6 Tips For Success With Flat Fee MLS Listings In Florida
We’ve been providing flat fee MLS listings in Florida for years now. We assist hundreds of sellers every year with listing their houses on the local MLS without paying a 6% commission to a listing agent. Over the years, we’ve noticed some common mistakes that sellers fall into that limit their success when listing their house on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida. We’ve compiled 6 tips for success with flat fee MLS in Florida below.
Tip #1: Don’t Underestimate The Photos
A 2018 study performed by the National Association of REALTORS® Research Group found that 93% of home buyers are using online websites in their home search, and 87% of home buyers who searched for a home online found photos to be among the most useful features of websites. This means that it’s more important than ever before to have great photos of your property when you list on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida. Not only will high-quality photos get you more showings, but they’ll also help your house sell faster and for more money. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® recently released the following statistics:
- Homes with high-quality photography sell 32% faster.
- A home with one photo spends an average of 70 days on the market, but a home with 20 photos spends only 32 days on the market.
- For homes priced in the $200,000 to $1 million range, listings that include high-quality photography sell for $3,000-$11,000 more.
- Homes with drone photography included on the listing sell, on average, 68% faster than those without.
We always recommend that sellers have professional photos taken of their house before listing it on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida. Most real estate photographers charge $100-$300 depending on the options selected and the number of photos. It’s well worth the money considering you’re already saving thousands with flat fee MLS listings in Florida.
The MLS currently allows us to post up to 100 photos, so get as many as you can, depending on the size of the house, and opt for drone photography if possible. Getting photos of the surrounding area and community amenities can also be helpful.
Tip #2: Don’t Skimp On Commission
If you’re listing your house on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida, you’re probably trying to save as much money as possible on the sale. After all, no one likes paying a 6% commission, especially not fans of flat fee MLS in Florida. However, skimping on the commission for the buyer’s agent can hurt your sale.
One of the most common questions we get from sellers is “how much commission should I offer to a buyer’s agent when I list on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida?” We always recommend offering 2.5% – 3% commission so that your listing is as competitive as possible with all of the other listings on the MLS. Here is the commission breakdown of listings on the MLS at the time of writing:
- 53% of listings are offering a 3% commission
- 36% of listings are offering a 2.5% commission
- Only 11% of listings are offering a commission other than 3% or 2.5%
- Less than 1% of listings are offering a flat dollar amount instead of a percentage of the sale price
Since 89% of all listings on the MLS are offering 2.5% – 3% commission, your flat fee MLS listing will be most competitive if you offer a similar commission. You’re also much better off offering a commission as a percentage of the sale price instead of a flat dollar amount.
For our own flat fee MLS listings in Florida, we offer 2.5% commission on properties we feel will sell quickly (i.e. 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage, around the median sale price, in a desirable area), and we offer 3% commission on properties we feel will be more difficult to sell (i.e. fixer-uppers, bad locations, strange layouts, etc.). Whatever commission amount you decide to offer, you’ll have the best success with flat fee MLS in Florida if you offer a minimum of 2.5%.
A big mistake we often see sellers make is offering too low of a commission at first and then increasing the commission later on in an attempt to get the property sold. Commission changes on MLS listings are not featured or highlighted like changes to the list price. An agent will not know the commission was increased unless they specifically look for it. It’s best to offer a 2.5% – 3% commission from the start so that your listing does not become known as the weird flat fee MLS listing in Florida with the low commission.
Tip #3: Get The Pricing Right
The two biggest reasons that homes do not sell are price and condition, and houses that are priced right sell, regardless of condition. The #1 biggest mistake we see made by sellers who list on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida is pricing the property too high and not making regular price reductions. This is true whether you’re talking about flat fee MLS listings in Florida or listing with a traditional real estate agent.
It’s important to get the price right as quickly as possible. If a house sits on the market for too long, buyers will start to wonder what’s wrong with it, which can compound the problem. If you’re not getting showings, the house is probably priced too high for the market.
Signs Your House Is Overpriced
- You’re not getting any showings
- You’re not getting any offers
- Offers are all for much less than asking price
- Neighboring homes are selling, but yours is not
- Showing feedback says your home is overpriced (How do you get feedback? Scroll down to Tip #5!)
