Sellers

 

Comprehensive guide for sellers wishing to list their property.

Why list with us?

The concept is easy to understand.

  • We do what all agents do (MLS).

+

  • We do what some agents do(syndication)

+

  • Internationalization

+

  • We do what nobody else does (personalized website in top-level domain).
  • We offer 3D modeling for a fully immersive experience, and QR codes to eliminate dangerous open houses.

WE don't charge extra processing fees apart from the standard commissions, and we are even willing to discuss a deal to lower sellers cost by paying some sellers closing costs.

Summary: sellers pay less and get more, it does not make sense to list with anybody else.

In the following pages of this guide, you will see a detailed explanation of these concepts

What most agents do

 

 

Most agents will probably publish your listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The quality of these listings may vary, we have seen listings without pictures, in spite that agents can be fined for that.
It is a well-known fact that most real estate transactions are concluded by agents, over an agreement known as the Internet Data Exchange (IDX), so publication in the MLS is an effective tool, but, in an economy that is not booming, it is not enough.
Although the MLS is restricted to realtors, listings are published to realtor.com, which is the public facade of NAR, and publishes all listings nation-wide.

What some agents do

 

 

Some agents will take advantage of the syndication feature their board provides and will go beyond the MLS.
Syndication is the ability to broadcast your listing to several websites.
This is undoubtedly effective but not enough, the system is not yet smart enough to work without supervision.
All listings have to be checked on the websites where they have been published and tweaked as necessary, of course we do this with all our listings.

Moreover, we also internationalize your listing via our membership in an international network of real estate agents and brokers called Proxio Pro.
After all, your property may be bought by a foreigner, so why restrict yourself to the local public?
By the way, apart from these early attempts to use automated translations from Google, this site will have accurate human translations.
For the moment we will only use languages that we can manage directly: English, French, Spanish, and Korean.

 

+

 

Our unique feature

 

 

Many agents will boast of the size of their real estate outfit.
This is hardly relevant nowadays because the internet levels the playing field.

Over 90% of real estate transactions happen because of internet searches, so size and number of offices do not matter.
Therefore, the only way to maximize the exposure of a listing is by publishing its own website, and that is precisely what we do.

It is important to note that we are the only ones to publish listings in their own top-level domain, not in a sub-domain of somebody else's website, but the listing's own domain, which is usually the property's address.
Most agents are not savvy enough to do this, the maximum they can possibly do is a limited publication out of a template.

This

not

Our approach is different, we have no limitations because we have our own server which we manage ourselves, and it is our understanding that a top-level domain is the core of the listing for several reasons:

  • We can publish a listing with complete description of all the features of the property: construction type, plumbing, electrical, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, additional rooms, appliances, etc.
  • Because of our integration with our board's tools we even publish neighborhood demographics, education, sex offender, entertainment, shopping, and transportation data.
  • We can publish amenities, common areas, floor plans and association by-laws for condominiums, everything in downloadable or print-friendly format.
  • Our yard sign has a Quick Response (QR) code that can be scanned with a mobile device so that anybody can instantly see a complete description of the property without ever needing to go in. This eliminates the need for open houses and brochure distribution, dangerous open houses are a thing of the past.
  • All this has been shown in our demo site.

 

Our realtor tools integration

 

 

An example of integration of real estate tools in a website, is our own Search section, which is powered by our realtor board.

Some realtors are aware of the powerful tools that their realtor board offers them.
Some of them are included in the fee, while others are accessed via paid subscription.

However, as far as we know, none of them can integrate them into the listing's website, because they do not have full control of the websites they can publish.

Here is a summary of some of the tools that we integrate into our listing websites, apart from publication in the MLS with the maximum allowed amount of pictures and in our website, of course.
Please note that a full description of what each of these resources can do exceeds the scope of this guide, later on we will publish another one with more details.
Also, there are a lot of tools the realtor board offers, some of them overlap, and others are unrelated to residential listings.

Commercial properties will be dealt with in a different guide, although the basis will be the same, each property gets its own website, the only difference is that commercial properties involve financial calculations.
Resources mentioned below are the ones we use in all our residential listings, in no particular order, the reason why some websites do not have links is because they are not in the public domain.

  • IMAPP  IMAPP

Comprehensive graphical search of tax databases.
In the U.S. nobody escapes taxes, not even the dead, a property may not be in the MLS, but it will certainly be in tax databases.
But IMAPP can do much more: interactive maps, help with comparative market analysis, foreclosure search, etc.

  • Realist  Realist

Grapical information related to the property's neighborhood environment: census data and demographics, schools, businesses, entertainment, etc. We supplement this one with our own information.

