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Confused By Full Service vs. Flat Fee Real Estate Services? 3 Key Things To Know Before You Decide

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Selling a home requires homeowners to make important decisions. For example, decisions must be made on repairing and updating the home to ready it for the market, as well as deciding when to sell, what the price should be, and where and when to begin looking for your next home. And all these decisions must be made while keeping up with the demands of family and work. But there is another important decision encountered by a growing number of sellers - deciding between a full-service real estate agent or a flat fee brokerage. If you are preparing to sell your home and struggling to understand the differences between these two types of real estate services, here are three things to consider. 

Determine exactly what services are provided by each type of service

Flat fee real estate services often offer different levels of service at different costs, so make sure to determine exactly which services are included and which ones you may be required to handle on their own as a seller. Full-service real estate agents typically handle all marketing, showing, buyer qualification, document preparation, transaction processing, and negotiation. So be sure to find out exactly what services and costs are included in each method before deciding.  

Compare the terms of payment for each service

Another key difference between full service or flat fee services is when payments are due for any services that may be rendered. When working with a full-service real estate brokerage, the sales commission amount is negotiated at the time of the listing and then typically deducted from the proceeds at closing. Some flat fee service providers may expect full payment at the time an agreement is reached, while others may allow their fees to be paid at closing, so it is important to determine this before signing an agreement. 

Decide which type of service best fits your needs 

Time is a crucial factor for homeowners who are working through the process of selling their home, no matter which type of real estate service you ultimately choose to use. Before opting for a flat fee service that may require the seller to do hours of marketing, showing, or negotiating with prospective buyers, make sure that you have enough time to handle these duties, in addition to other life commitments. 

To learn more about both flat fee and full-service real estate services, consider discussing your individual selling situation with an agent from each type of service before making a final decision. Be sure to carefully evaluate the actual services offered, as well as the cost and ask each agent to provide referrals so that you can speak with some of their past clients.  

For more information, contact local full-service real estate agents