FLAT FEE REAL ESTATE

FLAT FEE REAL ESTATE

Selling a home is becoming increasingly expensive – yet For Sale By Owner homes (or FSBOs) are becoming less and less popular as a method of selling a home. Why? Real estate agents have a lot of specialized experience when it comes to selling homes. As a result, FSBO homes take longer to sell and sell for significantly less money. Flat fee real estate brokerages are becoming a popular option for homeowners looking to save money on their home sales without foregoing essential services.

What is a Flat Fee?

A flat fee is a fixed charge paid to a broker rather than a percentage-based commission. The term is frequently used to refer to the flat fees charged by real estate brokers for listing and selling property.

More Detailed Definition

A brokerage is a company that helps a buyer and seller complete a financial transaction. In real estate, the broker is appointed by the seller of the property, and the services provided include:

  • Property appraisal.
  • Real estate marketing.
  • Taking prospective buyers on property tours.
  • Providing agreed-upon services, such as closing.

In exchange, the broker receives a fee-based commission equal to a fixed percentage of the property’s selling price. The total fee could be as high as 6%.

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A flat-fee broker, also known as a discount broker, operates in a different manner, charging a fixed fee regardless of the final selling price. This fee could be less than half of what a full-service broker would charge.

While this is an appealing option, it is critical to understand that the services provided by a broker who charges a flat fee are not the same.

Flat Fee Real Estate Broker

The vast majority of homes are sold with the assistance of a real estate agent or broker, with For Sale By Owner transactions accounting for 7-11 percent of the market. Because agents are paid on commission, they are only paid when a home sells and are not paid until after settlement. That agent will put in a lot of effort for you.

The majority of agents charge a 6% commission.

This is typically split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. However, the full 6% is not split equally between the listing and buyer’s agents. The commission is split between the listing broker and the buyer’s agent’s broker.

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If you’re going to hire an agent, it’s a good idea to look into their background. If that agent has a stellar track record, it may be worthwhile to pay a premium, which essentially means paying full commission. Furthermore,

if you can’t find an agent with a good track record, try to negotiate the commission.

Reasons to Work with A Flat-Fee Real Estate Broker

Are Flat-Fee Real Estate Firms Beneficial?

More and more home sellers are debating whether they should forego the standard 6% real estate agent commission and look for something less expensive. For Sale by Owner (FSBO) is one option, but many people prefer to have some assistance in what can be a time-consuming and confusing process.

Sellers, rejoice! There is a relatively new alternative discount real estate option that is getting a lot of attention. Brokers who charge a flat fee.

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Flat-fee agents provide their services for a flat fee rather than a percentage of the home’s sale price, but is it worth it to the home seller to go this route rather than FSBO or a full-service agent paid on commission? We’ll give you seven reasons why a flat-fee real estate broker might be the best way to maximize your home investment return.

#1. Reduced Cost – What is a realtor’s commission?

The primary reason that home sellers prefer a flat-fee real estate service is that it can be significantly less expensive than a full-service REALTOR. While you will still be charged a fee, it will be a fraction of the 3-6 percent commission that you would otherwise pay to a realtor. Yes, selling your home on your own would save you even more money in commissions, but selling your home without access to the MLS is not recommended. Unless you have a serious buyer interested in your home, the MLS is where agents and buyers will find it. A flat-fee broker will provide you with MLS access, which is essentially what you’re paying them for.

#2. Reduced Commitment

You agree to certain terms and conditions when you hire a full-service real estate agent. You are bound by a contract until your home sells or you or your agent determine that the relationship is no longer in your best interests. However, with a flat-fee broker, once you pay the fee, you are free to travel whenever you want. If you choose the pay-per-day option, you will most likely be committed to only paying for the current month.

#3. Improved Sales Process

Regardless of how much individual attention a REALTOR promises you, the truth is that you will be sharing that agent with others, sometimes dozens of others. You are completely at the mercy of their schedules. Even if you don’t share them with other home sellers, this is a red flag. Why don’t they take on multiple clients?

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#4. Cutting-Edge Technology

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) used to be a real estate agent’s golden ticket. Only real estate agents and brokers have access to the one piece of technology that both buyers and sellers want. They will also use technology to gather market data and perform analysis to help you price your home. This is an important service, but flat-fee real estate services now offer access to many of the same technologies.

