Flat Fee MLS Listings in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana,
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Archive for March, 2008

How do I attract more Realtor.com hits to my listing?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, March 28th, 2008

2 things to remember: Viewers will always click on what they see first. Secondly, those enhanced listings w/ more photos will receive more click throughs than those w/out photos. Realtor.com displays enhanced listings first on search results. As a result, these listings will receive twice as much traffic as non enhanced listings. If you visit Realtor.com, run any search on your preferred area. You will notice in the search results that those properties on the 1st page have yellow tag lines, additional photos, etc… These are enhanced listings. As a seller, to maximize your page views, you want to be right here on the first few pages w/ the yellow border and additional information.


Las Vegas MLS Data

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Green Valley Data as of March 27, 2008:

49 pending properties

200 active properties

295 sold properties w/in the last 12 months

Let’s break this down one step further:

Properties in Green Valley w/ a list price of under 300k.

38 pending properties

88 active properties

119 sold properties w/in the last 12 months

This data shows exactly what I would have predicted. Entry level properties in established areas in Las Vegas are showing respectable pending/sold #’s. You are beginning to see a trend throughout Las Vegas. People are slowly showing restored confidence in established neighborhoods, especially on the entry level side.

How do I increase the # of searches on my property from Realtors®?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

The single best way to increase your exposure is to give accurate detailed information on your MLS listing. Don’t sell your home short. Try and provide as much information as possible, especially w/ respect to searchable items. For example, in the Phoenix area, most Realtors® start their search by subdivision. As a seller, to show up in this search, you must have included the correct subdivision name within your listing. In Dallas/Fort Worth, many Realtors® start their search by school district. Again, to show up in this search, you must have the correct school district showing within your listing.

The key to remember is that to be found within the MLS, you must have something in your listing that triggers your property to be returned within the results. As a seller, you want to really key in on items that are searched constantly. This will dramatically increase your activity. If you provide very little information within your listing, you are unlikely to find your property returned on many different types of searches. A few keys below:


Zip Code

School District



# of garage spaces

Detached versus Attached

What is the MLS and how does it benefit me, the seller?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

The MLS is an extensive detailed database of properties for sale in a given metroplex/area. It is only accessible by its members. (Realtors®) Essentially, it is a database where local Realtors® exchange information about properties for sale. The power of the MLS is that every local Realtor® not only has access to this database, but they all use it extensively. The MLS is the single most useful tool for any Realtor®. As a result, it is greatly beneficial for a seller to have their property listed on this database. The Flat Fee Listing allows a seller to place their property on the MLS for an extremely low fee, as compared to 5-6% commissions. Another advantage of the MLS is that the database feeds into other websites. If you have ever been on a local website that has a “search the MLS tab” or something similar, you are actually viewing a feed from the MLS to this website. Essentially, the MLS database is pouring out to hundreds/thousands of other websites. (such as Realtor®.com) (each website displaying the listings found within the MLS) Other popular websites include MLS sponsored public searches, such as TARMLS in Tucson or HAR.com in Houston. These are public online portals that allow the public to search properties for sale listed on the MLS. By placing your property on the MLS, you not only are placing your home for sale for Realtors®, but also the thousands of online home buyer surfing the web.

How can I find out what has sold in “my area”?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, March 24th, 2008

Most sellers want to know what has been selling around them so that they can use this data to price their own home. There are 2 reputable ways to acquire this information. The first is to email our brokerage and request a CMA. Simply give us the criteria you would like us to utilize in producing the data. For example, zip code, subdivision name, school district, 1 story, etc… Also include how far back you would like the sold comp pulled. (most commonly this will be no more than 9 months.) When our brokerage runs comps, we are running MLS comps. This means that we are providing the seller with MLS listings that have sold, including those which are active, pending, etc.. Sellers can also benefit from running their own comps. The way you do this is simple. Go to your county assessor website and click on parcel search. From here, you can search any recorded transaction in your area. Most counties will give dates recorded, price, etc.. This is useful because this will also give you FSBO transactions that did not sell by a brokerage. By using these two sources, you will be covering all of your bases for acquiring comparable sales information.

Financing Option – MLS Profile Doc

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Friday, March 21st, 2008

On the MLS profile document, you will be asked what type of financing you are willing to accept on the sale of your property. Typically, you will always select cash and conventional. (conventional may be listed as cash to new loan) Cash is obvious; However, the word conventional refers to a conventional mortgage. One example would be your buyer going to Bank of America and acquiring a mortgage. Either way, with cash and conventional, it is still cash to you at close of escrow. Other possibilities are OWC, Lease Option, Lease Purchase, FHA, VA, etc….

