FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Yes.  We offer every service you would expect from any professional real estate agency. If you choose our Listing Package, most of those services are wrapped into one convenient package designed to save you thousands – even tens of thousands of dollars compared to commission based agencies.

The difference with our firm is that we offer a multitude of options that no other agency in town provides. We allow you to choose as many, or as few of our services as you feel you need to effectively market and sell your property. From a simple listing at only $495 to a complete full service concierge experience for only $995 to list and market and $1,495 from Contract to Close, it is always up to you.

Yes.  All of our sales associates are licensed to practice real estate brokerage in Maryland. They are also REALTORS®, which is a professional designation that offers additional education and training. We are part of an organization (a board of REALTORS®) whose members are held to a higher standard of practice than non-REALTORS®.

In order for our company to offer such incredibly low fees for the same services provided by others at much higher rates, we need to eliminate some of the risk brokerages face when taking on new clients. (see “Why do traditional agents charge so much anyway?“).  By charging the seller setup fees and expenses for marketing materials upfront, we have less financial risk overall than traditional brokerages. We incorporate this payment method to lower the cost to each of our clients so that everyone pays the same rate, no matter how much their home is worth.

What services we provide depends on what you choose. If you choose our Listing Package, you will receive every service and element of marketing that 99% of the agents out there will offer (possibly more).

What makes us different is that we also offer our services à la carte.  If you do not want to pay us to provide every service required to go from Pre-listing Evaluation to Settlement, and you don’t mind doing some of the work yourself, we’re happy to supplement your talents with or own services, saving you money along the way.

Just want to list your For Sale By Owner – $495.
Want professional photos, a video, drone photography, 3D tour?  Order one or order all. We let you choose!

If you already have a buyer in hand, we don’t even require you to sign up for our listing service. Why spend $495 to list the property on the MLS, Zillow and thousands of other sites if you already have a buyer?  You can choose our contract creation service (for an unrepresented buyer) for only $499.  We will draft the contract, make sure all the state, local, and required disclosures are included, and provide a complete Maryland Association of REALTORS® contract of sale for you and the buyer.

Take it from there if you like, or choose to hire us to handle all of the transaction management for a few hundred dollars to stay on top of the process to make sure there are no issues with the lender, title company, appraiser, inspectors, etc.

It’s your property.  Shouldn’t you decide?

We offer a full spectrum of media and advertising options. Want a 3D tour?  No problem. Want drone photography and or video? No problem. Want night photography, a full color 16pt high resolution 12 page brochure, 1,000 postcards mailed to a specific demographic group, Google display advertising, Facebook paid advertising, a YouTube video all directed at micro specific demographics? You got it. Want a full page ad in Baltimore Magazine? Yep. Each of our additional advertising options has a simple upfront fee. Before opening Flat Rate Home Sales, our founders marketed and sold some of Baltimore’s most luxurious and expensive properties – spending thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars on advertising for a single property. Everyone pays the same for the services they choose. Contact us for details on optional advertising (beyond what is available on this website).

Congratulations !!  You just saved yourself a boatload of money. Should you find your own buyer (who is not represented by a licensed agent) through an open house, word of  mouth, a shared Facebook post, friends, family, whatever – there’s no buyer agent co-op commission to pay. That should save you thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars depending on your sale price.

Since you already have a buyer, if you haven’t already purchased our listing package – you don’t have to !! All you need is our contract creation service. You can also choose our repair request creation service (if your buyer is planning to have a home inspection), our transaction management service (if you want us to make sure your transaction stays on track with lenders, title company, inspectors, appraisers, etc) and our settlement statement review (just to make sure you are getting every dime you should). Even if you choose all of our services from contract to close, you get an experienced team of professionals handling your sale and settlement for less than $1,500 !! If you have a $300,000 home, that’s a savings of over $13,000 (93%) compared to a 5% listing !

Yes.  If a consumer contacts us and wants to see your property (or any property for that matter), they are directed to one of our buyer agents. It is highly unlikely that a buyer purchases the first house they see. It is not unusual for buyers to view 10-20 houses or more before even making an offer. That’s a lot of unpaid hours for our buyer agents. This is why our buyer agents still operate under the traditional model. Many buyers just aren’t ready to put out thousands of dollars upfront for the assistance of a buyer’s agent (yet), but the time will come where this old fashioned method will be eliminated as well. So for the time being, you save where you can, while still trying to get every qualified consumer into your home as a potential buyer.

Our listing agreements last six months but can be cancelled at any time with 30 days notice, provided the seller is current with all fees owed to the brokerage.

