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Realtors be honest...if a house is listed on the flat fee MLS

If I list my house with the flat fee MLS and offer 6% to a buyer's agent, is that a house you would show? I know realtors don't like to show homes that are being sold by the owner BUT isn't that usually because the seller is only offering 3% commission and you'd have to do the work of both the buyer's and seller's agent?

If I offer the full 6% to an agent who brings me a buyer, is there any reason you'd avoid showing that listing? My house is in excellent condition and I'll be pricing it according to my recent bank appraisal.

The reason I'd like to try listing it with the flat fee MLS right now instead of hiring a seller's agent is because I'd like to be open to negotiate with a buyer. If an agent brings me a buyer I'll pay. But if a buyer happens to come to me through looking on their own, I don't want to have to pay my agent.

I should note,  I'm selling a house on a  horse farm and I plan on doing a lot of my own networking through word of mouth from my horse friends, Facebook horse groups I belong to, etc. If I sign with an agent, and I find my own buyer, then I'm paying my realtor for nothing. 
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February 28 - Central Office
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Answers (28)

I wouldn't shy away (especially at 6%).  Still, how much experience do you have in dealing with real estate transactions?  Besides the marketing of your home, helping you through that process is another major aspect of what we do for clients.
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March 05
As a realtor, I wouldn't shy away from bringing a buyer to you. I specialize in horse properties so I understand this niche market as well.  I think you have great ideas to start getting your property the exposure it needs to find a buyer. Good luck!
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March 03
I've heard you list a ton of reasons you're afraid of listing with a Realtor and most of them are because you've had bad experiences, or heard of bad experiences. What do you have to lose by interviewing 3 agents - and if after those 3 you are still convinced you can do the job better, then so be it. 

I think you have been burned, and I'm sorry to hear that. Professional pics are a MUST. So is understanding proper marketing. I'm sorry, but just posting to Facebook is not enough. You have to truly understand SEO and marketing & you have to find an agent who also understands that. I'm not in that area, or I would be knocking at your door every day to show you - scratch that - to prove to you how we earn our worth. 

Good luck to you, though! Let us know how it's going!
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March 03
Profile picture for lisa911332
Thank you so much for all of the info. Especially you Sunnyview! I know you've been around a long time and I respect your opinion. Excellent idea about some action pictures with the horses rather than just of the farm itself. 

David, wow I didn't realize the market in Seattle and Portland was that hot. I'm in central VA and I hear a lot of it being a seller's market BUT I honestly think that it's still a challenge to sell a house no matter what. My house is beautiful if I do say so myself but I'm still prepared and am going to pursue as though it's a buyer's market. We'll see come later this spring. I need to get out of snow and mud season first, lol. 

I have another selling question that I'm going to post a new topic for. As always, I do appreciate all  feedback!
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March 03
Profile picture for sunnyview
You can sell FSBO successfully and your ideas of using Facebook or other social media to target horse friendly groups is great! Make sure you include some "happy horse" photos in your listing since horse people are attracted to seeing the facility being used. 

Making sure you are priced right is also important so knowing your market and recent sales can help you set an attractive price. It can be hard to price specialty property, but looking at current listing can help and talking to local agents about your property can also offer insight that you might be able to apply.

Flat fee listings often get a bad rap, but they work if done well. Even if you use a flat fee service don't miss the opportunity to advertise on sites other than the MLS. Local horse club pages, 4H newsletters, tack/feed shops and your neighbors can all help spread the word about your FSBO.

If you can get a helper on that day, consider holding an open house. They are great way to get people interested, but with a ranch property it is sometimes better to group appointments or have one person in the house and one showing prospective buyers the other facilities. Good luck with your FSBO!
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March 03
Lisa......Location....Location.....Location.

The Key to a sale is Price and Location.   FSBO's will sell fast if they are 10% below market value....and are in Seattle or Portland.   If you are out in the Country 10% below market value may take 6months to sell.

Offer 2.5% to a buyers agent and alot the 3.5% to Price.   Price it below market by 7%.......and wait.

Seattle and Portland....houses sell in a few days.....If they are underpriced they will sell in Hours.

If you underprice a house out in the country it will still take months....Location....Location....Location.
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March 03
Profile picture for lisa911332
The reason I'm attempting this on my own first is because while it's not going to save me a whole lot of money if a buyer comes to me with an agent, it WILL save me a ton if the buyer comes without one. 