  • County appraisers websites  County Appraiser

These websites have lots of information about the property and how the county appraiser arrives at a price for the property tax. It is important to note that there are detailed maps of the location of the property, images of the recorded title, information about previous sales, and plans with measurements (similar to a property survey).

  • Realtor Property Resource (RPR)  Realtor Property Resource

This is a huge site that was purchased by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
It gets its information from over 300 feeds, so it has an amazing wealth of information like colored heat maps showing sales in the neighborhood.

This website allows for building a Realtor Valuation Model (RVM).
It starts by showing comparable properties but allows the realtor to select properties he wants to use and then builds an Automated Valuation Model (AVM), much like Google, Yahoo, or Zillow.
The difference is that the realtor can edit this model to add, subtract or modify.
In short, the realtor has full control of the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) he produces, the end result is a Realtor Valuation Model (RVM).
Finally, RPR creates a .pdf of the CMA (which will subsequently be published in the listing website), and a flyer.
This is what we use to create our CMAs.
RPR can even go further and create appraisals, more on this later.


There are other websites that we use, and that are in the public domain:

Information on condos, plans and more.

Information on new condominium construction.

Database of new homes.

Zillow has purchased Trullia and is one of the largest players in online real estate, we use heavily Zillow syndication and advertising.

An awesome free site sponsored by Florida International University. Source of information on all the surroundings of a property.

Our capabilities will grow over time, and the real estate environment will change, so this section will likely change as we modify or add sources.

How much is my home worth?

Below we show an automated calculator, which provides a rough estimate of a property's worth.
This is an example of an Automated Valuation Model (AVM).
More accurate is the Realtor Valuation Model (RVM).
This implies comparing the property against 3 sets of similar properties in the area: expired, for sale, and sold. Pending contracts can also be included, if available.
This process is called a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), it takes time and effort, because the interior of the subject property must also be taken into account.
Please contact us to obtain a CMA, we will need access to the subject property.

 

Our Comparative Market Analysis

 

 

Let's start by defining the differences between a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and an appraisal.

Appraisals are usually ordered by banks to determine if the exact value of the collateral (property) matches the money they are lending.
Appraisals follow closely the methodology used in a CMA: comparing similar properties that are for sale, those sold, and those that did not sell.
To arrive at value, appraisers add or subtract the value of features to the subject property, adjustments are always made to the subject property, not to the comparables.
Appraisers might also take into consideration the price of materials, using publications and special software.

In the state of Florida, brokers can make appraisals in non-federally related transactions.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and Veteran's Affairs (VA) loans are considered to be federally-related, because managed by federal agencies.
Both appraisers and brokers must adhere to Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice USPAP

The difference between our CMA and an appraisal, is that it takes into account full market trends.
How the environment is performing in terms of sales is very important to arrive at a fair market value
The other difference is that, while appraisals arrive at only one value, a CMA can offer a range of values, the seller has to decide within that range of value depending on how fast he wants to sell his porperty, the higher the price the less probability of netting a buyer fast.
After we agree with the seller on the price, the CMA is published to the listing website as a downloable pdf.
This is useful for the seller and the buyer: the buyer can be assured that he is paying a fair market price, and the seller that his listing is accurately placed in a price range for maximum speed of transaction completion.

We should note at this point the we do not accept to list a property if the seller does not agree with our CMA and has his own ideas about the price of his property.
We fully respect that, but sellers must understand that they should act dispassionately because buyers have no emotional attachment to his property.
A property that is overpriced not only will not sell, but will become "stale", meaning that it has stayed too long on the market and is therefore not desirable, this effect will persist even if the seller decides to lower the price later.
Moreover, an overpriced property will be competing in listing websites with other properties that are correctly positioned in their price range, so it will lose in the comparison.

Lastly, we cannot afford to invest in an advertising effort for a property that will not sell.
The present conditions of the real estate market do not allow for unrealistic overpricing.

Agents, brokers, and realtors

 

 

Some clarifications

Let us start by clarifying some common confusions.
People often call real estate agents "realtors", but that is not necessarily true.
Realtors are all real estate licensees who are also members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Licensees become members of NAR by joining a real estate board, which automatically affiliates them with NAR.
Most active licensees become members of a board by paying its fees, because it would be practically impossible to conduct business without access to real estate and tax databases, which the board provides.
But that is not mandatory, for example, an inactive licensee may choose not to be a member of a board, and save on fees, thus losing the ability to use the realtor designation.