You can cancel your listing at any time with 30 days written notice – provided all fees incurred by the seller are paid. There are no additional charges to cancel early as there are in most other agency listing agreements.

Absolutely!  This is another way in which we are different from traditional real estate brokerages. Since you are paying for the media upfront – you own it. (You grant us the right to use) but should you decide to work with another brokerage, the photos, flyer template and any other media created for you are yours to reuse with another brokerage (provided the seller has paid all fees due to TheFlatRate.com at time of cancellation or expiration.)

Absolutely. That’s how we’re designed. You can sign up for our listing service and perhaps a few media options initially with the intent to handle all contract and transaction management yourself, and then change your mind and sign up for the contract to close services when you receive an offer. We’ll take it from there.

No.  We find these to be adding insult to injury. First they charge you 5% to 6% to sell your home – and then want an additional $495-$695 or more as a “fixed fee commission.” They used to call them “admin fees,” but for some reason they can’t call them that any longer. And what are these additional fees for?  They’re basically just another way to squeeze a buck out of you because most people don’t focus on the extra “little” fees the brokerage charges. They are too busy looking at that BIG commission number they are faced with. So again – no, we don’t charge those.

Because the purpose of all of our advertising is to sell your house, not to advertise an agent so they can get more listings in your neighborhood. This has become popular in recent years. A huge photo of the agent and their name and a tiny little hard to read phone number for consumers to call about information on your home. You’re paying thousands of dollars so your agent can advertise themselves!  Wow.

We have very simple, easy to read signs that show that your house is for sale, with a great big phone number and website for consumers to call / search for info on your home. That’s it.

Yes. All of our services require a written contract. We also require a credit card / debit card for your initial fees incurred. Balances for our Contract to Close Package will be paid to us at settlement from your sale proceeds. If there are no proceeds (if you have sold at a loss), you will still be responsible for the balance due if the property goes to settlement.

We utilize a third party scheduling service called ShowingTime. It is the same service that the majority of brokerages use in Maryland as it is linked to our Multiple List System. When you sign up with us, if you choose the optional REALTOR® Appointment Service, we will set up a ShowingTime account for you. Agents from all brokerages will contact ShowingTime to request an appointment. ShowingTime will notify you (the seller) by your preferred method of contact – telephone, text, or email. You will approve or disapprove of the showing request and ShowingTime will take care of the rest. If you disapprove of the showing, you can suggest an alternative time. Again, ShowingTime will take care of the coordination and notifications to all parties involved. Additionally, ShowingTime provides an automated feedback service that allows buyer’s agents to note what they and their clients thought of the property. It can be an invaluable tool to hone in on effective marketing and pricing.

If you choose not to add this service, we will list your name and phone number on the MLS listing and you will be contacted via telephone for all REALTOR® showing requests.

Yes. Through your ShowingTime account (if you sign up for the $79 service – or choose our Listing Package), you will receive feedback from agents that have shown your property. Each time an agent shows the property, ShowingTime will send an email requesting feedback. If the agent does not provide feedback, they will receive several more emails requesting feedback. Although there is no way to force agents to provide feedback, most will give some indication of whether there is interest and if not, why.

It depends.  If you do not sign up for our Listing Package or Buyer Agent Liaison service – we do not discuss your property with other agents. You will be listed as the contact person for your property and agents will call you directly with questions.

If you signed up for our Listing Package or Buyer Agent Liaison service – then yes, we do handle all inquiries from other agents with regard to your property. Naturally, we may need to confirm some responses with you before discussing with other agents, but it will not be necessary for you to speak with any agent other than your TheFlatRate.com representative, their assistant or one of our transaction management processors. We make this an option for our clients. Some sellers feel they are in a better position to answer every question about the home. Some don’t mind the extra work to save a few hundred dollars. As with all of our services – we let you choose what you want, and only pay for what you hire us to do.

Absolutely ! If you, or someone you know is looking to purchase a home, we have highly qualified and experienced buyer’s agents who can assist and represent you every step of the way.

Call us to discuss at 443-550-9200 if you still have questions and we’ll help you through the online registration process. Otherwise, just choose the services you want to start with and hit “add to cart.” Once you’re happy with your selections – checkout and our automated process will take you through the required steps. You will need to create an account prior to your initial order completion since we do create a legally binding brokerage agreement, but that is part of the automated process. Once registered, you will be directed to provide credit card / debit card information in order to make a payment for any services you may have chosen, or to make a deposit on our Contract to Close Package. Once you have signed up and paid, we will get to work right away.