Home Selling in Edgewater>Question Details

ICG,  in Chicago, IL

I am a private rehabber/seller looking to put on an agents open house-how do I attract agents?

Asked by ICG, Chicago, IL Mon Dec 3, 2007

While I will not sign an exclusivity agreement, as I actively market my own properties, I will certainly pay an agent a full 4%-no splits if they bring me a buyer. How do I attract agents to my open house?

Help the community by answering this question:


My $49 listing was a 2 week trial. Their customer service was AWESOME. It made my full service local agents look lazy in comparison.

When I went to their website last night to make sure the link was valid, the NEW flash presentation said something about listing for free but I couldn't find the details when I entered the NEW site. I guess he wants you to call or email.

St. Charles and 847 is a long way from Oak Park. So after I fired my full service agents/agency, it was a difficult choice to return to the excellent customer service but not the best marketing, or to try Prello and unknown to me. I chose Prello because they had excellent marketing and I believed my target market was city dwellers moving to the suburbs. I called a bunch of their listings to interview them for feedback on Prello. I swear one of them was you, ICG.

Not really, he was a builder not a rehabber. He said he broke up with his agent girlfriend because she was upset that he wouldn't pay her 2.5% to list his properties. Why should he? He's got an entire marketing staff, he's offering an above average co-broke and it only costs him $299 to be in the MLS.

I was surprised that EVERYONE I spoke to listed with a flat rate broker was doing so because they were INTELLIGENT and disgruntled with their previous full service Realtor - NOT to save money!!!

Agents, it's time to wake up to the fact that not all FSBOs are BOZOS.

Oh, back to Prello. Their marketing is great but their customer service and support really is LIMITED service. I would NEVER advise someone who wasn't extremely experienced to use them. To other agents outside Illinois, here in IL almost all real estate transactions involve an attorney. Anything that I lack knowledge-wise or am not getting from my flat rate Broker or would normally get from a full service Realtor, I get from my excellent attorney (Terry Faloon in La Grange) that I have used for years.


P.S. If Prello reads this, they should consider merging with Friendly Realty.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
ICG... I'm also in the Chicagoland area, and for broker's tour, we use the MLS as our scheduler. The morning of the tour, we pull the MLS broker's tour sheet to see what's on the tour this morning, and it does give you a spot to put a short description (I find that NEW LISTING is effective), and a place to indicate whether you're offering a refreshment (snack?) or lunch!

Lunch is always popular, although it means that many of us will wait to come visit you 'till around 11:00 or later, to take advantage of "free food" (we are such food whores, aren't we?... it's like we've never been fed!?). As ruthless mentioned, if you can get a flat-fee $49 MLS listing, it sounds as though it'd be well worthwhile!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2007
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL

I very much appreciate your comments. You have brought up several valid points to consider. I totally understand that most FSBO sellers have little to no idea what it takes to move a property in any but the very best of markets. I think one of the points that many have brought up though is the issue of getting top dollar, or leaving money on the table. Unlike most buyers, this is not my motivation. I really could care less about getting the best offer. Remember, by negotiating a short sale from the lenders, I am creating a huge amount of equity. There are alot of "so called" short sale experts that think that knocking a few thousand off qualifies as a short sale-but We consistently manage to discount notes 30-50%. This creates so much equity, that I can afford to let properties go at below market prices and still make a good profit. We are not greedy, and we are not looking to make the home runs. One of the reasons why we think our properties are great for realtors (or anybody) to consider, is that by not being greedy, we pass on the equity to the end buyers. We think that this added incentive in this market is something that not many sellers can offer. We want our properties to benefit the buyer as much as the seller.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2007
Cater a weekday lunch for brokers in your property. When I was a broker, we'd always hit the free open house lunches in the early afternoon when little to nothing else was going on.
It doesn't have to be lavish unless you're selling a multi million dollar property... Several trays of deli sandwiches and beverages will do the trick. Just make sure the food is GOOD and that it will bring brokers back to your future open houses.
Consider doing this 2-3 times during a 2-3 week period to make sure you get the most traffic. I always recall missing open houses because I was out of the office or the open was not well communicated to the entire office.
Make sure the word gets out to as many brokers as possible... A single fax to each office WILL NOT do the trick if the floor time sales person, receptionist, or office manager simply tosses the fax in the trash.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 3, 2007
I'm in Chicagoland. I'm as knowledgeable about my market and the real estate industry as most Realtors. What concerns me is that you NEVER comment about being in the MLS? If you want to attract buyer's agents, you need to be on their Broker's Open listing through the MLS. The Broker's Open doesn't show up in ChicagoTribune.com or Realtor.com but it goes exclusively to the agents. I had 42 agents show up when I announced it via a $49 non-exclusive listing through Gino Barrto at Friendly Realty in St. Charles. There is a check mark for offering food and you get more agents that way. In the MLS you also have an "Agent Remarks" section where you would put something to the affect of "Seller is an experienced real estate investor offering below market value properties and higher commissions."