A house is only worth what someone will pay for it. It doesn’t matter what you paid for the house or how much you’ve spent on renovations and upgrades. It also does not matter what sites like Zillow say your house is worth. These computer algorithms are almost always wildly inaccurate. Holding out for what Zillow says your house is worth is a big mistake.
The “Right Buyer” Doesn’t Exist
Some sellers will hold out on making a price reduction because they are waiting for the “right buyer” to come along. This is another common mistake we see with sellers who use flat fee MLS listings in Florida. Even if an individual buyer did want to pay more than the rest of the market, he or she would need to be a cash buyer because any lender will require an appraisal of the property.
Don’t Fall For Gimmicky Marketing
No amount of marketing will sell an overpriced house. We have been asked by sellers to list their properties on different MLS that cover other areas, to list their property a different way or under a different category, or to sign up for gimmicky marketing services that send out email blasts to real estate agents. All of this is a waste of time and money, and none of it will sell an overpriced house.
So, what are the best practices for pricing flat fee MLS listings in Florida and getting your house sold in a reasonable amount of time?
Tips For Pricing Your House Correctly
Base your list price on what other houses have actually sold for, not what other houses are currently listed for. You can search for sold properties on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com. Pay attention to the square footage, lot size, and age of the home. Ignore the estimated values these websites provide. We can also send you a list of sold properties from your neighborhood that we get directly from the MLS. Just contact us with your property details.
Remove emotion from the equation and think like a buyer. How does your house objectively compare with other houses that have sold? What other houses are currently listed for sale that would be a better buy for potential buyers? Consider things like the age of the roof, age of the A/C system, layout, etc. If you have loud paint colors or other finishes that do not appeal to a broad audience, it may be worth doing some work on the house before listing it on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida.
Be prepared to make price reductions. Our most successful sellers know that regular price reductions keep their listings fresh and help them sell faster. Most experienced house flippers and other investors reduce the price by a set amount on a regular schedule. Price reductions result in more showings and buyer activity, not only because the price is lower and more attractive, but also because listings with recent price reductions are added to the MLS hotsheet and featured on public websites.
Understand that some houses take longer than others to sell. This is typical of luxury homes, unique homes, and other properties that vary significantly from the norm and median home sale price. The reason for this is that the pool of buyers who are interested in your home, or are able to afford your home, is much smaller. If you have one of these properties, don’t compare your days on market to the average. Instead, look for other unique homes and compare your days on market (and sale price) to theirs.
Tip #4: Don’t Waste Time And Money On Open Houses
Open houses are not nearly as effective as they used to be. In fact, only 4% of buyers visit open houses according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The internet has just about killed open houses. Most buyers are searching for properties online, narrowing down their choices and then contacting a real estate agent to show them the property on their own schedule. This is true for flat fee MLS listings in Florida and houses listed with traditional agents. Real estate agents themselves will admit that open houses are not effective in getting houses sold.
Why then, are open houses still a thing?
In part, because sellers demand them. Agents can more easily justify their 6% commission if they include open houses in their listing packages, and “open house” is still a buzzword that sellers hear and think is an effective tool for selling their house. How many people do you know who bought their home as a result of visiting an open house?
Sellers may not have much to gain from an open house, but there are benefits to real estate agents. Open houses can be a good source of new business. Agents will collect contact information from prospective buyers on a sign-in sheet. Chances are, the buyers who attend the open house are not going to be interested in that particular home, and may not even be qualified to buy at that time, but the agent can follow up with them and try to sell them something else at a later time.
Another reason to not hold open houses is the risk of being robbed. Criminals have been known to attend open houses in an attempt to steal small items like jewelry or prescription drugs, or even to scope the house for a future break-in.
Despite the ineffectiveness of open houses, many of our sellers who list on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida continually spend time and money hosting open houses weekend after weekend in hopes that the buyer they need will walk through the door. We’re happy to post the open house dates on the MLS, which then syndicates them to public websites like Realtor.com, but in all reality, open houses will probably have little to do with actually getting their house sold. Open houses have simply become irrelevant in the digital age and can be a huge waste of time for sellers, whether they use flat fee MLS in Florida or a traditional agent.
