Learn About our Single Broker Listing
We’re unique. We are – apparently – the only real estate firm in the Seattle area that isn’t a member of the NWMLS, so we can offer a Single Broker Listing. Learn more about us here.
When you do something new, you raise a lot of questions.
When Added Equity’s predecessor Quill Realty withdrew from the local MLS in June of 2015, a lot of people noticed. And many of them – real estate agents in particular – had a lot of questions about how this new model was going to work. Understandable, because it’s an entirely new concept: the seller hires just one, instead of two, real estate brokers. We call it a single broker listing.
Here are the answers, about single broker listings and everything else
Real questions, from a genuine real estate agent:
Question: What is a “Single Broker Listing”?
Answer: For more than a hundred years, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has been the only way to effectively sell a home. The MLS is a cooperative system in which all brokers participate, and in which two brokers are eventually paid by the seller. First, the seller hires one agent to list the home on the MLS. That agent, in turn, promises to share the commission offered with the agent that represents the buyer. However, over time the world changes, and real estate is no different. For many years forward-thinking buyer’s agents have returned a portion of their commission to the buyer, a discount practice approved by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Today, with Added Equity, a homeowner can capture that savings. The home can be sold by hiring just one broker, not two. That one broker provides all the services necessary for the owner to successfully sell the home. One broker, one seller, one house to sell. A Single Broker Listing.
Q: Are you going to work with selling agents (i.e. real estate agents working with buyers)?
A: Absolutely! Buyers should be represented when buying a home. Plus, that’s how real estate agents make a living, and there are plenty of them looking for work. We want to sell our listings, and we’re happy to work with anyone who will help in that process.
However, we believe everyone – both consumers and real estate agents – will benefit from a new way of paying buyer’s agents. Added Equity provides single broker listings, and we do not offer a traditional buyer’s agent commission. Obviously a buyer’s agent should be compensated, we just think she should look to her clients – the buyers, not the seller – for the fee she is going to earn.
We expect the buyer and the buyer’s agent to discuss how much money the agent will be paid for the services provided. The buyer can simply pay it himself. Or, the buyer can ask in the offer for the seller to pay it at closing. If asked for such a seller-paid concession, the seller is of course free to counter above the asking price. Hopefully the parties are able to agree on a final sales price that includes some additional payment from the seller to the buyer’s agent. This usually means that the final sales price ends up above the asking price, or that the agent gets less than requested initially, or sometimes some of both. As they say in real estate, everything is negotiable.
Q: What if an agent brings you a buyer for one of your listings? Will they get a full 3% commission?
A: That’s not the way the world works anymore. Agents don’t “bring” buyers to a listing. Buyers find the listings themselves. Don’t believe us? Listen to what the National Association of REALTORS® is saying: Today, three times as many home buyers began by searching the internet themselves rather than by contacting an agent. More buyers found the internet useful in their search (82%) than the information from their own agents (78%). Ninety-two percent of all buyers used the internet at some point in the search process. And more than half of all home buyers found the home they finally purchased themselves. It’s clear: the world has changed over the last 100 years, and now real estate is changing too. (Oh, and P.S.: “full” 3%? That sounds illegal.)
Q: Won’t agents steer their clients away from your listings?
A: No, or at least the vast majority will not. First and foremost, as a general rule agents have an ethical duty to assist their clients in their home search and to act in their clients’ best interests. This means that they should not steer their clients away from Added Equity listings. REALTORS® take an oath to abide by this ethical standard, which is in their Code of Ethics. “Steering” is not allowed from REALTORS, and everyone agrees it is not ethical.
The law prohibits it as well, at least here in Washington. By law, a buyer’s agent must “be loyal to the buyer by taking no action that is adverse or detrimental to the buyer’s interest in a transaction.” It’s true that an agent does not have to show an Added Equity listing. But that’s a far cry from actively discouraging a client from a home for no reason other than the listing agent. Regardless, the law requires the agent to assist the client in all other aspects of buying the home that the client wants to buy.
We make our listings available to other agents by way of a smart key box. But we’re also more than happy to show the home ourselves. In any event, if a buyer wants to move forward with an offer, we expect the agent representing that buyer to act legally and ethically. We expect that agent to help the clients in learning more about the listing, making an offer, and purchasing the home, if that is what the client wants. It’s what is required by law, by professional ethics, and by simple common decency.
Q: How do you market your listings if you aren’t on the MLS?
A: Via Zillow. We use its “Coming Soon” feature. Zillow is the “800 lb. gorilla” of online real estate and No. 1 web site. Zillow.com gets 36,000,000 viewers each month – more than enough to let buyers know your home is for sale. In addition, we employ highly targeted Facebook ads to leverage the largest common media platform on the plant (2 billion users!). And of course we use a professional sign and flyers to get the word out the old fashioned way.
Q: Will you give your clients the option of listing on the MLS?
A: Heck yes, it’s part of the service! If we can’t get you a buyer at a price you like in 30-60 days, we will refer you to an MLS member real estate broker. There you’ll get full service and maximum exposure. You’ll pay 6%, with half of that offered to an agent who brings you a buyer. So even if we’re not successful, you’ll still get full exposure and maximum price, for the common rate.