#5. Adaptable Timetable

You are not bound to an agent’s schedule if you sell your home through a flat-fee real estate agency because you will be doing some or all of the home selling process yourself. You can schedule showings, open houses, and closings on your own time. Also, you can devote as much or as little time and effort to the process as you desire or are able.

#6. Greater Control with Flat Fee MLS

One of the most appealing aspects of flat-fee pricing is that it gives home sellers more control over the entire selling process. When you sell your home on your own or with limited agent support, you make your own rules, from pricing your home and scheduling showings to deciding if you want an open house and negotiating a deal and inspections.

Flat Fee Real Estate Brokerage

You’ve probably heard the phrase “flat fee brokerage.” A flat fee brokerage bridges the gap between exorbitant real estate fees and homeowners in need of assistance. They offer scalable services to clients, allowing them to save money while still receiving expert advice. Here is everything you need to know about flat fee real estate setup.

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What a Flat Fee Brokerage Entails

What exactly is a real estate flat fee? To answer this, you must first understand how real estate works in the past. Fees for both the listing agent and the buyer agent are typically paid for by the home seller, and typical fees for each agent are around 3% (or 6% of the home’s value). That’s a total of $36,000 for a $600,000 home. Instead, flat fee real estate brokerages list homes for a set price that covers all of their basic costs. While some brokerages may charge this fee upfront, Houwzer charges it only when the home sells.

What Is the Process of Flat Fee Real Estate?

So, what should the cost of a flat fee listing be? Our listing fee at Houwzer is only $5,000, which covers the costs of professional photography and video, MLS listing, signage, open houses, and so on. Because homeowners are pleased with their listing experience, they frequently go on to buy homes with us, which is how Houwzer makes the majority of its money.

We provide all of the services and support you truly require when selling your home – this is not a discount service or a flat fee MLS listing. By providing listing services at a reasonable price, we are recalibrating the real estate industry.

How to Choose the Best Flat Fee Real Estate Broker in Your Area

Did you know that approximately 75% of people will choose the first real estate agent they contact? Choosing the right agent to sell your home is critical, and there are a lot of them out there with little training and experience.

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Before you agree to sell with your agent, make the following checks:

#1. Reviews of flat-fee brokerage firms.

It’s now easier than ever to double-check an agent’s and brokerage’s reputation, thanks to the internet. Do their clients have positive things to say about them? Houwzer, for example, has an average rating of 4.9 stars based on hundreds of reviews left across multiple major platforms.

#2. Relevant work experience

Has your agent previously worked in your area? Have they sold similar homes to yours? The real estate market moves quickly, so having someone on your side who understands the local market is essential.

#3. Listing expertise.

Did you know that many real estate agents prefer to buy homes rather than sell them? As a result, you could have an agent who is technically very successful but rarely works on the sell-side. It is advantageous to work with an agent who specializes in listings and has a thorough understanding of home listing protocol, the market, negotiation tactics, and other factors.

Finally, don’t be afraid to interview several real estate agents. Consider it a job interview: the job is to sell your home quickly and for a fair price.

Should I Use a Flat Fee Real Estate Agent? 

There’s no reason to be concerned about flat-fee brokerages. They are, in fact, assisting in bringing the costs of real estate transactions back into line with reality. Brokerages can and should take advantage of the cost-cutting measures provided by the internet and pass the savings on to the consumer. As always, homeowners should conduct due diligence and research any brokerage and agent with whom they are doing business to ensure they are the right fit for the job.

The Pros and Cons of Flat Fee Brokers

You want to sell your home in the Seattle area. You’ve probably seen advertisements for flat-rate or free listings as opposed to standard real estate commissions.

In the real estate market, we have arrived at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Real estate sales are changing as a result of technological advancements. Buyers can search for homes online. Marketing is less difficult. Buyers no longer have access to listings, photos, details, historical values, and other vital information about the homes on the market. Most of this information is now available through a few smart online searches.

