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Asked by Wanderer, 48073 Sat Oct 6, 2007

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Answers

25
Mark Raso, , Alton, IL
Sun Oct 7, 2007
BEST ANSWER
As others have pointed out, finding a good Realtor would be your best option for selling your home. Interviewing various Realtors would be recommended but not an easy process. Asking the right questions is so critical i.e. what is your list to sell ratio? how many of the last 10 listings did you reduce the price? how often to you provide status reports on a listing (weekly or monthly)?, how often will my house be featured in local publications? are they in color?, how many internet sites will my house be featured on? do you have a website? how many hits a month does it get?, etc. Ask to see examples of reports, featured ads, internet activity. As the questions about Open Houses. How many per month, what type of follow up do you do? what literature do you provide at each Open House? What have you done to make your Open House stand out from others i.e. raffle, thank you gifts for attending, refreshments? Again, asking the right questions to the Realtor, will give you the right Realtor for the job. Lastly, be careful about the commssion. Are the services and marketing of the lower commissions the same as the higher ones? Will you get more for less or less for less? This is an easy one to answer! Good luck!
3 votes
Anita Satter…, , Michigan
Wed Oct 10, 2007
Hmm, Not fair statements below, from a professional and “ETHICAL” point of view (careful). Our business of serving clients regarding their real estate needs is not based on how much or how little we charge. This like any industry has good, bad and the simply ugly service/experience. Not all REALTORS are created equal…

When hiring a person to assist you, it is always recommended to RESEARCH, RESEARCH and RESEARCH. I am a broker/owner of a “full service” flat fee brokerage and do not compromise anything with regards to serving my clients. In fact my marketing, EXPERIENCE, service, etc. is second to “None” in my area.

The kind of “back-Biting” you so professionally displayed below is just another reason for the consumer to turn away from the traditional (over-priced / outdated) way of business and pursue other avenues. The amount of for sale by owners / flat fee services, should’ve been a wake up call for you. If you can’t be open minded and listen to the consumers needs; relax, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s a train.

Change is coming, whether or not you can accept it will determine if you stay in the business… It’s the consumer that wants and very well deserves CHOICE!

As a professional, one should never disrespect the intelligence of today’s consumer by misleading them with stories that never happened, or maybe happened once out of thousands of SUCCESSFUL TRANSACTIONS!

Maybe most of you need tens of thousands of dollars to sell a home, WE DO NOT! One day when you have time, maybe you can get caught up with today’s technology and streamline your expenses to Better serve your clients, if that is your true business structure.

Shame on all of you!
2 votes
., , Oakland County, MI
Thu Jan 17, 2008
An MLS listing is one of many tools for marketing a home. Given that Bloomfield Twp. and Bloomfield Hills had on average a 2 and 2.5 year supply of homes on the market last year and this trend is projected to continue through 2008 it is clear that a seller needs to be extremely competitive in marketing their home. A professional realtor will use many other tools and strategies to market your home, one of the most effective being personalized broker to broker advertising. Through broker/realtor networking, your house will have a greater presence on the market and therefore increased exposure to buyers. Other additional services provided by a full service broker have been outlined in previous answers.

Another consideration is liablity. A full service broker with an Exclusive Right to Sell establishes a fiduciary relationship with the seller so that the seller can rely on the agent putting the client's interests first.
1 vote
Carlo Gobba, Agent, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Thu Nov 15, 2007
An agent is worth every cent of what they want to charge! And the consumer is right 100% of the time, IF they have done enough research to make an educated decision. I myself believe that I am worth every penny of what I charge and more. If any seller lists their home with an agent but them does not hear from then again shame on them for sticking with that agent. On another hand, where else in this country is a person allowed to work on what is typically referred to as ones most valueable asset but does so using a "Success fee?" In the majority of cases it's the discount, cut rate flat fee (Or whatever they want to be called) broker that charges money UP Front plus a commission. *The total amount that the seller may ultimatly pay may be less but their are a number of factors that would need to be determined in a case by case basis to really know if that discount in the line item labeled "Brokers Commission" on the sellers net sheet REALLY contributed to the bottom line. In one case, the dollars coming in "The sales price" may be equal to what the seller would have received with a full service full price broker. In another it may not. The point here is that it's not all about a spread sheet and nickles and dimes.