2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 20, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
I have a two part response to your post. Answering your original post, and commenting about the pros/cons of exclusive seller representation, particularly your comment to Eric.

First....attracting buyer agents to your property at a Broker Open House. Buyer agents never quite know what they are getting themselves into w/ a FSBO, flat fee listing, etc. Buyer agents are interested in serving the needs of their buyer. If those needs are easily met with an abundance of property offerings through traditional Realtors, your property may not receive the same attention. You have two messages to get across to buyers agents. First, you must face the same competition as any seller represented by a full service Realtor. Depending upon the volume of lisitngs in your market, that may be easy, or not...

If there is a surplus inventory, you need to tell the buyer agents why this property is better than the competition.

Your second obstacle is to overcome any apprehensions that buyer agents may naturally have w/ FSBO or flat fee listings. If your property is a perfect match, a buyer agent will simply bite the bullet and contact any seller. Some sellers who chose the FSBO or flat fee route are not well educated in the marektplace. The most challenging ones to deal w/ are those that think they have a handle on the market, but do not. Some FSBO or flat fee sellers are 'anti-Realtor". You need to communicate to the buyer agents that you are realistic, knowledgeable, and want them to come w/ their buyers.

Contact local Broker offices and advise of your scheduled Broker Open. On your flier, communicate the above points. If your property is highly unique, then having a special event at a special time may work. If the property is not highly unique, hold the broker open during the time when such is typically done in your area.

Comment about exclusive representation: By not hiring a seller representative, you forfeit the mareketing that this seller rep would do for you. This reduces the pool of potential buyers for your property. Any time you reduce the pool of potential buyers, you won't know, even upon accepting a contract, if another buyer might have produced a stronger contract. I do understand that you believe if you produce your own buyer through your networks, you feel that the amount owed to the seller agent is an unneccesary expense. That extra expense, however, might be the driving force that would allow a higher contract price from that contact you produced. Buyer interest is what drives a price for a seller. Buyers determine value in their mind, in large part, by considering other buyer interest. For example, a buyer from your network comes forth. If they perceive no other interest, they are comfortable negotiating downward. If they perceive a lot of other interest, it validates value in their mind. Buyers often ask, "How long has this been on the market? Any offers?" Long market time and no offers to buyers means offer less $$. Even if you produce your own buyer, it doesn't mean that the efforts of a seller agent did not contribute to the outcome.

In addition to marketing, a seller agent offers constant feedback and advice that will help you better position your property. I am very confident in my knowledge of my local market, but still depend upon the constant feedback of all the agents, buyer comments, website traffic montioring,etc.

