If you’re trying to save some money when selling your home, you may be considering going with a flat fee listing broker to save some money on commissions. A flat fee brokerage service like MLSmyhome.com or byownerflatfeemls.com charges a flat fee usually between $50-$200 to put your home on the MLS. They will also syndicate your listing to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc. usually for an additional fee. They may provide with you state real estate forms, and they allow you to choose the commission percentage you will pay to a buyer’s agent.
Here’s what flat fee MLS brokers do not provide: advice, suggestions, expertise, knowledge, or feedback. When I’m looking at homes on the MLS for a client, I can instantly spot the listings that are from flat fee MLS brokers. They usually have poor quality photos, inaccurate or incomplete information, lack disclosures and supplemental documents like surveys, and don’t have a description of the property. Sure, a flat fee brokerage may save you some money on the listing commissions, but if you can’t even get showings because your home shows poorly on the internet, how do you expect to sell your home?
In comparison, a full service listing agent will walk you through the selling process each step of the way. She will guide you in pricing your home correctly, preparing to list your home, and choosing the best method for your home’s showings. She will make sure you understand the process, inform you of next steps, and walk you through the contracts. She will hire a professional photographer to shoot your home in its best light, and do much more than just post those photos on the MLS. She will use those photos to create a full-fledged marketing campaign, complete with targeted ads to prospective buyers, print media, and syndication to thousands of sites where buyers are looking for a home just like yours.
When your home hits the market, she will provide detailed feedback from showings, make suggestions, and keep you informed on marketing efforts every step of the way. When an offer comes in, she will prepare a net sheet showing what you would make off the sale, and explain the specific elements of the offer. She will advise you on the offer, making suggestions for counters and pointing out areas of concern or strength.
Simplifying the selling process is a full service listing agent’s strength. She takes note of important contract deadlines, and makes sure everything is completed in a timely manner. She coordinates with the title company to make sure all issues are resolved prior to closing. She makes sure you understand exactly what you are agreeing to and ensures there are no surprises on the closing day.
With a limited service brokerage, you get one advantage, a flat fee. If you feel comfortable doing everything I noted above, go for it. However, if you have an ounce of doubt that you can’t price your home properly, market it effectively, and navigate the contracts, I highly encourage you to contact me today. A flat fee may look like a good idea to save money. However, if the flat fee listing service doesn’t result in a sale or gets you under contract with provisions that will not result in the greatest net for you, you’re really just throwing that flat fee down the drain, and more than likely thousands more too.