Florida Flat Fee MLS listing service Trickery

Thursday, November 29, 2007, 6:41PM

By: Keith Gordon

Florida Flat Fee MLS listing service agreements…read the fine print or be held hostage!

Do Florida FSBO sellers really know what they are signing before they list their homes using a Florida flat fee MLS listing service? Where are their buyer leads going from Realtor.com, Homes.com and other websites that the flat rate MLS service receives? What penalties and contract terms is a seller being held to if they cancel the listing and go full service or with another flat fee MLS listing company?

Did you know that the Florida MLS listing service [removed] charges a $500 penalty to cancel an MLS listing with them? A flat rate MLS listing isn't a bank CD so why would [removed] do that? The answer is obvious if you are aware of their business practice with regard to buyer leads. Unlike ADDvantage™, [removed] takes all buyer leads for themselves. So if you cancel your listing, they lose a valuable stream of leads which is bad for them and hence, the cancellation fee. Also, if you end up listing through another real estate company, [removed] gets a 25% commission referral fee from the new real estate company if the home is sold within 6 months. The bottom line is they own at least a piece of you for 6 months.

Flat rate MLS Buyer Leads…where do they go?

So, if a Florida flat fee MLS listing service collects all of your buyer leads from Realtor.com, other internet sources and yard sign inquiries to then work them as their own buyer leads and earn the offered commission, how does a Florida seller listed via a flat rate broker find an unrepresented buyer to sell their flat fee listed home? They likely won't unless they find the buyer through a friend or other unlikely source. This seems to totally contradict the point of doing a flat rate MLS listing in the first place since one of the biggest advantages is to give sellers the opportunity to sell without paying a commission at all. The worst part is many flat rate or discount MLS companies like [removed] don't disclose how they deal with buyer leads in their listing agreement…so unless a seller calls them to ask that question ahead of time, they may be very unpleasantly surprised after initiating the flat fee MLS listing. At that point, it's too late and they are held to either a hefty cancellation fee or to stay with an MLS company who doesn't hand over their leads.

At ADDvantage™, the seller is in full control of their Florida flat fee MLS listing and can cancel at any time with NO PENALTIES WHATSOEVER. Also, at ADDvantage™, all buyer leads go to the seller—and we put that in writing. View ADDvantage™ Listing Agreements

“Free” Florida flat fee MLS listing service…what does it actually cost you?

What about those Florida websites offering a FREE Florida flat fee MLS listing? Where do the buyer leads go? Possibly to the flat rate MLS company's mortgage operation to pre-qualify these leads and then move them to affiliated or in-house Realtors® that in turn may or may not try to sell your home and take the offered commission.

Florida flat fee MLS sellers that list with ADDvantage™ get all buyer leads via ADDvantage's™ buyer lead capture system…guaranteed. If you have any doubt, call us on one of our flat fee listings and see if we advise you to contact the seller directly!

At ADDvantage™, a flat rate MLS listing means the seller is a “hybrid” For Sale By Owner, meaning that they are gaining the exposure of being in a Florida MLS while retaining the right to sell their Florida MLS property themselves and thus avoid paying the buyer's agent commission offered in the Florida MLS. This is called an Exclusive Agency or a Limited Service Listing Agreement. This means the Florida MLS seller is advertising in the Florida MLS so that Realtors® will bring buyers and work for the offered buyer's agent commission as stated in the Florida MLS. At the same time, the seller still has the right to sell the Florida property without an agent involved and pay no commission.

Seller Beware!

In a nut shell, many Florida flat rate MLS services are a sham. They either don't pass on buyer leads to their sellers or they offer little or poor phone support or they use your Florida FSBO as bait to attract buyer leads through the Internet (Realtor.com, etc.) and then use these buyers to suit their own needs.

ADDvantage™'s Florida flat fee MLS listing agreement is a bit lengthy but, the language is clear and says what the Florida flat fee MLS seller will receive from A-Z. It references the 9:00am-6:00pm 7 days a week live phone support and the fact that all buyer leads go directly to the seller. We're not afraid to say it because we stand by it 100%.

What ADDvantage™ offers Florida sellers is a true Florida flat fee MLS listing service with no strings attached. No hidden fees, no cancellation fees and no 25% referral commissions if you take your Florida property listing elsewhere. At ADDvantage™, we have confidence you will find great value in our service and ultimately it is our sellers' best interests that is our primary concern.

If you really read the fine print of many listing agreements from other Florida MLS listing services, you may find language that is clearly not in your best interest, but in the best interest of the Florida MLS company. If you don't read language in a listing agreement that clearly spells out the details of where buyer leads go and this is not clearly stated their website, then you can assume the Florida flat fee MLS listing company is cheating you out of your valuable unrepresented buyer leads.

These practices seem to be a clear contradiction to the concept of a “Florida Flat Fee MLS listing.” Wikipedia.org has the term “flat fee MLS” described rather clearly. 25% referral fees and $500 early withdraw penalties are not exactly what you'd expect from a clear cut flat fee MLS listing. These are commissions and fees (like the banking industry, or should we say bilking industry) that are being passed off as flat fee MLS listings.

The ADDvantage definition of an authentic Flat Fee MLS listing service

The ADDvantage™ definition of a Florida flat fee MLS listing service is as follows: All buyer leads from Internet and yard signs go to the unrepresented Florida FSBO seller in real time 9:00am-6:00pm, 7 days per week. At ADDvantage™, this means the Florida flat rate MLS seller gets the opportunity to talk with these unrepresented buyers and the possibility of selling their flat fee MLS listing with no commission involved. Hence the point behind listing flat fee in the MLS.

Keith Gordon, Broker for Florida ADDvantage™ says, “Florida flat fee MLS services are looking for profits in the wrong places. Making a profit in discount real estate requires patience and long term planning. Our business plan at ADDvantage™ does not include the use of gimmicks, hidden fees and other manipulative methods of trapping profit. We'd just rather earn it the hard way and the fair way. We believe that long term, our brand will benefit from client referrals and repeat business. We are betting on our investment in MLS listing software, referrals, new technology and websites that help separate our brand of Florida flat fee MLS from all the rest. The market in Florida is changing rapidly in the flat fee MLS arena. At ADDvantage™, we have mapped out a modest profit forecast for 2008. We are releasing our buyer website, Buyerskey.com, in 2008. BuyersKEY™ will be free to ADDvantage™ Florida clients. BuyersKey.com is all about helping the Florida MLS FSBO sellers reach more unrepresented buyers, thus saving money in commissions.”

Get the true-blue Florida Flat Fee MLS listing from ADDvantage™…where it's Real Estate By Your Rules!®

View ADDvantage flat rate MLS programs.