Why would I do a flat fee MLS listing instead of selling as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO)? The answer is simple: Market Exposure. Most serious buyers are working with a Realtor to help them buy a house. The MLS database is used exclusively by Realtors to search for properties for sale in the area. Thousands of Realtors use the MLS every day to search for properties. The MLS automatically uploads onto many real estate websites and exposes your home to millions of potential buyers by virtue of these websites. Some 70%+ of all house buyers begin their search on the internet, and nearly 80% of all FSBO sellers end up hiring a Realtor to sell their house anyway. The cost to list in the MLS is only a few hundred dollars, and you get all that additional exposure. If you are considering using one of those FSBO or For Sale By Owner type services that charge hundreds or thousands of dollars upfront and do not even offer MLS exposure, you may want to strongly consider doing a flat fee MLS listing instead of or even in addition to those services.
Other traditional FSBO marketing includes store bought (often unprofessional) yard signs, newspaper ads (quite expensive), property flyers, posting on FSBO websites, open houses, etc. While all these things can generate leads and we certainly do not discourage them, the exposure they give you is limited at best and often produces dismal results. As we stated before, most serious buyers are working with a Realtor. Smart Realtors are going to make sure that their buyer is pre-approved to obtain a mortgage before they even start showing the buyer a house. That Realtor is going to want to know that they are going to get paid a commission prior to showing your house to their buyer. That is another feature of the MLS. By advertising in the MLS, you are offering broker protection by automatically offering a commission to all of the member Realtors. While there is no guarantee that the MLS will sell your house, it is definitely your best avenue for getting your property exposed to the greatest number of potential buyers.
Why shouldn't I just hire a full service Realtor to sell my house for me? That is definitely an important question to consider. The important thing to remember is that we give you a choice of what services you can purchase. Many of the big box corporate and franchise realty firms will not allow you to negotiate on their commission rates or services. In fact if many of these big box firms had their way, they would drive MLS-only and menu-based firms out of town with tar and feathers. Unfortunately, the internet has greatly leveled the playing field and has caused many of the big box firms to lose a ton of market share to alternative brokerage models.
The real questions to be asking are: What services do I need from my Realtor and how much should I pay for it? Most firms want to do everything and want to charge you roughly 6% of the sales price to do this. On a $300,000 house this will cost you $18,000. Typically half of this commission (or 3%) is paid to the buyer's Realtor, so the listing broker would get paid $9,000 on this transaction. With a flat fee MLS listing you pay us $299 upfront and you get to keep $8,701 of your equity. Since nearly 90% of all listings are sold by a buyer's Realtor and not the listing Realtor, why pay them an extra 3 to 4% in commission to perform their services. If you are comfortable showing your own property and negotiating with buyers, then you should definitely consider selling your property using a flat fee listing. We have written an interesting article on this subject: Click here for article on Flat Fee MLS listings.
We did a little "unscientific" research comparing limited service listings vs. full service listings for list vs. sold ratios, days on market, and sold prices. We were surprised at the results that show you actually have a higher chance of selling, in a quicker time frame, and at a higher price if you choose the limited service listing over a full service listing. Here is the article showing this research. On top of all that, you get to pay a full service Realtor several thousand extra in commission. Regardless of what other Realtors may tell you, the numbers don't lie.
Explain to me how a flat fee MLS listing works. This is a quick summary of our flat fee MLS program. With our Basic Listing Plan, your property information along with up to 10 color photographs gets placed into the MLS and gets advertised onto the many websites listed above. You take care of the showings, the negotiations, and the closing. If another Realtor sells it, you pay them the pre-agreed commission (typically around 3%). If you sell it yourself, no additional commission is due. You will save thousands. Ask about our special programs for multiple properties. Click here for more information about our special investor programs. We do handle routine phone calls regarding Realtor showings and basic property information so as not to inundate you with phone calls, but any important calls like showing appointments or contract offers are forwarded directly to you. You can pickup a Sand Dollar "For Sale" sign when you stop by the office with the forms and your payment or a sign can be shipped to you at your request. Blank contract forms can be emailed or sent to you. Also for just a little bit more money we offer a Deluxe Listing Plan that offers many more upgrades to the Basic Plan including a virtual/video tour, market updates, electronic lockbox, and more. You can pay for the Deluxe Plan or just pay for certain additional services as you need them. A price list is located towards the bottom of this web page.
For answers to more frequently asked questions please refer to our flat fee MLS webpage or simply give our office a call. Whether flat fee service, assistance with paperwork, or a full service listing, we are here to help you sell your home.
(Copyright © 2008. Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Rob Arnold - Your full service and investor friendly Realtor(R) in Orlando and Central Florida.
ABR, CPL, CRB, CSP, GRI, Managing real estate broker, Licensed mortgage broker, Notary Public
We sell foreclosures, short sales, and bank owned REO properties throughout Central Florida. We sell and list Central Florida real estate and Orlando real estate. Free list of foreclosure and short sale houses available.
I also provide flat fee MLS listings, For Sale By Owner, and menu-based services in most parts of Central & South Florida, the Space Coast, and the Treasure Coast including Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Ocoee, Winter Garden, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Casselberry, Longwood, Winter Springs, Oviedo, Lake Mary, Sanford, Deltona, Debary, Deland, Mount Dora, Eustis, Clermont, Kissimmee, Winter Haven, Lakeland, Tampa, Sarasota, Bradenton, Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Port Saint Lucie, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Gainesville, Volusia, Brevard, and more.