Residents of Western Montana aggressively look for cost-savings in the sale of their homes. Because of the obvious appeal of the area, the presence of the University of Montana, thriving arts and cultural scene and dramatic scenery, the Garden City has been growing for some time. Putting aside the national credit market meltdown which began in 2007, Missoula real estate seemed to be for some time selling itself, and the steep fees associated with selling it did not seem to make sense for many sellers. The market has shifted to a buyer's market, and it has become more apparent that the main driver of sales is price rather than fancy marketing brochures, open houses, or agent caravans.
Buyers are shopping for homes today, they just want to feel they are getting a reasonably good deal. Many people were burned buying homes in the easy-credit, no money down days of the mid-2000's, and declining property values affected many people's view of real estate. After all, many people bought homes not only based on buying a place to live, but also based on the fact that they thought the purchase was a reasonably good investment. They had heard real estate agents tell them that historically houses had appreciated at some particular rate or had doubled every certain number of years. People are now looking at houses more as a place to live then as a lottery ticket.
So price is hugely important in selling your home. It is important, however, for the market to know that your house is available for sale. People moving to Western Montana from, for instance, Seattle or Billings, are not going to drive around the city looking for ‘For Sale’ signs and writing down the address and property details on every thing they can find. Even someone in Missoula moving from one house to another are not going to do this. They want a database of homes that lists everything available for sale, everything already under contract, as well as information about recently sold properties. This database is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). But don't you have to list your property with a traditional Realtor® to have your property placed in the MLS? Doesn't this mean you will have to pay a steep commission to this person at closing? The answer for both questions is, “No, " as a new type of real estate broker has emerged in recent years.
Flat fee MLS brokers list properties in the MLS for a small upfront fee and forego any commission at closing. Initially, there were only a few of these brokers in major cities around the country. Increasingly, a few brokers do offer this service in places like Billings and Missoula. Sellers are utilizing these services as a hybrid between selling ‘For Sale By Owner’ and listing with a traditional broker. Flat fee MLS programs appeal to sellers because they have exposure to unrepresented buyers that are driving around or browsing numerous Internet sites like Realtor.com® and others, as well as buyers using the services of a buyer's agent.
About the Author: Donald Plunkett is a Montana licensed real estate broker offering flat fee MLS listings. He is a member of the Missoula Association of Realtors’ MLS system. More info: http://www.congressrealty.com/Montana