Flat Fee MLS listing advice

5 Replies

I am trying to sell waterfront building lots which are rather high-end because they close to a big city. I was hoping to sell them by simply posting a sign on the lots with an info-box containing a survey & prices. I have received a lot of interest, but no offers yet. I really don't think a listing agent deserves 3% for listing a vacant lot, but I'd be happy to give that to an agent who delivers a buyer.

Can you folks give advice about which flat fee services are good & what to be aware of?  I see services from $79 and up.  

@Glenn R. A flat-fee listing service just gets you listed on MLS. There is no other service provided.

The last listing I took from a failed flat-fee company was a classic.  They listed the home and the seller tried to promote his own open houses - with zero effect.

The flat-fee guy had the seller's contact info incorrect (wrong area code), wrong number of beds, an ultra-brief description that didn't do the home justice and really amateur photos.  From start to finish, it was a crappy job of promoting the listing.

The sale got complicated in negotiations, but I held the buyer's feet to the fire when they started squawking about wanting repairs. We had accepted a slightly lower offer, but I got them to agree to an as-is sale - and that was before home inspection. The buyer's agent wasn't especially sharp, and I took advantage of that.

I handled all of those negotiations without the seller even needing to be involved. An entry-only company would have put all that in your lap to negotiate yourself. If you know real estate law and are an experienced negotiator, maybe you could have pulled it off, but most would have been in over their heads.

The bottom line is that there's a lot more to marketing a property than a yard sign and an MLS listing. Like flying an airplane, it looks deceptively easy from afar. Especially when the deal gets wrapped around the axle.

Advertise that you're looking for a F/F Broker on local REI MeetUp groups / local REI FaceBook pages. There will be plenty who will respond. Just make sure you look over the F/F listing agreement carefully...most are not consumer oriented.

There are a ton of flat fee MLS services out there. The best advice is Googling "Flat Fee MLS + your city" and then checking their reviews (yelp, etc). Not that not all flat fee listings are the same. In general, here's the big things you want to look for in a flat fee listing:

1. The listing MUST be on the local MLS.

There are hundreds of MLSs in the United States. Sellers want to be on the MLS that covers the area where their home is located, so they can offer a commission to LOCAL buyer agents.

2. Cost to list + changes to listing.

Can range from $100-$400 for the exact same listing on the MLS. Watch out for fine print that requires an additional fee at closing. Make sure you are able to make changes to the listing after it has been posted for a nominal fee.

3. Photos on MLS.

Make sure you can upload at least a dozen photos. Some services offer a great price, but it's only for 1 photo - which is not useful for most properties.

4. Length of Listing.

Get at least a six month listing and be sure that there is no charge for cancellation.

5. Fine print.

You should never be required to use any closing service (e.g. escrow) provided by the flat fee service agent.

We've found that a home selling boils down to getting just three things right 1) get pro photos, 2) offering a fair buyer agent commission on the MLS(typically 2.5%), and 3) price it right, which you'll know once you list (lots of offers = too low, no offers = too high. Either way you can adjust accordingly).

Originally posted by @Jon Minerick :

There are a ton of flat fee MLS services out there. The best advice is Googling "Flat Fee MLS + your city" and then checking their reviews (yelp, etc). Not that not all flat fee listings are the same. In general, here's the big things you want to look for in a flat fee listing:

1. The listing MUST be on the local MLS.

There are hundreds of MLSs in the United States. Sellers want to be on the MLS that covers the area where their home is located, so they can offer a commission to LOCAL buyer agents.

2. Cost to list + changes to listing.

Can range from $100-$400 for the exact same listing on the MLS. Watch out for fine print that requires an additional fee at closing. Make sure you are able to make changes to the listing after it has been posted for a nominal fee.

3. Photos on MLS.

Make sure you can upload at least a dozen photos. Some services offer a great price, but it's only for 1 photo - which is not useful for most properties.

4. Length of Listing.

Get at least a six month listing and be sure that there is no charge for cancellation.

5. Fine print.

You should never be required to use any closing service (e.g. escrow) provided by the flat fee service agent.

We've found that a home selling boils down to getting just three things right 1) get pro photos, 2) offering a fair buyer agent commission on the MLS(typically 2.5%), and 3) price it right, which you'll know once you list (lots of offers = too low, no offers = too high. Either way you can adjust accordingly).

Jon,

Thanks for all the tips.  I found one that seems to click all the boxes you mentioned.

I'm just selling building lots, so it seems like this should be all I need.

Instead of offering a "percentage-based" buyer agent commission I would rather post a " dollar amount" commission for a very unique high-end "estate lot".  $50,000 "sounds" like a nice commission for showing a vacant lot to "the right" client.  Although 1% probably "sounds" like an insult to the profession.

From my perspective, as the seller, I'd think there will be enough motivated agents that actually see an easy $50K on the table.  (Also, they should see the future potential dealings with both parties, not to mention bragging rights of being part of such a noteworthy project.  )

I'm not in a hurry & there are no comparable properties.  I can always increase my offer later, right?