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how do I sell my house with a flat listing agency?

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December 01 2010 - Wallingford
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Many agencies will sell you home at a flat rate. Unfortunately you will find the flat rate is what they are interested in the most.

The old saying buyers beware in your case it's sellers beware.
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December 08 2010
That old addage, "you get what you pay for" is just that...old.....you do NOT always get what you pay for!

I paid $45.00 for a steak the other night, and it was tough. I paid $175 for a pair of shoes that gave me blisters. I paid a lot more than I care to disclose for a haircut, and I hated it.

There are agents charging full service fees, and not performing in a top notch manner.
High fees don't always equte with high end service.

You need to do your do dilligence no matter what kind of service you're looking for.
In regard to selling a home - using a flat fee company is a option.
Learn all you can beofre making a decision.

This is no longer a one option or one size fits all industry.
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December 08 2010
Like all things-"You get what you pay for".  This is a strong buyer's market and sellers do not have the upper hand.  Get yourself great representation and it will pay dividends! 
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December 07 2010
Flat Fee MLS Listings are a viable option, but make sure you get an established, reputable flat fee broker who assists you in attracting showings.  Doing a web search will reveal many rock bottom brokers that will list you but not in an agent friendly way that will enable you to sell.

When choosing a flat fee listing service, make sure you:
1. Call them--Calling the broker is an excellent way to see how responsive and helpful they are.  If you always go to voicemail, that speaks loudly to their responsiveness, 
2. Check their background-the Better Business Bureau website is an excellent place to check (put the company name in at http:// bbb.org/),
3. Make sure they guarantee in writing that you will be listed in the Realtors Multiple Listing Service, Inc. used by all the agents in your area, make them name the MLS, and google it to make sure it is connected to Realtor Associations in your area, and
4. Check online review websites for negative reviews or compliments from satisfied customers. Put the company name into http://www.google.com/local  Any established flat fee company that has satisfied customers should have at least a handful of positive reviews.

Avoid the lowest price flat fee brokers, there are some very questionable flat fee websites out there, and if you research them you will find out why.  My website has links to reputable brokers in 48 states as well. Good luck with your home sale.
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December 03 2010
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I tried selling by owner and thought that getting my house on the MLS would be the magic pill to selling my home.  I only got one more showing than when I wasn't on the MLS.  This is a great money saver if the market is booming and it isn't the holiday season, but I highly suggest getting an agent who will market your house like crazy. 

I spent a ton of money trying to market mine, myself, but didn't have half of the tools that my new agent has.  Yes, I have to pay 6% now when I do sell, but I'm out of my smaller home and into my dream house and can focus on my own job and family and not everything else that comes with trying to market and show my house, too. 

Another option is finding an agent who will give you a discount if you buy and sell with him/her, but I tried that too and you really get what you pay for.  I have literally tried everything and think that there is a place and time for all of the options, but right now, for me anyway, I need someone with experience and talent to get me out of my starter home and into my dream house.  My husband is giving me the "I told you so" about trying to go the cheap way and doing it myself, so if I can save someone the time and money by sharing my experience, I will!
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December 03 2010
You know, I would give it a try.  Why not?  Unless you have a reason to sell quickly.  There's a chance you can save a lot of money.  The cheapest service I've seen in Washington is $79.

Also, when and if you receive an offer, don't lose your head.  Sleep on it one night.  My parents signed a too low offer in 10 minutes before I had a chance to talk to them.

As for how to sell: take lots of photos (get a wide angle lens) - every room, the appliances, any attractive fixtures or woodwork, exterior front and back, the neighborhood - 60+ photos - and upload to photobucket.com or similar, advertise daily on Craigslist with three unique rotating ads (base one on postlets.com), write a thorough description.  You can attract buyers from out of state by providing more photos and longer descriptions.  Unfortunately, the NWMLS limits both, so this is only helpful in your own advertising.

Consider offering attractive terms that would differentiate you from most of the market: rent-to-own or owner financing.  If you offer rent-to-own, advertise on Rentals.com with a premium ad and upload all of those photos.

