Frequently Asked Questions

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

What is the Multiple Listing Service (also known as the "MLS")?

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the National Association of Realtors (NAR) computerized list of homes currently for sale. This is an exclusive tool, only available to the 700,000 members of the NAR. The MLS is the primary tool used by Realtors to find homes for their buyers, and for most Realtors and buyers, it is the only tool they need to find the right home for them. Realtors search the MLS daily to find potential matches for their buyers, thus when new listings are entered, they are immediately evaluated by thousands of Realtors with prospective buyers, making your house rapidly popular.

MLS provides the biggest marketing advantage in selling homes. Listing your home on the MLS is crucial if you are serious about selling!

This kind of exposure to buyers is not available anywhere else. You maximize your chances of selling your property more quickly and at a better price when it is listed in the MLS. When your property is in the MLS your property receives the broad coverage of a large number of realty offices that have access via computer to your home’s availability, price and features.

Being listed on the Realtors MLS enables you to take advantage of the power of thousands of Realtors in your area. That means more exposure for you!

Do all buyer agents use the same MLS service?

There are many MLS systems throughout Oregon and Idaho. The MLS that your home will be listed in depends on the county where it is located. We are a member of many MLS’s, so we will be sure to list your home in the primary MLS for your area.  In most cases, it is not necessary, but if you’d like, we can list you in multiple MLS’s for an additional fee.

Will my listing look the same as a full listing commission to a traditional agent?

Yes. Your listing will look like all the other listings on your local MLS.

Is it true that realtors using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sell the most houses, and that they usually sell for a higher price?

Yes and yes. According to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 80% of all U.S. homes are sold through realtors using the MLS. Also, homes listed on the MLS average net proceeds of 7% higher than homes sold for sale by owner.

The MLS will give you maximum exposure — the key to a successful transaction. There is no other effective way to sell your property and be successful.

What is the MLS listing process?
  1. Pick a listing plan.
  2. Submit payment
  3. Complete accurately all required information.
  4. Sign electronically the listing forms.
  5. Upload photos
  6. Your sign and lockbox, if included and requested, will be shipped to you within 24-48 business hours.
    Once we have received all your documents and photos, we will have your home listed within 2 business days.
    8. Once we have your home listed, we will email you a copy of your listing. NOTE: Our company is a direct lister and broker — not a referral company like many “For Sale By Owner” websites.
What if I don’t know much about Real Estate?

If you are not comfortable handling the contract review, negotiations, or any other aspect of the sale, we encourage to select our Premium Realtor Assist package, we provide you with the professional experienced help at a fraction of the cost of a  full fee agent.

What % should I offer to the buyer's agent?

Commissions are not fixed by any government agency, real estate association, etc. It is the company policy of Lowes Flat Fee Realty to offer at least a 2% commission to the Buyer’s Agent (in most cases). However, we highly recommend that our sellers offer 2.5% or 3% to the Buyer’s Agent depending on market.

How do I make changes to my MLS Listing?

Log into your account on our website and click the “Manage My Listing” link. This will take you to a page where you can request changes to your listing. Changes include: price changes, photo changes, add open house dates, status changes (once you have an offer), and any other type of change you may need.

Can I advertise an open house on the MLS?

Yes. If you plan to have an open house, just log into your account to notify us so we can post it for you. Posting an open house is included in out Premium service and is an additional charge with other plans.  Open Houses will always be posted on the MLS.  Some of our upgraded packages include advertising Open Houses on websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia.

How long is the listing contract term? Can I cancel it if needed?

Our Flat Fee MLS listing contracts are either 6 month, 12 month or until sold.  Hopefully your home is sold within your plan term, but if you need to more time to sell, the contract can be extended in 6 month intervals for a reasonable fee.   If you decide you no longer want to list your home with Lowes Flat Fee Realty, you can cancel the listing at any time by logging into your account and terminating the listing.  There is no cancellation fee.

What is your coverage area?

Lowes Flat Fee Realty does Flat Fee MLS listings across most of Oregon and Idaho.   We belong to approximately 8 different MLS systems allowing us to cover such a broad area.

What is a flat fee MLS listing?

A Flat Fee MLS Listing is a hybrid model between being a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) and being listed with a licensed real estate broker/agent.  Flat Fee MLS Listings cater to home sellers that have a For Sale By Owner mind-set and want to save money, but realize they need better marketing than what is available to a true For Sale By Owner.  Rather than pay a large % commission that is split between a buyer agent and a seller agent, with a Flat Fee MLS Listing, the seller simply pays a flat fee for Realtor exposure to sell their home. And if they would prefer additional assistance they add Realtor Assist for a super savings.   In addition, the seller pays ONLY the buyer agent a commission.   If you are a For Sale By Owner and you are willing to pay a buyer agent a commission (roughly 2%-3%), you really need to be listed on the MLS.