OWC – Owner will Carry the note. Basically, you would become the bank.

Lease Option – Buyer enters into a lease agreement with the seller with the option to purchase at a later time under agreed terms. The key here is that the buyer has the option. They are not forced to move forward at the option time.

Lease Purchase – commonly confused with Lease Option. The biggest difference is that the buyer/tenant is agreeing to purchase the property at some set time at agreed terms.

FHA and VA – Loan programs that have loan limits and also require certain cost to be paid for by the seller. FHA and VA programs are very popular right now because of the low down payment required from the buyer. FHA loans are insured and VA loan are guaranteed. Loan limits can vary by area. FHA loans typically require 3% down from the buyer and VA loans can be 100% LTV.

Multi Family MLS Listing

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, March 20th, 2008

This is a great question that I get quite often. Essentially, the question is, how do I allow Realtors® to show my multi family property w/out disturbing my tenants? The first thing to keep in mind is that every state is different w/ regards to tenant rights. You will always want to follow these laws first and foremost. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to speak to your tenants. Explain that you are considering selling the property and that this will not affect their current lease. If a tenant thinks the sale of the property will change their lease, they are not going to cooperate with showings. Always communicate with your tenants so that they know what is going on.

I personally think it is important for a Realtor® to be able to view the property prior to submitting offers. Unless the #’s are truly fantastic, you are going to have a very difficult time procuring an offer on a duplex, tri plex, or even 4 plex w/out giving anyone access to the property. If the #’s work on paper, you might be able to procure an offer subject to inspection at a later time. Just keep in mind this will limit your activity.

National Referral Websites

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

A referral website is a website that collects money from a seller with the intent of trying to find someone else to list the property. The advantage of listing your property with Congress Realty is that we list the property ourselves. We are the licensed brokerage who actually inputs and maintains the listing. You are always dealing with one of our employees. Conversely, many other websites simply take your money and try desperately to find a “local” Realtor® to list your home for a portion of the fee you paid the national company. The problem with this is that you don’t know what you are going to get from the “local Realtor®” they assign you to. At the end of the day, the national company can promise different services because they don’t have to actually provide the services. They are reliant upon the “local Realtor®” providing these services. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. As a consumer, you should know exactly what services you are getting for the fee you are paying. Always ensure that the company you are working with is the brokerage who will list your property. In the case of Congress Realty, we list every property ourselves under our own license numbers.

Loop Net

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, March 17th, 2008

Loop Net is a Real Estate database that is accessible to everyone. The site features predominately commercial properties for sale or lease throughout the US. Loop Net also will contain vacant land zoned for commercial use, industrial use, etc…Multi Family dwellings, especially larger dwellings, are commonly listed on the loop net website for prospective purchasers as well. Essentially, Loop Net is a database that displays information regarding properties for sale. The database can be accessed by anyone, not just real estate licensees. However, licensed brokers such as Congress Realty have premium accounts that allow their listings to be viewable through the various search features on the site.

Arizona Real Estate Transfer Tax

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Monday, March 17th, 2008

The Arizona Association of Realtors is fighting the proposed transfer tax. Real estate transfer taxes are assessed whenever real estate is transferred from one party to another. Depending on the state, they range from .001% to 2.2%. Nevada added this tax a few years ago and many other states have tried. The arguments they make against the tax (followed by our comments) are:

* Punishes home owners – add this to your costs when you sell your home (one of many). Transaction costs in the sale of a home are obviously a major deterrent to buying and selling more frequently and hurt the liquidity of real estate.
* Lower incomes most impacted – not sure we totally understand this one since it is a sliding scale based on sales price. Lower income people may in some cases barely qualify to purchase a home, so in that case if they had to pay the transfer tax, then it would deter lower income people from buying a home.
* Double taxation – you pay tax annually based on property value and now you pay again when you sell. It isn’t quite a double tax like those on dividends or estate taxes on earnings already paid, but it is definitely a second tax on real estate.
* Damages equity – you net less money when you sell your home. See “Punishes home owners.”
* Burdens the real estate market – in the current down market, the last thing sellers need is another cost to pay when some of them are already under water on their mortgages.

Transfer taxes are bad for property owners. We oppose this and other proposals which increase transaction costs for home owners.