Flat Fee MLS Listings in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota,
Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington


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How does Congress Realty cover all of these states directly?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
June 21st, 2017

The first thing to keep in mind is that we don’t 3rd party anything out. What this means is that when you call Congress Realty and speak to Andrew or Donald… you are speaking to the person who will actually list your property. We do not refer it to another company or agent. Both myself and Donald are licensed in every state we operate and we are members of the MLS’s we cover directly. What this means is that if you call the Prescott Board of Realtors and ask to verify if Congress Realty is a member of their MLS… they will say yes. The same is true of Green Valley, Fort Worth, Austin, San Diego, Las Vegas, etc…

So how do we do it? Over the years, we simply have done the work to acquire a brokers license in every state that we operate. In addition, we have joined each of these MLS’s directly. This means that we have gone through the hoops and hurdles set forth by each MLS to acquire membership. This includes sitting through orientation classes required by MLS’s… amongst other requirements to obtain membership.

Why does this matter to the consumer? We are the direct source. You have one contact with Congress Realty. As a consumer myself, I always prefer to deal directly with the party that is performing the work and service that I have paid for. I don’t like the idea of paying one company but relying upon another company that I didn’t choose. Things go much more smoothly when the consumer is able to rely upon the company that they chose themselves.

California Coverage Expanding

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
May 5th, 2017

Our California coverage is expanding greatly. We have added multiple areas of the state in recent months and will be updating the site to reflect the coverage shortly. If you don’t see your county listed, give us a call. More than likely, we now cover it.

We have added coverage for most all of the southern part of the state. This includes San Bernadino County, LA County, Riverside County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Diego, Parts of Kern County and Santa Barbara. Towards the central/northern part of the state, we have added everything from Monterey all the way up through Santa Clara, through Napa and to Sonoma County. In addition, we had added everything east all the way through El Dorado County.

Adding directions and Remarks to your MLS listing

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
May 3rd, 2017

These are two common things that sellers leave off of their MLS listing documents that they return to our office.

What are remarks? The remarks field is where a seller can write their best marketing pitch. It’s a blank canvas where the owner can explain what upgrades, views, etc… separate their property from the competition. The remarks are limited by each MLS to a certain character count. This means that once we hit that character count, the MLS cuts off the remarks. Thus, you want to ensure you keep your remarks below the maximum character count allowed by the MLS. Typically, your MLS profile sheet will state what the max character count is for your MLS. If you don’t see this, shoot us an email or give us a call and we can tell you the information.

What does not go in the public remarks – Anything that doesn’t describe the property for sale. For example, phone #’s, URL’s, etc… do not go in the public remarks.

Directions – Why do I need these? Doesn’t everyone use their phone to find directions? The issue here is appearance. The goal of our listing program is to make your listing look just like any other listing in the MLS database. A typical 6% Realtor is going to include directions in their listing. Leaving directions blank makes the listing look different from the others.

Pick any major cross streets near the property and simply take the driver from those cross streets to the listed property. Try to draft your directions in a manner that allows the prospective buyer to see the most attractive part of your neighborhood. For example, if you live in a guard gated community, however, there is also a side entrance via a gate code… Send the buyer through the guard gate by posting directions to the property that require entrance through the guard.

Tips for using our new online sign up process

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
April 17th, 2017

A few tips to help make the online sign up process easy and quick:

  1. If you you own the property with another person, IE… husband/wife/partner/etc… for each owner, you will need to specify a sep email address. The reason being, each owner has to sign. In order to sign electronically, you need your own email address.
  2. If you want your listing to go up on a specific date and not asap, just shoot us an email at english@congressrealty.com and let us know the specific date you prefer. (otherwise, we will process the listing asap)
  3. If you don’t see an email from our server, check your junk mail/spam mail folder
  4. If you have any difficult with our forms and prefer to fill something out by hand, just call us or email us and we will send you a print ready version.
  5. Once all parties have signed the listing agreement, our server will then send you the profile sheet. The way the system is set up, all owners have to sign the listing agreement before the system will send out the profile doc.
  6. If you have any trouble with your photos, email them to info@congressrealty.com and we will handle these for you.
  7. When in doubt, give us a call and we can help expedite the process. Don’t spend too much time on one issue trying to resolve it on your own. Chances are, we can assist and fix the problem with a 1 minute phone call.