The real question here is that if a seller is listed with a less experienced discount company, wouldn't any buyers agent worth his salt make sure that the buyer really saves the money that the seller thought they were saving? That is a buyers agents duty is it not? So who really saves here, the seller or the buyer. Typically the buyer.
Web Reference:  http://www.carlogobba.com
1 vote
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Wed Oct 10, 2007
Hello Home Seller:

I appreciate your advise to Lynn, from your personal experience, obviously.

I am very sorry that you hired a commissioned agent who did not do the job he/she presumably promised. Actually, the fact that the person would not allow you to cancel the contract from the beginning kind says something.

I do want to assure you that there are huge differences in quality even among Realtors. We always recommend that the seller interview several Realtors (preferrably by referral) with a solid track record and affliated with a reputable company before they make the decision to select the one to use.

I personally allow my sellers to back out on a contract if they are not happy with my service. So far, none used that provision. :-)

This is a sound process everybody should follow when interviewing professionals for their service!

Sylvia
1 vote
Angela Faulk…, , Lakeland, FL
Sun Oct 7, 2007
I would like to point out one other thing that I have found from a different perspective.....

As a Realtor/Broker active in the market I have had dealings with discount brokerages as Im sure all of you have.....Ever noticed that the people you deal with in those organizations typically are not of the highest quality?? I get so extremely frustrated from every aspect of trying to make a showing appointment to Lord forbid actually submitting an offer and getting the contract executed without some careless mistake almost ruining the deal.

I say this to say to you Lynn, that while these discount brokerages make this great presentation on the front end, you really do get what you pay for.

I have actually talked to Brokers and Realtors in my own community that refuse to even show the properties of at least one discount brokerage firm because of their lack of professionalism. A lot of these places utilize the true Realtors name and credentials to get you in the door and only where it is legally required and then turn the real work, the details that govern the actual transaction, over to hourly employees who dont care any more about your listing than they cared for their customers at the last telecenter they worked for. When was the last time you called almost any telecenter from your credit card company to your cable company to your (insert big company with a telesales department here), and had a bad experience?? Why would you trust the sale of your home to this type of environment??

Maybe the bigger question you should be asking is: If these discount brokerages are so great and achieve the same results, WHY havent they put full-service professional Realtors out of business by now? The answer I think you can come to with all of the wonderful help from the professionals that chose to address this age old question for you one more time!
1 vote
Mike Kelly A…, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Sun Oct 7, 2007
Depends what you mean by a flat fee brokerage. We have one in our area who, for $500.00, they will put it in MLS. You drive up to show the property and there sits a For Sale by Owner sign? Sometimes you'll get their sign but MOST Realtor/Agents are hip to the "flat-fee" companies and have a tendency to avoid them. Why? The reasons are numerous:

* The Realtor/Agents don't know who they ultimately will be dealing with and the level of professionalism involved! I had an instance where I did not "catch" the company name before showing. I pulled up at the house with a client and there sat a FSBO sign. My client looked at me and asked why where we looking at a FSBO? Was I going to represent both parties, how would my Buyer be represented? She was angry and disappointed. I reassured her I had no idea this was a FSBO. I then checked the listing and recognized the company as a "flat fee" brokerage. I further read they stated, "Contact seller directly to show and present all offers". When I knocked on the door the Seller was ALL OVER my client! He literally took her by the arm and dragged her throughout his house explaining every detail in minutiae!! We almost got into a tug of war with the poor gal! He then had the audacity to tell her, "why don't you come back and we'll work out a deal!" I called the "Flat Fee" broker and he said, "I'm sorry-I don't have anything to do with these people once I put it in MLS.” I asked him about the Mandatory California Agent Inspection disclosure and he told me nothing would be forthcoming on his end because he was NOT the cooperating broker but just placed it into the MLS. When I told him doing so made him the cooperating agent, as per our MLS by-laws, he reassured me that was incorrect and I was on my own! My client thought the Seller obnoxious and couldn’t’t see his house beyond his boorish actions!

