QUESTIONS (AND ANSWERS)
Is Your Service So Inexpensive?
Is Your Money-Back Guarantee and What Are Affiliated FSBO Realtors™ ?
I Have to Tell You When I Have A Contract or When I Have Sold My Home?
Sets the Commission a Buyer's Broker Can Get?
Do I Target Just Consumers, not Brokers?
Do I Get My Listing On Your Homepage and Picture on Your Gallery?
Should I Do with My FSBO Yard Sign?
I Get A Lawyer To Help Me?
Will Negotiate My Contract?
Are The FSBO Lawyers™?
Else Can I Save Expenses?
Must I Do When I Get an Offer?
Rules Am I Subject to When My Listing Goes on the MLS?
Won't Brokers Boycott Me?
Do I Pay For Your Service?
I Have a Featured Listing on Realtor.com?
You Take Credit Cards?
Don't You Use the Mails?
Don't You Advertise?
I Have a Personal Referral?
If I Move, What Happens Then?
Is An Exclusive Real Estate Listing?
Don't You Use Exclusive Listing Contracts Like Other FSBO Brokers Do?
I Have a Discount, I Spent Money on Ads?
Will My Phone Number Appear?
Will Realtor.com Show?
If I Need To Sell A House In Another State?
Will My Listing Be Available to the General Public?
Do I Get A Virtual Tour?
Will My Picture Appear?
Holds the Earnest Money Deposit?
That is simple. We don't
advertise and don't use the mails. Sure a lot of people never hear of our
service but for those who do it means saving hundreds if not thousands of
dollars. We don't agree with corporate America that our customers should
subsidize advertising costs.
Our Money-Back Guarantee
takes effect if for any reason, such as you have moved out of town, you
require a full-commission broker to do your showings. If circumstances arise
such that you need to list your home with a full-commission brokerage firm
the Guarantee comes into play. If we referred you to a full-commission
broker who is an Affiliated FSBO Realtor™ and he or she sells your home
then at the closing of your sale the commission earned by the Affiliated
FSBO Realtor™ will be reduced by the listing fee you paid us and
reimbursed to you. In effect your listing with us is totally risk-free. Many
have asked why we can do this. It is because we know our program works. Our
Affiliated FSBO Realtor™ network includes well-known real estate brokerage
firms throughout the country. You may use one of them or if you wish simply
pick one of your own choice and then let us make the referral for you. In
either event the Guarantee comes into effect.
Yes and Yes. The reason is
that the MLS Rules require both. And the MLS Rules also require that a
listing be changed when the contingency in a contract is satisfied. A
contingent contract is present in 99.99% of real estate contracts. Typical
contingencies are the receipt of a mortgage, your attorney's review and
approval of the contract, the sale of the buyer's home, a property
inspection, a 48-hour pre-closing inspection, or any other condition that
can allow the buyer to not proceed to closing. The MLS requires that all
such events be reported immediately or else there is an automatic
fine--AUTOMATIC--of $100 with further continuing penalties if the $100 is
not paid. The MLS Rules apply to everyone, every broker, every sales
agent, every realtor, every home seller...everyone. Compliance is simple:
just call us! We'll do the rest. For your information the MLS Rules are as
REPORTING CHANGES OF STATUS AND CONTINGENCIES: There shall be a fine
of $100.00 for failure to report contract pending, contingencies and
deletion of contingency flags, and change of status of a listing if
transferred to a different listing within 72 hours. Computer failure
shall not be an excuse for such failure. The 72 hour requirement shall
include weekends and holidays."
REPORTING PRICE CHANGES: There shall be a $100.00 fine for failure
to report a price change within 72 hours. Computer failure shall not
be an excuse for such failure. The 72-hour requirement shall include
weekends and holidays."
That is you. You tell
the brokers in our Property Profile what commission it is that they
will receive when their client buys your home. You set it. If you
want our advice it is there for the asking. But one thing is now
clear under the law. There is no such thing as a standard fee. That
would be price-fixing. You are thus free to set any commission you
wish. The only requirement is that the set commission is always
reduced by $200 in order to defray the listing agent's closing
expenses. Thus, if you set the buyer's broker commission at 2% and
in your case that would be equal to $8,400, the buyer's broker would
receive $8,200 at closing. Such allowances are customary.
If you put in our
Property Profile a commission less than 2% it will be hard to find
a broker who would be willing to show your property to his or her
client. Brokers are human and if he or she can earn $10,000 versus
$5,000 when the client buys a home guess which one the broker will
recommend. This of course is not appropriate behavior and in fact
it violates the law. A realtor stands in a fiduciary relationship
with his or her client and must always put the client's interest
ahead of his own. That means if he finds home that is perfect but
the commission is less he is still obligated to show it. Reality,
unfortunately, may be a different thing.
