Traditional vs Flat Fee Real Estate Broker: Which is Best?

We all like to save money. However, when it comes to selling your house quickly and for top dollar, you essentially get what you pay for. If you’re thinking about selling your house, you need to know the difference between a flat fee broker and a traditional broker.

Flat Fee Broker vs. Traditional Broker

Flat Fee Broker

  • Charges one, flat fee for services
  • Services offered may be bundled or offered a la carte
  • May or may not list on the primary, local MLS database (Multiple Listing Service)
  • Typically requires the seller to take calls and show the house themselves
  • Depending on the services offered, the seller may need to market their home and negotiate their own contract

Traditional Brokerage

  • Charges a commission (a percentage of the home’s sale price, paid at closing)
  • Offers a bundle of services
  • Listing is placed on the main MLS database, used by all local real estate agents
  • Brokerage provides full-service marketing, including materials
  • Real estate agents field phone calls and show the house
  • Real estate agents help negotiate the contract and other paperwork
  • Real estate agents help expedite and facilitate closing

Coluzzi Real Estate provides boosts through advertising, including local Facebook targeted ads featuring 3D tours. Not only that, the Coluzzi difference means sellers have direct access to contractors and designers that can offer tips and assistance at a price that fits your budget.

Why you need to know the difference before you list your house

Before you agree to work with a broker, make sure you know precisely what you’re paying for. Here’s what you need to know before you sell – to save you time, money, and stress.

You need a real estate agent to represent you and answer your questions

Having an experienced real estate agent by your side to help you every step of the way is invaluable.

A full-service real estate agent not only offers expertise and marketing know-how, but they also have access to other real estate professionals. They can spread the word to other real estate agents about your home and help you find the right contractor, inspector, or banker. Also, when you’re wondering if your house is priced right, your real estate agent can provide you with an up-to-date, accurate market analysis of your home.

Getting your house listed on the right MLS is essential to a successful sale

The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a database system that includes all of the properties listed for sale by each member real estate agent in a particular region. When your home is listed for sale on the MLS, all the member real estate agents in your region see that your home is for sale. And when it reaches agents, it reaches the buyers they represent. The MLS ensures your home reaches the largest number of potential buyers possible.

Don’t be fooled by a mock “MLS.” Some flat-fee brokers (not all!) have their own standalone database, not the central MLS in your area. There is only one central MLS database for each region – and that’s the database where your listing should be to reach the buyers working with agents in your local area.

Cheaper isn’t always less expensive in the long run

Having a good agent by your side every step of the way – from helping you figure out the right sales price to negotiating a contract to closing on the property – is worth its weight in gold. Not only does it help reduce the stress that naturally comes with selling a home, but it can save time and money in the long run.

When you’re paying less to sell your house, you might be sacrificing services that are vital to getting your house sold quickly and for top dollar. Not only that, you will be trying to perform unfamiliar and time-consuming tasks that could end up costing you.

You need real estate agents to be able to show your house

When you don’t use a full-service real estate brokerage, it’s possible you will have to field phone calls and show your house. This can be time-consuming, difficult, and awkward when it comes to having buyers tour your home.

If your home is listed on the MLS and you’re working with an agent, other agents see your listing and can get their buyers to your house quickly and easily. Without the MLS, not only will many agents be unaware your house is for sale, but they may not have the incentive to put your house as a top priority.

How much of the work will you be doing?

With whatever broker you hire, know what your responsibilities are. Will you be responsible for the listing and photos? Will you be expected to field phone calls for showings? What about negotiating price and taking care of paperwork?

Decide ahead of time what tasks you’re comfortable doing and which tasks you want your agent to take care of for you.

You should get everything in writing

No matter what type of broker you are working with, you should always get all the services offered in writing. Then there is no question who is responsible for what

Your broker (and agent) should be local

It’s essential your broker has adequate knowledge of and access to your local real estate market. Your listing needs to be on the correct, local MLS database to reach buyers looking for homes in your area. Also, knowledge of your local real estate market is crucial to price your home appropriately.


Selling a home can feel intimidating and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to. At Coluzzi Real Estate, we answer all your questions and simplify the process. We’re here for you every step of the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!


About the Author:

Amanda has lived in the Des Moines area since 1999, where she and her husband have bought and sold a handful of homes over the years, including a recent flip. Amanda enjoys writing, obsesses about personal finance and is fond of looking at houses. She loves sharing useful tips and info to make life easier for anyone wanting to buy or sell a home. In her spare time, Amanda cherishes time with her family, volunteers with IHYC, gardens, hikes, and practices TaeKwonDo. You can read more of her writing at whywemoney.com