Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Sal

Posted by Maxx (TX) on July 30, 2003 at 19:41:57:

I’m with you on this one. I too can say what I say because I’m PT. My full-time income comes from my W-2 salary and my cashflows. Hence, I at least try to make a tiniest difference to the people around me. And I’m proud to say that. Most agents think I live in fantasy world. Heck, it’s great here…

Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Sal

Posted by Sal on July 29, 2003 at 21:25:19:

To all you experienced investors;

Wanted to get your insight into using a flat fee MLS service rather than full service realtor.

Anyone use them?
What was your experience with the service?
Would you recommend? And if so, why?
Would you recommend as a out of town owner?

All and any inputs gladly accepted.

Thanks in advance


Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Henry

Posted by Henry on July 30, 2003 at 11:27:19:

I am a hugr fan of the flat fee listing. As someone else posted something about full service listing agents being lazy, I totally agree. I sole a house about 2 years ago and listed it with the biggest company in my town, they did nothing for me, all they did was slap it on MLS, which needs to be done, but I could have paid a flat fee listing agent and saved thousands. Its a matter of opinion, I think it is a brilliant idea and will sell all future home with the flat fee method. Where do they come up with 3%? I think that is a lot to pay for someone to list a house, I mean they arent even the one showing the house thats the buyers agent.

Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Dwayne

Posted by Dwayne on July 30, 2003 at 11:05:02:

Here’s something to think about when deciding whether to list.


Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by David

Posted by David on July 30, 2003 at 10:27:05:

Go for it Sal!!! Flat fee is the best thing since sliced bread. A listing agent getting 3%, wow!!! Thats a joke. I’ll pay the flat fee any day!!

Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Jasonrei

Posted by Jasonrei on July 30, 2003 at 10:11:33:

I use a flat fee lister in Houston, TX. I started using one last October and have listed 12 houses this way. If I have a lot of interest in a house before it’s remodeled, I will go through that wave of prospects before I list on MLS. Sometimes I’ll pay a commission on a house that never gets to MLS.

My experience with the service? There is no service. But seriously, it is just advertising whereby you pay money up front and agree to pay another agent a commission if they find you a buyer. YOU have to negotiate directly, YOU have to set up showings, YOU are expected to follow up.

I never spoken with the guy that listed my first 5 houses. He left me a phone message once, that’s it. Everything was done by mail and email. The one I have now, I just fax him the house info and email him photos. I never talk to him.

Would I recommend it? If my parents were selling their home, I’d help them find a good listing agent. I only use flat-fee because paying a full service agent a 3% listing commission would cost my business over $5000 per month. Plus, I prefer to deal directly with the buyers’ agents.

Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Maxx(TX)

Posted by Maxx(TX) on July 30, 2003 at 07:51:59:


As a realtor (I really dont call myself that, I prefer Agent Undercover: wink), I am not here to promote my business, but to share my 2 cents on this issue. I provide a Full Service for a flat fee. I have a break down for my fees for various price ranges. My friends at the REI clubs are rehabbers, while I mainly focus on rental properties. Most of them would want to sell their houses to retail homeowners (for maximum profits). So, I came along setting this service to help them sell their house and help me by earning some additional income. I see Win/Win situation.

Why would I do that?
Because I put my actions where my mouth is. I strive for Win/Win situation for everyone involved. It’s my way of showing that “I too am leaving something on the table”. I became a realtor to ease my process of finding properties instead of having to wait on a realtor. Hence, I rather call myself an Agent Undercover.

If you look hard enough, there may be realtors out there who would provide a flat fee service for a full service price. I hope I’m right at this one. And I dont believe that flat fee has to mean limited service. If that’s what the person tells you, move on and talk to the next realtor. Let me know what you find.

Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA)

Posted by Ronald * Starr(in No CA) on July 30, 2003 at 06:39:41:


I have used the flat fee folk successfully.

As you can see, Mr. Giddens of Houston does not like the idea. As you can also see, there is a reason for his stance.

The main thing to worry about, it seems to me, is underpricing the property. You must be able to get comparables together and from them determine a reasonable asking price and what you might accept.