That is easy.
At the end of the Property Profile there are checkboxes to mark
if you want one or more of these services. You can also have
your own website linked to our homepage as a third service. The
fee for these services is $100 per service. If a broker brings
you the buyer, $100 is deducted from its commission for each
service at closing and credited to you so that you receive the
services for free. But since the amount involved is advanced by
you, it is included in your payment.
the brokerage world the term "fsbo" or "for
sale by owner" means that nobody gets a commission, not
the buyer's broker and not the listing broker. So if a broker
sees that sign you can be sure he or she won't come back. Thus
purely as a practical matter the continued use of your FSBO
sign can only adversely affect your chances of sale. Also up
until now the FSBO sign has really not done you alot of good,
even if the traffic patterns in your neighborhood means many
cars pass by your home. Otherwise you would not have visited
our site. That is a second reason why an FSBO sign makes
little further sense. So historically using an FSBO sign once
listed was almost never done. The third reason is the most
important: it can cost you THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS though you
don't know it now and won't be told until it is too late! That
is because many so-called "flat fee" brokers offer
you a "free" yard sign. But that yard sign
prominently displays THEIR COMPANY AND THEIR PHONE NUMBER.
There is a good reason why they do this. If a passer-by calls
them, they will bring that buyer to view your home. And if
that person in fact buys your home, that "flat-fee
broker" makes a killing--off of you! We are the only flat
fee broker in the country that absolutely and totally refuses
to play this game. We will never accept a fee from a buyer for
one of our flat fee listings. Don't be fooled by the
"free sign" trick: it is nothing but a gimmick, one
that can cost you like it has many others, THOUSANDS OF
DOLLARS. Buy yourself a "For Sale" sign at Ace or
Home Depot for $5 or $10 and put your own phone number on it.
The "free yard sign" will likely cost you alot more!
Lastly and on a purely theoretical legal basis an FSBO sign is
permitted even on listed properties. While the MLS regulations
are unclear on this we have discussed the issue with senior
MLS representatives who have told us that FSBO signs are
permitted but that due to our concern the MLS regulations will
be changed to make it clear! The key though is to remember:
you are listed. You are no longer "for sale by
owner." And that means you don't want to tell brokers
that you are. But that is exactly what an FSBO sign means.
Practically it should be avoided if at all possible.
This is the
easiest question you could ask. The purchase and sale of
real estate is an extremely complicated transaction
involving numerous laws, regulations and court decisions.
While there are tens of thousands of lawyers only a small
minority have the knowledge to adequately represent a buyer
of real estate. And far fewer have the knowledge to
represent a seller!! It is crucial that you have not only a
lawyer but a lawyer who specializes in this field. Just as
you would not go to a podiatrist for brain surgery you
should not hire a lawyer who is not a specialist in the real
estate industry. Did you know that many lawyers study to
become real estate brokers just to gain the knowledge and
experience that brokers have? The point is no matter how you
find your lawyer make sure he or she is highly qualified.
The stories are famous where unqualified lawyers have been
the cause of a failed closing. Don't let that happen to you.
Many of our clients have asked members of our staff to be
their lawyers. While we could do so we have made the
decision not to on the basis that it might theoretically be
construed to be a conflict of interest. But that does not
mean that we cannot help. At the insistence of our clients
we have established a carefully screened and monitored
network of the most knowledgeable real estate attorneys to
assist our clients. Our FSBO Lawyers™ will charge you fees
which we have negotiated to be below market. We monitor our
FSBO Lawyers™ very closely. And they know it!
is your lawyer--a knowledgable one. There are many issues
involved in negotating a contract. Some are obvious, some
are not. It is for the nuances that you need a lawyer.
What is the difference between a credit for costs and a
reduced purchase price? Are there any tax effects? What
kind of contingencies are acceptable in an offer? What
does the term "material" mean in the context of
a home inspection? What is the legal effect of an attorney
approval rider? Can the buyer's attorney ruin a deal by
demanding a lower price? What happens to the earnest money
deposit if a contract does not close? As a seller will I
get any of it? What is the effect of the earnest money
clause? Who holds the earnest money and why? Does the
holder of the earnest money owe me any special duties?
