Can Florida Flat Fee MLS Sellers really save 3% by listing flat rate in the MLS?
What I tell you in this blog is factual. I have been a Florida Real Estate broker for 25 years, a flat fee MLS broker in Florida for 8 years and I have never had a complaint against my Florida Broker's license.
My belief about doing business is simple. Offer a straight-forward product and let the satisfied past clients keep the business growing.
I have 5 good things to say about flat fee MLS listings in Florida as well as 3 bad things...
1) 64% of our flat fee "sold" homes are the result of Realtors and 36% of our "sold" homes are the result of our sellers themselves procuring the buyer. The National Association of Realtors says 88% of homes sold in Florida are sold by Realtors. This means flat fee MLS service ADDvantage (that's us) is beating the national figures by 22%. That also means are flat fee sellers save lots of money and paid ZERO real estate commissions 36% of the time.
Another success story recently came from an Orlando flat fee MLS client of ours that sold a $3,700,000 home in 64 days saving $110,000 in commission. This sale was made by a Realtor (was paid 3%) and the seller actually was a RE/MAX agent.
So, if you sell on your own using a flat fee service without a Realtor, hooray for you. Note: You don't pay a listing commission with flat fee...you pay just the buyer's agent (typically 3%).
ADDvantage has sold $29,430,963.10 homes in Florida over the past 12 months with an average time on the market of 99 days and another $9,313,000 "contract pending."
2) If you list flat fee with a reliable flat fee MLS service, the level of service you receive may exceed that of a full-service agent. The difference between listing flat fee v. full-service is when you list full-service, the listing agent is the only one that services your listing. If they aren't available, it's voice mail.
When you list flat fee, your listing lies in the hands of the flat fee service and its staff (or lack thereof in some cases).
At ADDvantage, we have fielded 946 calls either before 9:00, after 5:00 or on Saturday or Sunday. Every single call was answered live by our staff and our client seller received an email detailing the conversation.
3) Control is a big issue with many people. Giving up control to a full-service agent means the listing agent directs all the shots. Flat fee MLS is completely the opposite. If listed with a competent flat rate MLS service, sellers have control of changing price, the buyer's agent commission, pictures, property description, etc. and such changes will be done promptly by the listing company. Other marketing options and contract representation programs will also be available such as Street Smart ADDvantage Realtor Eblast and ADDvantage Plus contract-to-close programs.
4) Accountability is difficult to enforce in a full service relationship. Whereas, a flat fee MLS listing is a fee for service transaction and is measurable. With a flat rate listing, the service level is not dependent on a set a circumstances that are third-party-dependent. All services are specifically outlined by the flat fee listing company.
5) Internet marketing is a must and most flat fee services have better Internet skills than the average agent. This can go a long way in making your listing stand out. For example, ADDvantage just received the 2008 Realtor.com Online Award for Marketing Excellence. Every listing of ours looks as good as possible whether displayed on Realtor.com, Homes.com, Trulia, Zillow, Vast, Craigslist or any of the 100's of other sites fed by us to the Internet. This level of Internet sophistication is not possible with one agent. ADDvantage has 4 full time staffers that keep ADDvantage moving forward...including one of the University of Florida's best programmers.
We also have the very best MLS listing software available. Built in-house, our software allows 100% paperless customer interaction with our clients. Changing price, commission or just sending messaging is all controlled by the client using their customized Control Panel. Once an offer is accepted, we have software that will track your closing.
3 ugly characteristics of a flat fee MLS listing.
1) Realtors truly do not like flat fee listings. They don't like dealing with "unrepresented sellers." They feel it is more difficult getting a deal closed without a listing agent involved in the transaction- particularly for the contingency period of the contract. Are they right? Yes.
2) Realtors often have to make 2 calls to get a self-represented seller on the phone. One call to the flat fee service and then another to the seller because often they don't read the Realtor Remarks section of the MLS where it says "call seller Bob Gator for showing instructions." While this seems like a small point, once the flat fee service says to the calling agent "call the seller at 999-0000", the Realtor then realizes it is must be a flat fee deal. To avoid this possible "shunning" or "attitude" from Realtors, we have created a program that protects the fact that the seller has flat fee listed. It is called ADDvantage Plus. We do not give out our ADDvantage Plus clients' phone numbers and we schedule all appointments for them and negotiate all offers. It is our best flat fee listing.
3) Self represented sellers are not skilled at contract negotiations. While 12% of all real estate transactions are done "By Owner," NAR's 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers indicates that homes sold through Realtors were sold for 32% more than ones sold FSBO. This is another reason to use ADDvantage Plus. Typically a professional agent can negotiate a higher sale than a seller can on their own.
Past and current clients of ADDvantage tell about their experiences and what it is like to be listed flat fee with ADDvantage. Please take a look at these testimonials from our Flat Fee MLS Florida sellers.