If you're considering selling your home, you might be wondering how you can save money on real estate agent commissions. Flat Fee Group is a flat-fee MLS service that gives sellers the ability to list their home on their local MLS, for a one-off, flat fee.
An affordable solution for homeowners who wish to sell their house as a FSBO (For Sale By Owner), Flat Fee Group can help you get your listing on the MLS, without directly dealing with an agent.
But is it worth it to give up the additional services of a traditional agent?
When selling your home, it's crucial to explore all available options — whether this means opting for a flat-fee MLS service, a traditional real estate agent, or a discount agent.
In the meantime, here's what you need to know about working with Flat Fee Group.
What is Flat Fee Group?
Flat Fee Group is a flat-fee MLS listing service that caters to sellers who want to list their home on their local MLS, without the personalized guidance of a real estate agent.
Flat Fee Group was established in 2003, and currently operates throughout the U.S., connecting independent, flat-fee real estate brokerages with sellers.
How does Flat Fee Group work?
Flat Fee Group connects sellers to independent flat-fee brokerage so that they can list their home on the local MLS. It does not list properties or perform services itself, but instead refers the listing out to a cooperating broker in the seller's area.
Flat Fee Group offers varying levels of service depending on the location of the property.
For example, one of their most basic packages available in Florida costs $179 and includes entry into the MLS, the ability to upload 6 photographs of your property, syndication to real estate websites such as realtor.com and Zillow, and a printable color flyer. This package does not include personalized support from an agent, and sellers are expected to handle all buyer tours and negotiations themselves.
Their packages gradually get more expensive and include additional services such as professional photography, eSign contracts, combination lockboxes, market analysis, and real estate agent support, among other things.
To list your home with Flat Fee Group, you simply go to their website and choose your location and the service you would like. You'll then be prompted to enter your payment details (you must pay upfront for the service regardless of whether your home sells) and complete an online form with your property details.
Once Flat Fee Group receives your property details and photographs, it typically takes around one to two business days for your listing to go live. Depending on the package you choose, your listing can last for six months, or up to two years.
What's Flat Fee Group's flat fee?
Flat Fee Groups rates vary, depending on your location and the type of listing you request. The more in depth the service, the more expensive the flat-fee is.
For example, in the state of Florida sellers can choose between four listing packages, the cheapest starting at $177, and rising to $277, $477 and $795 for the most expensive package.
In comparison, in California sellers can pick one of three listing packages. The cheapest is $399 and includes more than the basic Florida package, as sellers also receive signage and an electronic lockbox. The most expensive package available in California costs $699, plus 0.75% of the sales price, which on a California home of the 2019 median value of $548,700, would cost sellers $4,814.25.
It's important to note that Flat Fee Group's package prices do not include the commission for the buyer's agent. Sellers should offer buyer's agents a minimum of 2.5% of the total sales price, to encourage the most exposure possible. If no buyer's agent commission is offered, it is unlikely that your home will receive as many viewings and may take longer to sell.
Flat Fee Group Reviews
As Flat Fee Group refers their sellers out to independent flat-fee brokerages, it is difficult to find experiences of sellers who have dealt with them directly. They state on their website that their sales success rate is 100%, if sellers “follow their advice,” however this is difficult to verify without data available.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Flat Fee Group has an A+ rating, however the only review on their website is a one star review left by a real estate agent who used them to sell their own home, so it's likely to be biased.
What are the benefits of Flat Fee Group?
Flat Fee Group give homeowners a simple and straightforward way to list their home on their local MLS, for a one-off flat fee. The MLS is the most comprehensive and accurate database of real estate listings in the country, and is used by thousands of real estate agents every day.
Listing your home on the MLS can significantly increase its exposure, and your selling success.
When using a Flat Fee Group service, sellers have complete control during the whole sales process, including setting their list price, organizing home tours, liaising with buyers, and negotiating the sales terms.
If you are an experienced seller who is comfortable handling a sale solo, a flat-fee MLS listing offered by Flat Fee Group could work for you.
What are the drawbacks of Flat Fee Group?
Flat Fee Group offers telephone access to a real estate agent in their most expensive packages, however this is by no means a personalized listing experience. When listing with Flat Fee Group, sellers are expected to handle the majority of the sales transaction themselves, including organizing the showings, negotiating the sales price, and completing the purchase contract.
The price that you pay to use Flat Fee Group's service depends heavily on where your home is located, and you are required to pay upfront before your listing can go live. The listing fee is due whether you sell your home or not, and some listing terms are as short as six months.
Sellers should also note that Flat Fee Group works with independent flat-fee brokerages, so not all homeowners will have the same experience with their point of contact.
For example, on the FAQ's page for the state of California, Flat Fee Group states that their “silver” listing package has a success rate of 69%, in comparison on their Florida FAQ's page they state it is 100%, if sellers take their advice.
Top Alternatives to Flat Fee Group
If you're thinking about selling your home, but want to save on the 6% listing cost of traditional realtors, Clever Real Estate can help. Clever Real Estate has partnerships with over 1500 top-rated, flat-fee agents across the country. Clever Partner Agents are highly vetted and from some of the most successful real estate brands in the U.S.
Clever enables sellers to list their home for a flat fee of $3,000 if it's less than $350,000, or 1% if the home is more expensive while providing a personalized, full-service listing experience.
Top FAQs for People Considering Flat Fee Group
What is a flat-fee realtor?
A flat-fee realtor is a licensed real estate professional who will list your home for a one-off flat fee. This is in comparison to a traditional, full-service real estate agent, who typically charges 6% of the total sales price (and splits it with the buyer's agent).
Flat-fee realtors vary in the level of service they provide, with some simply placing your listing on the local MLS and leaving you to handle the rest of the sales transaction. Others provide a full-service listing experience for a flat-fee, and manage all aspects of the sales process on your behalf, including strategically pricing and marketing your home, conducting viewings, negotiating with buyers, and providing the contracts.
When researching sales options, it's crucial that you ask for a list of the services you will be provided with.
How do you get a flat-fee listing on MLS?
There are many ways that you can get a flat-fee listing on the MLS. If you simply want MLS entry and no further support, you can opt for a flat-fee MLS service, such as the one Flat Fee Group offers. However, if you'd like a full-service, flat-fee MLS entry you should choose a flat-fee realtor who will enter your listing in the MLS, while also handling the sales process for you.
Can you list your house on MLS without a realtor?
To access the MLS you have to have an agreement with a licensed real estate brokerage or agent. The MLS is for the exclusive use of real estate agents, however you can use a real estate agent to simply enter your listing and provide no further services.
Do realtors avoid flat-fee listings?
No, however it's important to note that if you want your home to receive as much exposure as possible, you should offer compensation to agents who bring their buyers to your home. Buyer's agents typically expect to be compensated a minimum of 2.5% of the total sales price.