So then we're talking saving 6% which on my house  is around 20-22k. I have to work 6 months at my crappy job for that amount of money. So it's no skin off my nose to at least try for a month or two to see if there are any buyers in this area looking for a small farm. A lot of times people moving within an area don't bother with an agent. Some people like the freedom of making their own appointments and looking themselves. 

And yes I realize that unrepresented buyers are a risk to me, but let me tell you, agents have no control over mortgage companies. We had a buyer for our other house and the deal fell through two days before closing. We had an agent and that buyer had their own agent. Didn't help us out one bit. 

Also one of the reasons agents get a lot of flack on this board is because they make themselves sound like attorneys. A realtor cannot offer a client any type of legal representation because they are not attorneys. The attorneys for their real estate agency can but they cannot. Sellers can hire their own attorneys. So to say that a FSBO seller is going without legal representation just isn't true and it does nothing but hurt the credibility of agents.

Now I realize agents have their purpose. I'm not bashing all agents. But using truth rather than scare tactics is a better approach, at least with me. I'm not at all opposed to using an agent but you can't blame a person for giving something a shot, even if it is a truly long shot, if it's going to save them thousands of dollars. 
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March 03
Lisa:
I am a Realtor in the Maryland area, and have sold a lot of homes for people that listed them as FSBO and then decided it would be easier to work with a Realtor. You are willing to pay a buyers agent 6%, why not just get a listing agent then and it is still 6%. A listing agent is going to look out for you and negotiate, and this is what we do for a living, we know how to negotiate. A Realtor is going to know how to market your house. I am a horse person as well and can get the word out to horse people. Also the National Association of Realtors have proven that when listed with a Realtor on the average the property brings in 14% more in price. 

I do work with FSBO but much prefer a Realtor on the other end. They know what needs to be done. I don't know where you are located but if you need a good Realtor I can help you find one. Interview at least three Realtors, that way you can have a feel for them. A lot of Realtors use a professional photographer and in your case you need someone experienced with horses. I wish you the best.
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March 02
Of course, Lisa; there are millions of transactions yearly, they're not all going to go swimmingly.

But you have a plan, and we've told you what we thought, and I think I speak for all of us in saying that we wish you well.
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March 02
Profile picture for lisa911332
Mack it's not about being glass half empty. It's about proceeding with caution. Many buyers and sellers have been burned by shady, lazy, and untrustworthy agents. It doesn't mean they are all bad. But you've got to understand that anyone who has bought and sold a house even once is someone who knows that a realtor is looking out for their commission. You have to look out for you. When the ink is dry, that agent is gone. There are many homes around me that have been on the market for two years and they all have agents. In fact when you look at Zillow you'll see they've had several agents. So implying that homes with agents are priced right and marketed to sell quickly is simply not true. A house can sit on the market with an agent as well as without one. 
If you notice I never said that I didn't want to work with an agent. Only that I would try to use the free advertising that is available to me through sites like Zillow and to try the $500 flat rate MLS. Can you blame a buyer for trying to sell on their own? 

Dan there is no way in hell I'd give an agent 10-15% commission. This is a 20 acre hobby farm. Not a multimillion dollar 100 acre ranch. Maybe I should have clarified that. The house is worth in the upper 300s.  Small farms like this get 6% commission.  There are two agents in my area that seem to be the top agents for selling horse property. If I do end up going with an agent, they would be one of the two I contact. 
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March 02
Whoa Nelly!

Equestrian Real Estate is a specialty area and while true that you can network with that community I would suggest you put out your "feelers" first and see if there is any interest.  If nothing  after 2 weeks then you would do well to list it with a specialist. 

A regular house at 6% would get shown all day long but without ANY marketing it would be hard to find buyers. 

If you meet an agent willing to do a horse farm at 6% you have met someone without experience.   We typically get 10 to 15% depending on a number of variables so 6% is still half of what the range should be but you probably already knew that

Good Luck,

Dan
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March 02
Well, if your real estate glass is two-thirds empty, lisa, then you really can't afford to list with a broker under any circumstances, can you?

