About Crawford Realty
Real Estate Lingo
The sales process
Relationship with other agents
How does Crawford Realty work?
You choose the marketing you need and how involved you want to be in the sales process. If you show your home and you sell your home, you save! Don't have time to show your home? We can show it for you. If our client buys your home, Crawford Realty does receive the buyer's agent commission you have offered, along with our ½% listing commission. Your home will be offered to local Realtors® in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) for Birmingham so they can show and sell your home. If they sell your home, you pay the low Crawford Realty fee of ½% and you pay the real estate professional that brings the buyer the fee you agreed to and quoted in the MLS® listing. You will still save thousands. No matter how it sells or who sells, you save.
Why does Crawford Realty work?
Crawford Realty works because a steadily increasing number of buyers are using the Internet to search for a home before they ever even consider speaking with a real estate agent. In fact, thousands of buyers visit our websites each month. We cover your bases with effective marketing and work directly with the real estate community because the local agents are fully protected by the MLS® system. We provide services that make the process seamless because our licensed consulting team will help you and the buyer fill out all the forms that are required by the state and handle the process from start to finish, including helping you find a buyer, qualifying them for a new loan, all the way through selecting which closing attorney to use. As a seller, it is important to know that you can have professional help throughout the entire process.
What advantages does Crawford Realty offer as compared to a traditional Realtor® or For Sale By Owner?
- You Save Thousands! By selling your home with Crawford Realty instead of with brokers who charge a 6%* commission. You can use your savings to reduce the sales price, or provide financing incentive options to the buyers, or offer an incentive to Buyer's Agents who show your property, all of which will speed up the selling process.
- Crawford Realty Offers Choices! We let you choose exactly how much you want to participate in the sale of your home and exactly what services you need assistance with. Your fee is based upon how many services your Crawford Realty Real Estate Consultant provides. If you participate in the sale of your home and procure the buyer by either showing your home yourself or through an open house you hold, the cost to sell your home will be 45% - 95% less than it would have been with a traditional listing agent.
- Crawford Realty's proprietary technology allows you to obtain up-to-date information about your home sale quicker and more efficiently than a traditional listing agent. In fact, with our technology, you can be anywhere in the world and learn about the latest activity on your home.*
* Requires an electronic lockbox.
So why do so many people still list with agents charging 6%*?
The big real estate companies spend a lot of effort training their agents to push the service-side perception of their offering and avoid the issue of fees. To defend their traditional pricing structure, many agents will argue, "if you pay less, you will get less." It's all a smokescreen, of course. There is no shortage of unhappy sellers who paid 6%*.
Loyalty - When sellers prepare to sell their home, they first think of the agent that sold them their home. Because of their past relationship, they often find it difficult to "arm wrestle" commissions when they didn't have to as a buyer.
Education - Most people do not realize commissions are negotiable and rely on advice from a friend or relative in the real estate business. Many people think that For Sale By Owner or traditional agencies are their only options because information concerning options was not presented to them and the resource that they relied on provides discredit for alternative processes.
If I am going to show the home and do the open houses, why do I need Crawford Realty?
The #1 reason sellers use Crawford Realty is for our marketing & expertise. We counsel you on pricing your home, marketing your home, and most important, managing your transaction through closing to make sure that all of the paperwork is done correctly and that all required legal documents are included. In addition:
- We guarantee in writing to advertise your property as needed.
- We use our exclusive marketing system to get you buyers.
- We lend you "For Sale" and directional signs.
- We discuss the "Bad" and the "Good" in all offers and negotiate to get you the best possible price.
- We can help pre-qualify your buyer and help them obtain financing. We can go through your closing costs and leave you with an estimate of your net proceeds.
- We help you avoid problems, assist you should any arise, and work to save you money in all the hidden parts of the transaction.
- We coordinate for you with the contractors, appraisers, inspectors and other professionals.
- We handle all negotiations, and advise you on all paperwork, contracts, any counterproposals, and manage your transaction up to and through a successful closing.
Do you also represent buyers?
Yes. Many of our sellers were once buyer clients, and of course, many of our sellers also want to buy again. We also have buyer agents who specialize in working with buyers.
What happens if a buyer calls Crawford Realty directly to request to see my home? The Crawford Realty office will first check their showing instructions to see if you have given them permission to show your home. They will then make every effort to contact you and let you show your home. In the event that the buyer is impatient and you cannot be reached within a reasonable amount of time, a Crawford Realty Real Estate Professional will make arrangements to show your home.
