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Do I need to offer 3% to a buyer’s agent when listing flat fee MLS?

buyers agent commissionsRegardless of the offered buyer’s agent commission or compensation, that agent will protect their buyer’s best interest and show the home. We recommend paying 2.5% commission to the buyer’s agent. The buyer’s agent may say the discounted real estate commission is too low or try to dissuade the buyer because the listing type is FSBO or limited service listing.

Always remember that, no matter what, the home will be shown. If by some odd chance the buyer’s agent attempts to not show a flat fee MLS listed home, the buyer will not stop until they find an agent that will.

It doesn’t matter that the buyer’s agent requires 3%, what matters is that homes sell homes, not commissions and not the listing type. What I mean by this is a seller or listing agent can offer 5% commission to a buyer’s agent but if that home is over-priced nothing will happen. You can throw on a $10,000 agent bonus and nothing will happen. Buyers run the show and they really don’t care about commissions or flat fee MLS listing type. They want the home that they like!  And, they want relevantly priced homes. Not homes that are 6-10% over the market.

Federal Government Aids Victims in Designated Disaster Areas

Through Section 203(h), the Federal Government helps victims in Presidentially designated disaster areas recover by making it easier for them to get mortgages and become homeowners or re-establish themselves as homeowners.

Type of Assistance:
This program provides mortgage insurance to protect lenders against the risk of default on mortgages to qualified disaster victims. Individuals are eligible for this program if their homes are located in an area that was designated by the President as a disaster area and if their homes were destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary. Insured mortgages may be used to finance the purchase or reconstruction of a one-family home that will be the principal residence of the homeowner. Like the basic FHA mortgage insurance program it resembles (Section 203(b) Mortgage Insurance for One to Four Family Homes), Section 203(h) offers features that make recovery from a disaster easier for homeowners:

  • No downpayment is required. The borrower is eligible for 100 percent financing. Closing costs and prepaid expenses must be paid by the borrower in cash or paid through premium pricing or by the seller, subject to a 6 percent limitation on seller concessions.
  • FHA mortgage insurance is not free. Mortgagees collect from the borrowers an up-front insurance premium (which may be financed) at the time of purchase, as well as monthly premiums that are not financed, but instead are added to the regular mortgage payment.
  • HUD sets limits on the amount that may be insured. To make sure that its programs serve low and moderate income people, FHA sets limits on the dollar value of the mortgage. The current FHA mortgage limit can be viewed online. These figures vary over time and by place, depending on the cost of living and other factors (higher limits also exist for two to four family properties).

Eligible Participants:
FHA approved lending institutions, such as banks, mortgage companies, and savings and loan associations, are eligible for Section 203(h) insurance.

Eligible Customers:
Anyone whose home has been destroyed or severely damaged in a Presidentially declared disaster area is eligible to apply for mortgage insurance under this program.

For more information on this and other federally funded programs, contact Troy Borkowski.


troy borkowskiTroy Borkowski has been helping people get financing for over 10 years. Through his company, Primary Residential Mortgage, he does all types of financing, whether buying a new home or refinancing your current home, Troy can provide Conventional, FHA, VA, Reverse, Harp, Rehab, 203K and many other options. He understands your home is more than likely the biggest investment you will ever make and treats it that way. It’s easy to give everyone a 30 year fixed loan but Troy prefers tailoring a loan for you and your financial situation.

Troy Borkowski
Primary Residential Mortgage Inc | Sales Manager
NMLS ID #141962

Was your property affected by Hurricane Irma?

Was your property affected by Hurricane Irma?  The State of Florida has been declared a National Disaster area, with many counties declared as a Federal Disaster area. Many people are still without power throughout the state, including elderly, hospitals and nursing homes.

If you were affected by Hurricane Irma, you have options that can help:

  • FEMA announced on Wednesday that Polk and Brevard Counties have been declared a Federal Disaster.
  • Central Florida has been declared a Federal Disaster area.
  • Freddie Mac has posted information on how to get a forbearance on your mortgage if you were in the affected areas.
  • The IRS is offering tax filing relief to Hurricane Irma Victims in Florida and Puerto Rico.
  • Federal Officials are offering mortgage disaster assistance for Irma Victims ranging from 3-12 month forbearances.
  • Banks offer breaks to customers caught in Hurricane Irma’s path.


Links of interest:

Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Agreements

Florida Flat Fee MLS listing service agreements…read the fine print or be held hostage!

Do Florida FSBO sellers really know what they are signing before they list their homes using a Florida flat fee MLS listing service that may not really be a Florida based company? Where are your buyer-leads going from Internet marketing such as, and other websites that the flat rate MLS service receives? Is your flat fee MLS broker entering your listing in your correct Florida local Board of Realtors? What penalties and contract terms is a seller being held to if they cancel the listing and go full service or with another flat fee MLS listing company?

