Profile picture for tarponrx

Flat fee mls listing?? help!

I have contacted local realtors and would have to "throw away" 20k in order to sell (realistic selling price and commissions). Is the flat fee mls service worth a try? do they work? has anyone had any experience with them? and which one is considered "the best?" thanks in advance for any input you can provide!!
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September 22 2007 - US
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Replies (33)

I'm using one of the flat fee services and I am getting ready to have professional photos, a floor plan and a voice over done to add to my listing. I have a small condo in Palm Harbor and its been ugly in that area. I hope you have better luck. Why are you choosing to sell now?
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September 22 2007
Profile picture for tarponrx
Need to move b/c of job....i am doing the staging with a decorator, so im not really sure what else a realtor can provide other than the mls service...??
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September 22 2007
we can't do anything other than that usually for marketing, but what about the paperwork? who do sellers use to do the contracts?
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September 22 2007
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from what i can see, most of the flat fee services make all the necessary paperwork downloadable from their website..
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September 22 2007
Tarpon

this is the company that I am going to use to do my photos, etc. I thought their prices were really affordable.

http://www.imagemaker360fl.com/
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September 22 2007
yes, my mls lister emailed me all the forms. if it gets complicated at closing, in my case, i can pay an addtl fee to get full representation at closing.
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September 22 2007
Profile picture for millielite
Main thing is KNOW what you want, Make sure they are preapproved for the price of the offer. The contracts really aren't that hard. I did them this past March for the first time. Title Company will do most everything. You have to have the purchase agreement filled out and signed and the disclosures filled out and signed and get the EMD ( ernest money deposit) take all that to the title company and open escrow. AND PRAY that the bank will actually lend them the money. LOL Mine fell through 2 weeks after the original closing date. But I did learn alot from that experience. Mostly a waiting game once you go under contract. I had a realtor actually send me all the disclosures that I would need and the purchase agreement. Then they said if there was anything else I need not to hesitate to call them. That was sweet.
AGENTS? Did I leave anything out? LOL
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September 22 2007
NiceCharlotte,

Try Googling the MLS flat fee for your area and it should give you several options or there is a guy named Kary Krismer who is in the Pacific NW so look for his posts and ask him via email; he may have info on who's good and who's not. Good luck.
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September 24 2007
I always find it interesting when I read about the MLS flat fee companies. One thing that I hardly ever see mentioned is that you are still going to have to pay the Buyers agent.
Let me backtrack here a minute. As was said previously, putting a house on the market and getting a signed sales contract isn’t the hard part of the sale. As I say to my clients, getting it from contract to closing table – that’s were I earn my money. A lot goes on between those two time periods and you’d be surprised at what can also happen at the closing table.
Now about the Buyer’s agent; I am a listing agent, my listing fee is 6%. When I put that listing in the MLS, 3% is offered to the Buyer’s agent. If you offer less than 3%, and especially with all the inventory that is out there, you will not get many agents showing your property. And since the Buyer’s agent will have to do all the work to make sure that the sale closes, don’t be surprised to see the Buyer’s agent asking for 4%. Stop and think about it – he’s going to have to do the job of two agents.
So please understand that when you sign up with a flat fee company – at most you have the chance of maybe saving half of the commission.
Another thing, please be careful with all the mortgage fraud scams going on. My brother put a For Sale By Owner sign (with my blessings) in front of one of his houses. On average he was getting approach twice a week by Buyers willing to pay him his asking price but there was always some variant of mortgage fraud involved. I was absolutely amazed with all the different schemes that were presented – folks this is a Federal Crime!
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September 24 2007
Marie,