Bottom Line: I do fully respect your right to make the decision that is right for you. I also wanted to share with you why I beieve in the value of seller representation.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
In lieu of an exclusive listing agreement, your best bet for attracting Realtors is to pay a flat fee to be on the MLS. You can then use that listing, and other related available marketing (see link...shameless plug) to attract them to your brokers' open. Then, you have the best of both worlds - the continuous marketing of the MLS, but no commitment to anyone. As for the flat fee, you can save much more than that, in return, by reducing the co-op commission to 3.5 and even 3%, instead of 4. It'll still be higher than most everyone else's and, therefore, a prime attraction.

As for the open house, itself, they're more likely to come during standard Tuesday lunch than an evening wine & cheese affair.

I hope this helps.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 7, 2007
Eric, While I thank you for your advice, I am not opposed to working with realtors-only opposed to exclusive agreements. Why? because I also market these properties to private investment groups and other sources, which Realtors don't have access too. If I bring my own buyer to my own property-why would I pay an agent? If an agent-or anyone else brings me a buyer, I will pay them. I think it's fair. I also do not expect a realtor to market, do open houses, etc-I do those. If an agent has a buyer that they think might fit, they bring them and get paid. Its that simple.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2007
I thank you all for your wisdom. To clear the air, I will answer to some of what has been written: I am an experienced investor, and I have 10 years in the real estate business, so I am not "some whack job" I understand intimately the ebb and flow of the real estate market, and I understand how to value a property. I am an expert in short sales. Now, I realize that everybody and their mom is doing these lately-but I am very, very good at it. Many so called "experts" refuse to believe the margins I can create on short sales. These huge margins mean that I can list my properties way under value. I am not greedy, so I make my properties attractive by letting the buyer get a good deal of equity. Since I market my properties to private real estate investing groups and other sources, I do not use exclusive agents-however, by being an agent in my network and showing your clients my properties, you can bring very good deals to your clients-and collect a 4% commission. Since there are no there agents involved, you don't split. Not many brokers walk away these days with a full 4% in their pocket. To get back to my original question: "How do I get more agents to my open houses" I am thinking something fun and creative, like a wine and cheese tasting, or a short sale presentation. Something that makes it worthwhile to attend-and see my property. Any suggestions?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 3, 2007
Afterthought... If you're in Edgewater as in Chicago, you're probably shooting yourself in the foot by not hiring a broker. The Chicago market is FLOODED with property right now and you're not going to save money by doing it yourself. I'm seeing some pretty nice price reductions on condos that are not selling after 6 months or more.

Free lunches aside, brokers have little to no incentive to bring clients to your 4% property when there are higher commissions to be had, let alone hundreds of comparable properties on the legitimate market. Another factor that FSBO sellers frequently overlook... Many brokers simply do not trust FSBO sellers with their clients. You might be a perfectly rational, professional individual working to sell your own property. But in the broker's eyes and in the broker's experience... Most FSBO sellers are total whack jobs who are more interested in floating their crazy rationalle as to why they think a client is going to pay $30K more than the property is worth. Don't blame the brokers for this viewpoint. Many FSBO sellers are certifiably crazy.

BOTTOM LINE: Brokers have the clients. You don't. This is not a market where you pretend that you know more than the people who's livelihoods depend on selling properties like yours.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 3, 2007
Just a heads up, you say that you actively market your own properties.
Do you plan to have the Realtors that bring a buyer do both sides of the transaction? (represent seller (you) and buyer? Curious as to who would be representing your interests?

Also, I assume that your plan is to max your profit in this transaction? Whether you sell on your own our through a limited or MLS only broker, you know that your odds of selling are different, right?

NAR data shows consistently that sellers that sell on their own net less (like 16%)
My own data shows that MLS only or Limited service consistently has a lower Sales price to list price ratio and much longer days on market. Do you know of any statistical data to support your plan?

