For Sale by Owner: When to Use a Broker and How to Price the House
By using a broker, the owner of a house can speed up his search for buyers but must pay a percentage of the sale price as a commission. Nonstationarities inherent in the housing market may make it optimal to market a house "by-owner" at the outset and to retain a broker only if the house remains on the market later in the selling season. This article investigates the optimal sequence of asking prices within the by-owner phase, within the broker phase, and at the transition between the two phases. The asking price declines within each phase but may jump up at the transition to cover part of the commission. The model implicitly determines the demand for broker services as a function of the commission rate. When estimated, it may be useful in investigations of price fixing among brokers. Copyright 1991 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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