Hiring a flat fee broker to list a property in the MLS is a viable option. By offering compensation to any real estate agent who can list your home in the MLS to bring in a buyer yourself, you exponentially increase the odds of selling the home as approximately 80% of home buyers begin their search on the internet (NAR, 2012).
MLS > Realtor.com > Hundreds of Other Sites
The Flat Fee Philosophy is that by listing your home in the MLS, your home is exposed to agents with buyers as long as it meets their search criteria. Also, buyers who search online will see your listing as the MLS data is syndicated to hundreds of websites. Besides the MLS and sites syndicating MLS content, your home’s exposure will be a direct result of the sign in your yard or any other marketing tactics you decide to use paying out of pocket.
The Flat Fee MLS is a great way to go if:
1. you are willing to price your home competitively from the start.
2. you offer a reasonable buyer-side commission (typically 2.5 – 3.5%).
3. you are comfortable and skilled at buyer lead management.
• You pay a small listing fee ($300-1,000) upfront (instead of a seller-side listing commission).
• You have total control: you pick the price, you choose what types of marketing strategies you want to employ and you (typically) answer all inquiries.
• You have the opportunity to save the buyer-side commission if you sell the home yourself.
• You have no access to agent support, feedback, advice on pricing or legal protection.
• Most sellers have no experience in buyer lead follow up, lead management or negotiation.
• The buyer wants to save the same commission you want to save.
• When you negotiate with buyer agents yourself, your interests are only represented by yourself.
• You might be leaving money on the table. Property negotiation skills are cultivated over years of experience. A good agent has an ability to know just what to say or how to handle a buyer’s objection by profiling those buyers.
• If your home doesn’t sell, you are out of the upfront fee.
• Many flat-fee MLS services hit you up for “additional fees,” such as:
Extending your listing from three months to six months (or from six to 12).
Updating the listing in the MLS by adding pictures or making changes to descriptions.
Putting a sign in your yard.
DIY with a Team of Professionals
By skipping a listing agent (and his/her commission), you are freed up to have control over the entire home selling process through your own efforts, and hire a team of even more specialized experts to handle the different stages of home selling.
Some team members you should consider including in the process are:
• Home Inspector
• Professional Stager
• Real Estate Attorney
Pro Tip 1: Hold open houses yourself and ask the flat fee broker to agree to advertise the open houses on Realtor.com for free.
Pro Tip 2: You want your interests represented by a professional. After all, selling a home is often the largest financial transaction a person makes in their lifetime. Hire a real estate agent for a reduced commission (often 1%) or an attorney to do the paperwork (for $500 to $3000) once you and the buyer have agreed to terms and conditions of sale.