I believe in free enterprise. Are you prepared to leave money on the table?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 3, 2007
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
Here are some ideas:

Mass email a digital flyer of your property to broker offices in the area with your broker's open date

Since you will be handling your end of the transaction, for the sake of exposure only, put your listing on the MLS through flat fee listing service -- highlight broker's open date on the MLS

Hold a general open house advertised on Craigslist and the paper. Put plenty of signage near property and make sure to highlight in ads and on signs: "BUYER AGENTS WELCOME!"
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 3, 2007
Use a MLS for a flat fee and pay the 4% co-op from the MLS. You can use the MLS to set up your broker opens.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 29, 2008
I agree with John. Unrepresented sellers are not taken seriously by agents. You may get a few that want to solicit your listing. We get flyers and emails from unrepresented sellers that offer to compensate agents to bring a buyer to the property, or have an open house, etc. and they are mostly discarded. I think that either the agent feels the seller is not serious or that they will be doing the work of a dual agent for the compensation of a buyer’s agent.

Even agents have a hard time getting other agents to their agent open houses in my market. Food is a must but it is really the network of the agent (among other agents) that will generate traffic to an agent open. It’s one of those intangibles that experienced agents bring to the table. One of our agents has good success by hosting agent and public opens at the same time during the afternoon/evening. They are mostly attended by the agents he knows and works with in the market and usually at least a few buyers.

For not much more than you are offering to compensate a buyer’s agent you can get representation and marketing too. For example we have long term relationships with investors that provide that we identify property for the investor, help with information and trends for the remodel based on the market and comps, and we start marketing the property right away. Of course every market is different.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
Good luck to you. Most agents will not come. If they do it will be to solicit your listing, Just the way it is.

Most FSBO sellers feel they are smarter, yes, but end up selling their home for less then using a good realtor. There are so many bad agents out there is terrible, yes, I agree. That is why you need to find an agent that is working and busy in this market.

As for the Brokers Open... Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2008
Thank you for your interest. We currently have properties in Chicago, Inverness, and Cary. please see our website at http://www.icgproperties.net for pictures and info.

Thank You!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2007
Thanks for your update and comments. If you were in my market, I would definitely come to your Broker Open, I don't have any buyers for you in Chicago, but I am a bit curious about your properties. Do you have any info on your properties that you can email to me? Again, this is really just about my curiouslity.....I don't work in Chicago, nor do I have any referral buyers to send your way. Simply curious.
Good luck to you
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ

Definitely a lunch from a "name brand" restaurant or specialty sandwich shop. I would also suggest printing flyers and dropping them off (or hiring a student to do this) to as many offices within at least a five mile radius telling of the great property, great food and great commission you are offering.

Web Reference: http://www.cathiweaver.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 7, 2007
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 22, 2012
And it amazes me that Realtors answer questions four years after the question was asked, and answer like it was yesterday.

Does anyone pay attention to anything anymore?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 22, 2012
It always amazes me why people like you don't understand the role of a real estate broker. I always think of the following analogy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 22, 2012
Hello ICG,

You can google local area brokerages and come in distributing a flyer where you put it in large lettering: PAYING FULL 4% COMMISSIONS and the date of your open house. Offer a ruffle or a prize or refreshments...

I doubt that agents will be overly excited about this though - it's hard to guarrantee their work being paid by the seller (present company excluded) without any type of agreement, and no one wants to chase the seller over the commissions - we'd rather help our clients buy or sell instead.
Just being honest with you.

You can also blog about the house, UTube etc. but the exposure on all real estate websites (which is very expensive and we pay for, as realtors), the MLS info available to thousands of agents in your area - are well worth the commissions paid.

Think of the time you'll be wasting doing this...while you could have been making money in your chosen profession...And the main point - FSBO always sells for less money than with a pro realtor.