* Another time I showed a "flat-fee" property as my client noticed it and asked to see the house. I NEVER do NOT show a property if a client wishes to see it, regardless of representation. This time it was a very pleasant seller who had a darling property my client fell in love with. We came back and asked her when she'd be hearing offers? This was when the market was running amok with multiple offers, extreme overbidding. She said anytime I wanted. I immediately wrote the offer and came back, presented it and got the offer accepted at full price. The Seller was delighted. Problem here? I only saw 5 other Realtor/agents cards when I showed the property. All the other properties we had previewed there where 30+ cards and the listing Realtor/Agents where saying all offers presented a week down the road! Her flat fee got her a full price offer of which she was delighted but it cost her most likely $25-50,000 because she did not know the strategies in properly "listing/marketing" the property! Her flat fee broker got paid his $500.00 upfront. He too didn’t provide a mandatory agent disclosure. We noted this in the file and our corporate attorney sent him and the Department of Real Estate a letter to this end. I wrote the offer with ME representing the Buyer ONLY!! She was on her own!

* I could go on about how Realtor/Agents will avoid you like the plague, but first time homeowners don't want to fool with you as they need extreme handholding and representation. A relocation buyer won't want to waste their valuable time with a glorified FSBO as they need to act and act now. However Investor’s and Bottom-feeders LOVE running into smart Sellers wanting to save 3% of the sales price.

This is a business decision you, as a Seller, can make. I respect your decision either way.
1 vote
Hayward Litt…, Agent, Troy, MI
Sun Oct 7, 2007
I'm going to ride Cindy's answer and recommend you interview agents and find the best option that works for you. Mention to everyone what you would like to do, and find the best option. There are many traditional and non-traditional agents available to work with, so it's up to you to find the best choice for you.

The question is, do you want to save money or sell your house? If you feel your house will sell by just having it listed on the MLS, then you know the answer.
1 vote
Cindy Jones, Agent, Alexandira, VA
Sun Oct 7, 2007
There are also blended options that provide you the ability to list your home in the MLS for a standard fee and then charge an hourly consulting fee for additional services. Check for agents who offer blended and custom services before you decide that you are stuck with a one or the other situation.
1 vote
#1, , San Francisco Bay Area
Sat Oct 6, 2007
Find a great Realtor and get our home sold. If you use a num nuts company and think you will save 3% you will waste a lot of time on the market and your home will not sell. It will sit with zero marketing.

Then you decide to list with a Realtor and you get upset because it still will not sell because you want a price that is not obtainable in the matrketplace.

Then you get mad at the Realtor.

WHoever you list it with... price it right.

High price listings do not sell in this market. It doesn't matter how much marketing you do. You are in a market where you have to deal with people who "have to sell." They are your direct competition.

Live with it... or keep your house... if you can.

All this talk about saving 3 lousy percent. What a joke!

You are not saving anything buy having a come what maybe company list your home for sale.

Hire a Pro.

Your chances are amplified 100 fold.
1 vote
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Newcastle, CA
Sat Oct 6, 2007
There are lots of downside to not going with a full service real estate brokerage and really only one potential upside to going with the flat fee MLS service. First of all, it looks like you realize that you are only saving the commission that you'd pay to the listing agent as you'll have to offer a commission to the buyer's agent when you list your property through the MLS. You probably could find a good full service brokerage that would charge only 2.5%, but that's really besides the point.

The downside to not having full representation is that you may not know what to do when you get an offer, but let’s just assume for now that you are a seasoned real estate investor and you have gone through the paperwork many times. The real practical downside is that potential buyers will consider the fact that you are not paying a listing agent commission when they make an offer, which will most likely result in a lower offer than what they would make if you had an agent. In the end, you'll probably not really save anything and still have to do all the work yourself.