In this market, getting a signed sales contract is the hard part. I am confident that I could move it from contract to closing without too much difficulty. There are just no buyers out there. who can qualify.
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September 24 2007
You pay for what you get with a flat fee service. What sellers don't relize unless they have sold many homes, experience is what your paying for when you go with a full service realtor. We are trained in negioating to get you the highest price possiable with the least amount of headaches. If something goes wrong during a home inspection, Realtors can usally keep the deal together. They can screen the buyers. The most important thing is Realtors frown on showing flat fee listings because they know they are dealing with an un profesional agent, or the owner them selves. The time on the market with a flat fee service usally doubles. All commisions are negoiable. I would suggest that you try to find a full service compay that will work with you on the commision. This is something you do once or twice in a lifetime, why jeaperdize your profits.
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September 24 2007
ALL COMMISSIONS ARE NEGOTIABLE! THERE IS NO STANDARD COMMISSION! Agents should show their clients every available property that fits their criteria. An Agent should have a signed Buyer's Agreement allowing them to negotiate commission with FSBO's and other models. We should only discuss our commission with those in OUR own company and our clients. Anti Trust!
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September 24 2007
NiceCharlotte,
You will most likely do just fine-for all the reasons you just stated. I know some of us are very passionate about what we do and truely believe that we bring a valuable service to our clients. I also know that my experience has saved more than a couple of deals- by anticipating problems, overseeing an incompetent-coop agent-mtg.broker-title co...there are so many things that can and do go wrong and an experienced, level headed, unemotional (ok I fail this a lot-but Aaron steps in!),...party representing your best interests can really be a huge benefit. FSBO/Non rep. is not for everyone--I have seen some people really get taken advantage of & I have seen many victims of fraud. I've seen investor taking title but not closing existing mtg-then defaulting on the loan after not being able to "flip"... I can't even comment on all the crap I've seen and heard done-but let me just say it is criminal what some people do to unsuspecting and trusting people trying to buy/sell their home. If you do your research and have a good Title co that YOU (not the buyer chooses) you can do just fine. But it is a huge deal and it is not for everyone. Thousands of people do it everyday and do great and there is plenty of room for all types of business/models. I'd like to think we are being friendly-you asked a valid question and have gotten valid concerns from professionals. There may be someone reading these threads that has not sold a home before or has not thought of all the positives and negatives. When you say what have got to lose--probably nothing--but we have seen it when it is something and it is ugly. Please don't take offense-I don't think any of us are trying to be condescending.
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September 24 2007
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I think that the people who have photos and or are negative about going FSBO are agents!  Greedy.... I've had it with real estate agents!  Just shut up!
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August 27 2012
Profile picture for Dr Buford
[Removed by Zillow Moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.] was the first company to offer the flat fee mls nationwide and I have used them twice since 1999 myself .. they are honest, which is more than I can say for most of the full service realtors I have met over the many years I have bought and sold homes ...
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June 30 2013
Flat Fee Realtors: I am representing the buyers and just turned in a earnest money release for a deal that the seller was using a flat fee Realtor.  Let me tell you what it got my buyers.  $350.00 out of pocket for  Inspections  $450.00 for appraisal.  Less than 2 weeks prior to closing, the appraisal came in low.  Why, the sellers flat fee Realtor simply put's it in the MLS. They do not guide them on how to price the home so that it's not over or under priced.  Sellers handle all their showings, do you have a qualified buyer?  All contract and inspections negotiations are handle by the seller not your agent.  You are still going to have to pay the Buyers agent 3.0%
Putting a house on the market and getting a signed sales contract isn't the hard part of the sale. As I say to my clients, getting it from contract to closing table – that's were I earn my money. A lot goes on between those two time periods and you'd be surprised at what can also happen at the closing table.
So please understand that when you sign up with a flat fee company – at most you have the chance of maybe saving half of the commission and your the one getting the short end, the buyers have an agent representing them, what do you have? 
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June 30 2013
Profile picture for user24318473

RE:  For Sale By Owner (FSBO) versus Realtors and their strange reluctance to bring prospective buyers despite the notice of a Buyers Agent Courtesy (BAC) fee.

Would someone mind enlightening me on the following subject please?

For example, I recently asked an experienced realtor why she and other local realtors have not contacted me during the last 31 days I've had my home listed as a For Sale By Owner. The web site for my home has received more than 1600 hits, the flyers go missing (a good thing), but the reply I received from the Realtor was the following (verbatim):

 

"Honestly, realtors do not relish working with FSBO's.  Just between you and me  the realtor ends up doing both sides of the transaction for half the commission they would make if they listed it and sold it themselves.

I too do not go out of my way to show FSBO's because usually the transactions are difficult and unorganized..." – L.F. (Licensed Realtor)

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read this. If this realtor or any for that matter brings me a buyer, they stand to earn a cool $5,000 for doing so as part of my agreed  BAC of .02%.

What's so bad about that?

Our five acre farm is not in a "hot" part of the Oregon Market. It's located in a rather depressed county in NW Oregon (Columbia County).

You would think these realtors out here would take what they can get because other homes ( most less desirable in our price range) languish on the RMLS for months on end.

Are buyers agents doing their clients a disservice when they intentionally neglect to share with them information about listings just because they are FSBO's?

Thank you for listening.

 

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June 30 2013
Profile picture for hpvanc
I have a few questions for Tammy.

As a fiduciary representative of the buyer, where were you when your client made an offer over what it was likely to appraise for?  

Overpriced listings are not the exclusive domain of FSBO and flat fee listings, there is no shortage of overpriced listing by Realtors® working under traditional compensation methods, that have been "supported" by a CMA to buy the listing, how do you handle those overpriced listings?

If you thought your client whose fiduciary interests you were contractually obligated to protect was making at offer at the top of, or above what appraisals would support, why didn't you at least try adding language to the contract to get the buyers expenses back in such a situation? I insisted on it when I made an offer near the top of the range a neighborhood could support.