Are you living in the house?  Declutter as much as possible.  Repair everything minor.  Move out, if you can.

Offer a 2.5% to 3.0% selling office (the office bringing the buyer) commission.  80% of buyers work with agents (because they think it is free, but who does the money come from?).  Some agents won't show a limited service house, but buyers drive the process and can pick out houses for themselves online.

Good luck!

Bob
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December 02 2010

Most people look to "flat fee" services to save money but I would caution that that this is a bit like throwing spaghetti against a wall.  There was absolutely a time when you could sell a home easily with very limited services.  Unfortunately, many cooperating agents realize that with these kinds of companies, they will likely end up doing twice the work for each transaction and depending on your state regulations, this can put agents in a precarious position. 

If you are trying to save money and really do want to sell your house, I would suggest trying this:  Think about what aspects of the sale you/your family can take on.  Do you have professional marketing experience, a legal back-ground?  Could you hold your own open houses or have the ability to do all of the on-line marketing on your own?  Then, interview some reputable local agents.  As a few others mentioned, there is no cost.  Talk to them about what you would be willing to take on yourself and find out if they would consider reducing the fee for their commission.  I promise you, unless you have these skills, it will be impartive to find the help of someone who does.  How you decide to divide the work load and manage risk, is a personal choice only you can make. 

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December 02 2010
MLShabit....... Hi

I think it would be a good idea for you to become familiar with the homeselling process if you are going to attempt using a flat fee broker.
For the most part, unlike a traditional company, no one will hold your hand or walk your through the process, so you need to know what to expect.

With a flat fee broker, you will pay a set amount to have your home listed on the MLS, and feed to other internet sites. Depending on the company, there may also be an a la carte menu of additional services you can pay for. That will vary from company to company.

You will also be expected to offer a % commission to a buyer's agent.

For the most part, these kind of listings are  referred to as "limited service" listings.
You will be expected to handle much of the marketing and  sale on your own.

It is for that reason that I suggested you become educated as to how the process works. Make sure you know what the local and state laws are as far as disclosure and certificates of occupancy. Look into how you can make sure the potential buyer is qualified. Get the names of a local real estate attorney to make sure you're protected before signing any contract.

As far as finding a flat fee agency in your area (I don't know where you are) - look here on Zillow or on Trulia...or you can even Google it, and I am sure you will come up with a few names.

Since it won't cost you anything, you might want to at least speak to an agent from a full service company to compare what marketing options they will offer.
Once you have all that information and have done your due dilligence, you can decide what is best for your needs.

Good luck with your sale!
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December 01 2010
Do keep in mind that a flat fee may also mean less services. If you needed heart surgery would you go to the cheapest doctor? I think not, you would look for the doctor with the best results. You may pay a higher commission and get more results from a full service agent. Just a Thought.
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December 01 2010
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Find the flat rate agency in your area. Talk to them, write a contract up. Hope it sells.

Some flat rate agencies offer more services than others. So check out more than one if possible.
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December 01 2010
Write it into the Listing Agreement, instead of a % on the selling price, a flat fee.
Does that answer your question
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December 01 2010
I would encourage you to really do your research first. Many times, a nice home can turn into an expired listing (and a loss of your money) because of mis-pricing, mis-promoting, contract oversights, etc...know exactly what services and support they offer before committing to one company or the other.

Good Luck!

Ryan Halset | Realtor ®
Boardwalk Real Estate | Seattle, Washington
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December 01 2010
Hi!
You would have to contact the agency to see what their rules are. Usually they take a certain fee and input the listing into MLS. You can do that online on their website: provide the information about the property submit the pictures of the house and the payment.  You would still be responsible for marketing your home, qualifying the buyers and for selling agent's compensation, just to name a few responsibilities.
Hope this helps.
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December 01 2010
I'm a little curious as to why you aren't contacting MLS4owners or MLSonline and asking them this question.  They will each have a slightly different model.
Zillow has a selling guide on the FAQ tab.
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December 01 2010
 
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how do I sell my house with a flat listing agency?
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