Today we will explore 7 common mistakes Sellers make when hiring a Realtor while covering both Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Services and Traditional Listing Services. An Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokerage allows the Seller to sell their home as For Sale By Owner (FSBO) without paying a real estate commission. This option also allows the Seller to offer a Buyers’ Agent the opportunity to procure a Buyer and earn a commission. A Seller utilizing a Traditional Real Estate Listing Service Brokerage is required to pay the entire commission regardless of who procures the Buyer.
When a Seller meets with a Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker or Realtor to discuss marketing the home, they will receive a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) and a sales pitch by the person who is trying to get the listing. A Realtor will present a CMA prepared with comparable properties (comps) they have selected via a search in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and has the option to omit comps they personally believe are not viable for myriad of reasons. It is important to note that comps provided via an MLS Comparative Market Analysis includes only listings that are incorporated into the MLS itself. Thousands upon thousands of homes are sold each year as a For Sale By Owner without having ever been entered into the MLS, and are thereby omitted from the CMA. Sellers must consider varying resources when determining a price point including options such as algorithms, appraisals, Realist, RPR and more.
Sellers must also consider the skillset of the person they are considering retaining to facilitate the sale of their home and should understand the difference between a Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker and Realtor.
Regardless of whether the Seller is utilizing an Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service or Traditional Listing Service, it is important to ask how many transactions has the Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker or Realtor actually sold within the last 6 months to a year. Assuming experience is one of the 7 common mistakes sellers make when hiring a Realtor. To be clear—there are thousands of real estate professionals that have been licensed for many years and have only sold a few properties throughout their entire career! Additionally, there are many Flat Fee MLS companies advertising MLS listing services when in fact they are a 3rd party entity that refers you to another brokerage without providing you the opportunity to research and talk to them! Most of these companies are not based in Ohio, require all communication to be via email and utilize 3rd party virtual assistants based outside the USA. Unlike reputable companies such as Ohio Broker Direct, many of these services prohibit you from communicating directly with the Broker that runs the company whether by email or phone conversation. It is imperative to select a company that has extensive knowledge about the ever-changing trends in the Ohio market place, and the Broker must be available to personally answer questions.
2. Who Works the Buyer Leads:
A Seller considering either an Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service or a Traditional Listing Service should ask how many transactions the Real Estate Agent, Broker or Realtor closed in which their Brokerage had both sides of the transaction. Traditional Listing Service Sellers need to know the person they have selected to represent them actively seeks buyers and is not a “list and sit” agent. A “list and sit” agent lists the property for sale and waits for someone else to procure the buyer rather than actively pursuing a buyer outside of placing the listing in the MLS, knowing they are going to receive a generous commission regardless of who procures the buyer. Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Sellers need to know the person they have selected is forwarding ALL leads to them directly to ensure they have an opportunity to procure a Buyer that is not represented by a licensed real estate professional. Many Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Services work the Buyer leads and earn a commission which greatly reduces the Sellers opportunity to sell it on their own. Unlike other Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Brokerages, Ohio Broker Direct has had millions of dollars in transactions close in which the Buyer lead was directed to the Seller and there were zero dollars in commissions paid at closing.
Traditional Real Estate Service Brokerages often charge up to 7% of the sales price and offer a specific percentage of that to the Brokerage that procures the Buyer. Did you know there are multiple class action suits against certain national and regional traditional real estate brokerages specifically addressing their handling of real estate commissions, policies and procedures associated with the sale of real estate? Here is a link to a previous blog that discusses how the lawsuits may impact you. The DOJ has sued the National Realtors Association (NAR) regarding their past policies and procedures which enabled certain bad behaviors resulting in certain members both intentionally or unintentionally misrepresenting their clients and/or customers best interests. Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokerages charge a flat fee to list the property in the MLS, however it is important to know that while some Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokers allow the Seller to choose the amount of commission they wish to offer a Buyer Brokerage (if any), others require the Seller to offer a certain percentage of often 3% of the sales price.
4. Hidden Back End Fees:
Most Traditional Listing Service Brokerages and Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokerages charge hidden fees for various services. For example: they will charge a “processing fee” at the time of closing which ranges from $250 to $750 and more just store documents. Ohio Broker Direct does not charge such a junk fee. Assuming there will be no hidden back end fees is yest another one of the 7 common mistakes sellers make when hiring a Realtor. To be clear, as Ohio law already requires the real estate brokerage to store documents for a certain number of years, this is simply another means of collecting additional money on top of the commission they have already charged the client or customer.