How can Crawford Realty charge such low fees for its services?
We have streamlined the process of selling a home and identified how much time each service takes within the sale. This has allowed us to create low fees based upon the amount of time our real estate professionals will have to dedicate to the sale of your home. For instance, in most areas, higher priced homes take longer to sell. Therefore our fee might be higher for a higher priced home to compensate for the additional time we will have to invest and additional marketing we will have to provide.
If your business model is so beneficial to clients and you alike, why aren't other brokers doing it?
Traditional real estate brokerage is pretty entrenched, very conservative and industry change is slow. The Internet has really shaken things up, and changes are starting to appear. Large national chains are even starting to tinker with the traditional model-including Century 21 in Atlanta, Georgia-and along with Crawford Realty and Duffy Realty of Atlanta (Largest Fee For Service Broker in the South), there have been several Internet start-ups taking a stab at simple discount brokerage. We expect that the rate of change within the industry will increase, bringing new choices to consumers. Instead of seeking to "jump on the bandwagon", Crawford Realty is proud of doing "fee for service" from the start, and being at the cutting edge of the new direction of Real Estate.
Am I locked into a 6-month listing contract with Crawford Realty?
No - your listing is "good until sold or canceled." You can cancel at any time for free. If you want to re-list at a later date, we'll do it for only $150.
What is MLS®?
MLS® (Multiple Listing Service) is the most comprehensive computerized database of homes for sale, with over 1.5 million listings nationwide. This database is used by Realtors® to market and promote their own listings and to cooperate with other Realtors®. Realtors®, in turn, are compensated with part of the commission. The largest number of real estate transactions are a result of direct MLS® exposure. By having your home in MLS®, it will be exposed to thousands of local real estate agents who otherwise would not have known that your property was for sale and would not have shown it. This is the same MLS® used by a traditional broker who would charge you a full cost listing commission.
What is realtor.com®?
Realtor.com® is a leading Internet site where buyers can search for homes. Technically, it is the official Internet site for the National Association of Realtors®. REALTOR.com®'s 1.4 million home listings are provided by participating REALTOR® Multiple Listing Services. This is one of the advantages of listing your home on the MLS® - your home will then be copied to the REALTOR.com® web site and will be accessible to individuals and Realtors® via the Internet. This includes color pictures, tours and all pertinent information (price, location, room descriptions, contact information, etc.)
What is "fee for service" or "a la carte services?"
"Fee for service" is where the full service package is separated into any number of component parts and combinations. In this arrangement, different services cost different fees, and these fees are usually not contingent upon an actual close of escrow. This arrangement is suited for today's more "e-savvy" sellers and "For Sale By Owners" who want assistance with select parts of the process of selling their home, without having to pay traditional real estate's higher full-cost fee.
For instance, for the real estate professional, the two most costly and time-consuming services in a sale of your home are the open houses and showings. The standard Crawford Realty fee does not include these services. You can show your own home and SAVE!
But the key is: now you have the option to decide which services you need. Our fee structure provides you "full service" to meet your needs.
What is "full service?"
Most real estate professionals refer to their service as "full service." This means that they do everything it takes to sell your home: place it in the MLS®, advertise it in the local paper and home magazines, provide a flyer, do open houses, show your home to potential buyers, handle the negotiations when you receive an offer, and handle everything through closing.
The question really should be, "What is full-cost service?" Sadly, many agents and brokers (regardless of company) list homes and then just put them in the MLS® and wait for a contract to come in with no service provided beyond that. Many times after these listings expire, we end up interviewing these unhappy sellers. We explain carefully to them what we do and what we don't do. Most clients realize they are getting more services than when they where paying 6%* commission. We offer you a menu of services that lets you choose as much or as little service as you desire! AND we back it up in writing by making the specifics of the service and the marketing we are obligated to provide part of the listing agreement!
Are you a "discount" broker?
No. What makes Crawford Realty different is that we are a "fee for service" company. We have determined a very competitive fee for each component of a real estate transaction and we offer that to the public in a "no haggle" environment. Unlike traditional real estate, you don't have to argue and bicker with us to get a super competitive rate! We don't attempt to make a fortune from each family we deal with; we sell a lot of homes.
The sales process
How should I price my home?
We will provide you detailed information regarding recent home sales in your area, as well as what prices are on other currently-listed homes so that you can choose a price you feel is appropriate for your home. Right pricing is one of the strongest marketing tools available to you, and we will help you determine the right price.
What are open houses? Are they necessary?