Flyers

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
April 4th, 2017

Are flyers needed for my listing? Where do I obtain flyers?

We can send you the client view from the MLS that can be utilized as a flyer or you can use the our listings portion of our website to print a flyer in mass quantities. (at no cost) The important thing to keep in mind is that the MLS will not allow anyone to use the Agent Detailed version of the MLS as a flyer. The reason being… the MLS wants to protect private information from being leaked to the public. Examples of private information would be gate codes, alarm codes, etc…

Benefit of flyers today in 2017:

The thing to keep in mind is that 99% of home buyers are using smart phones. When I drive by a property myself and want to know additional information about the property, I simply type in the address and go to Zillow, Redfin, etc… where I can view the price, countless photos, etc… I can’t remember the last time I even looked for a flyer at a property myself. As more and more people become comfortable with technology, flyers are becoming less and less useful. A well done flyer might contain 3-4 photos…whereas, I can scroll through a 100 HD photos right on my phone while sitting outside of a property.

I think their can be a slight benefit to putting something in the hand of certain home buyers. Something they can feel and touch… but that benefit is incredibly small.

 

How does someone contact me… the seller?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
March 14th, 2017

# 1 question we get when people call to inquire about listing a property with Congress Realty

The MLS listing has the seller phone # listed directly and instructs the other agent to call the seller directly at their phone #. It’s pretty much impossible for an agent to miss the seller phone # in the listing.

3rd party websites are a different story. Please keep in mind that this is true for ALL Listing companies. This is not specific to just Congress Realty. 3rd party websites like Realtor.com will not display an owner phone #. It’s impossible. No company can put an owner phone # on Realtor.com. What makes Congress Realty unique is our phone forwarding system. Realtor.com WILL post our forwarding #. If the seller opts for the forwarding system, the phone system will route the call to the seller directly, similar to an operator.

Why don’t other companies tell sellers upfront that their # will not appear on Realtor.com? Simply put, I don’t know. The rule has been in place for Realtor.com for years.

90% or more of your activity comes from the MLS directly. When a buyer goes to Zillow or Redfin, etc… typically they do their own search, find what interest them, and then contact their Realtor(R). The Realtor(R) then goes to the MLS to find the price, info, commission being paid, etc… and then the Realtor(R) schedules the showing. Inman news just reported that NAR was citing 90% of all buyers who bought a property in 2016 used a buyer’s agent. (Realtor(R)) The fact is… the MLS is the # 1 location to sell a home and the seller phone # is listed right there for the agent to call to show.

Zillow Rumors and Thoughts

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
March 8th, 2017

Zillow has struggled over the years with the ability to post accurate data. In addition, Zillow has also struggled with getting updated data well after sites like Realtor.com… For example, Zillow is the last to post new listings, new price updates, etc… when compared to sites like Redfin or Realtor.com.

First question… Why? Zillow doesn’t have agreements with every MLS in the United States to pull data directly from the MLS feed. Realtor.com does… This results in Realtor.com being first to post updated data. In markets where Zillow doesn’t get the information automatically, they rely upon the agents to update the Zillow site. Agents always update the MLS before they update Zillow and many simply don’t update Zillow. The reason? Real Estate still starts and finishes with the MLS for 99% of all Realtors(R).

Second Question – Why does Zillow struggle to get accurate data in markets where they DO have agreements with the MLS? The answer here is a bit more complicated. Even if your MLS syndicates data to Zillow, an agent has to authorize and “opt in” to the Zillow sharing feed. Some agents choose not to do this and other agents just simply don’t know how to go about it.

So how is Zillow going to fix this problem? They really can’t do anything that is 100% guaranteed to fix the problem but they are certainly trying. After a few weeks of rumors, Zillow finally announced they will no longer allow an agent to post a single listing directly onto the Zillow website. (as of May 1st) All listings from agents posted on Zillow must come from the MLS. The thinking behind this is that if you force agents to submit data to Zillow through the MLS, the information will be much more timely and accurate. The negative… if you force agents to opt into the Zillow syndication feed from the MLS, will this cause friction b/w agents and Zillow?

