Four key elements that make “cheaper” listings more expensive
Be careful if you are tempted to try a website that is cheaper than our service. Flat Fee MLS is more expensive if you aren't successful—you don't save money. Here are some elements you do not receive with most other flat fee MLS websites, that substantially reduce your chances of success:
A listing that attracts, not repels buyers
A track record of success
Avoid listing in the wrong MLS
Stay away from the mistakes most flat fee sellers make
Likelihood of success at selling and closing.
It is well-established that agents are more motivated to show and sell our listings than other flat fee brokerages due to our agent-friendly approach to listing. Why is this important? Because agents represent nine out of ten (86%) buyers, and the agent chooses or greatly influences which properties those buyers will see. Agent UNfriendly listings repel agents and all the buyers they represent, making success unlikely.
A long established and consistent track record of satisfied customers
Using a flat fee MLS service without reading reviews is the worst mistake a home seller can make. Don't confuse customer reviews posted on a website where a complaint can appear with testimonials, which are on the company's own website and even the lowest rated websites display in an attempt to cover up their record of poor service. If you can't find reviews, be even more careful as there are flat fee brokers out there who regularly change their company and website names to distance themselves from bad reviews.
Guaranteed to be in the Right MLS used by buyer agents
Most flat fee websites promise to put your listing into “an MLS” not the MLS used by agents in your area (which we call the Right MLS). Being in the wrong MLS is equivalent to not being in the MLS as your listing will not be seen by a significant number of buyers in your area. It is nearly impossible for a consumer to figure out if they are in the Right MLS, you need to trust the brokerage, assuming they promise you will be in the Right MLS (which most do not). There are many, many home sellers who have tried to sell flat fee, had very little activity, then months later realized they were not in the Right MLS. When they complain, the flat fee MLS website explains that they never promised to put the listing in the Right MLS, only an MLS somewhere.
Understanding the complexity of the MLS listing.
The most common frame of mind in sellers who try flat fee and fail is the misconception “how hard could posting a listing be?” also known as “I just want the cheapest listing” or “a listing is a listing so I don't want to pay more.” These sellers fail to understand the counter intuitive and ambiguous nature of a successful MLS listing. They are flying blind and don't realize it. We recently had a seller who used one of the lowest rated brokerages, their property sat on the market for 6 months will little or no activity (in curiosity, we looked at the listing in just a couple of minutes counted 28 failed elements of being an agent-friendly listing—it was truly an agent UNfriendly listing). This seller listed at the same listing price with us, and as a result had an agent-friendly listing, and within the first week had mulitple offers and ended up selling for over list price.
To summarize, BE CAREFUL! The average flat fee MLS seller saves over $8,000, but sellers get into trouble and destroy their chances of success when they try to save an extra hundred or two dollars by choosing an inferior listing company. Flat fee home sellers don't save any money if they are not successful.