The National Association of REALTORS has conducted a study that shows that the average sale price of FSBOs was less than the average sale price of the homes that were sold through real estate brokerages. I don't remember the exact difference, but I do know that the it was more than the 3% commission that you might have to pay for full service. You can try to beat the odds but if you are serious about wanting to sell your property, you may want to seriously consider retaining the services of a real estate professional. Since I don't know anything about your property, I don't know if it has any features that make it stand out from other listings in your neighborhood. If your house is more average than unique and if the supply of similar homes in your market is high, you'd have come up with something that will make it worth a buyer's while to consider your home over others in your neighborhood to overcome the FSBO stigma. Best of luck to you.
1 vote
Dave Rivera &…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat Oct 6, 2007
Hi Lynn,
To be brief, that up-front flat fee that you pay to go on the MLS is just that, an up-front flat fee to be put on the MLS...there is nothing more to it, and if your home doesn't sell, you are out the $$. A full-service Realtor does much, much more than just put your home on the MLS, and takes all the risk ($) up front.
If your home doesn't sell, the Realtor is the one to lose the money spent on marketing, flyers, etc. Not to mention the legal risk you take not knowing which/how many disclosures your state requires, etc.. The paperwork itself, along with the legal protection/coverage a real broker provides, is worth the 3% alone.
Ok, don't forget the negotiation that goes on... Anyway, you can find out the many benefits a full-service Realtor provides by reading some of the other posts here on Trulia, so, I'll stop now!
1 vote
Connie, , Newport, MI
Wed Oct 17, 2007
At the end of the day you get what you pay for. In my experience and opinion, buyer's still wish to be represented by a Realtor. Who's representing you? Also, have you visited these web-sites to see what you really get?
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Wed Oct 10, 2007
Oh, PS,, I won't be dunning you to lower your price incessantly, because if you don't list at or below current market I won't list it.
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Wed Oct 10, 2007
A disgruntled homeseller wrote:
Listing agents, c’mon… Once they have the sign in your yard when do you ever hear from them again? Usually to reduce the price of your home, WHY? Because they are paid a commission with limited time to get your home sold! Which makes you think who’s best interests are they really looking out for?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm not going to go into exactly what I do because it is my own marketing plan and I don't work for free, but once I list I spend the next full week preparing, and by that I mean designing and sending out snail mailings, emailings, food, open houses, invitations, contests, getting the word out to other agents, inputting the listing into various MLS and public web venues, preparing my print marketing for the balance of the listing and God only knows what else. It's unfortunate your didn't have an agent as diligent as I am. What exactly made you choose that particular agent, if I may ask?
0 votes
Home Seller, Home Seller, Michigan
Wed Oct 10, 2007
Maybe you have "DISPOSABLE INCOME"? or you may like the listing agent sooo much that you want to buy them a new car? Today’s technology has streamlined the marketing of homes; TRULIA.com for example is only two years old. Buyer brokers way of business remains unchanged; they still drive buyers from home to home while investing an enormous amount of time and resources into the assistance of.

Listing agents, c’mon… Once they have the sign in your yard when do you ever hear from them again? Usually to reduce the price of your home, WHY? Because they are paid a commission with limited time to get your home sold! Which makes you think who’s best interests are they really looking out for?

I hired a commission based realtor which could not get my home sold (even after numerous “attempts” to lower my price). Once I was free of that contract, which by the way I was not allowed to cancel early. I hired a flat fee broker who sold my home for the amount “I wanted” which saved me about 40% off brokerage fees! The service was better, and the Experience was well above the crowd from what I previously experienced as I was dealing with a broker vs. a sales agent.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Sun Oct 7, 2007
Most real estate markets in the US are buyer’s market most of the time. By definition that means there are more homes for sale than buyers to buy them. The owner’s job is to find a way to expose the property to the maximum number of buyers and attract a buyer who is willing and able to close escrow.

The perception of the public is that a property is listed for sale, the Realtor puts it in the MLS, they have a few open houses, and someone buys it. If that was true, there would be fewer Realtors leaving the real estate business because anybody could do it.

The owner’s goal is to sell the property for the highest possible price and on their terms.
The buyer’s goal is to buy the property at the lowest possible price and on their terms.

If there is more inventory than buyers, in who’s odds is the market going? The buyers. Most buyers will use a Realtor because the cost of the commission is borne by the seller, so from the buyer’s perspective, the Realtor works for “free”.

Characteristics of a good Realtor representing a buyer:
1. Understands what the buyer wants and their priorities.
2. Knows the local market conditions.
3. Knows the existing inventory
4. Is able to sift through the inventory and show the buyer the homes that most closely match the buyer’s needs, which are usually location, condition, and price.
5. Shows the buyer the prospective homes and points out the pros and cons, particularly the value so the buyer understands when he is looking at a “good deal”
6. Negotiates effectively for the buyer, using the leverage of the market to get the best price and terms on the home the Buyer would like to buy.
7. Advises the buyer on the merits of offers, counter offers, etc.
8. Effectively guides the escrow process. Any Realtor with experience will tell you: Anyone can open escrow…it’s closing escrow that counts, and THAT is where the Realtor earns their fee.
9. Coordinates the buyer’s move, helping to avoid legal entanglements, complete inspections and duties in a timely manner, and negotiate repairs and transfer of possession effectively.


