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Selling a home "For Sale by Owner" is when a homeowner lists their home for sale without the assistance of a real estate professional. While FSBO is an appealing option for some, a home seller needs to decide if they are up to the task! A home sale transaction is a tedious process that needs to be followed from start to finish in order to make sure the desired outcome of making it through closing is attained. Home sales are complex and time-consuming, but selling FSBO can be a viable option for experienced home sellers who are willing and able to put forth the time and effort it requires.
A Flat Fee MLS Service is essentially a FSBO, but one in which a home seller pays a fee to an MLS listing service in order to get the home marketed in the local MLS. In doing so, the home seller is able to cut out the listing agent's side of the commission therefore having to pay only one side of the commission to the buyer's agent for bringing the buyer to the sale. However, if the buyer has no agent representation, the seller could save seller side and buyer side commissions. The MLS is the primary resource Realtors use to gather information for potential buyers and without listing in the MLS a home seller severely impacts the likelihood a Realtor or buyer will see the home they are selling. In addition, sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia pull their data directly from local MLS databases further limiting the visibility of a home not listed in the MLS. Typically, the upfront fee is for the MLS listing only, however, some MLS listing services offer an "a la carte" menu or upgrade packages for supplementary services which can be extremely valuable in marketing and selling your home.
As the name suggests, a Limited Broker/Realtor provides limited services for a home seller. There is no industry standard for services provided nor on the pricing of supplemental services. Some may offer only a select few services, others may offer packages to choose from and a few may offer the sellers the freedom to pick and choose. This type of listing option may be ideal for experienced home sellers that only need help with a few tasks, however, they are not ideal for inexperienced home sellers or those that may have difficult homes to sell.
Discount Broker/Realtors offer partial services at a discounted rate and like Limited Service Broker/Realtors there is no industry standard as to what they offer and/or how their services are priced. As with Flat Fee and Limited service providers, Discount Broker/Realtors may offer a variety of "a la carte" and package services. Advertisements like "Sell Your Home for 1.5%" are typical discount Broker/Realtor ads, but please realize the 1.5% is just for the listing side of the transaction. A home seller would still need to account for the commission to the buyer's agent (typically 2.5-3%) for bringing the buyer to the sale. Thus, making the true commission on the sale to be in the neighborhood of 4-4.5% as compared to 6-7% for a Full-Service Broker/Realtor. Discount Broker/Realtors are volume based in order to make up for lost revenue so they usually have multiple listings which can result in slow response times to client concerns.
Full Service Broker/Realtors provide a full compliment of services at no additional charge. They will tour the home to provide feedback in order to help you prepare the home for market as well as discuss upgrades and issues (if any). They will use the information gathered during the home tour in combination with sales data from within the area to determine a suggested listing price. To be clear, they each have different strategies they implement with varying results so it is important to understand and discuss in detail their plan for marketing your home. Unlike the previously mentioned options, Full Service Broker/Realtors take on additional expenses with marketing typically being the highest of those expenses. Also, where other options may charge an upgrade fee for additional consultation time, all time spent with and for the home seller is included in the fees for a Full-Service Broker/Realtor. Some of the time related activities could include, but are not limited to, in person and phone conversations with the home seller, data research, marketing, paperwork, showing appointments, contacting attorneys/title companies/loan officers, conversations with prospective buyer agents, contract negotiations, media content scheduling & implementation, inspections, appraiser appointments and conversations with any relevant party to the transaction.