What’s next for Zillow? Zillow has a serious problem with FSBO’s and they are searching for answers on how to fix this. The rumor floating around right now is that Zillow is going to simply ban FSBO’s from posting directly to the Zillow site. The reason is that FSBO’s are much more likely to post a listing for sale and then simply forget about it.. This results in all sorts of anger directed at Zillow. Look at it this way, you just bought a FSBO home and moved in… you notice people driving by your home, looking through your windows, and possibly even knocking on your door. You discover Zillow still shows the home you just bought active for sale b/c the previous owner never updated the Zillow website, you’re going to be very upset.

Could Zillow really ban FSBO’s? I find it very unlikely but understand the reason Zillow is considering this action. Not only would it clean up the data, it would possibly build a better relationship with Realtors b/c it gives Realtors one more advantage to convince a FSBO to list with that agent…. Meaning, if you want to post your home on Zillow, you have to employ the services of an agent. Again, I’d be surprised if this really develops but the rumor is definitely floating out there.

For what it’s worth, Zillow is publicly denying that their is any truth to the rumor of no longer accepting FSBO listings as of this morning. That said, FSBO’s are finding it harder than ever to post a listing on the Zillow site. For the last week, Zillow has been giving server errors to countless homeowners’ trying to post their listing. In addition, those that do get it listed are having to wait days for Zillow to approve the listing and post it live. Zillow’s response? They review every listing for legitimacy before allowing it to go live on the Zillow website. Zillow’s claims they are simply slammed with listings to review and this is causing the delay.

E Lockboxes for White Mtn Area in Arizona now available

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
February 22nd, 2017

We recently received a shipment of WMAR lockboxes. This is the first time in years we have had these available for the White Mtn area. These are the brand new blue tooth enabled Supra boxes programmed exclusively for the WMAR MLS. (used by all traditional 6% Realtors in the area) Currently, we have E boxes available in all cities throughout Arizona with the one exception of Flagstaff. To order, please contact us via phone or via email at english@congressrealty.com

 

Online Sign up is Here!!!!

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
January 24th, 2017

We are proud to announce that we have everything up and going for our online signup process.

How does the process work:

Online Sign up Location:

When you click the list now icon from the homepage, you simply check the services you’d like. You will be brought to a screen that will ask you a few basic questions. Once you complete these questions, you will receive an email immediately with our listing agreement. You can digitally sign your listing agreement right from your computer. Once you do this, you will then receive an email with access to your MLS profile sheet. Once you complete this document online, you simply upload your photos using our photo tool and you’re done! We will have the listing up and active within about 1 day from that point.

What makes our process different? We took the time to upload every single specific MLS data sheet for every area we cover and every type of property. (land, SFR, condo, multi family, etc…) We converted every one of these into an electronic format and uploaded to our server . No one else in the industry has done this to our knowledge. We did it this way because details matter.  Creating a generic template doesn’t allow a seller to select the details that are important to buyers looking in their local market. For example, in Las Vegas, under the view icon, the Strip View is a very popular search feature for buyers. It is important that our Vegas sellers have the opportunity to take advantage of these types of details. Now, no matter what market you are in, you not only have the ease and convenience of electronic input, you have the same exact profile docs that full service Realtors use in your specific MLS.

What if I prefer to sign up the old fashion way? Let’s say you’re a repeat Congress Realty client and you liked the old way of doing things. Not a problem, you can still download the old forms from the site or we can email these to you directly. The link below will take you to the old way of listing with Congress Realty.

http://www.congressrealty.com/Flat-Fee-MLS-Listings/ListingAgreements/default.aspx

Online Sign up coming soon to Congress Realty

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
December 7th, 2016

We are really excited about our new online platform that will be rolled out in a few weeks. This new platform is going to allow homeowners to sign up for our service electronically. This will speed up the listing process and make it easier than ever to get your property listed on the MLS through Congress Realty. For those clients who prefer to list a property the old fashioned way, this option will still be available as well.

The new platform is going to allow clients to select the services they want and pay for these services through a secure server via Congress Realty. In addition, the Congress Realty listing agreement can now be signed right from your computer. We’ve also made changes to our pre listing manager, allowing for larger photos to be submitted than ever before.

In some of our major markets, such as the Phoenix, DFW, and Vegas area, we intend to have online MLS profile docs formatted so that these also can be filled out completely online through the Congress Realty website.

Be on the lookout for these changes and others coming in late 2016/early 2017!