Did you know that the Florida MLS listing service charges a $500 penalty to cancel an MLS listing with them? A flat rate MLS listing isn’t a bank CD so why would do that? The answer is obvious if you are aware of their business practice with regard to buyer leads. Unlike, takes all buyer leads for themselves. So if you cancel your listing, they lose a valuable stream of leads which is bad for them and hence, the cancellation fee. Also, if you end up listing through another real estate company, gets a 25% commission referral fee from the new real estate company if the home is sold within 6 months. The bottom line is they own at least a piece of you for 6 months. Some even charge a hidden commission.

Flat rate MLS Buyer Leads…where do they go?

So, if a Florida flat fee MLS listing service collects all of your buyer leads from, other internet sources and yard sign inquiries to then work them as their own buyer leads and earn the offered commission, how does a Florida seller listed via a flat rate broker find an unrepresented buyer to sell their flat fee listed home? They likely won’t unless they find the buyer through a friend or other unlikely source. This seems to totally contradict the point of doing a flat rate MLS listing in the first place since one of the biggest advantages is to give sellers the opportunity to sell without paying a commission at all. The worst part is many flat rate or discount MLS companies like don’t disclose how they deal with buyer leads in their listing agreement…so unless a seller calls them to ask that question ahead of time, they may be very unpleasantly surprised after initiating the flat fee MLS listing. At that point, it’s too late and they are held to either a hefty cancellation fee or to stay with an MLS company who doesn’t hand over their leads.

At®, the seller is in full control of their Florida flat fee MLS listing and can cancel at any time with NO PENALTIES WHATSOEVER. Also, all buyer leads go to the seller—and we put that in writing. View our Listing Agreements

flat fee mls “Free” Florida flat fee MLS listing service…what does it actually cost you?

What about those Florida websites offering a FREE Florida flat fee MLS listing? Where do the buyer leads go? Possibly to the flat rate MLS company’s mortgage operation to pre-qualify these leads and then move them to affiliated or in-house REALTORS® that in turn may or may not try to sell your home and take the offered commission.

Florida flat fee MLS sellers that list with® get all buyer leads via® buyer lead capture system…guaranteed. If you have any doubt, call us on one of our flat fee listings and see if we advise you to contact the seller directly!

At®, a flat rate MLS listing means the seller is a “hybrid” For Sale By Owner, meaning that they are gaining the exposure of being in the correct local Florida MLS while retaining the right to sell their Florida MLS property themselves and thus avoid paying the buyer’s agent commission offered in the Florida MLS. This is called an Exclusive Agency or a Limited Service Listing Agreement. This means the Florida MLS seller is advertising in the Florida MLS so that REALTORS® will bring buyers and work for the offered buyer’s agent commission as stated in the Florida MLS. At the same time, the seller still has the right to sell the Florida property without an agent involved and pay no commission.

Seller Beware!

In a nut shell, many flat rate MLS services that advertise they are a Florida based company are a sham. They either don’t pass on buyer leads to their sellers or they offer little or poor phone support or they use your Florida FSBO as bait to attract buyer leads through the Internet (, etc.) and then use these buyers to suit their own needs.

Even worse, they could enter your listing is some random MLS board outside the state of Florida which does a seller no good. Their home will not show up to the local Realtors.

Our Florida flat fee MLS listing agreement is a bit lengthy but, the language is clear and says what the Florida flat fee MLS seller will receive from A-Z. It references the 8:30am-7:00pm 5 days a week (Sat till 5:00 and Sunday till 4:00 pm) live phone support and the fact that all buyer leads go directly to the seller. We’re not afraid to say it because we stand by it 100%.

What® offers Florida sellers is a true Florida flat fee MLS listing service with no strings attached. No hidden fees, no cancellation fees and no 25% referral commissions if you take your Florida property listing elsewhere. At®, we have confidence you will find great value in our service and ultimately it is our sellers’ best interests that is our primary concern.

If you really read the fine print of many listing agreements from other Florida MLS listing services, you may find language that is clearly not in your best interest, but in the best interest of the Florida MLS company. If you don’t read language in a listing agreement that clearly spells out the details of where buyer leads go and this is not clearly stated their website, then you can assume the Florida flat fee MLS listing company is cheating you out of your valuable unrepresented buyer leads.

These practices seem to be a clear contradiction to the concept of a “Florida Flat Fee MLS listing.” has the term “flat fee MLS” described rather clearly. 25% referral fees and $500 early withdraw penalties are not exactly what you’d expect from a clear cut flat fee MLS listing. These are commissions and fees (like the banking industry, or should we say bilking industry) that are being passed off as flat fee MLS listings.

The® definition of an authentic Flat Fee MLS listing service

The® definition of a Florida flat fee MLS listing service is as follows: All buyer leads from Internet and yard signs go to the unrepresented Florida FSBO seller in real time 8:30am-7:00pm, 5 days per week and Saturday and Sunday. At®, this means the Florida flat rate MLS seller gets the opportunity to talk with these unrepresented buyers and the possibility of selling their flat fee MLS listing with no commission involved. Hence the point behind listing flat fee in the MLS.

Keith Gordon, authorized broker for Florida® says, “Florida flat fee MLS services are looking for profits in the wrong places. Making a profit in discount real estate requires patience and long term planning. Our business plan at® does not include the use of gimmicks, hidden fees and other manipulative methods of trapping profit. We’d just rather earn it the hard way and the fair way. We believe that long term, our brand will benefit from client referrals and repeat business.

