, they may be able to avoid paying the buyer’s agent’s commission.

That could allow them to pocket thousands more dollars when selling their home.

If selling your home comes down to a business decision, Mike Downer, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Realty in Naples, Florida, said he would try to get it on the market as quickly as possible.

“If I am trying to test the market, there is no need (now) to list it,” he added.

But he said the NAR settlement should not be a major consideration when it comes to timing.

“An agent who provides value will always be worth more than an agent who doesn’t,” because they can help you earn more money for the sale of your home, he said.

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