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5 Idea’s to Turbo Charge your Home Sale

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow

 

If you have a property to sell, we have 5 proven marketing idea’s that you should consider.   In addition to our guarantee of more buyer attention for your property, these tips are FREE and EASY to do. 

5 Surefire, Guerilla Real Estate Marketing Tips for Sellers

  1. Use an InfoTube or InfoBox and keep them FULL at all times.  Buyers love the convenience of curbside home info, which is the reason your brochures disappear so quickly.  Nothing is more disappointing than an empty InfoTube, and it leaves the impression that you could care less about selling.   Print plenty of brochures and be vigilant about keeping your tubes and boxes filled.    There is no better advertising, and the price is literally a piece of paper.
  2. Place a listing for your home on every website that provides free home classified’s.   90 percent of home shoppers begin their search on the web and multiple site listings increase the odds of your property being seen.  3 MUST’s for your real estate listings are InfoTube.net, zillow and craigslist.
  3. Network- Place your home listing information on your myspace or facebook page.  If you Twitter…Tweet your house
  4. Post on Real Estate Forums.  Contribute to real estate forums and include the link to your home listing in your signature.
  5. Do a Video Tour.  Video is a great way to show off your property and surrounding neighborhood ammenities.   Highlight scenes that enhance your still photo slideshow.  For example, if your area has a park, new school, nice shopping or great view, grab your digital camera, shoot and show us.  Sites like InfoTube.net feature home video tours on their home page and they upload them to youtube automatically.

If you have a few bucks to spend, nothing increases your exposure to home buyers like an MLS listing.   For $399 you can buy a showcase listing on Realtor.com for 6 months, and still sell your home yourself.  The combined traffic to the MLS real estate hubs is around 8 million visitors per month.  6 months times 8 million shoppers=48 million prospective home buyers.  

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for visiting InfoTube.net.

Find Hidden Real Estate Prices

Thursday, November 13, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow

Although the logic escapes me, many Realtors do not provide sales prices, when advertising homes for sale.    They operate on the old, tired business practice of printing teaser ad’s or brochures, that force customers to call or email a sales person.  This annoying “game” is a disservice to buyer and seller, alike.  But, many agent’s still hide basic property information, attempting to latch onto an unwitting customer they can flip into some type of sale.

The new Google Base website for home listings circumvents this questionable and irritating practice, by revealing the hidden sales prices for listed homes. 

Tip for Buyers:  If you are house hunting and resent the phone tag game, go to Google Base to find the hidden asking prices.  Refuse to track down any sales agent to get basic information.  Unfortunately, for the innocent home seller, I always eliminate properties from my candidate list, when I discover the listing agent is a game player.  I simply move on to the next listing that is represented by someone who values my time and intellegence.  Life is too short to put up with a listing agent who plays hide and seek with the home seller’s information.

Tip for Sellers:  If your home is listed with an agent, have them acknowlege in writing, that they will provide easy access to all information about your home, including the price.  Make sure they use an InfoTube or InfoBox to ensure that home information is readily available to drive by traffic.  Seller’s, you don’t profit from missed buyer inquiries, nor do you benefit from an agent flipping potential buyers to other listings. A good agent will give your home as much exposure, to as many people as possible. And, they will utilize all means, low and high tech, to provide instant information when the customer wants it…even while they are sitting in front of your home.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Please let us know if we can assist you in the sale of your home or help you with an MLS listing.

Average Days on the Market for US Towns and Cities

Thursday, November 6, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow

How long does it take to sell a home in your town or city? 

CITY                                   DAYS ON MARKET
   
OAKLAND, CA 113
NEW ORLEANS, LA 157
DALLAS, TX 165
CINCINNATI, OH 192
CHARLOTTE, NC 70
HOLLYWOOD, CA 80
PHILADELPHIA, PA 76
LOS ANGELES, CA 84
PHOENIX, AZ 155
HOUSTON, TX 83
CHICAGO, IL 162
SAN DIEGO, CA 65
SAN JOSE, CA 92
DETROIT, MI 175
JACKSONVILLE, FL 197
MEMPHIS, TN 110
BALTIMORE, MD 115
BOSTON, MA 64
SEATTLE, WA 76
WASHINGTON DC 74
LAS VEGAS, NV 97
PORTLAND, ME 64
LOUISVILLE, KY 85
ATLANTA, GA 127
ALBUQUERQUE, NM          32
FRESNO, CA 111
NORFOLK/VA BEACH, VA 35
ASHEVILLE, NC 142
BELLEVUE, WA 123
VENTURA, CA 20
LAKE KEOWEE, SC 186
PORTLAND, ME 72
PANAMA CITY, FL 206
PHILADELPHIA, PA 102
LOUISA CO., VA 124
BULLHEAD CITY, AZ 126
WOODLANDS, TX 80
ASHLAND, MA 109
AUSTIN, TX 68
TWIN CITIES, MN 104
DES MOINES, IA 99
ST LOUIS, MO 102
NEW YORK CITY, NY 198
LOWER EAST SIDE 175
UPPER WEST SIDE 146
UPPER EAST SIDE 175
WEST VILLAGE 250