The other functions of the listing brokerage that you must be able to do yourself, in my opinion:
Get the property looking good.
Produce advertising flier about the property.
Put out a “For Sale” sign.
Fill out the seller’s disclosure statement.
Negotiate the sale.
Sign paperwork from the escrow handler. Hopefully, understanding what you are signing.

The main other function of listing brokers, in my view, is “holding the hand” of the nervous seller. So, can you reach over from one hand to the other, hold it and say “everything will work out ok, don’t worry?”

Good Investing********Ron Starr****************

Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Jason

Posted by Jason on July 29, 2003 at 23:19:16:

I have used both flat fee and full service realtors and personally I prefer a flat fee realtor. Of course all full service realtors are going to say that their services are superior b/c hell they like getting paid 3%+ for listing houses. Usually with a flat fee agent, they give you all the contracts you need as well as instructions on filling all the information out. Saving 3%+ is a lot of savings and I won’t use a traditional full service realtor ever again.

your education - Posted by Tray Giddens, Houston

Posted by Tray Giddens, Houston on July 29, 2003 at 23:14:27:

i suppose the question you need to ask is how much do you know about the process and do you know the purchase contracts and addenda backwards and forward.

The job of the limited service lister is to get your money up front (not contingent on the sale of the property), put it on the mls, and forget about you.

if you can say to yourself, “i know everything there is to know about this process and only need the mls to advertise to other realtors” then fine…

However, if you don’t know the contracts well, then don’t be too upset when 45 days after your contract is signed the buyers realtor helps them back out AND get their earnest money back because of a financing loophole or a little referred to time frame is not met. who are you going to blame? don’t look to your limited service buddy, he doesn’t care, he’s got your money already and you agreed in writing that he owes you nothing in the way of service, follow up, advice or opinion…

ask a friend or relative for a referral and
if you need professional services, be willing to pay for them, if not “doctor, heal thyself”

Tray Giddens, Realtor

Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Tim

Posted by Tim on July 29, 2003 at 22:33:24:

I have used a flat fee service and it worked great. MLS listings are all the same, why would I pay 3% when i can pay a ton less.

Re: your education - Posted by eric-fl

Posted by eric-fl on July 30, 2003 at 15:31:06:

Speaking as one agent to another - it would be nice if we lived in a perfect world and all agents who listed properties at full price also provided full service. You, and I, and most others on this board, also know this rarely happens. What I’ve always told people is, the real thing a real estate agent gets paid for is making the transaction comes together - making sure the deal “gels”. When I do have a buyer, or seller, it’s ME on the phone to the mortgage broker about the underwriting paperwork, it’s me who calls the title company to find out if they’ve gotten back the termite & survey in time, it’s me who goes over every item in the HUD-1 before closing to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises (at least not for my client).

As you can probably surmise, I don’t do much agent representation. Because, providing this of service, on the number of listings that would be required to make a decent (50k+) living at it, is nearly impossible. I can do it on a part-time basis, because I only do a few here or there, and with that little going on, I want to ensure that I get my commission check. Sure, you can hire assistants, but then you need to list even more so they can pay for themselves, and so on. It’s why I still work full time in I.T., even though I hate it - it’s not what I get paid in total, it’s what I get paid per hour worked. Most agents, don’t get paid all that much for each hour they work, AND they also offer shoddy service. Most agents do nothing but place the house in MLS anyway, so many savvy sellers correctly think, “why pay full price?” As someone who’s been both the agent, and the customer of other agents, I have to admit, I see their point.

Re: your education - Posted by Houserookie

Posted by Houserookie on July 30, 2003 at 09:09:35:


Here’s an alternative to a full service
and limited lister as you have described.

Why not hire a real estate attorney for $500 and list in the MLS for a flat fee. The attorney is much more qualified and licensed to practice real estate law while the MLS listing gets the message to other REALTORS.

You show the house and get a preapproval from the buyer.

Done deal.

Total cost $1500?

Re: Flat Fee MLS - Posted by Walter

Posted by Walter on July 29, 2003 at 22:37:04:

I agree, I buy and sell properties all over the country. I understand the importance of listing on the local MLS, but would prefer not to pay a listing commission. It works fine being an out of town seller, never had problems.