Also, it is important to distinguish between agents and brokers.
Brokers are the only ones authorized to work independently and run a real estate firm.
Agents can only work under the supervision of a broker.
In the state of Florida, agents can only work for one broker.
Brokers are ultimately responsible for transactions, this is why most brokers carry Errors and Omissions insurance.
Both agents and brokers, if they pay fees to a real estate board, are authorized to use the "realtor" designation.

Old vs. new real estate firm

 

 

The old model

This model is based on offices and agents.

In obsolete training manuals, real estate firms are judged by the number of agents, wrong calculations are made measuring the financial capacity of a firm from the monthly amount each agent is perceived to generate.

Nothing could be further from the truth, in a market that has experienced a sharp downturn, most agents are broke and have abandoned the trade, the largest real estate firms have been obliged to shut down offices and consolidate their remaining agents in offices that are still open.

In this model, responsibility for the office is shifted to an office manager, who is not necessarily a broker, while the broker stays away from everyday transactions.

Such offices survive because of the monthly fees they collect from their agents, and the obligation they impose on agents to pay a portion of the Errors and Omissions insurance policy the firm has to carry, since the broker does not supervise transactions.

What kind of training do these firms give to their agents?

  • First and foremost, agents are told to tap on their Sphere of Influence, labeled with the ridiculous acronym SOI, meaning the close circle of family relatives and friends, by letting them know that they are now an agent for that firm.
  • Next, they suggest to send periodic mailings to a "farm", meaning an area that they specialize in. Needless to say, those mailings go to the garbage most of the time, out of the sheer number of mailings that residents receive touting what a great service the agent can provide.
  • We have even seen trainers suggesting agents to wear a button with a realtor sign in order to generate business.

In short, the onus of business generation is shifted to agents, who are also tasked with carrying out the whole transaction, even up to the point of closing.

The new model

This model looks at facts.

  • Because of automation, offices are no longer necessary, agents and customers can meet anywhere where there is a wifi connection, with a laptop. We do have an office, because that is mandatory under Florida law.
  • Agents work from home, no need to pay office fees.
  • Business is generated from the internet presence of the firm, and passed over to agents.
  • Transactions can be made remotely, no need to sign documents in person. Not to the exclusion of other methods, we use the third-party dotloop system.
  • Brokers supervise every aspect of the transaction, no need to pay for Errors and Omissions insurance.

In short, responsibility is shifted from agents to brokers.

This model is cost-effective, so we do not need to charge our clients for additional items apart from our commission, many firms are doing that at present.
This model produces results because our resources go to Internet advertising for our listing's website, we shall explain this further.

Warning

We know that some realty firms who follow the old model are charging sellers a hefty processing fee apart from the standard commission.

This happens because they lure realtors to their firms promising a 100% commission, they do this in order to tap some transactions from their sphere of influence..

So if the pay the agent 100% of their commission, where do they get their money from?

From the extra charges they bill naive sellers.

DOn't fall inot this trap, list with a firm that only charges the customary commission and pays a portion of your closing costs, like us.

For sale by owner

 

 

For sale by owner
Recipe for frustration

 

Everybody has seen those signs, but, for how long?
Owners rarely sell their property in a timely manner, which of course ultimately impacts their profit.
It is simple to understand why: wether they like it or not, well over 90% of real estate transactions are carried out by real estate professionals.
Professionals can easily market a property with tools that an owner does not have access to.
So why do they do it?
Most of them think that the 6% a real estate firm charges to sell a transaction is excessive and undeserved.
This is irrelevant because that is how the market works: the 6% is usually split between the listing agent and the selling agent (the selling agent is the buyer's agent, this is the way it is addressed in the industry).
More often than not, the seller thinks that he is saving some money by eliminating this cost, which in fact is the largest seller expenditure at closing.
This is an illusion, because the price for housing is calculated on the basis of market conditions, and since realtors have a complete dominance there, that expenditure is statiscally included in the calculation of price.
Because of this a buyer who approaches an owner will offer less, because he will deduct the commissions the seller is saving, which distort the market price.
The end result is that the seller ends up not saving anything, and selling his property much later, if at all, thus losing on interest.

An important warning for FSBOs: you might face legal challenges if you do not use a Florida Bar-approved contract in your transaction. Please be advised that floridarealtors.org holds a copyright to those contracts, so only a Florida realtor can use them.
Some of these owners will say that they work with a real estate attorney or directly with a title company, but they are also mistaken, these professionals are not legally authorized to engage in real estate marketing and sales, so they cannot produce effective results.

Conclusion

If you are serious about selling your property, use a real estate professional.