The Realtor who lists the home has a similar set of responsibilities, mirroring those of the Realtor representing the buyer. Fundamentally the listing agent’s role is to expose the property to the market at large and negotiate effectively, preserving as much equity as possible and helping the owner understand the current market.

As the market changes, the listing agent helps the owner understand the market shifts so the owner’s home can be marked competitively and sell for the highest price possible.

In markets with significant inventory (more than six months of homes on the market), the market is rarely static. That means as different homes are sold, enter escrow, reduce price, increase offerings that buyer’s want ( such as help with closing costs, assistance with financing, etc.), homes expire (and don’t sell), the listing agents advises the owner on strategic actions that the owner can take to increase the perceived value of the property.

A MILS-only broker simply lists the property.
A limited service brokers will provide more assistance with marketing.
Full service is what it says: Complete service.

Let the numbers speak for themselves. Reviewing the statistics for my market area since January, 2007
Type Limited Full Service Variance Difference
Listings SOLD 1 932 .01% 931
List Price vs. Sale Price 96.1% 97.69% 1.65% 1.59
Expired 6 782 7% 776
Sold Vs. Expired Listings 17% 119% 600% 102
iTech MLS data is not guaranteed, is not verified, and is subject to change.

Summary:
1. There were no MLS ONLY listings that either SOLD or EXPIRED.
2. There was ONE Limited Service listing that sold, 6 expired, so there was a one in seven chance of a Limited Service listing selling.
3. Compared to Full Service listings, your chances were five out of four of your listing selling, much better odds than 1 out of 7
4. The one Limited Service listing that sold did at 96.1% of the list price. The Full Service listings averaged 97.69% of List price, or about 1.65% higher.

So listings listed with a full service broker will sell for more, and the odds are that they will sell. Listings with a limited service broker will probably not sell at all, and if they do, at a lower price.

What do you think you should do?
0 votes
Jan Wood, , Gallatin, TN
Sun Oct 7, 2007
Plain and simple... your home is your biggest investment. Give it to a professional to sell and good luck!
0 votes
Michael Ricks, Agent, Palm Springs, CA
Sun Oct 7, 2007
We can all do many things ourselves to saving money; I have a friend that tries to do everything himself. I was just telling him the other day that I had never seen anyone spend so much money trying to save some. The price for listing a home is totally negotiable; I would not use the cheapest agent, as they are usually brand new. Flat fee brokers have been around for a long time and still most people go with the full service brokers. It is not unusual to see a seller start with a flat fee only to cancel and move to a full service company. Buyers want to share your savings and will typically make lower offers when selling yourself. The buyer will have representation and you will not, I noticed that the typical flat free brokers I worked with did not protect the sellers interest at all, no contingencies removal, poor disclosures.
Web Reference:  Http://www.MIchaelRicks.com
0 votes
ian cockburn, Agent, New Orleans, LA
Sat Oct 6, 2007
A full service Realtor will help you through the process of selling your home. The flat fee service is flat...no extras, no advice, no helping your potential buyers see how they can get qualified.
Web Reference:  http://www.iansellsnola.com
0 votes
Carolyn Buny…, , San Diego 92106, 92107, 92109
Sat Oct 6, 2007
Al these reasons are good...but the number one reason to list your home with a Realtor is so that you can
sell your home with the least amount of stress in the least amount of time possible. A good professional agent will do this for you.

A good agent will give you suggestions on how to create good curb appeal if you need it. They will share their knowledge and expertise with you. They will give you an estimate of your home's value so that you are priced right. They will hold open houses for you while you go to the beach with your family. They will walk you through the entire process and quite possibly become your friend. You may like them so much that you will want them to find your next home for you as well. Good Luck ;)
0 votes
John Sacktig, Agent, New Jersey, NJ
Sat Oct 6, 2007
Service. Marketing and Connections. Especially in a slow market.
Web Reference:  http://www.johnsacktig.com
0 votes
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Newcastle, CA
Sat Oct 6, 2007
Hi Jim. You are hitting the nail on the head with your answer. We have answered the same or similar questions so many times here that it's best to just provide links to some of the threads that have covered just about every conceivable view on this subject.
Web Reference:  http://www.go2kw.com
0 votes
Dave Rivera &…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat Oct 6, 2007
Jim,
If only I were the author of this question; I'd love to give you "Best Answer"!!
0 votes
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