Florida Flat Rate Realty offers MLS listing for as low as $495 and you can get up to $5000 back at closing when you buy a home with us!
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"The future of real estate in
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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers


Q. What is the MLS?
A. As part of the National Association of Realtors®, your local Realtors’ association is an organization designed to assist real estate agents from many different companies in cooperating with one another, to establish guidelines for service and ethical issues, and to strive to make the real estate community more professional. It also oversees the MLS computer system - the source that agents turn to first and foremost to find properties for their buyers.

The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is an extensive database of information. It is through the MLS that most residential real estate deals are consummated. As real estate professionals, we have agreed to exchange information about properties for sale in order to help sell homes for the best price possible and in the least amount of time. We pay an annual fee to the Realtors’ association for the right to publish information about your home in the MLS computer system and agree that our sellers will pay a commission to any licensed real estate agent that brings the buyer for their home.

Maximum exposure is the key to a successful real estate transaction and this crucial maximum exposure is gained through a listing on the MLS. Remember, if you list your home on the MLS with Florida Flat Rate Realty, you will never pay a listing commission! The only time you would pay a commission would be to a buyer's agent that brings you a qualified buyer that executes the transaction by buying your home.

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Q. How do you provide your service at such a low price?
A. Most of our services are provided electronically. Since we don't maintain a large office and we do most of our business via phone, fax, email, and the internet, we have very low overhead and can easily pass our savings on to both our sellers and our buyers.

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Q. Is it true that Realtors using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sell most houses and that they usually sell for a higher price?
A. Yes, it's true on both accounts. According to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 80% of all U.S. homes are sold through Realtors using the MLS and homes listed on the MLS average net proceeds of 7% higher than homes sold for sale by owner.

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Q. How long does it take to be listed on the MLS?
A. During the normal business week (Monday - Friday) it usually takes 24 to 48 hours to be listed on the MLS.

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Q. Will my listing look the same as those who have agreed to pay a full listing commission to a traditional agent?
A. Yes. Your listing will look like all the other listings on your local MLS.

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Q. How will I know if my property is listed with all of the correct information?
A. You will receive a copy of your MLS listing and you may make any changes you like, provided the changes are acceptable to the rules and regulations of your local MLS and Board of Realtors.

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Q. What areas do you serve?

A. We are based in beautiful Saint Petersburg and currently we list homes on the MLS in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties. We have plans expand throughout the state of Florida in the near future.

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Q. Is the MLS really going to help me sell my home?
A. Listing your home on the MLS is crucial if you are serious about selling! As previously mentioned, up to 80% of all U.S. homebuyers use the services of a real estate agent. Their real estate agents use the MLS to search for homes on the market. Not only does the MLS provide a central location to advertise homes for sale to local agents, it communicates to them that the seller is willing to pay a commission to the buyers’ agent. Thus, listing your home on the MLS serves to motivate real estate agents to show your home and to work hard to sell your home to their buyers. Surveys show that other methods of producing buyers and advertising are far less effective and rarely deliver satisfactory results .

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Q. What if I sell the house on my own?
A. When you list your home through Florida Flat Rate Realty you pay a flat fee (please refer to our package prices page for more information), but you still maintain the right to sell your home on your own. If you find your own buyer, you will not be obligated to pay a commission on the sale.

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Q. If Florida Flat Rate Realty brings me a buyer and sells my home, will I owe a commission?
A. Yes. If we present a qualified buyer to you and they purchase your home, we are entitled to the buyers' agent's commission for selling your home since we are acting as the buyers' agent.

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Q. If I find a buyer on my own, how much deposit should I ask for?
A. We recommend that earnest money deposits (also known as good faith deposits) be no less than 1% of the sale price. The larger the deposit, the more qualified and serious your buyer is and this helps to justify taking your house off the market. We advise that as the seller, you negotiate with the buyer so that you can select the title company. Thus, it is a good idea to have a title company lined up before you find a buyer. We can recommend an excellent title company with a helpful and knowledgeable staff. Having a good title agent in your corner is a great asset when selling your home. Among other things, they will hold the deposit in escrow, issue title insurance, handle the title transfer and disburse funds at the time of closing.