What is a quit claim deed? What is a warranty deed? How
should prorations be handled? And what the heck is a
proration? And what things are prorated? What is the
effect of a homeowner's exemption? Every sentence in a
real estate contract has legal significance. Most have
been litigated numerous times in the courts. Every one
must be analyzed in the negotiation process. There is only
one reason why trial attorneys make so much money. It is
because other lawyers have made mistakes in the planning
process!!! A thoroughly thought out and negotiated
contract will avoid that. GET A GOOD LAWYER. And if you
don't have one call us for an FSBOLawyer™ well before
closing. Don't do it yourself. And don't use your
whom we designate as an "FSBO Lawyer™ is on our
select list of recommended attorneys as a direct
consequence of meeting our stringent standards of
excellence and review. Every one of our FSBO Lawyers™
must meet the following requirements. One of our brokers
must have personally been involved with them in a
professional real estate relationship at three separate
times. Each must agree to a minimum reduction of 10% of
their standard fee when representing our clients. Each
must do at least 100 real estate closings a year. Each
must specialize in real estate with an emphasis on real
estate closings. Each must have been a practicing attorney
in the State of Illinois for at least 15 years. Each must
be in good standing with the State of Illinois. Each must
not be subject to any disciplinary commission proceedings,
inquiries or investigations. Most importantly: no attorney
remains an FSBO Attorney™ if a client has registered a
meritorious complaint with us as to the adequacy of the
representation. With us there is no "three strikes
and you're out" rule. With us there is a "one
strike and you're out" rule. That is why it is
considered a rare honor to be known in the legal community
as an FSBO Lawyer™.
FSBO Lawyer™ is just the start of how you can save
costs. We can and do recommend title companies, moving
companies and mortgage lenders. All have agreed to a
minimum cost reduction of $100 off their standardized
charges. When you call them just mention For Sale by Owner
Midwest. Then ask them to call us to confirm. The cost
savings will be there. And if you think they are not, make
sure to let us know. We take seriously those whom we refer
to our clients--and there are no exceptions!!
First of all
the MLS Rules mandate, without exception, that all offers
must go through the listing broker, who is us in your
case. While we will leave all negotiations and changes up
to you and your lawyer it is critically important that all
offers go through us. We will of course immediately
contact you with the offer and if the offer comes from a
broker direct the offering broker to present it to you
directly. But as a seller you are bound by the MLS Rules
and must comply. This is never a problem since all you
have to do is call us for information. That's what we're
subject to all rules and regualtions of the Multiple
Listing Service. Section 1.1 of the MLS Rules states as
follows: "SECTION 1.1. LISTINGS SUBJECT TO RULES AND
REGULATIONS OF THE SERVICE: Any listing taken on a
contract to be placed into the Multiple Listing Service is
subject to the Rules and Regulations of the Service upon
signature of the seller(s)." Thus, as a seller you
are bound by the MLS Rules and must comply. This is never
a problem since all you have to do is call us for
information. That's what we're here for.
illegal. They can go to jail for three years. It violates
the trust imposed upon them by clients. And they can lose
their license in a snap. Brokers are fiduciaries. They
must act in the best interests of their clients. If they
do not present your property and it is within their
client's wants their licenses are in jeopardy.
Furthermore, it is strictly against the law (which every
realtor and broker must study and understand to pass the
test required to become licensed). Every broker is free to
charge whatever he or she wants for the listing services
rendered. If a broker tells you he will not show FSBO
properties because he does not like them, he is telling
you that his office is engaged in price-fixing and group
boycotting. That violates United States Anti-Trust Laws
and there can be both civil and criminal penalties. HE
CAN GO TO JAIL FOR THREE YEARS. HE CAN BE FINED TREBLE
DAMAGES.If you even suspect this is happening just
keep his card and call us. We will refer the matter to the
Office of Banks and Real Estate ("OBRE") and if
appropriate to the United States Attorney for prosecution.
We would take any such threats very, very, very seriously.
(That is why we have heard of this happening only once).
The MLS Rules state as follows:
"SECTION 1.11. NO CONTROL OF COMMISSION RATES OR
FEES CHARGED BY SUBSCRIBERS:The Service shall not fix,
control, recommend, suggest, or maintain commission rates
or fees for services to be rendered by Shareholder Boards'
MLS Subscribers. Further, the Service shall not fix,
control, recommend, suggest or maintain the division of
commissions or fees between cooperating Shareholder
Boards' MLS Subscribers or between Shareholder Boards' MLS
Subscribers and non-subscribers."
If you even suspect someone of boycotting you, please
immediately contact us and OBRE! One of our links on our
home page is to the laws they administer. Another is to
U.S. Statutes. The Anti-Trust Laws are the Clayton Act and
the Sherman Act. We are fully aware and knowledgable about
their impact on the brokerage community. And so is every
other broker and realtor. Want to read more on this topic.Here
is an informed article on this exact topic.It should
have been entitled "Don't Tread On Me!"
