Most home sellers don't realize just how expensive selling a home can be. Typical commission expenses total 6% of the home's closing price, which means thousands of dollars out of your pocket.
However, flat-fee realtors are cheaper alternatives that save sellers money, but can lead to fewer services and less support.
If you want to save on commission fees without sacrificing the quality of the service you receive, connect with Clever. Clever partners with top, full-service agents who will list your house for just $3,000 or 1% if it sells for over $350,000. This can save you up to 50% in typical home selling costs.
Get in touch with us to learn how a top agent from Clever can help.
To help you make your decision this guide includes the best flat-fee realtors in Houston and their pros and cons.
What are flat-fee realtors?
Flat-fee realtors are real estate agents or brokers who list houses for a flat fee. While a traditional listing agent will charge sellers 3% of the closing price, a flat-fee listing agent charges one price or based off a price bracket.
If your home sells above a certain threshold, the price you pay will increase. In some cases, flat-fee realtors will abandon the flat-fee model above certain price points and instead charge a percentage of the sale price (usually around 1%).
These realtors also may limit the services and support they provide sellers. For their most basic price, sellers may only receive an MLS listing and yard signage. If the homeowner is willing to pay more, they can receive additional help like having a realtor at showings and open houses.
Flat-Fee MLS Options in Houston
Home sellers looking to save the most money possible may be interested in flat-fee MLS options. Let's take a look at a few of them.
How Flat-Fee MLS Works
The multiple listing service (MLS) is a powerful home-marketing tool that realtors use to list and find homes for sale.
Generally, full-service realtors provide MLS listings to their clients as part of their service package. A flat-fee MLS broker charges sellers a flat fee to list their home on the MLS thus bypassing the traditional real estate agent and saving sellers money in commission fees.
However, by foregoing an agent, home sellers won't benefit from many services a traditional agent provides such as a comparative market analysis (CMA), marketing and staging advice, negotiation assistance, and general guidance throughout the complex home selling process.
- Reduce costs: Flat-fee MLS services are very affordable — sometimes less than $100 per listing. For comparison, a traditional listing agent will charge 3%.
- Poorer sales outcomes: Most homeowners don't have enough real estate experience to sell their homes on their own. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, homes sold without the assistance of an agent sell for about 25% less.
- No guidance: The home selling process can be complex and confusing. When selling with a flat-fee MLS service, you miss out on all the helpful guidance that a realtor can provide.
- Buyer's agent commission: Sellers often forget that even if they don't use a full-service agent, their buyer will. This means sellers will still be responsible for the buyer's agent's 3% commission.
Flat-Fee MLS Options in Houston
Flat-Fee Realtor Options in Houston
Sellers that want to save money on realtor commission while still benefiting from their services should look into flat-fee realtors. While no two flat-fee realtor agencies are the same, there are quite a few that offer a variety of services for a discounted price.
Texas Flat Fee Realtors
Texas Flat Fee Realtors is a flat-fee realtor company based in Friendswood, Texas. Their full-service agents will list and sell your home for a flat $2,995 fee if it closes for under $200,000. However, for every $100,000 over that threshold, they will charge an additional 1%.
How Texas Flat Fee Realtors Works
Texas Flat Fee Realtors has a team of full-service agents who will help you sell your home. Much of the work is conducted by the owner, Rob Roy, who is an award-winning realtor.
Sellers need only reach out to Rob Roy through his contact form to get connected with one of their realtors and begin the selling process.
- Reasonable fee: $2,995 is a fair price to pay for the services provided.
- Good track record: Rob Roy and his agents have sold homes in Texas for 30 years.
- Specialized in the local market: Texas Flat Fee Realtors are very knowledgeable about the Houston real estate markets.
- More expensive than other options: While the $2,995 flat fee is reasonable, the 1% increase for each additional $100,000 (over $200,000) means the service can get expensive quickly.
- Out of date tech: While there's a contact form on the Texas Flat Fee Realtors' website, it's not as tech savvy as other options.
Redefy pairs sellers with a team of realtors who will help them sell their home with a few flat fee options. The company currently operates in 63 U.S. metro areas.
