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
Question: First of all, what is a “Single Broker Listing”?
Answer: For more than 100 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. Today, with Added Equity, a homeowner can sell the house 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: Well, 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. So instead of a traditional commission of 3%, we offer $500 to a buyer’s agent, plus whatever else the buyer and the buyer’s agent can negotiate from the seller.
This forces the buyer and the buyer’s agent to discuss what total fee the agent will be paid (hopefully more than our $500!). Once the agent and her client agree on a fee, the client can pay the difference. Or instead, 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 then 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. 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 half of all home buyers themselves found the home they finally purchased. It’s clear: the world has changed over the last 100 years, and now real estate is changing too.
Q: OK, but will 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 otherwise interested clients away from Added Equity listings. REALTORS® are held to this standard, because the Code of Ethics that binds them clearly requires it. The ethical standard of non-REALTORS® is debatable, since there is no clearly defined set of ethical rules other than the Code of Ethics.
Regardless of any ethical obligation, the law prohibits it, at least here in Seattle. By Washington law, an agent must cooperate and show a home to an interested buyer if there is an offer of compensation in any amount. Added Equity offers compensation in the amount of $500. So buyer’s agents are legally required to show Added Equity homes to interested clients.
If an agent has clients who would like to see a Quill listing, we expect the agent 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, and by professional ethics.
Q: How do you market your listings if you aren’t on the MLS?
A: Via Zillow. This includes Trulia, Yahoo Homes, and many other sites that are owned by Zillow or that display Zillow data. Zillow, Trulia, and Yahoo Homes together are the top three real estate sites that attract 79,000,000 monthly unique visitors.
Q: Will you give your clients the option of listing on the MLS?
A: No. To have that option, Added Equity would have to be a member of the MLS. Once a member, it would be subject to all of the rules and regulations of that long-established industry mainstay. As a result, Added Equity would no longer be able to operate as practically and as efficiently as possible. It would instead simply be another part of “the system” – a system that doesn’t serve consumers very well and that is going to change, someday. So Added Equity is not a member of the MLS.