**Thanks to Linda DeVlieg for alerting us to the error of our ways, darn it…The Average Days on the Market for Albuquerque, NM is around 72, not 32 ):

To view listings of homes for sale, click HERE.

Selling Tip:  If your home has been on the market for a lot longer than the average days for your area, it signals that something may be wrong with your price, property condition, location or marketing exposure.   

To increase your exposure to buyer’s looking for homes, consider an MLS listing.   The MLS reaches more than 8 million buyer’s per month.  Hand’s down the best advertising you can do for the money.  Seller’s can post a free home listing at InfoTube.net, increasing your internet exposure for FREE.

5 NEW RULES FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTING

Thursday, October 16, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow

The new, US economy brings with it, a whole new set of rules for investing in real estate.   In the past, real estate has been a tried and proven method for quickly building wealth, but the current rules for successful investing have changed.

Making money in real estate is still a possibility, but investor’s must pay very close attention to the changes that this ecomonic cycle brings.  Today’s investors need to reexamine their criteria for buying, selling or holding property.  They also need a lot of patience and flexibility, along with complete and detailed research, before they jump in and take advantage of some of the best bargains seen in years.

NEW RULES FOR INVESTING IN TODAY’S REAL ESTATE MARKET

NEW RULE #1:  LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.   For the baby boom generation, the suburbs were “the” location for profit and life style.  Fuel was cheap, commutes were short and the ‘burbs’ offered the big house, with picket fenced yards and the image of the Leave It to Beaver lifestyle.   Not so much, today.  Today, it is the urban scene that is making a comeback.   While homes in downtown area’s are generally more expensive on a price per square foot basis, buyer’s today are willing to pay a bit more money for less square footage.   Urban center living eliminates long commutes, urban sprawl, expensive fuel bills and provides nearby ammenities without the need to drive.

NEW RULE #2:  STAY PUT AND DO NOT REMODEL WHEN THE MARKET IS SLOW.   In the past, many homeowners gained equity by renovating their old home while the market was slow.   The improvements added value to their real estate, while they waited for more favorable market conditions.  In the 2008 housing market, any major renovations should be analyzed purely from a return on investment perspective.   According to Remodeling Magazine, which just published its Cost vs Value Report, homeowners should be warned that they will not recover as much of their costs for remodeling as they did in the past.   The best investment today’s homeowner can make in terms of renovating fall in the category of paint, landscape and green, energy saving features. 

NEW RULE #3:  Technology and Networking are the Key to Locating Great Properties.   Home listings, valuations and other crucial information for real estate investment used to be available only through a real estate agent.  Now, the genie is out of the bottle and the best sources for real estate information can be accessed with nothing more than the click of a mouse.   More technology has also made it possible for home seller’s to list their property on the powerful, national MLS, without listing with a agent.  Companies like Why 6 Percent.com, and its national network of broker’s, list property for seller’s, investors and builders who want the exposure the MLS provides, but do not want to pay 6 percent of their sales price for the priviledge.   Technology has changed the way buyer’s and seller’s connect, and the way that property is advertised.   Smart investor’s should take advantage of this new alternative, as it offer’s accuracy, speed and control unmatched by the traditional route of buying and selling through agent’s only.

New Rule #4:  BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER.  In the past, agent’s and home builder’s advised buyer’s to purchase as large of a home as they could possibly afford.  As a result, home size in the 1970’s averaged about 1700 square feet, with 3.1 people in the average family.  In 2004, the average size of a home was around 2400 square feet with only 2.6 occupants on average.   Today’s lending and energy crisis has changed our thinking and bigger is not necessarily the best investment.  Buyer’s are looking for a home that meets their needs without paying for space they don’t need.   Today’s investor needs to adapt their thinking and focus on useable living space, energy saving ammenities, security and conveniences instead of targeting the over blown McMansion.  Another demographic also backs up the theory that smaller may be better.  For the next two decades, retiring baby boomers will be scaling out of their McMansions, now that their families have left the nest.  The boomer’s will favor smaller homes with more ammenities, located in convenient neighborhoods that are clean and safe.