Preparing for a showing

 

 

Most websites will talk to you about "staging".
Some might even recommend staging "professionals", who, for a fee, wll re-arrange your property to make it look pretty, but you don't need a so-called professional to prepare for showings.

Here are the things most of them will recommend:

  • Depersonalize. Remove your family mementos and put them away, if there is not enough room in your property, lease space in public storage.
  • Try to remove all items not included in the sale, make sure that the contract itemizes what will be included.
  • Paint and clean, put flowers, deodorize the property.
  • Lots of lighting.
  • Put dogs away.

All this is fine and of course we agree, but there is something which we do not agree: most recommend that the owner step away and let the buyer's realtor do the job.
The reason why we do not agree is simple to understand: the buyer's realtor does not know more about the property than the buyer, who only knows what he saw in the listing, maybe.
So if the listing agent cannot be present to explain the property in-depth to the buyer, then the owner should be present to help.

Lastly, there is something that none of these realtors will tell you: once you stage your property, those pictures or slideshows should be shown in the property's own website, pardon our insistence that the property's website is the one essential thing.

The 1% commission myth

 

 

The only thing that we ask from a seller is that he sign an exclusive contract to sell with us at a 6% commission rate (that is the present average), and for at least six months.
We might ask for an additional month to set up the website, do the syndication, put the signs in place, etc.

There might be agents who will offer to list for less, but, will your property sell?
Bear in mind the following: most transactions are concluded between two realtors, one hired by the buyer and the other one by the seller, each getting 3% of the selling price.
Do you think the buyer's realtor will recommend a similar property that pays less?

Moreover, we are listing at risk, if the property does not sell we lose our advertisement investment, remember that we do much more than a publication in the MLS.

For all of the above, we cannot accept less than the market average.

Why listings expire

 

 

There are only two reasons why listings expire:

An overpriced listing competes in a price segment with other properties which are correctly priced, the overpriced property loses in the comparison and does not sell.

We have seen multi-million dollar expired listings with very poor media marketing. We are improving our video editing capabilities and have recently added 3D modeling.
Combined with a top-level domain and a downloadable in-depth CMA, our strategy addresses the root causes of expired listings.

  1. Listing overpriced.
  2. Poor marketing.

 

The flat free hoax

 

 

Recently we ran into a company that offers to list on the MLS for a flat fee of $35.
What does this really mean?
Nobody can list on the MLS if they are not a licensed realtor, and a paying member of a real estate board.
In order to get to list in the MLS, a seller must sign with a broker a listing agreement, that is the industry's wording for a binding legal contract
Now, in Florida there are four types of listing agreements:

Open:

Allows a seller to use more than one broker, whoever provides the buyer gets the commission, if seller provides a buyer no commission is paid.
This is basically a free-for-all, and it is unlikely that any broker would invest in marketing such a property.

Exclusive agency

Only one broker is allowed to work on the property.
However, if the seller finds a buyer no commission is owed.
Likewise, broker is not fully protected here and exposed to lengthy lawsuits to recover his dues.

Net listing

In this type of agreement, the listing broker gets to keep whatever he can manage to obtain above a selling price agreed to by the seller.
This is not effective for sellers, because the fair market value is calculated taking into account the 6% real estate commission.
Therefore, there is a risk that the property will be over-valued and not sell, because it will be competing with better properties listed in a similar price range

Exclusive right to sell

Lastly, this is the most common type of listing agreement and the only one that we would accept.
Here the listing broker is entitled to his share of the commission no matter who sells the property.
This is the only type that effectively protects the listing broker's investment.

 

We really don't know what type of listing the seller must sign with the brokerage in question, probably one of the first three.
But we do know that we can offer a much better deal:
How about listing in the MLS, all the high-power listing websites, an international realtor network, and getting a top-level domain chock full of information about your property for $0.00?
That is what you get when listing with us.
Please visit our demo site to learn more.

My net proceeds

Sellers are interested in their bottom line, in seeing how much they make out of the sale of their property.

WE simplify this process by encouraging sellers to download and install a simple program that will help them in their calculations.

Here is the link

Conclusions

If you have already met agents, they probably told you that they have buyers, this is probably not true, just a marketing trick.
If they had buyers you would already know them.

You now know better than most agents what a listing entails, so to whom will you entrust your listing?
To an agent who will not give you a top informational website or to a broker who has full control of his own server?

Sellers should be emotionally detached and analyze coldly.
No matter what your personal relationship is with an agent or how big the firm he works for is, what sellers should ask themselves is: who has the better probabilities of selling the property for a fair market price and faster?
In a market that is not performing we cannot guarantee that we will sell your property fast.
Our pledge is that we will make our best effort and give you things that nobody else will.