So, I think you know what you have to do . . . 
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March 01
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A person of course isn't going to knowingly turn over their house to a lousy realtor. The problem is you often don't know your realtor is lousy until you are knee deep into a contract and the best part of selling season has passed you by.

I'll give you an example. On our last house, our agent took awful photos. Then on the listing itself, the first photo you saw of our house when you looked at the list of homes was a picture of the garage! I'm not kidding! I asked her to make the front of the house the first photo, you know like every single other listing is. The woman must have had no technical skills because she said that she had no control over what was the first picture in a listing. I pointed out to her that the only time they show the first photo as something other than the front of the house is when the house is a total dump and they are trying to distract you. I had to tell her to ask someone in her office to help her change the photos so the first picture was the front. 
Then the other pictures were just straight up unflattering. I ended up taking all of my own pictures. I don't think she did anything other than list the house and just sit back and wait for someone to call. 

I've been to many open houses with agents who used the open house as nothing but an opportunity to get more clients, not sell the house they were sitting in. So when it comes to hiring a realtor, it's more of a proceed with caution type of deal. 

And asking people you know for references only results in them pointing you to their friends, not necessarily who is a good agent. It's really hard to know which agents are good is the bottom line. The housing boom brought a lot of people to the realtor field who really had no business being there. '

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March 01
If the argument is that you can do a better job than a bad professional, my advice would be - don't hire a bad professional. If you don't sell it yourself, you're not going to turn the job over to someone who does lousy work . . . 

I think the very notion of an "excluded prospect," illustrates one of the many ways that a skilled agent can bring value to a seller. Everything's easy when everything goes well, and everything tends to go well when the buyer is sure they're getting a screaming deal.

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March 01
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Lisa,
You make my point.  Too many agents collect some paperwork, take lousy pictures, post a sign and wait.  If you believe that one of these agents is the only alternative then by all means do it yourself. 
I know many high quality talented agents who hire professional photographers, do an outstanding job of presenting a home for all it's worth through compelling narrative and then have the experience and market knowledge to negotiate terms you may not even be aware of. 
I know you've sold 4 homes in the past.  A great agent will have sold 4 last month or even less.  If you put your energy into finding a truly outstanding and exceptional agent, you'll be far better off. 
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March 01
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You all make really good points. 

regarding marketing the house though, honestly, I've seen horrible photos from realtors. What I plan on doing for my house is actually paying a photographer to take some really nice photos and putting those pictures on Zillow and Realtor and whatever other MLS listings there are. I also plan on having a website for the house. I've found that homes with their own website were so much more appealing to me because the photos always looked nicer. I also wanted to be the one to write up the description to the the house. Again, I've read descriptions that just sound like someone rambling off a bunch of fragmented sentences. There is nothing personal that gives a buyer a feel of a house. I've also seen misspelled words in listings and just overall bad grammar. 

This is the biggest investment I own and there is just no way I can turn full control over to a realtor. I think what I'm going to do is have the photos taken in April or so when it's greener, create my website with my description but NOT list the house on Zillow or FSBO. Just spread around on my Facebook groups that the house is coming for sale. If after one month I don't get any serious lookers or offers, then I'll just sign with an agent. This way I know that I tried on my own first.

We are moving for my husband's job and will be walking away with so little profit that I have to try every way I can to sell it on my own. But I'll give it 30 days and then just contact an agent. 

I think that having an agreement that excludes certain buyers from my agent getting full commission can get sticky the more I think about it. I mean if the agent is marketing my house, but I end up with a buyer from one of my equestrian facebook groups, how do you prove that I got that buyer on my own? The agent can still argue that the marketing of the house was what sold it. And really they could be right. It can be really hard to prove that I got a buyer on my own. I don't want there to be hurt feelings and certainly no legal issues. So I'll just weed out the Facebook groups first with no agent. Then by the time I get my agent they are free and clear to get their commission. It will work better that way. A quick and easy sale is best for all parties involved. 
Thanks all. 




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March 01
another thought that's worth mentioning...

Most buyers (be it your neighbors or not) are going to be represented with a buyer agent and you WILL be paying the money anyways, that not withstanding, your certainly going to have to hire an attorney at some point (without a list agent) because you will be unsure/fearful of buyer rep./contracts/etc. not understanding or being secure when you miss little lines regarding "use" or "representations" say "survives delivery of the deed" in small print (thats one example of thousands that could come up, that could alter your world forever).