New Rule #5:  FLIPPING IS OUT. BUY AND HOLD IS IN.   Today’s falling prices and the huge inventory of unsold property means that potential bargains are plentiful.  Smart Investor’s will take advantage of the current market and lock themselves into a good deal now, and hold the property until stability returns.  Prospective investors should be warned that the crash we are experiencing will not turn around anytime soon.  Prices will continue to fall, though not as dramatically as we have seen in the recent past.  As prices firm and inventory is sold, the patient investor will see gains, but they should plan on waiting five years to ring the register.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  If you have any questions or investment stories to share, click the comment link below.  All postings are anonymous.

 

 

InfoTube homes for sale
InfoTube homes for sale

 

 

 

Asheville, NC – August 22, 2008-  A study, conducted by the well respected Consumer Reports publication, found that home sellers who used a real estate agent made less money than sellers who sold by owner.   The report also found that nearly all of the people who sold ‘by owner’ received near their original asking price

 

“This is great news for people who need to sell their home”, said Tommi Crow, President of Crow Erickson, Inc and InfoTube.net.   “Consumer Reports published a well researched and unbiased article that clearly finds home sellers are financially better off selling their home without an agent.”  Real estate commissions take a huge bite out of the money sellers receive at closing.   For example, a typical real estate commission would erase about $18,000 of equity on a $300,000 home.

 

The September 2008 Consumer Report findings are similar to the results from studies conducted by Stanford and Northwestern Universities.   All three studies concluded that “for sale by owner” (fsbo) sellers made more money than sellers who used an agent.

 

“The release of this study is very timely news for some, and life changing news for others,” said Crow.   Zillow.com recently reported that nearly 30 percent of the people who purchased a home in the last 60 months, now owe more money on their home than it is valued at.    Furthermore, Zillow found that 45-60 percent of buyers, who purchased in 2006, are upside down.” 

 

“For fortunate homeowners that have a lot of equity, the possibility of keeping more money from their home sale is great news.  For the unfortunate, who have little or no equity in their homes, the report offers real hope in knowing they can clearly sell their property for a realistic asking price, without paying commissions they can not afford,” added Crow, also a real estate broker for over 20 years.

 

About Crow Erickson, Inc

 

Crow Erickson, Inc. is a privately held corporation founded in 1988. The company manufactures outdoor marketing products used in the real estate industry and for a variety of purposes. Its brand name products are Made In the USA and can be purchased at The Home Depot, Lowes Hardware, ’neighborhood’ hardware franchises, sign companies, for sale by owner companies, Boards of Realtors and other business locations from coast-to-coast.

The company website, http://www.InfoTube.net, offers free real estate marketing services, online shopping and a retail store locator. Its services include free internet classified listings, free color brochures and flyers, free legal forms and contracts, home tour video’s, opt in email services for home buyers and sellers, a community forum, blog, 5. MLS listing services, marketing tools and replacement parts for its products.

 

®InfoTube is a registered trademark of Crow-Erickson, Inc.

 

6 Signs of a Lousy Real Estate Agent

Monday, August 18, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow

At InfoTube.net, we strive to help home owners sell their property, whether it is listed by owner or listed with an agent.  Sellers, who can afford the luxury of a full service real estate agents, often get less expertise and help than they deserve and pay for. 

6 Ways to Determine that you Hired a Crummy Realtor or Real Estate Agent:

 