Flat Fee Real Estate Agent

A flat-fee real estate broker is one who will sell your home for a fixed dollar amount rather than the standard 2.5-3 percent listing fee. If you want to work with a flat-fee agent, we usually recommend a full-service brand that provides an experience similar to that of a traditional realtor. Top companies like Clever Real Estate and Houwzer can save you a lot of money without sacrificing service, as many of their competitors do.

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Most sellers should avoid working with flat-rate brands that have reduced or limited service. These companies typically have large service trade-offs, less hands-on support, and your experience may feel much more DIY. In most cases, you can get a better deal by using one of the discount brands we recommend in our guide to the best low commission brokers. Companies that provide reduced or limited service are only worth considering if you are an extremely experienced seller who is comfortable handling more (or even the majority) of the sale yourself.

Top flat-fee real estate companies that offer full service

Full-service Flat-fee brokers are the best option for most sellers because they provide a comparable (or even identical) experience to working with a traditional agent. You’ll have a dedicated agent who will provide all of the services you’d expect from a traditional realtor, but at a much lower cost.

#1. Clever Real Estate

Clever Real Estate is our top recommendation for sellers looking to save money on commissions for two reasons: savings and service quality. It charges a $3,000 flat fee on homes worth less than $350,000. Above that price point, you’ll pay a 1% listing fee, which is still a fraction of the traditional 2.5-3%. Clever is thus the most affordable nationwide brand that provides full service.

#2. Houwzer

As shown in the table below, Howuzer’s flat fee of $5,000 makes it a good option if you’re selling a higher-priced home. However, 1% commission brokers such as Clever offer better rates on homes under $500,000.

#3. Homie Real Estate

Homie’s flat listing fee of $3,500 is a significant saving, especially if you’re selling a high-value home. For example, compared to a traditional realtor, you could save up to $19,000 in listing fees on a $750,000 home. When it comes to service, however, there are significant trade-offs.

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#4. Help-U-Sell

Help-U-Sell can save you money in the right circumstances, but because it is a franchise, the service you receive will vary greatly between offices.

Fees typically range from $2,950 to $7,950 but are mostly determined by the value of your home. While Help-U-Sell advertises a flat fee, in reality, that fee generally increases as your house sells for more money. As a result, you’re likely to find a better deal with another discount brand.

#5. Assist-2-Sell

Assist-2-Sell is similar to Help-U-Sell and carries many of the same risks. It is also a franchise, which means that its fees and service quality vary depending on location.

Listing fees alone can cost up to $9,000, which is why we do not recommend Assist-2-Sell to most sellers. Plenty of competitors offer greater savings — and Assist-2-Sell’s business model may necessitate significant customer service sacrifices.

#6. Beycome

If you’re comfortable handling almost every aspect of the home selling process, such as staging, tours, and negotiations, Beycome provides the best value for money when compared to other limited flat-fee brokers.

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Beycome offers three pricing options, but we recommend only the $99 Basic Package and the $299 Enhanced Package. Both include an MLS listing, unlimited updates, free cancellation (with the exception of Georgia), and access to an open house scheduler. HDR photography, lockbox rental, and promotional materials are included in the Enhanced Package.

Conclusion

We always recommend comparing multiple options when working with a flat-fee broker or a traditional real estate agent. Choose 2-3 flat-fee brokerages that you believe might be a good fit for you and compare their offerings.

However, don’t believe that using a flat-fee broker is the only way to save money. You should also compare them to the services provided by traditional realtors or other local discount brokers. While a percentage-based commission is more likely, you may find that the overall savings are greater.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Flat Fee Deal?

A flat fee is a fixed charge paid to a broker rather than a percentage-based commission. The term is frequently used to refer to the flat fees charged by real estate brokers for listing and selling property.

What is Houzeo?

Houzeo is an online platform that allows homeowners to sell their homes without the use of traditional intermediaries.

Do buyers or sellers pay commission?

Who pays a real estate agent’s commission is where things get a little complicated. Typically, the fee is paid by the seller. The seller, on the other hand, usually includes the fee in the price of the home. As a result, the buyer ultimately pays the fee, albeit in a roundabout way.

What is a flat fee example?

A flat fee is when a lawyer charges a set, all-inclusive fee. Lawyers usually charge flat fees for cases that are relatively simple or routine, such as drafting a will, obtaining an uncontested divorce, or resolving a traffic ticket.

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