A "buyers" agent has more responsibilities than getting deals closed at any cost.
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June 30 2013
To see home sellers' advice and experience with flat fee MLS companies, look for customer reviews posted on a website where a complaint can appear and not be removed.  Google Mike Thomson's flat fee reviews website for a good compilation of reviews.  Any established flat fee listing brokerage should have 50+ reviews you can read.  Be careful, there are lots of bad reviews for some of the companies that have really nice looking websites and tell you they have been around for a long time.  Do the research and you will learn how.  Good luck!
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October 11 2013
The Flat Fee model is the wave of the future. 


Why?  Because the internet has changed the way that properties are bought and sold and it has proven that it has taken hold because 97% of buyers search the internet and tell their agent what they want to see.  In a latest buyer poll, over 85% of buyers said that they found the home that they bought and told their agent about it.  They went further to say that they did not care who had the property listed. 

What Real Estate Was
In the past, 3 or 3.5% listing commission was fair to pay a listing agent because they really had to spread the word about the property to fellow brokers in and out of their office.  Now, when we as agents list a home it is immediately on the MLS(s) for both agents and the public (buyers) to see.  Even agents have their own clients set up on searches automatically as they appear online and available for sale.  And now with over 25 photos of the property, school scores, sex offenders in the neighborhood being searched and mortgage history available, buyers are set to gather the information.  Think how dating websites will change in the future.  With 25 photos and a background history of the person, what is there not to know?  Well that is what has happened with real estate.

What Is The Listing Service Worth?

So... the question is, what does a listing agent do that is worth for example $5,000.00 extra?  At my brokerage that has reigned me as the #6 Agent in the U.S. for Sold Listings - 1361 sold this year, we list, we market, we strategize, we support, we negotiate and we close the home.  We are doing everything and more that a traditional model does and frankly, with the experience that my team has, we do it better. 

Consumers now have choices when it comes to what paying less real estate commission to a listing agent.
 

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December 06 2013
[promotion deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
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December 14 2013
Companies that offer flat fee listing services generally offer no further services to the seller as part of the contract, except as required by law.
Posting the listing in the MLS generally requires the offer of compensation to the buyer's agent if the buyer is represented. 
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December 15 2013
Be sure you find out EXACTLY what services they provide for their fee - and then talk with a couple of full service agents to see what their process is. You may find that money isn't 'thrown away' but is worth the price.

Unless you know what to do after you get an offer, you may regret hiring the limited service agent
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December 15 2013
Do not list with a 3rd party referral Flat Fee site.

Call around and look for a flat fee broker that is licensed and lives in your state.

You want to speak with the listing broker directly before you list.

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January 13
I don't agree that you are "throwing away" anything when you pay a Realtor for helping you sell your property for the highest possible price.
I believe you can pay to post your home on your local MLS. Try looking at the FSBO websites in your area.
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January 13

Bottom Line...........RE agents ALWAYS work for the buyers! If they are hungry for commissions, they will use what they know from their sellers and low ball them to the buyers every time!.......just to close a deal and put money in their greedy pockets! If they aren't hungry for commissions (rare), they will low ball you anyway so they can move on to someone else and focus their energy on them. They always want to close them fast..........cause that's just good business practices. That formula is however, not good for the sellers.  

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January 23
There are excellent real estate attorney's in every jurisdiction who can help the Sellers with getting their houses ready for sale, negotiating, reviewing (or writing) the contract, steering to an independent and reputable title company (if the Seller picks the settlement company in that jurisdiction), handling problems that may occur, etc.  I am an attorney who has been representing FSBO clients for many years and the Sellers pay me my hourly rate for a few hours of work.  The total fee is usually below $1,000 (unless there are legal problems), in an area where starter homes are $350,000+.  The legal help is truly in the client's best interest, not the real estate agent's. 

Doing a FSBO is more work for the Seller, and the Seller has to have the right temperament and degree of sophistication.  The Seller also has to be prepared to do the leg work, but in my area it typically saves $20,000+ to list it for a flat fee, and then offer 2.5% to the Buyer's Agent. Buyer's Agents may tell you that nothing will sell below 3% to the Buyer's Agent, but this only applies to the greediest agents with clients who do not find houses for sale on the internet themselves.
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March 16
Try [link deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines] They are A+ Rated by the Better Business Bureau.
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March 16
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April 05
Profile picture for stdehh11
Most realtors are crooks. They are a middle man pushing paper and making phone calls. They are not legally responsible for anything. Yes it is time consuming, but with a little extra input you can save thousands. Yes the buyers realtor will still get the percentage you offer, but they are not doing the work of two realtors. You are saving 3% of the sales price because you are doing the paper work and negotiating that a hired realtor would do. Realtors are why the prices of homes are constantly on the rise. Everytime the house sells the price rises 6% because of realtors! The title company is who is responsible for the legalities of the paper work and stand to loose a license if they do anything illegal. All the realtor cares about is there cut of the sales price and will do almost anything to get it.
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April 13
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