In general, the answer is yes, if you want a buyer, it should be on the market. Buyer activity will likely slow down, sometimes to little or nothing. Many sellers do remove their listings, so the number of competing listings goes down. A substantial number of houses still sell during the slow times, often the active buyers are very motivated. The "need to buy" buyers are still out there, while some "want to buy" buyers are too busy to look at homes, so the numbers of showings declines.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit against an MLS that hid listings by discount brokers is over. It is an illegal restraint of trade for an MLS to hide or disadvantage flat fee MLS listings. Albert Hepp testified in the original 2007 case, where the MLS won. It was reversed on appeal in a unanimous 4-0 ruling of a four Judge panel, and then the US Court of Appeals agreed that hiding listings was illegal. The Realcomp MLS then appealed to the United States Supreme Court, and the Court just announced that it will not review the ruling.
Photographs are a key link the chain from getting a buyer or agent interested enough in your property that they will set up a showing. Good photos motivate buyers to view a property in person, and the best photos create an expectation that this is the property the buyer expects to buy. During the buyers market when competition (other for sale listings) is plentiful, buyers don't want to look at every home in their price range. Buyers look at the listings that have the best photos.
When a home seller has a showing scheduled by an agent, some sellers feel the urge to be there. This is a mistake, one of the biggest mistakes a seller can make. Some sellers feel like they should be there to show the property, because no one knows the property better then they do. They want to be available to answer questions right there and then. The seller wants to make sure the buyers notice the best elements of the property (in the seller's opinion, that is). And it is their home, so some sellers would feel more comfortable being there just to keep an eye on what happens.
It is striking to me, that so many flat fee brokers have zero online customer reviews, or only complaints. How can this be?
Since 1998, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in flat fee home sales. There is much more good than bad and ugly, and it is easy to see that the bad and ugly are more common with certain players in the flat fee MLS industry. It is frustrating to see some of the most questionable flat fee websites continue to operate, knowing the problems they have, and knowing the low chance of success sellers who uses these companies actually have. I hope the web 2.0, also known as social media, will help consumers avoid the problem brokers.
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The remarks on the property listing should have one goal: to motivate buyers to want to see your property in person. Here are my suggestions to achieve that goal:
Quick review of Realcomp MLS Case:
An MLS creates rules that hide discounter/innovator brokers' listings,
the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigates,
the MLS (called Realcomp) refuses to change rule,
the FTC sues the MLS for restraint of competition,
the MLS gets NAR funding to fight the FTC,
the Case is tried in Washington, DC, Albert Hepp testifies as a flat fee MLS Broker, then
the MLS wins the FTC case.