How Redefy Works
The Redefy fee is split into three parts. First, you can pay a $500 retainer that covers marketing, staging, and an MLS listing. After you close on your home, you pay the remaining $3,000. Or you can list your home for a $2,500 upfront fee, which isn't refundable if the home doesn't sell. If your home sells for over $1 million, you will pay 1% of the closing price instead of the flat fee.
- Full-service: Sellers working with Redefy will be connected with a full-service agent.
- Good deal for houses above $350,000: If you are selling a home for between $350,000 and $1 million, Redefy is a very good deal. However, if you are selling for less than $350,000, there are more affordable options.
- Upfront costs: Many flat-fee realtor companies charge nothing upfront, but Redefy charges $500. If your home doesn't sell, or you decide to stop working with Redefy, you'll lose this money.
- Salaried agents: All of Redefy's agents are salaried, which means you aren't necessarily being connected with top local agents, but only ones employed directly by Redefy.
Xome has a unique selling model: they simultaneously connect you with an agent and work with you to put your home up for auction on the Xome Offer Marketplace. As of August 2019, Xome's services are free for sellers.
How Xome Works
Xome is more complex than most flat-flee real estate companies. You'll start by requesting to your home with Xome. Within one business day, Xome will contact you and begin marketing your home. They will list your home on the MLS, and work with you to put your home up for auction on the Xome Offer Marketplace. Your Xome Agent will guide you through negotiations and closing paperwork once you have an interested buyer.
- Free service: As of August 2019, sellers can list their home with Xome and benefit from full-service agents for free.
- Full-service: Xome connects sellers with full-service agents who will perform all the typical home selling tasks like a CMA, MLS listing, and negotiation assistance.
- Buyers need to pay to buy: Buyers need to pay a $1,000 non-refundable fee just to enter auctions. If the buyer finds the home on the MLS they will have to pay agents' commissions.
- Sellers will need to lower list prices: Since buyers pay the commission, which is highly unusual in real estate, sellers will likely need to lower their list prices to attract more buyers.
Clever connects sellers with top, local agents from major brands like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX for a flat fee of $3,000 for homes that close under $350,000. Sellers only pay 1% to list homes that close above this threshold.
How Clever Works
Sellers who fill out this form will be connected with a top-rated, local, full-service real estate agent. Their agent will competitively price the home, aggressively market it, and negotiate on the seller's behalf to quickly land a killer deal.
- Work with a top agent: Clever only partners with agents in the top 5% of their area.
- Low fees: You pay $3,000 to list a house under $350,000, and 1% for houses that close above that price.
- Get an offer fast: Sellers working with Clever receive offers within 12 days on average.
- Entice buyers with a great buyer agent commission: Clever Partner Agents offer a competitive commission to buyers, which helps bring more buyers to the negotiating table.
If you want to save thousands on commission fees and sell your home quickly connect with Clever for a free, no-obligation consultation to see how you can save you up to 50% in commissions.
FAQs About Flat-Fee Realtors in Houston
Can I put my house on MLS without a realtor?
Sellers that are listing their home without a realtor can pay for a flat-fee MLS service. This means that you'll pay a fee to a brokerage to have your home listed on the MLS. After your home is listed, you will not receive any further assistance.
How can I lower my Realtor commission?
Realtor commissions are always negotiable. You can either negotiate with your realtor or work with a flat-fee realtor.
Negotiating will not always work, but you stand the best chance of getting a deal if you can make a compelling argument. For example, if you're in a seller's market, you can argue that your realtor will need to do less work to sell your home, and thus doesn't need such a large commission.
Flat-fee realtors are also a great choice. A good flat-fee real estate agent will perform the same services as a traditional real estate agent for a fraction of the cost.
Do flat-fee MLS listings work?
If you are selling your home with a flat-fee MLS, that means you are selling “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO). FSBO listings have historically poor performance, and many FSBO sellers have trouble selling their home period, let alone for a fair price.
The real estate transaction process is complex, and it's generally best to work with a skilled professional if you want to have a successful home sale.
Do you need an MLS to sell your home?
You do not need an MLS to sell your home. However, most buyers and their agents use the MLS to find houses, so foregoing an MLS listing will drastically reduce your chances of success. While it's definitely possible to sell a home with an MLS listing, it is not recommended.