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

Archive for September, 2008

Utah Flat Fee MLS Listing

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Congress Realty is pleased to announce our entrance into the state of Utah. The Utah Dept of Real Estate has issued brokers license # 7081459-PB00 to Jared English. We will be updating our site shortly to reflect the addition of Utah. Over the next few weeks, we will be adding various Utah MLS’s to our list of service areas. We will post additional information as it becomes available.

Prop 100 Town Hall Meetings in Arizona

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

The Secretary of State’s office is conducting town hall meetings across the state during the next several weeks to help Arizonans become acquainted with the 8 propositions on the November ballot.

We will post the locations as they become available to us.

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m., Power House Event Room, 120 W. Andy Devine Ave., Kingman (West Route 66)

Members of the community who are free during these times should take a moment and visit these locations to help become more informed about Prop 100 and the affect it will have on the state of Arizona and its residents.

The truth about Realtors(R) and advertising

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, September 29th, 2008

Every now and then you come across an article titled, “what they don’t want you to know”, etc…. basically, it will be an article about how a certain business operates, the ins and outs… etc…  The link below is a direct link to an online forum moderated and produced by full service Realtors(R). The postings are from typical agents all across the country. It is important for everyone to understand that these are Realtors(R) talking to each other. This gives sellers a chance to see how Realtors(R) speak on advertising when they aren’t trying to secure a listing from a seller.

 

http://www.agentsonline.net/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/247285/How_much_do_you_spend_on_avera.html#Post247285 

Sellers can take a handful of information from this link but the most important is that agents are salespeople. Not in the sense that they sell homes, but instead, they sell the seller on themselves – the agent. When an agent comes into your home to try and acquire your listing, they are selling themselves to you.

 

The most glaring post from the link above is from a Realtor(R) who states: (when asked what he spends on marketing a property) 

“Same here, Zero on marketing. If a home is priced correctly it will sell itself. Over 90% of all home sales are done through your local MLS and by other agents, don’t waste your time with the old traditional methods like, postcards, newspapers, etc… I tell all agents and my clients they need an agent who is experienced, an attractive price and a home that is in good condition and the house will sell.”

 

When I read the agents comments above, I think to myself, this post is the best piece of advertising for the flat fee model that I can think of. He is selling our service for us by reminding everyone that price and MLS exposure sell properties.

 

 

 

Abilene, Texas added to our coverage area

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Abilene, Texas has been added to Congress Realty’s coverage as of October 1st, 2008. Seller’s in the Abilene area can now list their home on the MLS for a fraction of the cost as compared to most traditional brokers. We are very excited about this expansion and our continued growth throughout the state of Texas.

Currently, we are in the process of adding Missoula, Montana to our coverage area and will update our site to reflect this change as soon as our application is processed by the association.

Jared English

Appraisers in Arizona cracking down

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Recently Wardex MLS system received a request to explain the large # of expired/withdrawn listings from their system in 2007. The request came from a group of appraisers concerned about data integrity. Appraisers use the MLS system to compile their reports. While sold properties make up the bulk of appraiser data, expired and withdrawn listings that actually show as sold in the county recorders office cause confusion amongst appraisers. (and suspicion in this instance) In a nutshell, if the MLS shows a listing as withdrawn and the county shows that same listing as sold, the appraiser wants to know why the MLS doesn’t show the property as sold.

Wardex immediately sent out a letter ensuring that the integrity of their data had not been compromised. Instead, they blamed the problem on the merger they experienced in 2006. Basically 3 MLS sytems all converged into one MLS system in late 2006 and called the new system Wardex MLS. While the MLS is probably accurate in their assessment, the fact that the appraisers even asked astonishes me. Appraisers are cracking down on all sorts of tricks from various Realtors(R). I am not only impressed that they would ask for the clarification, but also pleased they would do so. 

Jared English

Sedona Property Tax

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Sedona area sellers can request a “Yes on Prop 100” sign to display in their yard by emailing info@congressrealty.com.  Prop 100 is also known as the “Protect our Homes Act.”

Taken from the Arizona Secretary of state:

“This Initiative prohibits the government from charging any new tax on the sale or transfer of real property in Arizona. Currently, there are no real property sales or transfer taxes in Arizona. However, the government could enact a real property sale or transfer tax at any time. This Initiative would prohibit the enactment of any new real property sales or transfer tax by a constitutional amendment.”

How does Congress Realty acquire listings?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, September 18th, 2008

I would bet on average, I receive this question once a week from another broker wanting to go into the Flat Fee Business. Typically, the broker will call to introduce himself/herself, explain what their projected business model is, and then begin asking how we acquire the volume of listings that we do.

The answer is that most of our business is by way of referral and word of mouth. The best form of advertising we have is one happy client telling a friend or family member. One advantage we have is that people love saving money. When a client saves thousands of dollars on the sale of their home, you can be assured nine times out of ten, they are going to tell someone about the experience. Certainly we have a very large web presence out there, however, the majority of our new clients are referred by past clients, something that we are very proud of. I would estimate that over half of our business comes from friends and family members of past clients.

J. Andrew English

Realtor.com Beta

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Many of our sellers have asked when Realtor.com is going to launch their beta site.  In speaking with them yesterday, they still do not have a launch date, nor do they have any idea of an expected launch date.

As many web surfers are aware, Realtor.com Beta thus far is a complete disaster. The site has basic functionality issues that have yet to be resolved. While I have no doubt that the site will eventually launch, I am not hopeful this will happen prior to the Spring of 09.

The new Realtor.com will try to incorporate new features to compete with Zillow and Trulia in order to maintain there status as the online leader in Real Estate searches. 

http://beta.realtor.com/

MLS Merger coming in CA

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

East Bay MLS
Bay Area MLS
Metro List
REIL
San Francisco

A handful of the largest MLS’s in the state of California are seriously considering a massive merger that would bring together over 70,000 real estate agents under one MLS system. The positive of this is that sellers will have massive exposure all throughout the north central area of California. Agents in Oakland will now have access to detailed MLS data for properties outside of their immediate area, for example, San Francisco, Sacramento, etc.. and vice versa…. I personally support this merger because of the benefit it will bring buyers and sellers in the immediate future. It will be interesting to see if and when this merger takes place. In the past, mergers like this are typically delayed because many “local brokerages” strongly protest. These local brokerages do not want the barriers that protect their high commissions to come down. By allowing outside brokerages to compete for local business, local traditional brokerages will face increasing competition for listings/business.

Purchase Contracts and Hud 1’s

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Monday, September 15th, 2008

Why do we ask for a copy of a seller’s purchase contract and Hud 1?

Each state requires that a brokerage maintain certain documents in each file for a certain # of years. (this # varies by state but on average is about 5 years) In the event of an audit by the state, the brokerage must be able to show the documents required by the state, per the guidelines set forth by the real estate commission. Failure to do so can result in a loss of the brokerage real estate license. (essentially putting them out of business) The state conducts audits of real estate brokerages to protect the public from commingling, fraud, etc..  Typically, these audits are random, however, a broker can expect to be audited at least once every few years.

We do not ask for purchase contracts to try and obtain any compensation during a transaction. We only want to be in compliance with the state. One thing that sellers should keep in mind is that very few states are non disclosure states. This means that the public will have access to your sold data, thus, refusing to provide a purchase agreement will not result in the public not being aware of the sale. Almost all counties publish this data online through the county assessor website. (except Texas) By providing these documents, sellers are helping keep our cost down, and thus, keep our listing fee as low as possible. Lastly, by providing these documents, we can update your MLS listing in a timely fashion and avoid fines from the MLS.

J. Andrew English