Is Flat Fee MLS a good deal for New York consumers?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 10:32AM

By: Bret McArthur

Flat Rate Realty Network®  is a leading Flat Fee MLS Listing provider.

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At Flat Rate Realty Network®, we offer 3 versions of flat fee MLS listings. A "traditional" flat fee MLS listing, a "tradition flat fee MLS listing with contract-to-close representation" and "a hybrid flat fee MLS listing with contract-to-close".

Which flat fee MLS program is best for you? It is simple and worth your time to understand the reasons why we offer 3 levels of service.

Our “traditional" flat fee MLS listing is called MLS Express and costs $349. You will be “self-represented" and all "buyer leads" belong to you. This one sentence explains it all! A longer definition would be that you would be responsible to negotiate all offers with Realtors® and unrepresented buyers. You would be handling about 60% of the incoming calls from Realtors® and we would handle all the buyer inquiries. All leads that we receive are transcribed into an email and forwarded to you from 8:00am-8:00pm 7 days a week...This includes Saturday and Sunday. Most by owners understand this traditional type of flat fee listing except for 3 points of significant concern. First, no seller contact information is allowed in, just the listing broker. It is imperative that you implicitly trust that your flat fee MLS New York broker will answer their phone and forward all emails and calls that come from sources such as Second, 40% of the Realtors® that see your MLS listing will not call you even though it says in the MLS under Realtor® remarks to "call Seller directly for all showings." Because they don't read these remarks carefully, they often call your flat fee MLS broker. If your MLS listing broker is not reliable to answer their calls (as most Realtors® are not/full-service or flat fee) and help these lost Realtors® with showing instructions then the result will be a lost a showing. Third, the reputation of the flat rate MLS broker is significant. Flat Rate Realty Network® holds the highest reputation among New York Realtors® because all calls have been answered live 12 hours a day since 2005. Most flat fee MLS listing services in New York have dis-serviced Realtors®. Once dis-serviced, Realtors® remember these firms that have been non-responsive and may pass over that listing. Many of our listings at Flat Rate Realty Network® are Flat Rate Realty Network PLUS™ and Flat Rate Realty Network Success™. These two flat fee MLS listing plans comes with a service we call Agent Assure® where we take all calls, schedule all appointments, negotiate and close the deal. Therefore, Realtors® see Flat Rate Realty Network® as a "concierge" discount MLS broker. We are different from all other flat fee MLS business models. This creates an advantage for our sellers.

Our next level of flat fee MLS is "traditional with contract-to-close representation" added. Our program that offers this service is Flat Rate Realty Network PLUS™. There are 3 major differences that distinguish Flat Rate Realty Network PLUS™ from our MLS Flat Rate Realty Network® "traditional" (above). One, we negotiate all offers and close the deal. Two, all calls go through Flat Rate Realty Network® (seller's phone number held private) and we schedule all showings. Three, Street Smart Flat Rate Realty Network® Realtor® E-Blast is included, although you must offer at least a 4% buyer's agent commission. And lastly, Flat Rate Realty Network PLUS™ is inputted into the MLS as an "Excusive Right of Sale Listing" (same as full-service) and not "exclusive agency" which is how our MLS Flat Rate Realty Network® and all other flat fee MLS listings are inputted. The significant benefits of Flat Rate Realty Network PLUS™ are: I can often negotiate a better and higher deal than a "self-represented" seller; Our 8:00am-8:00pm concierge phone support gets more showings and presents itself as a more professional listing to outside Realtors®; And, having an Exclusive Right of Sale listing is a better presentation to buyer's agents. (cost Not Available)

The last level is our hybrid-flat fee MLS plan Flat Rate Realty Network Success™. The difference between Flat Rate Realty Network PLUS™ and Flat Rate Realty Network Success™ is the cost of the plan and how we handle buyer leads. With Flat Rate Realty Network Success™, our local agents work all buyer leads that come our way in an attempt sell your home. They earn the same buyer's agent commission that you are offering all agents. If you are offering 3%, that's what our agents would earn if they are successful selling your home. If another agent sells, then they earn this commission. Only one commission is paid, just like all our flat fee plans. The odds that one of our agents will sell your home are less than 5%. This is the reason why flat fee MLS is a good deal for the New York consumer because listing agents seldom have the buyer! Regardless of whether our agent or an outside agent has the buyer, you will receive contract-to-close service. ($699).

Flat fee MLS listings are a great deal for the New York consumer just as long as their flat fee broker delivers what's promised!