If your willing to pay the cost of an Experienced agent, just do it from the "get go" and let him/her do their job. Its much more difficult for them to help you AFTER its been slapped around hap haphazardly for 3 months with FSBO signs, improper marketing, half of the community having your cell phone number, etc,etc,etc.


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March 01
You should seriously concider simply hiring a good Realtor to represent you and your home, especially if you have a horse farm, acreage, special, rare, unique, property. Your willing to pay full commission so why would you not wish to access all the other benefits of a realtor including insurance, extra liability protection, marketing, aerial photo's, floor plans, plot plans, advertising in horse publications, contracts, inspections, zoning, special use, etc.etc.etc.?

You can certainly can sign/draft a listing agreement that excludes specific people or businesses which you think may have interest (IE: your neighbors, colleagues, partners, etc.), Your list agent can assist you with drafting it to exclude these people (and to be fair you would hopefully explain to your list agent that IF indeed one of those people decided to buy it, you would certainly offer him/her "some" degree of compensation for their assistance through the process, maybe 1%, maybe 2% or whatever).

This method gains you AND your list agent AND the Realtor community as whole a WIN/WIN situation!

It will give motivation for all those "neighbors" to "step up to the plate", it will create better competition between buyers, it will ensure YOU ARE getting fair value, it will place your property in a more normal light with understanding, access, proper procedure to the local Realtor community, It will allow your list agent to do his job! It will save you money in the VERY OFF chance one of your "neighbors" comes through in the end with highest & best (which by the way.... rarely happens!)  

Hope this helps you better understand the tack you should be taking... best wishes!    
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March 01
I find that in times of tight inventory, people are suddenly interested when you mention selling your property - the difficult thing to determine is whether it's a fair deal or, if somebody's coming out ahead, that somebody is you.

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February 28
Profile picture for lisa911332
I just want to see if I could find a buyer from the pool of people that I know and their friends. You just never know through word of mouth who might be looking for a house. I'm hearing a lot of people say that it's a seller's market right now. So why not at least try to sell on my own first?

I should add that I was planning on doing this for maybe 2 months. If I don't have a buyer then I'll just sign with an agent. 

I know two people who signed with agents and their house ended up being sold through acquaintances of theirs. Their agent got paid for nothing. One of those people was my aunt. Her neighbor ended up buying her house the day after it was put on the market. The neighbor saw the sign. He would have seen a FSBO sign as easily as he would have seen the real estate agent's sign. She basically gave her agent 20k for doing nothing. 

So I just want to know that I've weeded out potential buyers on my own first. In the meantime, if an agent brings a buyer to me, I'll be happy to give them their commission. And the money I'd end up givng my agent is money I could offer as cash back to a buyer should I find a buyer on my own.

ALL buyers want something back it seems. So not only am I paying commission to the agent but I'm also having to pay closing costs or give cash back. I get that realtors want to make commission but realtors need to understand we buyers are going to try to hold on to as much of our money as possible. 
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February 28
That's an interesting bet you're making - you're betting 2-to-1 that you can find your own buyer better than the best listing agent in town.

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February 28
Dear Seller,
I am a 25 year veteran REALTOR in Orlando, I will be honest. I might show your home because you are paying a full fee (at least the fee I charge for both sides in Orlando) but I think you have been misinformed if you think all we do is 'find a buyer'.

There is so much more to a transaction than 'finding a buyer'. Many people think of themselves as 'a qualified buyer' but many are not. They may be qualified for an amount that may work for you, but if you are in the upper range, many buyers are simply not able to reach that far. You may not realize that until you are 30-45 days into a contract with them. We don't show homes to non-qualified buyers.

Most buyers that shop 'for sale by owner' properties hope to save the commission, so many will not see the property with us, in hopes you will lower your price by the amount of the commission. Many buyers have subtracted that fee before they even look at your home.

Without a binding contract with you, if we show your home, and the buyers choose to go around us, and directly to you, we have no protection. Again, their purpose would be to save the 6% or whatever fee you agree to offer.

I suggest since you have built a 6% fee into your sale price and are willing to pay that fee, hire an agent that will work with any buyers you bring for 3%, and 6% if they work with another agents or with their own buyer.