MLS Only Advantages

How much money can I save by using the MLS option?
If I find my own buyer, will I still have to pay a selling commission?

No. You still maintain the right to sell your home on your own. If you find your own buyer, you will not be obligated to pay a commission on the sale.

What if I don’t know how to price my property?

Under our Premium Realtor Assist Plan, we can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). This will show you your current competitors selling similar homes in your area and it will show properties like yours that have recently sold.

Why do I need so many pictures on my listing?

Ultimately, because your competitors do. You want to show every room and every view because this is how buyers become interested in actually seeing and buying a property.

3rd Party Referral Sites

What is a 3rd party referral site, and why you would NOT want to do business with one of these companies?

These are companies that collect money (many times illegally), take a cut and refer you to a broker in your state. The main problem for you, as a customer, is that you do not get to ask questions or interview the broker before you pay. These referral companies are not interested in finding the best broker to serve you; they are ONLY interested in finding the cheapest broker to maximize their profit! They constantly search for different brokers that work cheap. In fact, they have an open bidding process to find the cheapest brokers and often the worst brokers to work with. The brokers they refer you to often provide terrible customer service. Because they work so cheap, they will try to up-sell you on many vital services.

Many of these 3rd party referral sites are under investigation by various state departments of real estate and real estate commissions.

How do you know you are dealing with one of these 3rd party referral sites?

It’s simple: Always call a company before you list. Research your listing broker. When you call, simply ask, “Are you my listing broker, or will you be referring me out to some other broker?” Known referral sites are: forsalebyowner.com, owners.com, mlsmyhome.com & others. The BBB has, in fact, revoked some of their certifications due to terrible customer service.

Legitimate Idaho and Oregon real estate companies are required by the Idaho Real Estate Commission or Oregon Real Estate Agency, to display the listing brokerage on their website. It is important that you know who your listing broker will be before paying.

We are NOT a 3rd party referral site! Your listing brokerage is Lowes Flat Fee Realty. In Idaho your listing broker is Roger Lowe DB#20447 (since 2005). Oregon your principal broker is Roger Lowe #201225063.

Listing on the Internet

Will my property be listed on the internet?

Yes.

Will my listing appear on the websites of other local real estate companies?

Broker networking is where brokers give each other permission to share their listings on each other’s websites. Your listing will be displayed on other local real estate company active listings personal websites. Thus, a buyer working with another real estate company who does a search will have your listing in the database.

Showing Your Home

Will realtors show my home, even though I went Flat Fee Listing instead of paying a high commission?

Yes. There is no way to tell how much you paid to get on the MLS. Regardless of who you listed with, or what you paid, your listing will look no different from any other listing in form and style.

How do Agents/Buyers contact me?

Buyers/Agents contact the Seller directly to set up showings. The Seller’s contact information appears in the “Showing Instructions” of the MLS for the Buyer’s Agents to see, so they do not have to look any further than that.     However, per MLS Rules, it is a violation to have a Seller’s contact information to appear in the MLS description.

Are there any hidden fees or charges?

No. There are no hidden fees or charges.

Contract Questions

Who handles the paperwork?

The buyer’s agent or buyer will fill out the purchase & sale agreement, then the seller will review and either accept or counter.  I provide whatever forms you need under all my plans. In Idaho, I review the written offers and counter offers for only the legal requirements of a contract.  Under my optional program, I review all the offers and prepare the counter offers for you and work with any additional addenda, including the inspection addendum will also be submitted by the buyer and/or buyer’s agent to seller for response.  Under the basic and showcase plans I provide all the necessary forms but I do not assist you in completing them or reviewing them.

Are you involved in negotiations?

Under my Realtor Assist Plan, yes, we provide negotiation assistance, including estimated net sheets, updated market analysis and suggested counter offer. We can also conduct a review of buyer’s qualifications and perform lender follow up.

Are you involved in the closing process?

Under my Premium Realtor Assist Plan, yes, we  provide closing coordination with appraisal, title and escrow companies for timely closing. We also review closing documents to ensure compliance with accepted contract.

How likely am I to sell my property if I list with Lowes Flat Fee Realty?

No matter who lists your property, the MLS listing markets to exactly the same buyers and exactly the same agents. If you list your property at a competitive price, offer a competitive commission and include those features that your competitors are offering, you will sell at exactly the same rate as other properties like yours.

Next Steps

How do I get started?