Open Houses are typically conducted on Saturdays and/or Sundays. The idea is to let the buyers preview your home in a no-pressure, non-scheduled manner. Open Houses statistically are responsible for 2-3% of all home sales. Just like "location, location, location" is important, so is "exposure, exposure, exposure". The more people that see your home, the more you increase the odds of finding a buyer.
We work all day. How can we show our property?
Fortunately, the people buying homes also work all day so most people can only preview a home in the evenings or on the weekend. Generally, scheduling the buyer to meet with you is not an issue. However, in the event that the buyer can't wait, you can choose to let us show your home for you. If we show your home and the buyer makes an offer that you accept, we would receive our ½% listing fee and the buyer's agent commission at closing.
What happens when I receive an offer?
Contact us immediately so that we can get the process rolling. We will write the contract and help you handle the transaction all the way through to closing if your buyer doesn't have an agent, or we'll help you construct a counter offer if necessary and present it back to the buyer's agent, continuing to negotiate until you reach a binding agreement. We will then work with you every step of the way from the initial offer right up through receiving your check at closing so you don't miss a step.
How does Crawford Realty help me with the paperwork and legal steps?
Crawford Realty's licensed consulting team will help you execute your transaction through closing. Once you find a buyer (either directly or through a buyer's agent), simply call Crawford Realty and one of our licensed Real Estate Consultants will help you to negotiate the purchase agreement and complete all the steps to closing. If your home is listed on the MLS®, and you receive an offer from a buyer's broker or one of our Realtors®, then Crawford Realty will facilitate the transaction thru to closing.
What if I sell my home myself?
If you sell your home without a cooperating Broker, no buyer's agent commission is due. The only fee is the 1/2 of 1% Crawford Realty fee, which is collected at closing and we'll still help you with all the paperwork and legal steps.
If another agent contacts me directly to show my home, do I have to give them a commission if they write an offer that I accept?
If your home is listed in the MLS®, then you are legally bound to pay any real estate professional that procures a buyer for your property the amount of commission specified in the MLS® entry.
How much commission will I have to pay?
Unlike most real estate agencies, we leave several options open as to how much commission you will pay-we are leading the trend within the real estate industry to charge an up front "Fee for Services Provided," currently $500 for the MLS® and other internet listings and signage plus any a la carte services you purchase: or you can select an option to pay a fee of $2,500 at closing in lieu of the up front $500. Either way, when the house sells, you'll pay Crawford a listing commission of ½% of the selling price. Then when the house sells you could pay NO additional commission (if your buyer doesn't have an agent) or whatever commission YOU HAVE OFFERED in the MLS® listing (usually 2 ½% or 3%) to a buyer's agent, if there is one. (In a traditional full-priced listing agreement you are locked into the full 6%* commission as soon as you sign the listing agreement. When your home sells, you pay the full commission, whether or not the buyer has an agent.)
If Crawford Realty brings me a buyer and sells my home, then will I owe a commission to them for bringing the buyer?
If your Crawford Realty agent brings a qualified buyer to you and they purchase your home, we are entitled to the buyers' agent's commission for selling your home since we are acting as the buyers' agent. In this case you will need to agree to sign a "limited consensual dual agency agreement" since Crawford is acting as agent for both buyer and seller. If one Crawford Realty agent brings a buyer for another Crawford Realty agent who has listed your home, the agent working with the buyer would become a "Transaction Broker" for the buyers, and would still earn that same buyer's agent commission offered in MLS.
Relationship with other agents
Won't buyers' agents boycott my listing?
No. Buyer brokers are indifferent as long as they are being paid their due. Our listings have been sold by every major real estate company in Birmingham and surrounds and we have excellent relationships with our colleagues. Furthermore, it's not likely that there will be another house just like yours (same price, size, condition, location, etc.) on the market at the same time as yours with a higher listing commission BUT with the same buyer's agent commission. Also, it is in violation of the Sherman Act - a federal law preventing boycotting. A violation of this law gets up to 10 years in jail, and a fine of up to $100,000 per person and $1,000,000 per corporation per violation.
Will my listing look the same as those who have agreed to pay a *full listing commission" to a traditional agent?
Yes. Your listing is a "Full Service" listing from the viewpoint of the MLS® because you are getting full service for all the resources you have selected.
* 6% is the usual commission charged by full priced real estate agencies, but may be somewhat negotiable. There is no definition of a "full commission" and the amount of commission cannot be regulated by our Birmingham Realtors® Association nor the Alabama Real Estate Commission.