I was interviewed by the 60 Minutes CBS News program, which is not something that happens every day. It was an off camera interview, they were asking me questions about my business and the current state of the real estate industry. I appreciated that they came to me and it was a face to face interview. At first I was hoping I might get an on camera interview and maybe even appear in the piece, but that appears highly unlikely. I have to face the fact that I am just not flashy enough, not animated (except in my own subtle kind of way) to make a compelling story.
I was surprised when recently a flat fee MLS broker from a neighboring state faxed me the latest issue of the Real Estate Intelligence Report, a prominent industry magazine for real estate industry executives. I read with surprise the front page article all about my leadership in the flat fee MLS broker industry, my picture (oh, not that picture, I have to take that one off my website--professionals shouldn't be allowed to display photos from previous decades, but I digress...) and about how we have established a trade association for brokers who specialize in flat fee MLS listings.
Every great once and a while a concerned home seller asks us about this: "Do buyer agents boycott flat fee MLS listings?" or "Will an agent refuse to show a flat fee brokers'' listings?" The short answer is no, for the reasons listed below. Often, the only time a seller asks us this question is that they were talking to a traditional agent who wants them to pay a huge commission. The seller mentions they may use BuySelf.com to list their home.
Over the past year or so I have been recruiting flat fee brokers from all over the United States (including one in Puerto Rico) in the hope of starting an industry organization just for flat fee brokers.
Recently I was at a national meeting in Washington, DC of the Executives of Multiple Listing Services. There were hundreds of people at this meeting, and the topic ended up being flat fee MLS listings. I guess it should be no surprise that these MLS leaders, who ranged from the smallest one county MLSs to the largest MLSs in the country (that cover whole states and can have well over 30,000 members) had lots of questions about how flat fee listings work, and the role of flat fee brokers in the MLS.
This past week the Wall Street Journal had a short article about Flat Fee Listings where Albert Hepp, Lead Broker of BuySelf Realty, was quoted.
Recently our company joined another MLS and I was required to attend an MLS Orientation. Being in a class filled with brand new Realtors brought back memories of my start in real estate back in 1989 and also made me feel like a grizzled veteran. I struggled to resist the temptation to tell stories of how it was back when I started in real estate and the challenges to get established in the business.
We just had a seller who was having trouble getting showings on their listing, and therefore their home was taking longer to sell then they expected. I had a chance to talk to them, and looked at their listing and saw the common listing comments "hardwood floors, across the street from a park, remodeled bathroom..." and then I saw it: "No showings without 24 hour notice and no showings between Noon to 3pm."
I just got back from a trip to a conference at the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). I was invited to represent flat fee brokers in a CFA Real Estate working group. The CFA wants to support the growth of flat fee mls listings by advocating for fair competition and vigorous enforcement against any traditional broker that attempts to compete unfairly. Our working group will meet regularly, which means I will be spending more time traveling to Washington.
A few weeks ago a reporter with Money Magazine flew into town and wanted to interview me about a number of real estate topics, including flat fee MLS listings and closing costs. I was happy to help out in any way. I liked the way the reporter focused on finding tips that their readers can use to save money on their closing costs, which isn't easy.
I hope that I will be mentioned in the article he publishes, if he does I will let you know.