SMART MONEY: Real estate brokers' fees are negotiable
DEAR BRUCE: How do brokers come up with their fees? Is there a standard amount they use like attorneys? — G.F., via email
DEAR G.F.: I assume you mean real estate brokers. They will often tell you they go by a “standard” amount, but that standard can be whatever they feel they can get. While they will tell you 6 percent commission is standard, they will often settle for less than that — as little as 3 percent.
I am wondering where you got the idea that there is a standard amount an attorney charges. An attorney also charges whatever he or she feels his time is worth. There are no set standard fees among attorneys. Some, of course, will charge an hourly fee, but usually that is negotiable, too.
DEAR BRUCE: I think I have an uncommon question for your column. If I never worked before, will I be able to collect Social Security when I am in my senior years? — S.W., via email
DEAR S.W.: Your question is not as uncommon as you may think. Here’s an example: It could be that a very young woman marries, immediately has children, never worked, and elects to be a stay-at-home mom. After the children are raised, she then decides to go to work.
She will first have to apply for a Social Security number if she hasn’t had one up until that time. Then, depending upon how much money she earned and if she has worked a sufficient number of quarters, she will be able to collect an amount that these numbers indicate when the time comes.
Of course, she is also able to apply to her husband’s account. She will be eligible for some benefits depending on his salary.