MasterCard and Visa. We also accept checks or cash if your
Property Profile is delivered to us in person or by
overnight delivery service. Payment is credited only after
your listing appears on the Multiple Listing Service.
is the premiere FSBO listing site on the Internet. All MLS
listings appear there and are available for viewing and
research by members of the general public. You do not have
to be a broker to search that database. This is why all of
our listings are included there (plus many other places).
Your listing thus includes at no extra cost a two or three
sentence description of your home and one picture. But now your Realtor.com
listing can be far more beneficial. Now you can have six photographs of your home (interior and exterior). And the
description of your home can be as long and detailed as
you want--2,500 character limitation. As if this were not enough your
home is classified and highlighted as a
"Showcased" home. The cost is just $199. If you
want to increase your chances of eliminating all brokerage
commissions it is highly advantageous to be featured
prominently on Realtor.com. Many of our clients feel that
the chance to save not only 50% but 100% of their
brokerage fees is worth the $199. They figure that perhaps
saving $10,000 by paying $199 is a bargain. And remember,
your premium "Showcase" listing lasts until your
home is sold.
MasterCard or Visa. No foreign accounts or corporate
is exorbitant. The cost of xeroxing is exorbitant. The
time involved to prepare mailings is exorbitant. We
prefer to pass all cost savings on to our clients. And
is a big money item in today's world. If we were to
start advertising we would have to charge hundreds of
dollars more than we do, in line with our competition.
That would not be fair to you. We know there are people
who will wind up paying more for the services we offer
but there is not alot we can do about it if we want to
keep our fees as low as they are. But since over 50% of
our business is referral we hope to keep the unhappy
people to an absolute minimum.
only on two conditions. We obtain the approval of the
client first and you agree to accept a reference call
from a stranger as well.
simple. You will have to obtain a full-service broker
who can show your property. And we will not act in
that capacity. We will not let our FSBO service bring
us full-service clients. We have, however, assembled a
national broker-network and would be happy to bring
you a qualified professional. All have been
pre-screened by us and are part of our Affiliated FSBO
Broker™ network. They have all agreed to do a free
market analysis for our clients.
is an agreement where the broker obtains a commission
no matter who sells the home, you, he or another
unfair and creates conflicts. Let's say you move. Then
you sell your home. Since the broker has an exclusive
agreement he will still be entitled to a fee and could
actually take you to court if you refused to pay. Or
else for you to get out of the contract he will
require compensation, like a percentage of your sales
price. That is grossly unfair but unfortunately the
way many of our competitors do business.
all of our customers have. One of our purposes is to
avoid such advertising costs (hundreds per week)
through a one-time payment. Your discount is our
will appear in the MLS databank accessible by brokers
when the data you provided in the Property Profile is
submitted. But a homeowner's phone number is not
permitted to be included on non-broker accessible
sites under the MLS Rules. The information on consumer
sites will be available to the general public in a day
or two after the MLS receives your data. We also
frequently receive calls from brokers and individuals
despite your contact information being available. In
such cases we immediately forward them to you. The
reason we do this is simple. We want you to sell your
home. Then you too will hopefully send us referrals:
over 50% of our business is referral business--and it
is growing every day.
you choose to be featured as discussed above, your
Realtor.com listing will contain only the basic
information that those who own Realtor.com permit. The
six-line write-up you prepare and all of the other
data in the Property Profile is sent to the MLS. But
neither the MLS nor any broker has control over what
Realtor.com does with it. And clearly they take a
whole lot of information and water it down
significantly. We have no control over what they do.
call us. We have assembled a nationwide team of top
professionals to assist you.
instant we submit the information on your Property
Profile to the MLS it is accessible to brokers. On
numerous occasions we have received calls even before
we could notify our client of the listing number. The
information is posted on the public sites after the
MLS has had a chance to review it. This takes a day or
company is a subscriber to the MLSNI recommended
virtual tour company. That means you can get a virtual
tour of your home included with your listing. There
are two types of virtual tours available. One
puts your virtual tour on the MLS. The cost is $100. The second includes
your virtual tour on the MLS as well as
www.realtor.com and other sites. The cost is $150. Both virtual tours include four
virtual shots and one still shot. We can also link
your virtual tour to our own home page as an
alternative to linking your own website to our
homepage. For $200 we can get you additional photos
takes approximately one day after it is submitted.
Real estate laws and regulations require that this be held by the listing broker
in a fiduciary capacity. The earnest money must be held in a non-interest bearing account. If the contract falls through
it is returned to the buyer. Otherwise it is used at the closing to pay a portion of the sales price to the
homeowner or to offset all or a portion of the costs and fees attributable to the sale.
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