The pros and cons of flat fee MLS listings

In late October 2010, the Canadian Real Estate Association approved an agreement with the federal Competition Bureau that lets home sellers pay for only the services they want from a real estate agent. Currently, the vast majority of real estate sales are handled by full service agents who charge commissions ranging from 3-6% of the selling price. But now, Canadians can hire a Realtor to simply list their property on MLS (Multiple Listing Service) for a flat fee of a few hundred dollars.

Obviously, going this route can save money. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Flat fee advantages:

* You still get an MLS listing while saving tens of thousands of dollars!

* You retain control of the entire transaction.

* If you sell to a buyer who doesn't have a Realtor, you pay no commission.

* You can often cancel the listing at any time.

* Well suited to experienced sellers who can invest a lot of time.

Flat fee disadvantages:

* You have to determine a marketable selling price.

* You may have to photograph and measure your property for the MLS listing and put up your own sign.

* You have to take care of all the details, including staging the home; attracting buyers; qualifying buyers; scheduling appointments; showing the home; taking an offer; negotiating price and terms; writing the contract and disclosures; coordinating inspections, financing and title work; and keeping everything on track for closing.

* If you sell to a buyer with a Realtor, you'll probably have to pay a commission of a few thousand dollars.

* There's the worry that you may overlook some law or regulation.

* Chances are, unless you're a good marketer, your home will take longer to sell.

Of course, you can have the best of both worlds by choosing a Realtor who offers flat fee MLS listings, as well as additional services. This way, if you run into trouble, you can always purchase whatever extra services you need. As your mortgage expert, I can recommend a trusted local real estate professional who can best fit your needs. Talk to me today.

Your trusted mortgage advisor,

Jeff Kerwin


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