Tip #5: Take Advantage Of ShowingTime
When you list your property on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida, you want to make sure showings are as easy as possible for agents to schedule. A big mistake we see sellers make with flat fee MLS listings in Florida is having agents jump through hoops to schedule showings.
ShowingTime is an automated showing scheduling service. It streamlines the showing process and eliminates roadblocks, making it easy for agents to schedule showings, and convenient for you as the flat fee MLS in Florida seller to track showings and get feedback. It also verifies that the person scheduling the showing is a licensed real estate agent, so you don’t have to wonder if the person you’re giving access to your property is licensed or not.
When you use List Now Realty to list your property on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida, we include ShowingTime for free. It can be used for both vacant and occupied properties, but it works especially well for vacant properties on combo lockbox.
If your property is vacant with a combo lockbox, ShowingTime automatically verifies the agent’s identity, provides them with the lockbox code, and notifies you of the showing via text, email or the ShowingTime mobile app. After the showing, ShowingTime will automatically ask the agent for feedback and share that feedback with you.
If your property is occupied, ShowingTime will allow the agent to propose a date and time for a showing and will notify you via text, email, or the ShowingTime mobile app. Then, you can either confirm the showing, reject the showing, or propose a better time. Only after the date and time for the showing are confirmed by the seller will ShowingTime provide the agent with access information. After the showing, ShowingTime will automatically ask the agent for feedback and share that feedback with you.
If you haven’t done so already, contact us today and we’ll get ShowingTime set up for your flat fee MLS in Florida listing.
Tip #6: Choose An Experienced Real Estate Attorney Instead Of A Title Agent
As the seller in Florida, it’s customary for you to choose a title agent or real estate attorney and pay for their services. You’ll want to choose one sooner rather than later since you’ll need somewhere to send the contract once you reach an agreement with a buyer. It is important to note that having a title agent handle your closing is not the same as hiring an experienced real estate attorney.
There are a few important differences between a title agent and a real estate attorney.
- A title agent works for the title insurance company, not for you or the buyer. A real estate attorney works for whoever hires them – in this case, you.
- Only a real estate attorney has a law degree and can provide you with legal advice. A title agent cannot answer legal questions or give advice. They can only prepare basic paperwork and issue the title insurance policy.
- Problems often arise during a transaction that require the expertise of an attorney. These problems may involve drafting custom documents and recording them with official records in order to clear the title, or possibly something more serious. A title agent cannot assist in these situations and will have to refer you to an actual attorney. If you’re working with a real estate attorney, they can handle the issue in-house, oftentimes at no additional charge.
- Hiring a real estate attorney may not be as expensive as you think. If you do run into a problem that requires an attorney, you’ll most likely save money by dealing with a real estate attorney from the start.
For these reasons, we recommend that all of our sellers choose to work with a real estate attorney instead of a title agent.
Our preferred title company for flat fee MLS listings in Florida is Green Line Title, Inc. While not a law firm, Green Line Title, Inc. is wholly owned by attorneys licensed by the Florida Bar with over 40 years of experience. Their office is located in Tampa, but they can handle transactions anywhere in the State of Florida. Much like listing your property with us, everything is handled via phone and email, and they’ll send a mobile notary right to your home or business so you can sign the closing documents.
Some additional benefits of working with Green Line Title, Inc. include:
- Lowest closing fee guaranteed – potential to save hundreds
- Keep more of your proceeds in your pocket
- Experience providing mobile/remote closings making it convenient for you when needed
- Advanced and integrated closing software making it more efficient and secure
- Real-time access to your closing file to stay informed and check status
- Policies issued through The Fund and Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, established and trusted companies for decades
- Licensed Florida attorneys with combined experience of over 40 years working the file
- As attorneys, they can appear in court and take curative action other title companies cannot*
- Available for legal representation to review contracts and paperwork for your peace of mind on closings we are not handling
*Additional fees may apply
Flat fee MLS listings in Florida are a great way to sell your house while saving thousands on real estate commission. In our experience, sellers who use flat fee MLS in Florida have the best success by adhering to the 6 tips described above. If you have any questions about flat fee MLS in Florida or listing on the MLS for a flat fee in Florida, please do not hesitate to contact us. Or use the form below to get started on your flat fee MLS listing today!