Should You Sell Your Maryland House with a Flat Fee Listing Service?

Homeowners have a choice when they decide to sell their home in Maryland. They can list with a REALTOR® who provides all the benefits of full service. They can sell “For Sale by Owner”. Or, their 3rd option is to use a “Flat Fee Listing Service.” Using such a service allows them to sell “For Sale by Owner” AND have their house entered into the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). That way, it shows up on Zillow and many of the other websites showing houses for sale in Maryland. But is using a “Flat Fee” service the best option for you?

If you plan to sell the house you own in Maryland, make sure you understand your various options so it doesn’t end up costing you more money than you expected. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of using a “Flat Fee” service.

What’s a flat fee service? A flat fee service charges a single fee to put your house in the MLS. You pay them upfront, you provide all the details about your house, you provide the pictures and video, they put it in the MLS, and the rest is up to you. They will not help you with anything else. You’re paying for data entry only. And if you don’t have any luck with selling your house? Sorry, there’s no refund. And if you then decide to list with a full service real estate brokerage because you feel like you’ll have better success? You’ll be paying a listing commission on top of the money you lost trying to “do it your way”

Top 3 Benefits of Using a Flat Fee Listing Service in Maryland

#1: The Potential to Save Money

The biggest benefit is: you would potentially, (notice I said potentially) save the commission you would pay to have your own seller’s agent. However, that does not mean you can totally avoid paying commission. Putting your house on the MLS means you will encounter buyer’s agents whose buyers are interested in your house. If one of those buyers wants to buy your house, you will need to pay their buyers agent a commission that is the same as commission rates in your area.

#2: Control Over the Sale of Your House

A second benefit is you get complete control over the entire sales process. You can “sell it your way” without anyone telling you what to do. You can choose your list price, do your own marketing, show your house and negotiate any contracts without having to get anyone’s approval.

#3: Your House Will be Found Online

The 3rd benefit is your house will be found in the MLS, and will then be syndicated to many of the real estate websites. This will give your house a lot of exposure online.

Top 3 Disadvantages of Using a Flat Fee Listing Service in Maryland

Of course, almost everything has its pros and cons. We’ve talked about the pros of using a “Flat Fee Listing Service. Now, let’s dig into the things you might not be aware of, those things that are the cons of using those types of services.

#1: Your House Could Sell for LESS

First, your house might not sell for as much money. I know, that sounds crazy. But it’s true! Full service REALTORS® have the training and experience to sell houses. They know how to help homeowners get their best deal, because they do things that you won’t know how to do or how to handle. There’s a lot more to do than just put a sign in the yard and have your house appear everywhere online. Those things alone will not get you top dollar.

#2: You’re On Your Own to Advertise Your House

The 2nd negative is a flat fee service won’t do any marketing. Sure, they’ll tell you they are marketing your house by putting it in the local MLS. But it stops there. You’re on your own with developing a marketing plan. You’re also be responsible for having your own professional listing photos taken and a video tour created. You’re on your own with social media advertising. You’re on your own with making flyers. There is zero incentive for a Flat Fee Listing Service to go above and beyond for you. They have already made their money.

#3: You’re More Likely to Get Sued

The 3rd negative is you won’t have any representation whatsoever, which increases the chances of you not getting top dollar and more importantly, increases your chances of getting sued. There will be no one to help you through the often-times stressful home inspection process, which can wreck the sale of your house. There won’t be anyone to meet with the appraiser, either. There won’t be anyone to review your contract and make sure it protects you, unless you hire a lawyer to review it. Which, will cost you money.

What’s the Best Solution?

What’s the right solution for you? Only you can decide that. Just realize that no matter which way you decide to sell your house, some things are better left to the professionals. There’s a reason why the majority of homeowners work with a full-time, full-service professional. Are you willing to gamble on what might be the most expensive financial transaction in your life? Are you willing to take the chance of getting sued because you overlooked or didn’t understand something?

woman with a secret

The TOP SECRETS Flat Fee Listing Services Don’t Want You to Know

Here’s what really happens when you do it yourself and a real estate agent has a buyer who wants to buy your house. Let’s say you used a Flat Fee Service to put your house in the MLS, because quite honestly, that’s the only thing they’ll do for you. Now, let’s say I’m working with a buyer who saw your house on Zillow or and wants to see your house. The first thing I’ll do is look up your listing in the MLS, I will not look it up anywhere else, because real estate agents rely on the MLS as the true source of facts. I’m going to read the information about your house in the MLS and look at the pictures. And I’m going to learn quite a bit about you just by doing that little bit of research.

Next, I’ll contact you about bringing my buyer to look at your house. And I’ll learn a lot more about you because you’ll be excited to potentially sell your house, and you’ll unknowingly tell me things I can use to get my buyers the best deal. I can legally do that because you don’t have an exclusive listing agent representing you. If my buyer wants to buy your house, I’ll then do some additional research to find out some other details. Then, I’ll use all the information I’ve gathered, things I’ll know that you have no idea I know, to help my buyer get the best on your house. I won’t care if it’s not the best deal for you. It’s actually to my, and my buyer’s advantage that you don’t have a REALTOR® in your corner.

I’ll write up the offer, my buyer will sign it, and I’ll give it to you. It will be a lot of pages, and you will be on your own to read through all the legal stuff and figure it out. Of course, I’ll make sure the offer protects my buyer, but it doesn’t matter to me if you don’t have the same protection just because you don’t understand something. I know all the ins and outs of writing an offer, negotiating an offer, and protecting my buyer from all the legalities.

??? DO YOU ???

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Couple Preparing to Sell their house in Maryland

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