Frequently Asked Questions About Flat Fee Brokerage in Omaha
Below are a list of the questions that many sellers have regarding
Flat Fee Brokerage and the plans offered on this site. Please feel free to
contact us directly if you have questions that are not addressed here or if you
need clarification on any of the questions below. Our contact info is at the
"Contact Us" link on the left navigation bar. We are happy to help!
The Flat Fee Process
How does Flat Fee Listing work?
Listing on the MLS for a flat fee is very similar to listing with a 6%-8% Realtor. You are just paying less money to get basically the same exposure. We are Realtors and a licensed broker. Your listing looks the same as all other listings. You can sell your property to someone not represented by an agent and NOT pay a buyer agent commission, however if an agent brings a buyer, that agent will need to be paid a commission. Flat Fee listing is a perfect option for For Sale By Owners and other property owners.
How Long does it take to get listed?
We normally have you listed within 1-2 business days after we receive the paperwork & photos in good order.
Do I need to hire a photographer?
Great photos are important! Many sellers are able to take quality photos by reading the photo section of the Selling Tips page. Using a good camera rather than a cellphone is essential. Usually a mid to high end pocket camera will suffice. If the photos do not turn out well or there is any doubt about whether the photos meet our guidelines, hiring a photographer would be a good strategy.
How do I pay for the service?
We get paid at closing, just like you do.
How long before I receive the sign and lock box?
We normally ship the same day we receive the paperwork and photos, so you will normally have them within 2 business days. We ship USPS.
What phone number goes on the sign?
You will receive a standard Berkshire Real Estate sign with the company's number on the sign. We suggest that sellers pick up a blank sign rider at Lowes, Home Depot or Menards that can be attached above or below the sign with their phone number on it. Most buyers know that the sign rider contains the phone number for the person that knows the listing.
Can I keep my "For Sale By Owner" sign?
No, it violates MLS rules and confuses agents. Once the house is on the MLS you are no longer a For Sale By Owner (though you can sell the house yourself and avoid paying a buyer's agent commission).
How do potential buyers contact me?
You may put your phone number on a sign rider. Advertising on Craigslist is another good way to drive buyer traffic to you.
Why doesn't everyone list their property with a flat fee?
Many sellers do use this option. Flat fee listing is best suited for experienced sellers that are detail oriented, since they take over many of the functions traditionally provided by real estate agents.
Our Showcase Plan is perfect for experienced sellers like retired real estate agents, attorneys and investors that are comfortable stepping into the real estate agent's shoes. Our Full Service Plan is the perfect option for sellers that would like to save money, yet leave much of the process to an experienced agent. Most sellers walk away with more cash at closing using our Full Service Plan. For more information see the "Which Plan is Best for Me" page.
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
Why do I need the MLS?
Listing on the MLS greatly increases your exposure. Roughly 90% of the buyers use an agent. Many of those buyers leave it up to their agent to search for homes, which means that any homes not on the MLS will get passed over. Those buyers that do look for their own homes often refer For Sale By Owner Properties to their agent who then contacts the owner and offers to show the house to their buyer in exchange for a commission. If you are willing to pay an agent a commission why not offer your home to ALL agents?
When will I receive my MLS number?
Your MLS number is generated at the time we list your property on the MLS. Once listed we will email you a link to your listing and your MLS number.
Will my phone number be on the MLS?
If you have enrolled in the Showcase plan, your contact info will be on the MLS for agents to email or call you if they have questions. Many agents prefer to communicate with the seller's agent and we will forward any communications received to you. With the Full Service plan, agents always work through us.
How do buyer agents know how much commission we are offering?
It is posted on the MLS for agents to see. They can't see what you are paying us though.
Can I personally list my property on the MLS without a Realtor?
No, only a licensed Realtor who is member of NAR (National Association of Realtors) and the local MLS board can list on the MLS. Our Flat Fee programs are a great way to get MLS exposure for very little money.
The Selling Process
Will buyer's agents be reluctant to show my property?
As long as you provide good quality photos and complete information, your listing will look like all other listings on the MLS. How much money you pay us to list your property is not posted on the MLS and agents are not concerned with how much you paid us, they are only concerned with how much money they will make. However, agents recognize that they have to do more work when they are working directly with the seller. They feel they are taking over duties that listing agents normally provide, that is why we pay them 3% on Showcase listings. Since we provide all services listing brokers typically provide on Full Service listings, agents will gladly show and sell them for 2.4%.
While some flat fee companies will allow low agent payouts, we have learned from our 20+ years experience in discount brokerage that is a recipe for failure. The whole purpose of flat fee brokerage is to expose your property to buyers agents and their clients. Agents do not like being underpaid anymore than you do. From our experience with other flat fee companies, most sellers that offered less than the recommended commission rates eventually raised them. But, they lost the "new on the market" impact that a new listing garners. Unlike some of our competitors, we are in business to sell your house not to collect a listing fee. Your success is vital to our success!
How will I get offers?
Agents will email us a copy and we will forward it to you.
Who handles the paperwork?
With the Showcase listing the seller handles the paperwork. However, in practice the buyer's agent and title company do much of the paperwork. If you have a Full Service listing we handle EVERYTHING including providing valuable advice and tough contract negotiation! See the "About Us" link for more information on our experience and qualifications.
Will I get feedback on the showings?
CSS, the showing service, automatically sends out a feedback request form to all agents that show your house. If the agent doesn't respond to the first request, a second feedback form and a third, if necessary, are sent to them. The form is designed to elicit the important feedback from the agent while keeping the process simple for them. In our experience, half of the agents ignore the form and the other half provide feedback only when they feel there is something to be noted. It is counter productive to push agents to provide feedback when they choose not to, so we do not call them for feedback and don't recommend that you do either. We will forward you all feedback that we receive.
Can I cancel the listing at anytime and list with another agent?
Yes, you may cancel your listing at anytime, unless it is under contract or in negotiation. There is a $250 cancellation fee if it has been listed less than 90 days. It is important that you give the market time to work and that takes at least 90 days. You always have the option to upgrade from a Showcase listing to a Full Service listing. We'll provide all the same services that the other companies do, we just don't charge as much.
Do we owe you any added fees at closing?
We never charge the infamous Broker Admin Fee or any other add-on broker fee. With the Showcase listing you only pay the flat fee. With a Full Service listing you would pay us a low commission of 1% (minimum of $1,000). If your house sold for over $300k the commission for that part between 300k and 600K is reduced to 0.5%. After 600k the commission is reduced to 0%. Maximum commission to us would be $4500 for houses selling for $600k and above. COMPARE THAT to the 6%-8% guys!!
About Berkshire Real Estate
How long have you been in business?
We have been selling real estate and pioneering the discount brokerage concept in the Omaha area for over 20 years.
What is your success rate?
When clients follow the instructions in the kit and listen to our suggestions, it is nearly 100%. The key to selling a home is to make buyers see your home as a good value, which includes pricing it right. Buyers are savvy and the appraisal process makes sure the buyer isn't over paying. If you list your home too high, it will most likely not sell.
What are your business hours?
Our normal business hours are 8 - 6 every day. However, we do check emails during non-business hours 7 days a week.
Discount commissions for sellers.
Cash rebates for buyers.