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Q. When a potential buyer calls, is there anything in particular that I should ask them before showing my home to them?
A. It’s always a good idea to get the buyer’s name and phone number in advance, so that you can confirm the appointment and follow up after the showing. Potential buyers tend to show up for the appointment more often when they know you have their phone number. Be sure to ask about their financing arrangements before you agree to show your home. Showing your home to financially unqualified buyers can be a major waste of time. Remember, there is a big difference between "pre-qualified" and "pre-approved" with regard to mortgage financing. One is a "looks good" statement, while the other is an actual commitment to fund a loan. Also, it is a good idea to verify their name and phone number in either the phone book or on the internet, so that you can protect yourself and your valuables. Keep in mind that you are inviting strangers into your home and your safety is a key concern.

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Q. What is a final walk-through?
A. Your buyer will have a final walk-through of the property just prior to the closing (either the day before or the day of closing). This is to ensure that the property is in the same condition that it was in when the buyer placed it under contract and to make sure that all conditions specified within the contract are met before the closing takes place.

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Q. Should I be concerned about lead-based paint?
A. If your home was built before 1978, you are required by law to provide your buyer with a lead-based paint disclosure, along with the EPA pamphlet entitled, "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home". If you select either our $995 or $1995 package, this disclosure pamphlet will be included in your information packet (for sellers with homes built before 1978).

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Q. Should I be concerned about radon gas?
A. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas. It is impossible to detect radon without testing for it. For questions concerning radon, call the EPA's National Radon Hotline toll-free at 1-800-767-7236.

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Q. Will you conduct open houses?
A. You may hold an open house of your own, if you so desire. However, we do not conduct open houses. The fact of the matter is that open houses are primarily prospecting tools for real estate agents. Open houses are really a way for agents to get their names out there to prospective buyers who are early on in their quest to buy a home. Furthermore, very few homes are sold as a result of an open house because many of the visitors are tire-kickers, bargain hunters, nosey neighbors and people looking for something to do on the weekends.

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Q. Will my property be listed on the internet?
A. Yes. Your property will be listed on www.realtor.com, www.homes.com and other real estate websites. These internet listings will give you national exposure to out-of-state homebuyers. Since hundreds of people move to Florida daily, this exposure can be a vital component in selling your home quickly and for the best price. The independent websites, realtor.com and homes.com, will obtain your listing directly from the MLS. Keep in mind that they pick up whatever they wish from your MLS listing to publish on their websites. Thus, we have no control over these independent websites and we cannot change or edit their content.

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Q. Who will do all of the paperwork involved in the sale of my home?
A. If you do not feel comfortable with doing the paperwork involved and feel you need professional assistance, we offer contract preparation in our Deluxe package ($1,995). This package also includes all disclosures, contract negotiation and a number of other valuable services. In addition, our Premium package ($995) provides you with the appropriate paperwork (contracts and disclosures) if you feel comfortable in filling them out, but need to have the appropriate forms provided to you.

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Q. Why should I use a flat rate MLS listing program like yours rather than just selling for sale by owner?
A. Flat rate MLS services provide far greater exposure than traditional for sale by owner (FSBO) marketing and advertising efforts. Relying on the traditional marketing and advertising associated with a FSBO plan (newspaper ads, unprofessional yard sign, open houses, fliers, word of mouth, etc.) is limiting, at best. Also, advertising your home for sale in the newspaper can become an expensive proposition. In most cases, real estate companies run newspaper ads to attract new buyers and new listings, more than to sell any home in particular. Ultimately you may find that most qualified buyers want or need the assistance of real estate brokers and agents. Thus, your property will be exposed to more qualified buyers through the MLS network accessed by Realtors. Also, agents and brokers will feel more comfortable dealing with you knowing that their commissions are protected. Qualified buyers are those who have both a real motivation to buy and the financial ability to buy. The truly professional real estate agent will ensure that their buyers are pre-approved for financing before showing them homes in their area. Also, having a real estate professional accompany a potential buyer to your home may add a measure of safety for your family. You will not have to be alone with a stranger in your house who simply states that they are a buyer.

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Q. If I don't hold an "Open House" or run newspaper ads, won’t I miss out on numerous potential buyers?
A. The MLS and sales price are far more influential in the sale of your home than all other sales or marketing techniques combined. Although not common knowledge, newspaper advertising, TV cable access real estate showcase programs and open houses are mainly implemented to generate future leads and listings for agents and brokers, not for marketing your home in particular. These sales techniques help to justify that the agent / broker is "earning" their commission for listing the property. Remember, about 80% of all U.S. home sales are directly generated by listing on the MLS. Thus, these other methods of advertising serve primarily to enhance the professional presence of the real estate agent in their market, placate their sellers and encourage them to believe that they are getting more bang for their buck.

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Q. Do you accept credit cards?
A. Yes, we accept Visa and MasterCard, as well as personal checks.

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