85% of the real estate sold is sold through a real estate agent, why do you want to struggle through the small 15% that can buy, but may not be in your price range?

Again, there is much more to the tranaction than just finding a buyer. In 99.9% of the cases, there is much more to the tranaction than just the initial offer.

We as agents, love those .01% that buy with no issues and all cash but they are few and far between. There is a reason being a REALTOR is always in the top ten most stressful jobs. We earn all of our money, I can attest to that.

If you let agents show your home, guarantee them in writing you will pay the fee if their buyers come back without them. That may make your home a bit more enticing...just a suggestion.

Good luck and I still would hire an agent.
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February 28
I would show it. 
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February 28
I would show your house for 3% if my buyer wanted to see it.

Good luck!
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February 28
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Dan believe me there is no thrill on my end in negotiating! lol. Not at all. This is the 4th house I'll have sold and selling is nothing but stress.

I am pricing my home to sell. I'm NOT overpricing it at all. My recent appraisal happens to be almost exactly what our tax appraisal is so that is where I'm starting at. If I happened to find a buyer on my own, I'd absolutely be using my attorney so legal issues are not an issue at all. 

Joseph, my experience has been different from yours with agents not wanting to show FSBOs. If you look at the Zillow boards one of the first caveats from realtors to sellers in wanting to list FSBO is that they aren't going to get showings. I understand an agent not wanting to deal with an overpriced home or a seller who is offering low commission. But I've seen realtors just flat out not even want to look into a FSBO. When I was looking to buy, my agent came up with every single excuse possible not to show me a house that we found on Zillow. 

I had an agent contact me when they saw my house listed on Zillow and while I didn't use the term "exclusive agency agreement" ( I didn't know the term) I explained to them that if they brought me a buyer I'd pay the commission but I wanted to be free to find a buyer on my own since I would be networking through the horse community. They weren't interested in that. 

I'd be very happy to sign an exclusive agency agreement. Maybe I should go that route and try to find an agent who would sign this type of agreement? I just know that I'm going to be pretty aggressively networking my house and I'd hate to pay commission on a buyer I found myself. 

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February 28
I would if it was the type of property my client was looking for.
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February 28
I think you have several misconceptions. One being that an agent does not want to work with a FSBO..I think most agents will be happy to work with a FSBO as long as they know they are getting paid.  Secondly,  You do not have to go "flat fee" if you are going to offer a full commission.  Most agents will be happy to structure an Exclusive Agency agreement, as opposed to an "Exclusive Right to Sell" listing, which will allow you to sell your home yourself, or sell  through the agent.

Finally, I will make one comment. If you think that many agents are reluctant to work with FSBOs, it is probably because most FSBOs I have encountered are difficult to work with. They typically over price their homes, refuse to negotiate and have unrealistic expectations.  If you are reasonable and really want to sell your property you will be successful regardless if you go FSBO or full service listing.  Buyers just want a good home at a fair price.
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February 28
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Lisa,
I understand your strategy, but strongly suspect it's flawed.  First, if your home is worth $300,000 would you sit down in Las Vegas at a Poker Table filled with professional gamblers and put that at risk?  Now, wait I know, you won't lose everything if you sell yourself, but you could be held liable for issues which could be close to that if you make a mistake. 
Now, offering a 6% selling office commission will get some attention, but it won't make up for being overpriced.  Now, I'm not aware of what your price is, but it sounds like you want the thrill of negotiating and the challenge.  The most common mistake made by others who try similar things is they over price to leave room to negotiate.  I can tell you that this strategy is probably going to end up with a very long time on the market and few, if any offers.  Those who do offer may be extreme low balls, hoping to take advantage of your extended time and the market and market fatigue. 
The longer your home sits on the market for sale, the lower the eventual price will probably be. 
If you're open to paying that high of a commission, why don't you find an outstanding agent, someone you could trust with the value of your home in cash, and let them put their knowledge and experience to work for you.  Odds are good you'll sell in a more timely manner, for a higher net to your pocket and you'll be protected against mistakes which could come back to bite you and cost you even more. 
If you want to sell homes, get a license, find an office that will train you and mentor you and enjoy.  Learning so many lessons at your expense may be costly in both time and money.  Just my opinion.  I'm sure you'll get many more.

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February 28
 
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