Anyone sold their own home? Or used a flat-fee MLS service?

Discussion in 'Real Estate General Discussions' started by woodyb, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. woodyb

    woodyb New Member

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    Hello, longtime lurker, first-time poster.

    My wife and I are probably selling our upper-beaches bungalow in spring 2009, and we recoil at the thought of paying 5-7% commission. On the other hand, there is some comfort in handing the whole process over to an agent; furthermore when you sell on your own or use a flat-rate MLS don't you have to often pay the buyer's agent's fee anyway?

    I'm thus curious and anxious to hear any forumers' experiences with selling (or buying) their house without a full-service agent.

    I am not an agent or otherwise connected to the real estate industry. And I'm not particularly interested in responses here from people who are connected to the industry with vested interests.
     
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  2. yyzer

    yyzer Senior Member

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    Good disclaimer, welcome to the forum

    regarding commission, I don't think anyone charges more than 5% max these days...
     
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  3. gei

    gei Active Member

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    This reminds me of that "how realtors help" commercial. Basically they show a guy trying to sell his own house. And for some bewildering reason the guy is very annoyed when people come to view his house, because it is inconveniencing him. Therefore the commercial suggests you get a realtor.

    Now I'm not sure if that commercial was some work of satire. But I assume it's real. And it just shows you how stupid and pointless realtors are. The best argument they can come up with for using their services is that you may be stepping out of the shower when someone comes to view your home.

    I say try it yourself. What do you have to lose? Worst case, if you find you are having a hard time, just find yourself a realtor then... they are a dime a dozen these days... I'm sure you could talk them into a reduced commission.
     
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  4. ArcticS

    ArcticS New Member

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    I had thought the only way to get on MLS was if you used a realtor.

    Any idea what the flat fees are for it?
     
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  5. woodyb

    woodyb New Member

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    Here's an example of one package I found:

    http://www.ihsrealty.com/mlsPackageDetails.php?pkgID=1194

    It's $500 but also 1% at closing, so not a true flat-fee, I guess. I'm also assuming that if a buyer's agent is involved, you'd have to pay them (2% or thereabouts?). In which case it doesn't amount to a huge saving over the traditional route.

    The other option is to sell on your own, without listing on MLS (MLS requires an agent). I'm sure in the coming years this will be increasingly common. But right now I think that not listing on MLS cuts you off from the vast majority of buyers. And I assume that many of the buyers who do seek off-MLS are looking for a cut in the selling price precisely because there are no agents involved. So again, until the whole system changes, the benefits of going without an agent seem compromised.

    I wholeheartedly agree that those Real Estate Agent ads are the worst. It's partly because of the intelligence-insulting premise of the whole profession that I'm tempted to sell without it. It's a matter of principle, not just money. I know my house and neighbourhood better than any agent.
     
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  6. jackiechandc

    jackiechandc New Member

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    I say why not try to sell yourself first and see how you do for a couple of weeks and see how you like it? There's a bunch of for sale by owner websites, but I don't think you can list on mls without an agent of some sort.
    You can easily negotiate down to about 3-4% total commission these days, so take your time and interview a bunch of agents.
    Good luck!
     
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  7. gei

    gei Active Member

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    Bingo. It blows my mind that realtors think they are more suited to sell MY house than I am.
     
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  8. cdr108

    cdr108 Senior Member

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    Well remember, whenever you read a RE listing and notice how flattering the property sounds. Then you go see it and reality hits ..... it's shitebox ! ! !

    $200/colourful positive exaggertive descriptive word = that'll be $1000 please :D (notice that some of them aren't real words ... lol)
     
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  9. rbt

    rbt Senior Member

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    Realtors are supposed to do two things:
    1) Marketing to get qualified buyers to the property
    2) Contract negotiation to cover your ass. IMO, this is the more important item.

    Finding residential agents who can put together a decent contract is rare. It seems a majority have difficulty creating a contract that is legally binding.

    If you do sell your property yourself or via a discount brokerage, be sure to have a lawyer review the agreement before signing it since you won't have a realtor you can sue for damages when something goes bad.
     
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  10. gei

    gei Active Member

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    obviously.

    even if you do use an agent you'd be foolish to NOT use a lawyer. Realtors don't seem like particularly intelligent people to me in general... having not necessarily gone through any real schooling. I don't see how they are qualified to create legally binding documents. You should always have a lawyer... realtor or not.
     
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  11. rbt

    rbt Senior Member

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    Everybody is qualified to create legally binding documents. Figuring out how to write a clause is pretty simple.

    99% of the content of the document will come from experience. That's why you don't use a residential real-estate lawyer to create a commercial real-estate agreement, or a commercial real-estate lawyer to review a condominium agreement.

    Anyway, my point is that a real-estate salesrep with sufficient experience is often more qualified to create an agreement than a lawyer. Why? They know the "what". A lawyer should review it to make sure the wording is tight but unless you know that such-and-such is a problem, you will not know to add it as a clause.

    Even in Toronto there are pockets of buildings where you want a clause for X situation but the lawyer in the downtown office building will not know that.

    This is doubly true in commercial real-estate. A very experienced real-estate will have 15 to 20 page prepared agreements for their area of expertise covering many situations a general commercial real-estate lawyer will not have thought of.

    Again, tightening wording is a job for the lawyer. Somebody, and typically not the lawyer (commercial lawyers often get advice from experienced commercial real-estate salesreps for advice on the "what" for agreements), needs to figure out the clauses that need to exist for the rare situations.


    You're obviously dealing with the wrong realtors. Assisting 2 or 3 strong investors build their retirement funds will also typically build the agents retirement fund but they'll also know how to work for it. Finding and managing properties that fit each investors specific tolerances and scenarios, running the numbers, and doing the background research on local economy, government planning, etc.


    I would like to see RECO would eliminate the "part-time" and floundering real-estate salesreps. Boost the annual licensing fees to $8000 or something and weed out the ones who aren't serious about their work.
     
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  12. ArcticS

    ArcticS New Member

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    Is there a way to find out recent sales figures for your area if you're not an agent? Often just looking on MLS to see what others are selling for isn't enough, and you want to know what recent comparables sold for.
     
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  13. rbt

    rbt Senior Member

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    Land Titles office records are all public and run by a public entity. There might be a nominal fee to find out the data you want but it is available. Track down properties which sold about 2 months ago and the closing price will be available.

    MLS is funded by agents -- they're certainly not going to help you out unless you have a contract with an agent.
     
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  14. woodyb

    woodyb New Member

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    "You can easily negotiate down to about 3-4% total commission these days"


    That's great to know - I didn't realize it was common to get agents down to 3% - how much would they typically be offering to the buying agent at that rate? If they don't offer enough I assume that scares off a lot of buying agents. What is the expected take for a buying agent? Or is everything up in the air and negotiable these days?


    I can live with 3%, since the house won't sell for more than 300K, I'm guessing.
     
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  15. gei

    gei Active Member

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    Realtors have access to this type of information. What I've done with friends is just go to some realtor and tell them you're considering selling your condo/house, and get them to give you a printout of units over the last year sold in your building (or houses on your street).

    Then just tell the realtor you've changed your mind or something. Just make sure to not sign anything with them.
     
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