Darwin is the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory. It is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities. Known as the home of adventure, NT has revealed a positive trend when it comes to the tourism rate – boasting a 6% increase in 2017 (for the years 2015 to 2016). (Source: NT news) This won’t come as a surprise to those who have visited – Darwin boasts a sparkling harbour, a rich WW11 history and the city’s Asian influenced foodie scene makes Darwin a pretty hot city in NT.
With a small population of around 145,000, competition in the real estate market is lessened and so naturally, there is a generally higher fee charge which follows the trend found in the NT as a whole. Darwin, however, doesn’t see a huge discrepancy when compared to other cities. In the Darwin CBD, an agent is likely to charge a lower real estate agent fee than those based in the more rural Northern Territory areas.
How do real estate commissions and fees work in Darwin?
Commission rates and fees in Darwin (like the rest of the NT) are deregulated. Deregulated commission means that an agent has the power to set up their own commission and fee structure, based on supply and demand. Average fees in Darwin rank among the highest in the country, and so this tells us the competition is low which enables agents to set higher fees. It is a good idea to understand how commission rates are calculated in order to ensure you have the best chance to secure the lowest rate.
Let’s start with the basic allocations that fall under each term “commission” and “fee”. More often than not, we will often bundle this term together when in fact, commission and fees are usually two separate costs.
Commission: This is the term usually referring to the percentage allocation of the total price of the property sold.
Fee: This is a term that is commonly associated with marketing, advertising and administrative costs.
With the higher terms currently operating in Darwin, it’s more important than ever to seek clarity on what you’re paying your real estate agent for. There’s also an array of external factors that will contribute to the cost of commission. For example, the location of your home within Darwin, your property type and the overall property condition.
Considering all of this, we believe that comparing an agent will help you understand commission and fee structure in Darwin. Comparing an agent will help you understand how commissions and fees are allocated and the various ways in which this is structured. Comparing agents in your area will also help give you an overview of how agents create their fee structure, and this can help you decide what your preference is.
What is the average commission rate in the Darwin?
Property prices have eased in the Northern Territory’s capital city in recent times, but the market remains steady. There are hopes that a dip in house prices and further cuts to interest rates could lessen entry barriers into the property market. While buyers are on the lookout for properties with bonus lifestyle factors like schools and amenities close by, buyers are also buying for investment, looking for properties with good development potential.
It’s interesting to note that the median house price in Darwin has decreased by 7.4% in 2017.The median house price sat at $565,696 in December 2017. (Source: Domain Group House Price Report, December 2017).
With that in mind, what should those selling in Darwin be willing to pay in commission? The below graph looks at how Darwin compares to other 6 capital cities. Although not sitting quite as high as Tasmania, Darwin is almost on par with Brisbane and is the third highest ranking sitting in Australia in terms of rates for fees and commissions with an average of 2.43%.
Commission Rates May 2018 based on a $500,000 property sale
Hobart has a high-ranking average commission, and this makes sense given the small population and size of Hobart which would result in a lack of competition. The same can be said for Darwin, the low population would contribute to the lack of competition that is happening amongst real estate agents. With this lack of agent activity, comes the freedom for agents in Darwin to set their commission fees at higher prices. Agents in Darwin currently have no need to drive them down in order to contend with fellow local agents.
We know that market competition effects commissions rates but there are other factors that contribute to the variation in cost. These factors include location, property type and whether or not an agent includes all services in the commission.
Negotiating fees and commissions in Darwin
With such a high fee, it makes sense to gather every piece of information possible to help you negotiate. We’ve created a guide to help you better understand how fees and commissions work in order to put you in a stronger position.
Commission type: Fixed rate or Tiered percentage
In general, an agent will charge commission in one of two ways.
1. Fixed rate commission agreement.
A fixed rate is calculated by agreeing on a percentage of the total sale of the property. A fixed rate agreement means that you will always pay the same amount, and this offers you peace of mind. You will never be in any danger of paying more than you had initially wanted to. The amount you agree to pay will never change, regardless of the price your property will sell for. The potential downside of this method is the danger of your agent selling your property quickly and therefore resulting in a lower price for you.
2. Tiered commission percentage
Tiered percentage works a little bit differently. It’s more common for people to use a tiered percentage method when selling a larger house in a popular area. Tiered percentage operations on a sliding skill and it is believed to encourage agents to get a higher price for a property. For example, you may agree to a 2% commission rate if the sale price is $480,000 or less, and an additional amount if the property is sold for more than that. So, if the sale price is $500,000 you’ll pay 2% on first $480,000 (being $9,600) and, for example, 10% on the additional $20,000 (being $2,000). The total commission payable would be $11,600. However, the potential drawback of this is that you may end up paying more commission than you had initially believed you would. There is no certainty around what you will pay in commission and this can cause unease.
There are other factors that will contribute to the final commission you will pay. The current market, the suburb in Darwin where your property is based, and the size and condition of your property will have an effect on the final fee.
Top Tips for selling your home in Darwin
We have a long history of helping people sell their homes in Darwin with the right real estate agent. Along the way, we’ve picked up some helpful insights that will help you get there.
1. Ensure your Marketing plan is airtight
Studies have shown that after an online presence, a sign at the front of your property is one of the best ways to drive buyers. Although this is a very traditional way of marketing, it is effective. A real estate will be able to supply the sign for you and provide the cost. The cost of this type of marketing usually falls under the fees you pay. However, it’s important to clarify what marketing costs fall under this fee (if any). Make sure your real estate agent has a sound marketing plan that you have every confidence in.
2. Hire the right agent for the job
It seems like an obvious piece of advice, but we know people make rushed decisions on their choice of agent all the time. This usually comes down to a lack of time. Selling your home is often a busy and frantic time, so researching agents and comparing their history isn’t always easy. It should, however, be a priority.
LocalAgentFinder uses your priorities to source the most appropriate agents in your area and delivers these to you. The comparison tool is free for you to use, and the agent you choose will only pay LocalAgentFinder a referral free after closing the sale of your property.
3. Consider commission
The amount your agent will charge you in commission is always going to be a consideration. However, we firmly believe that it shouldn’t be your only consideration. Information like an agent’s local knowledge, their previous history selling houses like yours and their confidence in their ability to sell your home is important.
So, if you’d like to compare real estate agents in the Darwin area, take a look at LocalAgentFinder today and see if we can help. We also have a fully operational Australian based call centre, so if you have any questions, you can give us a call on 133 033.
Fees & Commissions by City
To determine average commission rates, LocalAgentFinder took the average commission of all active agents respectively on 1 May 2018. This included agents with tiered and fixed commission structures based on a $500,000 selling price. This page was updated on 4th May 2018.