Best of luck,

Irina Karan
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
CDPE - Certified Distressed Property Expert
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 19, 2012
Foregot to mention you can publish your Broker Opens on the MLS. Every are has 1 or more days per week for these tours. Once you are in the MLS your broker can activate the notice field that your property is on tour. Your job may not be over still. You would be amazed how many sellers agents supply free lunches or door prizes to motivate agents to attend. Some even ask their mortgage lender to pick up the tab for this. Can you imagine? ;-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
ICG - First and foremost you must have MLS exposure. Second, you must make your inventory available on your website, not solely by emailing you for more info. Make your website user friendly and top notch as it is the conduit to the what you are offering and ultimately what you stand for. Spend money on professional virtual tours and get testimonials from past buyers. Ask yourself what impression do you want Realtors/buyers to have of ICG? Even in a down market marketing dollars must be allocated as have been in better markets. Those who don't will lose business and even fail. Now is the time to set yourself apart from the less aggressive.

Lastly, the link in your profile should lead to a viable website:) (.net, not .com).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
The power of the MLS cannot be understated as it is the source virtually all realtors use to find properties for their buyers. There are services / companies that charge sellers a flat fee to list their homes in the MLS and then pay the comission to any buyers agent that finds your purchaser. If you would like the names of some just ask me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 30, 2008
Call in a Realtor,list the property and let the professional do the job.The costs you will assume doing open houses and advertising in time and money could be spent working on another project.Serious ,prepared buyers walk into a real estate office or contact a Realtor, most are leary of FSBO'S.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 30, 2008
First, you need to send a flyer to every brokerage in your area announcing your Broker's open and have an RSVP. Try to have the open house on a weekday, as many agents work with buyers and/or sellers on the weekend. Also, have food and drink available. By having a Broker's open, you are leaving yourself wide open to solicitations from your local broker. You may want to try just an open house on the weekend for prospective buyers (food and drink available as well) and advertise this in your local newspaper. Have a mortgage broker available to answer questions from prospective buyers. If you have a mortgage broker you are familiar with, he/she can make a brochure for you advertising your house and include in it how much can be financed, at the given interest rate, the payments, etc. I've used this in the past and it brings in buyers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 30, 2008
Isn't it funny that even in this market all people see is the commission. When the supply is high someone should do everything possible to get a buyer and reward the agent. A higher commission almost guarantees maximum showings. If you get no offers then your property has a problem, is mispriced or the amount og buyer in your area is so low that you will need to be patient. I am selling my own property and offering a 3.25% commission to the selling agent. I need to maximize showings from the buying pool and every agent who has a client will show mine before they show a 2% property, wouldn't you.
Good agents don't even care about open listings with the supply were it is we have plenty of properties to sell even for a steak sandwich. Thats why most FSBOS become clients it just a matter of time until you realize how important good agents are.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2008
With Free Food!!!! :)

I have yet to meet a Realtor who will turn down free food.
Web Reference: http://www.OwnGR.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2008
keep the house.
move in.
enjoy the work you've done.

whats the hurry
why do you want to sell it?
it is not a good time to sell a house.


good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2008
try flyerus.com for internet promotion. Or do a flyer and use the flyer network to distribute your flyer. Contact The Flyer Network:
2625 W. Peterson Chicago, IL 60659
Phone (847) 329-9660
Fax (773) 769-0240
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2008

Your idea of holding a broker open is excellent.

Since your property is not offered in your local MLS media, a broker open would be a way to intoduce your property to active agents in the area.

Some MLS's will sell email addresses of their members.

If you are in an area to purchase the member list, send Broker open announcements to the member agents.

Best of luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2007
I am not in your market, but I don't understand the rational why you don't want to hire a broker eventhough you are willing to pay 4% commission to a buyer's agent.

I would hire an agent and pay him/her 4.5% - let the agent split the commission with a buyer's agent 3/1.5.
This will save you alot of headache. You seem to want to work hard, not smart. The fact that you are a lawyer and can defend yourself in court does not mean that you would not still hire a lawyer.
It's probably not very wise to ignore the traffic that agents will bring in if the property were on the MLS. I started out in this business as an investor and people teach you to be cheap and avoid agents by all means, because they will "eat up" your profit. Bad advice.
I guess the big investors like Trump and Robert Kiyosaki don't use agents. You really want to work smart and not hard.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 6, 2007
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