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The Pro’s and Con’s of Flat Fee Brokers

open house sign on lawn

You want to sell your Seattle area home. You’ve heard the ads for flat rate or free listings vs. standard real estate commissions.

We have entered a unique period of time in the real estate market. Technology is creating a different environment for real estate sales. Buyers can find homes online. Marketing is easier. Gone are the days of buyers not having access to listings, photos, details, historical values and other important facts and figures about the homes on the market. Today, most of this information is available with a few smart online searches.

Should you consider a flat fee real estate sale?

  • Are these flat fee real estate services legit opportunities for me to save money?
  • Will I be missing out on something by choosing a flat fee broker or service over hiring a typical broker who’ll charge a percent of the sale price?
  • Will my home sit on the market longer if I use a flat fee broker or service?
  • Do flat fee brokers do a good job marketing my home?

All flat fee brokers are not created equal.

There are real estate companies who claim they can list properties for free or for a discounted commision.There are flat fee brokers who advertise a 1% to 1.5% full service broker. Those services have many disclaimers. For example, most state there is a minimum commision and these fees only apply in “select markets”. Minimum commissions are not the same thing as a 1% listing.

Some companies advertise they’ll list your home for free with a few limited marketing services, like photography and basic online listing services. But, if you want pricing guidance, showings, help with negotiations, on site evaluation and assessment, staging or presentation recommendations, aerial photos and other common broker services, you’ll pay full commission of 2.5% to 3%.

Other companies who advertise free real estate listings are just glorified ways to get your FSBO (for sale by owner) home listed on public websites like Zillow and Trulia. If you are considering flat rate or free real estate services that will “list your home for free”, it’s basically just a way for to get your home additional visibility online on websites you (the owner) can already list your home on for free in a FSBO transaction. These free services will not provide brokerage assistance that most homeowners looking to sell need for a successful and stress free transaction.

Full commission brokers justify their fees.

Full commission brokers have lots of justification for their full price listings. They mention their valuable time and experience, the fact they have to pay taxes, split their earnings with the brokerage office, the costs associated with listing a home and of being an agent. They often cite the work they do that doesn’t result in a commision (i.e. showing homes to buyers that don’t end up buying). They reason the expense and time spent on these activities justify the full broker commision of 3% of the sale price of a home.

Why should you, the seller, have to pay the cost of doing business?

It’s true. Being a real estate broker carries expenses. Just as any business operation does. Businesses must price their services according to costs to remain profitable. That said, if your home is worth more than your neighbor, why should you bear the larger financial burden to help maintain your broker’s profitability?

VerraTerra is a full service flat fee broker with no strings.

Open house Seattle real estate sign.

VerraTerra, serving the greater Puget Sound area, charges 1% of the sale price or $6,000, whichever is less. Unlike many flat fee broker services, we aren’t advertising a “too good to be true” offer in an attempt to nickel and dime the seller into more services. We provide all traditional broker services homeowners need to successfully market and sell their home quickly.

Our sellers never pay VerraTerra more than $6,000 to list, market and sell their home. These costs are for the listing agent only. As is true in most seller transactions, the seller is responsible for providing a commission for the buyer’s agent.

We have decades of real estate experience in the Seattle area market. We provide attentive service to each customer. We use our expertise to offer guidance to our customers and help them sell their homes quickly for the highest value. We think this is the best way to do business.

We include all of the services listed below with each real estate listing:

Setup Services

  • Listing Published in NWMLS and syndicated to all major realty websites
  • Customizable For-Sale sign with flyer box
  • Key box lease for life of listing
  • Full color flyers
  • In-depth pricing and market analysis
  • Photography session
  • Online advertising
  • Unlimited client support and pre-listing consultation

Monthly Services

  • Unlimited color flyers per month as needed
  • Customer service for seller, prospective buyers and their agents
  • Generate and provide competition status reports
  • Showing feedback from agents/buyers
  • Renew online advertising as needed to ensure constant exposure
  • Monthly review of market/competition with seller to discuss pricing and/or marketing strategy

Closing Services

  • Review, analyze and negotiate all offers received
  • Manage the closing process and all parties involved to ensure a smooth-as-possible closing
  • Arrange for any repairs or maintenance items as needed prior to closing (costs billed to seller)
  • Coordinate with sellers/buyers/buyer’s agent on closing process, key exchange, etc.

What’s the bottom line?

As a home seller, you have more options now than ever before. You can choose to sell on your own, pay for discount real estate services that may or may not meet your needs, or hire a full service, flat rate broker, like VerraTerra.

To see how VerraTerra can help save you money, while providing all the real estate services you need to sell your Seattle area home quickly for the highest price, contact us today.