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


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“Lead Pirates”

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
June 24th, 2015

Great article from inman news:

http://www.inman.com/2015/06/22/beware-real-estate-lead-pirates/

The idea here is based around the concept of wanting a referral fee for doing next to nothing. The article hits on Real Estate leads but it can be true in other areas. Mortgage leads can be a good example. Let’s say someone is surfing the web and clicks on a banner ad for a generic loan application. This app gets sold to countless loan officers. These loan officers in turn attempt to contact the individual that clicked on the banner ad. The company that placed the banner ad does absolutely nothing.

In the Flat Fee Business, you will find these same banner and paid ads throughout various search engines and websites. (such as Zillow) The majority of these ads are placed by generic national companies that do not hold a valid real estate license in your state. Instead, they put up a website with all sorts of promises…. they collect the money from the online viewer, and then they blindly fwd the lead to a local broker hoping that broker will provide the services the generic national company promised. The consumer is put in a tough spot. They paid company “A” and they were promised certain services by Company “A”. However, that national company has no real involvement at all in the listing. Even worse, because they don’t have a license, there is no one to hold Company “A” accountable for misleading advertising.

How do Flat Fee consumers protect themselves? Do not give your money/credit card to someone that you can’t speak with directly. If they don’t have a license in your state, do not list with them. This simple rule can save Flat Fee consumers from endless future problems.

Andrew, Give me a specific example!!!: Sandpoint, Idaho has their own MLS just for the city of Sandpoint. A few days ago, I received a lead from a generic national company in Sandpoint. Previously, we have notified this national company that we do not cover Sandpoint. (I don’t know of anyone who does) Upon receiving the lead, I immediately replied telling the national company again that we do not cover Sandpoint. (and that I didn’t know of anyone that did). Fast Fwd to 9 days later… the consumer that paid this national company calls me to complain that the company he signed up with and paid hasn’t delivered on any of the promises they provided. Furthermore, they haven’t returned his phone calls or refunded his money. Instead, when he complained, they provided my # as the person to contact for his Sandpoint MLS listing.

How could this consumer avoided this frustration? Don’t sign up through generic national companies.

State Specific Forms

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
May 20th, 2015

We are able to provide our clients with state specific forms as produced by the state association of Realtors(R) at no cost. These forms are available in our private client area under the tab marked, “state files”. They can be downloaded and printed 24/7 whenever you need them. On rare occasion, a new more recent form may be available that is not yet available through our private client area. In these rare instances, shoot us an email or give us a call and we can log into the appropriate portal and acquire the newer version for you.

 

Examples – In Nevada, we use the forms produced by the GLVAR. In California, we use the forms produced by the California Association of Realtors, in Arizona, AAR, etc… and the list goes on and on. We do not use generic forms that our competitors use. We pay each state association for the right to use their forms. These are the same forms that Realtors(R) in your area utilize on each transaction.

 

 

New “I” Boxes from Supra

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
February 13th, 2015

As many of you already know, Supra introduced a new I box into the market place about 24 months ago. Slowly, MLS’s across the country have been upgrading from the old electronic lockboxes to the new boxes. ABOR recently put out the following PDF file addressing the differences b/w the two boxes. While the changes only affect Realtors(R) directly, it’s good to know as a seller what products are out there for Realtors(R) and the differences b/w products.

http://www.abor.com/supraswap/lockbox_new_pdf.pdf

Who is Congress Realty and what do you do?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
February 10th, 2015

If you are new to our site, Welcome! Congress Realty first dived into the Flat Fee market back in 2002. Since that time, we have listed somewhere in the neighborhood of 35,000 flat fee listings on local MLS’s across the Western United States. In addition, we have negotiated countless full service deals and represented hundreds of buyer’s in the purchase of Real Estate. We have developed a reputation for a more hands on approach to the flat fee listing. While our site has all of the do it yourself tips and forms you need, we make ourselves available to answer questions and assist seller’s along the way when needed.