  1. Bad Behavior:   Each state has a real estate association that moniters agent behavior and tracks compliants.   Check the agents record before you hire them.  If you are already working with an agent that you suspect has acted in an ethical or unlawfile manner, contact your state association to review compliants from previous customers.   The state association also tracks criminal behavior by agents.
  2. Part-Timers:   If you are willing to pay thousands of dollars in fee’s to a real estate agent, make sure they aren’t a waiter in real life.   Just because an agent is licensed, it doesn’t mean real estate is their full-time job.   Insist on a seasoned, full-time agent, before you give up six percent of your sales price.  The 6 percent real estate monopoly means they all charge the same amount to sell a home, so hire a pro.
  3. No Contact:   When you are spending big bucks to sell your home by agent, instant communication is a “must do”.   If your agent doesn’t return calls in a timely manner, use email, or they have only one contact number…the relationship won’t work.    The last thing a seller needs in a bad market is to find they lost a buyer to the competition because no one could reach the listing agent.
  4. Insists You Use Their Partners:  Realtors who insist or push a particular lender, inspector, title company, mover or lawyer, are likely receiving “kick backs” and making undisclosed money.   Agents scamming a referral fee should send up a huge red flag.  It’s your money, so you should use the services of whoever you want in your transaction.
  5. Clueless:  Good Realtors are not the shy, quiet type.  They are sales people and they are full of advice.  If your agent makes no suggestions about improvements, drippy faucets or something…they are probably not fully engaged in selling property.  If they don’t firmly recommended a sales price and have facts to back it up, they probably don’t have the experience, confidence or personality to get the job done.
  6. Push In House Listings:  Some real estate brokerages hold listings “in house” for some time, giving their company a chance to “double dip” and earn both the listing and selling commission.   Avoid brokerages who push in house listings and Insist that your property be placed on the MLS immediately upon signing of the listing agreement.    This questionable business practice is also known as a “pocket listing”.  Agents who pocket list harm buyers by limiting the inventory they can select from, and cost sellers time and money by limiting their exposure to all buyers in the market and increasing the odds the listing will look stale, once it is placed on the MLS.

InfoTube.net has thousands of home listed for sale by owner and by agent.  Search our database of fresh listings today and if you want the advantage of the MLS without paying 6 percent of your sales price in fee’s, get a low, flat fee MLS and sell today for thousands less.

Thanks for visiting InfoTube.net and good luck on the sale or purchase of your home

Real Estate Agent’s Cut Their Commissions

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow

Don’t Pay 6 percent when selling your home

The September issue of Consumer Reports magazine has some great news for home sellers.    Haggle on the real estate commission before you sign a listing agreement.  

The 3 year study released Monday by the respected, non-profit group found that:

  • 71% of home sellers were successful in getting the agent to reduce their fee. 
  • Seller’s who paid a 3% commission were just as satisfied with the job performance as those who paid the “traditional” 6% fee.  
  • Seller’s who paid the most commission, ironically had the most regrets about their selling experience.  
  • Nearly one-third of home sellers said they should have been more aggressive when negotiating the commission they were charged.
  • Over half of the 9141 polled responders reported they paid less than a 6 percent commission to sell their home by agent.
  • Re/Max and independant brokers were more willing to deal and lower their fee’s.   77 percent of sellers who listed with these firms reported that they cut the commission.
  • 67 percent of Keller Williams, Prudential and Century 21 agents agreed to lower their fee’s, when ask.  While only 64% of Coldwell Banker agents lowered theirs in response to the seller’s request.
  • According to Consumer Reports, “We found that paying an agent a lower commission rarely had any effect on the sales price.” 
  • 82 percent of respondents sold with the help of an agent, and received an average price of $5000 below the asking price. 
  • 17 percent of respondents sold their home without an agent, and they reported receiving roughly the asking price for their homes. 
  • A shocking fact was also revealed in this report.  Only 46 percent of home sellers attempted to negotiate the fee at all. 

In conclusion, if cutting the costs of sell your home is important, it pays to haggle, negotiate or walk away if you are not successful in getting an agent to reduce their commission.    Nearly all Agents will cut their fee’s or you can easily find one who will . 

Another alternative for sellers in tough times, list on the MLS , act as your own agent and save a bundle of cash.

Thanks for checking in with www.infotube.net .  We appreciate your business, feedback and questions.

5 Tips to Sell Your Home NOW

Friday, July 18, 2008 posted by Tommi Crow

joseph.jpg

Unless you were alive when Herbert Hoover was sitting in the oval office, this is probably the worst home selling market you have ever experienced.   

Certainly, things are not horrible everywhere.  Charlotte, NC and Rochester, NY are holding on, but elsewhere, housing sales and prices are still falling, while inventories are growing.    

So, what should you do if life circumstances dictate that you MUST SELL your home in this market?  What actions can you take to beat out your competition??    Yes, the situation is painful.  But, if you have to sell, InfoTube can help.

5 Tips to Help You Sell, When you Have To Sell:

  1. Don’t Spend Money.

Your house needs to make a good impression on buyers, but DO NOT spend money on big ticket items or home improvements.   Focus your attention and budget on a new paint job, deep cleaning and a lot of sprucing up.   But, absolutely, make all repairs.  

     2.    Don’t Sit on the Sidelines.

If you have to sell, now is the time.   Don’t make the mistake of hanging on, hoping prices will improve any time soon.   They won’t.   I expect another year to pass before we see any bottom in pricing.  Forget the market timing approach and put your home up for sale today.

