Question: How long does it take to do a flat fee listing?

April 9, 2009

hourglassRecently I’ve received many great questions through email about Flat Fee Listings that I’ll start answering here in this section. This is a question emailed to me from Cindy K. in Palm Harbor, FL. She’d like to know how long it takes to list her home in the MLS as a flat fee listing.

Here is what is entailed in a Flat Fee Listing. We’ll set up a convenient day and time to meet at your home. I’ll bring all of the paperwork, already filled out, which really amounts to a listing agreement, some addendums, and a seller disclosure. I’ll bring my wide-angle digital camera and a notepad to take notes about your property. You’ll then give me a brief tour of your home pointing out what you think are the strong selling points, such as improvements and remodeling. If there are roof leaks or problems that could materially effect the value of your home, now would be a good time to point these out too. A tour or preview of your home takes about 10 minutes.

We then will sit down and sign the listing paperwork. Set aside 20 minutes for this part of the meeting. So we’re at 30 minutes total so far. If you have questions or comments we could spend significantly longer.

After we have the paperwork completed I’ll need to take some quality digital photos of your home. This will take about 15 minutes. Having great photos is absolutely essential. You might notice that the majority of listings in MLS show only 1 or a few photos. This is a huge mistake and it gives potential buyers the impression the seller is hiding something. And sometimes they are.

Usually, I’ll snapĀ 100 to 150 photos and keep them in a file on my computer. MLS only allows 10 total photos to be displayed, but having up to 150 available allows me to pick the 10 most flattering images. Also, the Charles Rutenberg Realty web site allows up to 20 photos and I like to use all 20 slots if possible. They say a picture is worth $1,000 words…. And believe it or not I’ve sold many homes to buyers that never actually saw the home prior to closing. They relied upon my digital photos sent via email. This is another great reason to have a huge library of photos. Your home will be advertised on my home page too.

At this point we’ve spent 45 minutes together. We’re done with this stage. You’ll give me a check for the Flat Fee Listing, made out to “Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.” I’ll now leave and head back to the office to spend a few hours creating your listing. Before I leave I’ll give you a “Seller’s Real Property Disclosure” to fill out, on your own time, and possibly some other addendums to protect you from the possibility of litigious buyers. You can take a few days to fill these addendums out. When they’re done I will scan them and add them to your MLS listing so that buyer’s agents can download and print them for their buyers.

The next day or soon thereafter we’ll meet again for 5 minutes. I’ll put a lockbox on your door after you provide a spare key for the lockbox. I’ll give you a sign-in book for agents to sign when they show your home. The sign-in book will include a stack of listing flyers that you can use however you see fit. I suggest leaving a dozen in the sign-in book so you always have some available. You’ll hopefully have completed the Seller’s Real Property Disclsoure and I’ll take that away with me. If you haven’t – no problem. I’ll get it whenever you’re done.

When your check clears your listing will go live in the MLS. Immediately, with no delay, your home will be available to 1000’s of Realtors and their networks of buyers. You’ll want to make sure your home is ready to be shown at all times. The entire listing process takes about 2 hours out of your life, but will prove to be the smartest marketing decision you could make.

I hope this answers your question.

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