When you list a property with Congress Realty, you will always be dealing with Andrew or Donald. We do not refer out orders to outside brokers. When a property is listed with our firm, we have the listing up and active within 1 day of receiving the order. We then send the seller an email confirmation with access to our private client area. This emails contains your login and password to our private client area. From here, the seller can review the MLS listing and submit changes through our website. We typically make changes the day we receive them. When we make a change, a confirmation email is sent to the seller.

On the buyer side, we offer rebates to buyers on the purchase of their home. We will work with your lender to ensure your credit is approved by your lender and perfectly within the scope of the law.

When navigating our site, if you have any questions or comments, give us a call or shoot us an email!

800 657 6579

info@congressrealty.com

Dropping and Raising a listing price – Good idea or Poor decision?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
February 2nd, 2015

One of the most frustrating changes we receive each day involves small price drops. These price drops can be anywhere from $1 to $1,000. Making the change doesn’t frustrate me. I’m happy to make the change, the frustrating part is that many homeowners are hurting themselves by doing this. Somewhere along the way, people started believing that if you drop your price, your home goes “back to the top of the list” on the MLS. This simply isn’t true. The MLS is a constantly evolving database. Each Realtor(R) sets their own “hot sheet” to the search parameters that they farm specifically. The MLS isn’t one long list, such as “Craigslist”. The problem with dropping your price by a small amount is that many times you are doing nothing more than bleeding down your own price and the subdivision. When you make a price cut, you want to do so with a purpose. This purpose can be to drive traffic or generate an offer, etc… However, don’t drop your price just for the sake of dropping the price. You need to look at your specific situation, look at the comps around you, decide what is best for you…and then make a price cut with a purpose in mind. (if you decide to cut the price)

 

On the flip side, raising the price is a whole new issue. I’m a believer in pricing the property correctly from Day 1. In my experience, doing so nets the seller the most money possible 9 times out of 10 in the long run. Pricing the property incorrectly and then later raising the price creates confusion amongst buyers. Buyers have access to more information than ever before. They will be aware of any recent price increases that you have made. From my experience, I have found buyer’s reluctant to pay over a previous listing price except in the most rare of instances.

 

Adding photos to your listing “later”

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
November 21st, 2014

We always recommend adding all of your photos before your listing goes active. If possible, use our pre listing manager link or email us your photos prior to your listing going active. This will ensure that all 3rd party websites display your photos correctly and quickly.

On rare occasion, it’s just not possible to get all of your photos in before listing day. If this happens, you want to use our private client area to add photos or email the photos to info@congressrealty.com. When the listing goes active, you will receive a login and password to our private client area. This will arrive via email. Once you login, you will see a tab that will say add photos. From here, click the add photo tab and add your updated photos. It typically takes us no more than 1 day to make a change to a listing from the time we receive it.

The thing you want to avoid is adding your photos to our pre listing manager AFTER the listing has gone active. This link should only be used PRIOR to your listing being activated.

Colorado

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
September 5th, 2014

As many Colorado residents are aware, the state of Colorado has done away with all limited service listings. This does not affect Congress Realty. We strive to adhere to the new rules/laws set forth by the state of Colorado by performing the following services at NO additional cost.

  • We will receive and present all offers to the seller.
  • We will answer questions regarding any offer or counter offer.
  • We will speak to the buyer broker and fwd all communication b/w the parties during the negotiation period.
  • We will be available via phone during closing to answer any questions.

While many disagree with the rules/laws set forth by Colorado, we still must comply. All Colorado homeowners who list a property through Congress Realty must conduct negotiations through Congress Realty and not directly with the broker representing the buyer. This is not a Congress Realty rule but now a state Law. While I know this is frustrating to many Colorado residents, we must abide by the laws set forth by each individual state. BEWARE OF ANY COMPANY THAT ADVERTISES THAT THEY WILL SIMPLY LIST YOUR HOME ON THE MLS IN COLORADO!!! This is a violation of Colorado law. Every broker must perform typical full service duties in Colorado. Congress Realty provides these services to Colorado residents at no additional cost.

