Full Service Vs. Flat Fee Wilmington Realtor: Which Should I Choose to Sell My Home?

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 16 August 2017 09:46

If you’ve stumbled across this article, there’s a good chance you’re considering selling your Wilmington, NC, area home and are looking for the best way to save yourself some money in the process. As flat fee brokerages pop-up across the United States, we’re seeing more and more people curious about their services. After all, they advertise a considerable reduction in service fees and that can be very appealing to homeowners. So, we wanted to touch on some things to consider when choosing to go either the full service or flat fee route.

Full service REALTORS are the traditional real estate agents that many people are familiar with. Their job as listing agents are to list the home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), market the property, handle all paperwork, provide you with facts and sources for informed decisions, negotiate on your behalf, and make sure everything gets scheduled and completed in time for closing. Depending on the market, they may also be responsible for showing the home. In Wilmington, unless you’ve agreed to other arrangements prior to showings, listing agents are not usually present during showings as that is a responsibility usually maintained by the buyer’s agent.

Flat fee REALTORS are real estate agents that provide some basic services for – you guessed it! – a flat fee. Most often, this fee covers a Comparative Market Analysis for determining your listing price and entering the listing in the Multiple Listing Service, as well as pictures, flyers, a lockbox for buyer agent access, a real estate yard sign, and listing syndication to third-party websites (Realtor.com, Zillow, etc.). The Cape Fear REALTOR Association also has a showing service that most members use to schedule home showings, so the local flat fee REALTORS offer that too. That’s not standard for all real estate markets.

If you’ve been doing your research, you know that a property’s chance of selling increases dramatically when it’s in the MLS. Large third-party websites like Realtor.com and Zillow can increase your property’s visibility, as well. So, the services that flat fee REALTORS provide probably seem right on point with the needs you have for selling your home.

In full disclosure, we are full service REALTORS, but we believe there is a shoe for every foot. Flat fee may be exactly the route you should take or you may better benefit from a full service REALTOR. It all depends on if you can get past the extra services that a full service REALTOR provides, which include:

1. Advanced marketing services that improve visibility, like virtual tours, staging, and enhanced property listings on third-party websites

2. Advising you on public projects that may affect the sale of your home

3. Responding to all property inquiries from agents, buyers, and the general public

4. Negotiating offers

5. Negotiating repairs

6. Coordinating the closing with the attorney and buyer’s agent

7. Ordering contractor quotes and scheduling repairs, if needed

8. Following up with the buyer’s agent to make sure financing is secured, and all inspections and appraisals are completed in a timely manner

9. Reviewing the HUD settlement statement/Closing Disclosure forms

Basically, all of the extra services that utilize the REALTOR’s training and experience at their full potential, because listing the home is just part of a REALTOR’s job.

A flat fee REALTOR may be a practical choice for you if:

1. You’ve been through multiple real estate transactions

2. Have a history in the finance industry

3. Are planning to flip homes and learn best on a steep curve

4. Don’t need to sell or own your home free and clear

5. Need to sell, but can absolutely not afford the industry standard 3% commission

Just know that if the latter is the case and you aren’t experienced with real estate, you could be putting yourself into a worse position if anything should be found wrong with the home. Some flat fee REALTORS are good at providing their clients guidance on the selling process. Others are very hands-off. Just make sure you do your research and read reviews, and realize that they are charging you a flat fee, because you’re not paying for their complete representation. They’ll only be a resource for you to a certain extent and it’s important to have accurate expectations before entering into a service agreement with them.

In conclusion, if you’re feeling confident with your negotiating and research skills, and feel up to handling all the scheduling and repairs on top of your normal homeowner responsibilities, give flat fee a try. You’ll still have to hire a real estate attorney for the legal stuff, but you probably don’t want to be responsible for legal documents anyway.

Not entirely confident that you know everything that needs to be done once an offer is received or don’t want to deal with any extra stress while trying to prepare for a move? Try a full service REALTOR. If your home is in the greater Wilmington area, we would love to discuss with you the services that we provide as full service Wilmington REALTORS. You can always reach us at (910) 202-2546!

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Melanie Cameron

Melanie has been a professional, full-time Realtor since 1994 specializing in the marketing and selling of residential homes in Wilmington and surrounding areas. Melanie is a luxury home specialist, Global Luxury Properties Specialist, and Certified Short Sale Specialist. She has been a consistent Top Producer in the Coldwell Banker system and honored in the Coldwell Banker International Presidents Elite Circle for multiple years for her outstanding  production.  Melanie and her Team of professionals on The Cameron Team are ready, willing and able to handle all your real estate needs. 

A North Caroline native, Melanie moved to Wilmington from Chapel Hill where she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1994. Melanie is married to David Cameron and has twins, James and Maggie and 2 dogs, Max and Ruby.

Contact Melanie with any questions you may have about listing your home and owning real estate in the Greater Wilmington Area.




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