With the advent of the internet, many companies have found a niche to market their services. Yes, this is the information age, and people pay for information. In the internet world of real estate, referral companies play that role. Here is how it works. They were lucky to register domain names that they own, Ex. Flat Fee Listing, For Sale By Owner, Sale By Owner, FSBO, etc. If someone types in these names or other names that are similar, their sites come up. These are not real estate companies usually, or not in your state if, they are. They offer for sale by owner exposure with multiple listing options. That is where the local flat fee company comes in. The referral companies are like dating services. They match the seller with the local flat fee company who can list your home.
What is the problem here? Some sellers think the national website will sell their home. Low per-cent chance. People are looking more at realtor sites than for sale by owner sites. The second problem is misperception of the seller. They think the referral company is the Belize Real Estate company. Wrong! They are national referral company’s not local flat fee companies. So, what is the problem? The problem is they sell you services and products that you may not be able to use and don’t inform you of local rules of the multiple listing and state laws regarding your listing.
Some examples, yard signs, in our state of the MLS does not permit a for sale by owner sign in the yard. That is the way it is, period. For sale by owners are the enemy. If you get a buyer in some markets, you must use the listing agent services for additional fees. The referral companies can sell you lockboxes that are not the best to use as far as safety and are not as user friendly for realtors. These lockboxes are not allowed in some MLS’s they don’t tell you your phone number and address is not in realtor .com. In some markets, the seller’s number is not permitted even in the listing. In some markets, it is not limited services. The agent must be a full service agent to comply with the local MLS’s rules, which necessitates more fees.
Unfortunately, this miscommunication can lead to hostility towards the listing broker who is trying to help you, but must comply with the rules of multiple listing, state law, and other sites like realtor.com. Bottom line, Caveat emptor- buyer bewares. Know whom you are dealing with and what you are buying. Go to the flat fee company directly. Cooperation and understanding is the key in getting your property sold. You don’t need a referral service to get you listed!