NOTE – this only affects the state of Colorado.

State Approved Documents Included with every listing!

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
July 16th, 2014

When you list a property with Congress Realty, we send out a listing is active email notification. In this email, you will receive a login and password to our private client area. Once you log in, you will see a blue hyperlink that says “State Files”. Clicking this hyperlink will take you to your specific state documents. Each document is uploaded as a PDF file and can be printed at anytime.

What types of forms are available?

Purchase contracts, Counter Offers, Disclosures, etc…

How do I know what forms I need?

You always need the basic disclosures. Additional disclosure requirements will be mentioned in your purchase agreement.

What if I need a form that I can’t find on your site?

This can happen from time to time for a couple of reasons. If the document needed is a state approved document, we can get it for you. If you don’t see it listed, just email or call us and we will get it for you. If the document is not a state approved document but is requested by your buyer, we can still almost always get it for you. Just let us know what you need.

 

Temporarily Off Market versus Cancelled Status

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
May 8th, 2014

You have your property listed on the MLS and for one reason or another, you need it removed. What should you do?

The first thing to decide is why you want to remove the property and do you want the property to come back on the market in the near future?

Temporarily Off Market status means that the property is coming back on the market in the near future under that same MLS #. The listing is basically on hold. A property really should not be in TOM status for more than 60 days. Let’s say you want to go out of the country for 10 days and prefer not to have any showings while you are gone…TOM is a great option for you. The negative to temporarily off market status is that the days on market counter still ticks away. The advantage is that there is no fee for taking the property to TOM status and then re-activating it again in the future.

Cancelled status means exactly that. You are cancelling the entire listing. Once a listing is cancelled, we can not bring that listing back again under that same MLS #. The only way to list the property again would be to create a new listing. Cancelled status does have it’s benefits. It allows you to bring back the listing in the future as a new listing, thus resetting the Days on Market counter. (provided you are off the market for the MLS required # of days to reset the DOM counter) (In most areas, it is 30 days) Example – Cancelled status would be an appropriate selection for a property that has been rented and will be off the market for more than 60 days.

Realtor.com

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
February 19th, 2014

What is the true value of Realtor.com? How does my home reach Realtor.com?

The first thing to keep in mind is that Realtor.com is not the MLS. Realtor.com is not owned by NAR. Realtor.com is similar to any other 3rd party site in that they take bits and pieces of data from the MLS and publish this info to the public. As you may have guessed, Realtor.com has lost a substantial amount of online traffic to sites like Zillow and Trulia. Zillow and Trulia give agents more flexibility with their listings by allowing agents to edit certain content on their respective websites. Realtor.com on the other hand does not have the technology in place to allow such editing. Furthermore, Realtors(R) can display MLS search features on their own personal websites. To summarize, everywhere you look, you can search the same data that Realtor.com is providing. However, most of these new sites feature ground breaking new technology that make your online experience much more enjoyable and reliable.

Getting your home listed on Realtor.com or any IDX related search is quite simple. You just have to be listed on the MLS. If your home is on the MLS, it will appear on Realtor.com. (barring some sort of error on the part of Realtor.com)

I will give two examples of why Realtor.com is nowhere near as popular as it once was. Let’s look at 2 different markets. In the Houston market, most everyone use the HAR website for public MLS searches. In Tucson, they use TARMLS.com. Both of these sites are sponsored by the actual MLS in that local market. As a result, the information these sites provide is the most accurate and up to date information available in these respective markets. They absolutely clobber sites like Realtor.com for this reason.

Getting your home on HAR.com or TARMLS.com is just as simple as getting your home on Realtor.com. The property just has to be listed on the MLS.