What Level of Service Should I Expect from a Flat Fee MLS Listing?

It is important for sellers to realize that a Flat Fee MLS Listing (also know as a Flat Fee RLS Listing in NYC) is a DIY, ‘owner managed’ service. This means home sellers should not expect anywhere near the same level of service they would receive under a full service, full commission listing.

With that said, an Agent Assisted FSBO (Flat Fee MLS) service offers a seller the same level of exposure to buyers as they would via a traditional full commission listing by having their home advertised in the RLS Broker Database, StreetEasy, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and many other major real estate websites all at once.

The Agent Assisted FSBO listing service is a highly effective option for sellers who are self-starters, proactive and ready, willing and able to invest time in the sale process.

What level of service should I expect from a Flat Fee MLS listing? Does it include phone support or free advice, or is it completely DIY?

However, selling Agent Assisted FSBO isn’t for everyone.

Listing via Agent Assisted FSBO is not a good idea If you’re unable or unwilling to do your own homework, short on time, lacking confidence and/or highly dependent on professional advice.

Table of Contents:

What Are a Seller's Responsibilities Under a Flat Fee MLS Listing?

As a seller utilizing an Agent Assisted FSBO (Flat Fee MLS) listing service, you will be responsible for:

An Agent Assisted FSBO seller in NYC is essentially responsible for all facets of the sale process with the exception of the online advertising / syndication of the listing.

It is important for sellers to realize that a Flat Fee MLS Listing listing is an ‘owner managed’ option. This means home sellers should not expect anywhere near the same level of service they would receive under a full service, full commission listing.

The level of success you can expect as an Agent Assisted FSBO seller is highly dependent on the following factors:

  • Your willingness to invest time into learning how the sale process works

  • Correctly pricing your property and producing adequate marketing materials (description, professional photos, etc.)

  • Being persistent (but not overzealous) with interested buyers and buyer brokers

  • The overall quality of your soft-skills and negotiating prowess

  • How responsive and available you are throughout the sale process

  • Your ability to keep a level head when hiccups arise during the sale process

  • The quality of your real estate attorney

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Is Phone Support Included With a Flat Fee MLS Listing?

No. Agent Assisted FSBO Sellers must acknowledge and fully understand that there is no phone support of any kind implicitly or explicitly promised by the terms of the limited service Flat Fee MLS listing agreement they have signed.

Excerpt From a Standard Listing Agreement:

“Broker’s sole obligations under this Agreement in connection with the marketing of the Listed Property shall be limited to listing same on the MLS (or RLS and/or any other broker database at the sole discretion of the Broker) along with affiliated internet sites, and maintaining it until home is sold and closed out in the respective broker database(s) and 3rd party sites, or until listing has expired or has been cancelled.”

Any deal specific questions in any format directed towards Hauseit will not be answered unless a client purchases phone support or a broker consulting package.

With that said, there are a wealth of free DIY resources including hundreds of highly detailed articles on how the sale process works on Hauseit’s blog and over 500 videos on Hauseit’s YouTube Channel.

You are also welcome to read the large number of previously asked and answered questions in Hauseit’s Customer Support Forum. If there is a topic we haven’t covered, simply post the question in Hauseit’s Forum and someone from the team or the real estate community will get back to you. Agent Assisted FSBO customers can also direct questions to their real estate attorney.

How to Handle Inquiries From Buyers and Buyer Brokers

Knowing how to handle inquiries from buyers and buyer brokers is an essential part of the skill set required for success as an Agent Assisted FSBO seller. The most important thing you must do is to respond to all inquiries in a timely manner.

NYC real estate is a momentum-driven exercise. Buyers and buyer agents are not used to waiting days for answers to basic questions or confirmation of a showing request. They simply don’t care if you’re in the Hamptons for the weekend or if you can’t show during the day because you’re at work until 7pm Monday to Friday.

After all, the majority of other listings on the market are being handled by full-service agents whose job is to be highly responsive and make properties available to show as quickly as possible, without delays or excuses.

Just remember that as an Agent Assisted FSBO seller there are simply no excuses for being slow or unresponsive to interested buyers and buyer agents. If you’re traveling for work or away on vacation, the same rule applies: there are no excuses. Any time you spend out of the city and unavailable during the sale process will harm your progress relative to other listings on the market.

As a reminder, all email, text message and voicemail inquiries pertaining to your listing will be forwarded to the email address you designate when submitting your listing details. We utilize automatic server-level forwarding rules to ensure rapid and automatic transmission of inquiries directly to your email.

