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Alaska Flat Fee MLS

Feb 26, 2008
The Great State of Alaska is home to some of the finest real estate in the United States. There are many reasons for this. The state has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined. Large portions of the state are undeveloped and the state has some incredibly scenic areas or features: the Nushagak River, Mount Sanford, the Aleutian Islands, Mount McKinley and the Bering Sea, to name a few. Additionally, the state is overall quite wealthy with many strong industries such as oil and gas, fishing, and tourism, not to mention a strong presence of government and military jobs. Realizing that they own something special with obvious appeal to others, many Alaskan homeowners have been somewhat price-conscious when it comes to paying commissions when they decide to list their property for sale.

While simply marketing a property For Sale By Owner has always been an option, some sellers have avoided that route for a variety of reasons. For one, For Sale signs historically do not sell many homes, especially ones that might be difficult to see or obstructed by weather conditions. There also is not a very robust place to find For Sale By Owner listings since newspaper readership is declining, especially among younger homebuyers. Finally, certain statistics being touted by various Realtor groups indicate that For Sale By Owner properties tend to take longer to sell and sell for less money than those that are listed on the MLS. This might be due to less marketing exposure to buyers, especially those relocating from out-of-state or because purchasers of FSBO properties expect to get a deal since there were no agents involved. Ultimately, most Alaska homeowners do turn to real estate listing agents, and many felt these agents are being overly compensated for their services. For one, the commission rates tend to be extremely high, perhaps as high as six percent of the sales price for some agents. Also, since very few buyers actually are shown the property by the listing agent (most find the property with the help of a buyer's agent), sellers have voiced concern that the buyer's agent is the one actually doing most of the work while the listing agent gets paid at a similar rate.

Over time with the help of the Internet, new business models have been developed to meet the needs of homeowners. A unique type of listing has become popular throughout the State of Alaska: the flat fee MLS listing. Here a seller pays a small flat fee for a listing agent to list the property in the Multiple Listing Service. The seller then pays nothing to the listing agent at closing, but continues to offer a co-op or co-broke commission, often three percent, to any buyer's agent that brings a buyer who successfully purchases the property. If a buyer purchases the property with no agent representation, there is no commission paid to anyone at closing. This type of listing has become extremely popular in Alaska; for one, a seller knows that their property is gaining maximum exposure to buyers and buyers agents through the MLS - the same type of exposure they would get by listing with any other local brokerage firm. Additionally, the seller continues to have the ability to market the property to unrepresented buyers, which allows the opportunity to save even more money. Flat fee listings should be considered by any homeowner the next time they decide to sell their property.
About the Author
Donald Plunkett is a flat fee listing broker. His company provides Alaska flat fee listings on the MLS. For more info: http://www.congressrealty.com
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