5. Additional Hidden Fees:
- While many Traditional Listing Real Estate Brokerage Services will extend your 6 month listing, they often will not agree to release you or allow you to cancel the listing prior to the expiration date. Some will allow you to cancel if you pay hundreds of dollars in cancellation fees. While Ohio Broker Direct does not charge any cancellation fees, many other Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokerages do charge a hefty fee, so it is important to verify policies.
- Professional real estate photography fees are often an additional expense incurred by the Seller regardless of the type of service they have chosen to use. Many Traditional Listing Services specify which company will take the pictures and will waive the fee if the property closes or credit the Seller the cost at closing, while others will agree to bear the cost regardless of whether it closes or not. Most Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokerages, such as Ohio Broker Direct, allow the Seller to either retain a professional photographer of their own choosing or take their own pictures.
- Open houses are often a bone of contention per se’ between Sellers and Traditional Listing Real Estate Brokerage Services. Many Traditional Real Estate Agents, Brokers or Realtors avoid hosting open houses as they often prefer to “list and sit” and wait for another agent to bring a buyer. Some Real Estate Agents, Brokers or Realtors lack the skillset to convert an open house visitor into a Buyer while others will agree to host only a certain number of open houses, (if any at all) during the listing period. Many Real Estate Agents, Brokers or Realtors assign the hosting of open houses to inexperienced agents to allow them the opportunity to procure Buyers for future sales and never personal host an open house on behalf of their Seller. This is truly a disservice to their client as the goal of an open house is to procure a Buyer in an expeditious manner, at the highest price with the best terms to meet the needs of the Seller. Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokerages will post as many open houses for the Seller as they wish, however while Ohio Broker Direct charges zero dollars to post as many open houses as the Seller wishes to have, some companies charge the Seller $25 to $50 each time they want to have an open house posted. In the interest of full disclosure, the same applies to any other changes such as price, pictures, remarks, etc.
A Seller who lists via an Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokerage has complete control of all scheduling, open houses, inspections, negotiations and timeline – less people involved expedites the sale! Additionally, 3rd party scheduling services, such as ‘showingtime’ (often used by Traditional Listing Services), do NOT vet the Buyer or their Agent – where-as you, the Seller, have every right to ask if the Buyer is pre-approved at or above List Price, verify their timeline for purchasing and whether or not they have a home to sell or any pending litigation (such as a divorce) which may cause a delay in the timeline to close. A Traditional Real Estate Brokerage Seller is subject to the convenience and schedule of the agent facilitating the listing.
7. References & Testimonials:
Most importantly regarding the 7 common mistakes sellers make when hiring a Realtor, whether you choose to list your home with a Traditional Real Estate Service or an Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Brokerage, you should reserve the right to request references and have the Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker and/or Realtor present you with a statement in writing agreeing to provide you with contact information for at least two previous clients that have sold within the past couple of months so you can converse about their experience and the quality of service offered! Additionally, you should take the time to review testimonials whether they are posted on the brokerage website, google, realtor.com, etc.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has also created a section on their website to provide Buyers and Sellers additional information about various brokerage services and availability in the market place.
Selling your home on your own without the assistance of a Traditional Real Estate Service will require both commitment and due diligence for which you may be rewarded by saving thousands of dollars in commissions. Maximizing marketing exposure is key. I have been in this industry for 4 decades, have SOLD well over a BILLION DOLLARS in Real Estate & Saved Sellers Millions of Dollars in Real Estate commissions. Please view the following links to view videos and learn more about how we can save you thousands of dollars in real estate commissions: For Sale By Owner Ohio Flat Fee MLS Listing options at Ohio Broker Direct will enhance your marketing exposure to ensure a more expeditious sale, yielding a higher price with better terms that suit your specific needs. Reach out to us directly, visit our blog page, or sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest information to ensure you have the knowledge to maximize your profit. We look forward to the opportunity to earn your business.
Joan Elflein, Brokers / Ohio Broker Direct
Ohio Broker Direct & its Brokers or Associates assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in this blog, we advise all participants engaged in the buying or selling of Real Estate to enlist the services of a Real Estate Attorney.