In addition to our automatic inquiry forwarding technology, our front desk team conducts routine manual checks to ensure that no inquiry is missed. During business hours, our front desk personnel will also send you a text message notification to alert you whenever a new listing inquiry is forwarded to your email.

Once you receive an inquiry, please respond directly to the interested party. Read this guide to learn how to handle yourself in the rare instance you’re solicited by a broker who reaches out under the (false) pretense of having a buyer.

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Why Is Hauseit so Strict on Setting Customer Expectations?

Setting clear expectations allows us to keep the cost of the service as low as possible. Being transparent with what’s included (and what is not) also ensures that we offer same, equal level of service to all of our customers.

In a city like NYC full of aggressive, “Type A” personality working professionals, you are bound to meet some extremely demanding customers who are never satisfied and always want more value than they’ve paid for (Learn more: Why Agents Won’t Do A Flat-Fee MLS Listing in NYC).

Therefore, in order for us to continue serving the wider NYC home buyer and seller community, we must be firm in setting expectations with the occasional customer of this type. That means a reality check in terms of expectations for 24/7 help, service, free advice and phone support.

All Hauseit Assisted FSBO customers must acknowledge the following terms of service as part of the onboarding process:

Acknowledgment of Terms of Service

You understand and acknowledge that:

  • The flat fee you’ve paid upfront is non-refundable, regardless of whether you elect to utilize the full 180 day listing term.

  • You’ve purchased a Flat Fee Listing, and it does not come with email or phone support from Hauseit.

  • In order to make this service economical and low cost for consumers, we are unable to make exceptions and provide free advice, email support and phone calls of any type.

  • If you would like additional help, you agree to consult your real estate attorney, upgrade to 1% Full Service or purchase a Flat Fee Phone Support or Professional Broker Consulting package here.

  • You agree to submit all updates, edits or changes to your listing by submitting a Listing Update Ticket.

  • Updates requested through any other means, including by emailing or calling Hauseit directly or by replying to an existing support ticket, will not be answered.

  • Update requests are processed within 1 business day, between 9am to 5pm ET, Monday through Friday.

  • Listing update requests submitted after business hours or over the weekend will not be read or processed until we are back in the office.

  • You will not email or call your listing broker, nor will your listing broker respond to any emails or phone calls from you.

  • You will not send test inquiries on your listing.

  • We make reasonable efforts to relay messages and inquiries within a commercially reasonable amount of time during regular business hours, as defined by us.

  • A typical home spends in excess of four months on the market before going into contract; therefore, it is unreasonable to expect inquiries and offers right after listing.

  • Pricing your home too high, not ordering professional photography or not having a floorplan will hurt your chances of selling and significantly reduce the volume of inquiries you will receive.

I have read, understand and agree to the above as well as the Terms and Conditions listed on Hauseit’s website, which are available here.

Furthermore, I have a full understanding of how the Assisted FSBO service works, including the limited scope of service, and I have read the Assisted FSBO FAQ and product overview which is available here.

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Is Using a Flat Fee MLS Listing a Good Idea for Me?

Using a Flat Fee MLS Listing is a good idea if you’re ready, willing and able to do the following:

  • Learn the intricacies of the sale process in NYC, including how to handle listing inquiries, how to negotiate, how to to prepare a board application and how to prepare a deal sheet.

  • Effectively show your property and answer questions from interested parties without being overbearing, too aggressive or simply off-putting to buyers and brokers.

  • Keep a level head while negotiating and juggling multiple inquiries of interest from buyers and buyer agents.

  • Work through the bureaucracy of your managing agent to secure board approval for your buyer.

Using a Flat Fee MLS Listing is a bad idea if any of the following statements describe you:

  • You aren’t available on most weekends for open houses, and you’re rarely available during the day to accommodate private showing requests.

  • You’re not interested in calling back buyers and buyer brokers and following-up with leads on a consistent basis.

  • You’re easily prone to lose your patience while scheduling appointments or become compromised emotionally during negotiations.

  • You don’t have time to read our materials or learn how the sale process works and you wish to speak with customer service to have everything explained to you.

  • You simply don’t like interacting with buyer agents or any real estate agents.

  • You aren’t interested in offering a buyer agent commission.

  • You’re simply not comfortable in a sales role.

A Full Service Listing for 1%

Sell your home with a traditional full service listing for just one percent commission.

Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided. Hauseit LLC is a Licensed Real Estate Broker, licensed to do business in New York under license number 10991232340. Principal Office: 148 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013.

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