Hiring a flat fee realtor might be a good option if your main priority is a transparent, upfront cost. Depending on the price of your house, a flat fee realtor can save you a lot of money over a traditional realtor.
Flat fee realtors charge a set price for services (usually a few thousand dollars) rather than a traditional commission (2.5–3% of the sale price). So basically, the higher the price of your home, the more you’ll potentially save with a flat fee realtor.
But flat fee realtors usually only offer limited services, which could mean losing out on a higher sale price for your house. If you want to save money and get good service, we recommend a full-service discount agent instead.
We recommend checking out Clever Real Estate. It matches you with top full-service agents in your area for only 1.5%. So you can save money and still get great service.
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Pros of a flat fee realtor
- Transparent overall cost
- Potential savings
- Control of the sales process
Cons of a flat fee realtor
- Hidden extra costs
- Potential lower selling price
- Limited services
- Possible liabilities
Advantages of hiring a flat fee realtor
Transparent overall cost: A flat fee realtor charges a fixed fee for their services. That set cost can help you estimate your profits and see your potential savings. And it can help you determine how much money to use as a down payment if you buy a new house.
Potential savings: A flat fee realtor can save you thousands on commissions. The higher your house’s sale price, the more you’ll save using a flat fee realtor. The price stays the same, no matter how much your home sells for. A traditional realtor charges a percentage, so the higher the sale price, the more you’ll pay.
Control of the sales process: Most flat fee realtors will only handle the basics of selling your house. So you’ll probably set the price, schedule showings, and conduct negotiations. If you’re experienced in real estate, this could be a good option.
Drawbacks of hiring a flat fee realtor
Hidden extra costs: Some flat fee realtors charge extra for basic things like photos, open houses, and yard signs. A traditional realtor usually includes these services as part of their package.
Potential lower selling price: A flat fee realtor might not offer all the services you need to get the best offer on your home. And because their fee doesn’t change with the sale price, there isn’t an extra incentive to sell the house for a higher price.
Limited services: Flat fee agents only offer basic services. You might have to do the tasks a listing agent usually handles, like photography, showings, and negotiations.
Potential liabilities: With a flat fee listing, you’ll do most of the work yourself. You’ll have to fill out the necessary paperwork, like the seller’s disclosure. So if you do it wrong, there could be legal consequences.
How much does a flat fee realtor cost?
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Flat fee realtor pricing depends on the service package and your location, but the cost is usually $2,000–5,000.
Because the costs vary, we recommend reaching out to locations and franchises near you for an exact quote.
How much do you save with a flat fee realtor?
You can potentially save thousands of dollars with a flat fee agent instead of a traditional agent. Here are a few examples to show how much you could save:
|Home sale price||Traditional commission (2.5–3%)||Flat fee||Potential savings|
The higher the price of the house, the more savings you’ll get. So if you have a lower-priced house, a traditional real estate agent is probably your best option. You’ll get better service for almost the same price.
Also, some flat fee realtors charge extra fees for basic services, so the flat fee might not actually be the full cost. And no matter which kind of agent you choose, you’ll still have to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission, typically 2.5–3% of the sale price.
What you get with a flat fee realtor
Flat fee realtors usually offer flat fee packages with different levels of services. You can pick a cheaper, limited service and do most of the work yourself, or a full-service flat fee agent who will do most of the work for you.
A full-service flat fee package typically includes:
- Open houses
Or you can opt for a cheaper flat fee package with fewer services. Most limited-service real estate agents offer several packages or a la carte options.
If you plan on doing most of the work yourself, a limited-service flat fee realtor might not be the best option. We recommend a flat fee MLS service instead. You pay a company to list your home on the multiple listing service (MLS), a database realtors use to find properties for sale. And it’s usually cheaper than a flat fee realtor.
Alternatives to a flat fee realtor
There are other ways to save money while selling your home that might fit your situation and budget better.
Flat fee realtor vs. discount agent
A discount agent provides the same services as a traditional agent but for a 1–2.5% commission rather than the traditional 2.5–3%. Discount agents usually offer better and more extensive services than flat fee realtors. And for small to medium-sized houses, their services are around the same price.
Discount agents still receive a commission, so they’re motivated to sell your home quickly for a higher price than a flat fee realtor.
If you’re considering a discount agent, check out Clever Real Estate. Clever can match you with a top local agent for just a 1.5% commission.
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Flat fee realtor vs. flat fee MLS
A flat fee MLS company charges a set price to put your home on the local MLS and syndicates it on popular real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia.
Flat fee MLS companies typically cost a few hundred dollars. They’re much cheaper than flat fee realtors but don’t offer nearly as many services. In fact, flat fee MLS companies don’t typically provide any services other than listing.
If you’re familiar with real estate and are comfortable handling the pricing, marketing, negotiation, and paperwork, a flat fee MLS company might work for you. And if you’re on a budget, it’s one of the cheapest ways to sell a house.
But selling your home without an agent means you can be held liable if something goes wrong. So this may not be the best choice for people without as much real estate experience.