     3.    Get Real.

Separate your emotional attachment to your home from your family’s financial best interests.  Selling a home is strictly business and should be treated as such.  

Don’t forget that smart home shoppers read the news.   Buyers expect a bargain, so give them one.  Don’t make the mistake of letting the house languish on the market.  Set a realistic price target for your home from the beginning.  Better yet, crush your competition and price your home 5%-10% below theirs.  Forget about pre-crash appraisals or the sticker price for those custom upgrades, those comparisons won’t fly, so don’t try it.

    4.    Early to Bed.  Early to Rise.  Advertise. Advertise. Advertise… Ray Crock

Whether your home is for sale by owner or by agent, you need to be active in the promotion of your property.   Your home should be advertised in the local classifieds, company newsletters, church bulletins, university or employee bulletin boards, bill boards or anywhere buyers are looking.

While local print advertising is important, don’t forget the power of the internet.   90% of all buyers begin their search for a home on the world wide web.    The internet is also the only means of effectively reaching out of the area shoppers and those from foreign countries.

Whether you are selling by agent or owner, take advantage of websites such as InfoTube.net, which offer a free home listing web page with photo’s.  Infotube.net also uploads its home listings to other websites and search engines, leaving a lot less work for you to do.   Other websites, such as craigslist also offer home listing services and should be utilized in your sales efforts.

Contact Why 6%.  Why 6% will guarantee that your home listing appears on all Realtor owned web sites, even if you are selling your home by owner.   The company also uploads home listing information to the local MLS, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Cyberhomes and others, in one easy step. 

     5.   Accept the Offer

If you need to sell now, you would be well advised to accept any reasonable offer from a qualified buyer.   It is easy to determine what “reasonable” is.  Ask your agent for comp’s or just review the asking and selling prices for your neighborhood on a website such as Zillow. 

If the first offer is low, but reasonable, you can negotiate, but remember the buyer has more power now.  Don’t blow a sale arguing over a few dollars.  Your home is only worth what someone will pay for it, which might be far less than what you think your home is worth. 

Best advise:  If the buyer makes an offer that is close, don’t counteroffer.  Sign the contract on the spot and congratulate yourself on nailing down one of the few buyers out there these days.  

   Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Have a great weekend and best of luck on the sale of your property.

Realtor Fee Rip Off — Why 6 Percent?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 posted by Tommi Crow

An article written by Mark S. Nadel, a government attorney, concludes that “residential real estate brokers and salespersons have long quoted their fees as a straight percentage of a home’s sales price. This traditional forumla, however, ill serves the interests of both home buyers and sellers, and is the primary reason why such fees may be inflated by, on average, more than 100 percent or $30 BILLION a year.”

There is intense competition in the real estate industry, but not in terms of price or fees. In his article, Nadel compares the real estate industry’s “flat fee” “take it or leave it” practices to those of the funeral industry, as exposed in the 1963 book “The American Way of Death,” which found that families were regularly ask to pay a single price for a bundle of funeral services, many of which they did not need or want.
Nadel charges that consumers would be substantially better off if residential brokers used fee structures similar to those used by professionals in other advisory/consulting service fields, such as law and accounting.

Nadel’s Cry…Consumers Take Action:

Traditional brokers revenue could be cut by $30 billion dollars per year with price competition. To level the field and insist upon true price competition, consumers should be armed with the following 5 pieces of information.

1. Buyers should receive an estimate of the dollar amount of the fee that their broker expects to receive in a home-sale transaction.

2. Buyers should be told whether their broker’s agent may refuse to inform them about homes that meet their criteria, if those homes are not listed by traditional brokers.

3. Buyers should be advised that fees paid to a buyer’s broker can be treated as part of the sales price for mortgage purposes.

4. Sellers should be informed that many buyers have no broker, that others have brokers who have agreed to receive less than the customary 3 percent buyer broker co-op fee, and that both groups of buyers expect to be able to translate that savings into a price reduction.

5. Sellers should be told whether their listing broker will attempt to limit the distribution of their listing by competing brokers.

In conclusion, the traditional 6 percent rate structure in the real estate industry has serious drawbacks and the structure is not defensible. 6 percent fee’s provide an incentive for a broker to sell quickly because their fee is based on the sales price, rather than on the time, effort and marketing dollars required to sell the home. Buyers and Sellers owe it to themselves to learn all the information before they hire a real estate broker.