The future is bright with new technology and innovation…

We are betting on our investment in MLS listing software, referrals, new technology, new brands such as Altru Realty of latest hybrid company. The market in Florida is changing rapidly in the flat fee MLS arena. At®, we have mapped out a modest profit forecast for our flat fee MLS division. Altru Realty, where fully represent sellers, is gaining momentum charging just 1.25% at close and zero upfront. Keith Gordon is also the co-founder and broker for Altru Realty (Florida) and has become a powerful and savvy negotiator surpassing one billion in sales. His new book The Real Estate Sand Box is due out late 2017. Altru Realty now has 3 full time negotiations, 2 full-time closers and a supporting MLS team. Keith Gordon and his partner Erin Knorr are extremely excited about another endeavor Showing Bee which will be helping listing agents and buyers get showing faster. Showing Bee starts October 2017 with and Altru Realty. If that wasn’t enough on our plate we have successful ventured into the title insurance business with New Frontier Title. New Frontier Title is an affiliated business and enjoys a fantastic reputation just like New Frontier Title now has a team of team of 5 licensed title professionals closing real estate transactions all over Florida. Because photography is so important to selling homes we opened Move-in Virtual Tours featuring Matterport 3-D immersed technology and HD magazine quality photos.

Get the true-blue Florida Flat Fee MLS listing from®

Real Estate Market Update – 2 Quarter 2017

Greetings All,

Let’s get right to the real estate market update and what is driving sales. I also want to talk about over pricing, multiple offer pricing and relevant pricing.  Just as you have likely noticed the quietness of the market, I am quite shocked at the business climate the past 45 days. I am struggling with where we are right now nationally as well as Florida. I know Miami is on its heels after years of strength. Naples has been slower for about a year. Jacksonville greater seems to be the same as Orlando and Tampa Bay which is steady.

Interest rates are likely done moving up after the feds ¼ point raise. Mortgage rates are falling as the short term rates are rising. My prediction is a very weak GDP for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter. This could result in real estate sales prices becoming weaker through the end of the year.

The weakness in May-June speaks volumes because May and June are typically the beginning for the June-July selling season as parents jockey for homes before the start of the new school year. As of right now (June 19, 2017), I see a passive and lethargic real estate market. We do occasionally see a lull occur in the middle of summer with school letting out and vacations beginning. This could be a factor.

As I have spoken about many times in my past quarterly reports, Americans are creatures of habit and without any doubt, crave safety and certainly about their future. They expect and literally demand certainty from the US government and leadership. If they lack certainty, they clam up and put off a decision until they feel safer and on better footing. That being said, the current political environment has cast doubt among many. I believe we are stuck with an uncertain political climate until the public gets comfortable and starts “making moves” again both figuratively and literally.

My suggestion: if you are selling a home currently with us or plan to shortly, price that home with no wiggle room. Homes are selling, but only the ones that are either in a hot neighborhood or are priced to attract buyers. There are three ways to price a property: Multiple Offer Pricing, Relevant Pricing and Over Pricing (or Wiggle-room pricing). Let’s explore each and the pros and cons with an in depth exploration…

Over Pricing

Most agents fall back on the Over Pricing strategy. They add wiggle room and list with the intention of negotiating down to a “meet-in-the-middle” number. When sellers do this, they typically end up lowering the price to get an offer (and thus missing opportunities during the time they were overpriced), never get an offer, or end up selling into a vacuum which means selling to one buyer well-below list price.

Multiple Offer Pricing

Multiple Offer Pricing is the most aggressive method whereby a seller prices the home slightly under or right at market valuation. Buyers love these properties because seldom do sellers or listing agents use this strategy. The reason listing agents don’t is because they typically over price homes which goes along with their tendency to overpromise service and performance. They do this either to get the listing and/or because they believe they need to over price to leave themselves a cushion for the “meet-in-the-middle” method of negotiating (a technique I do not agree with). They also may not understand or feel comfortable with managing the multiple offers that may come from Multiple Offer Pricing.

Another reason why sellers don’t use Multiple Offer Pricing is because many sellers believe they must accept a full-price offer. This is a misconception. In our case, our sellers ask us what we think and we know the seller wants honesty and guidance. We explain different pricing strategies and we know how to manage them. Multiple Offer Pricing is powerful because buyers assume they can buy at the list price or slightly below the list price. They innately feel a sense of urgency because they recognize the value and realize others will too…and the offers flow. Our strategy when using Multiple Offer Pricing is to be very patient and try not take an offer for the first 8 days of a listing to ensure we have seen most of the offers. If we see additional showings in the near future we wait on those showings to be completed before taking an offer. We often drive the final price well above the list price. By using this strategy, we get to pick the ideal buyer with the ideal terms.

Relevant Pricing

Relevant Pricing is our go-to pricing method and is based on setting the value we think is accurate for the home (based on CMA data, seller’s opinion of value and other relevant market analysis). Setting a relevant market price is an artful process that takes into account scientific data but at the end of the day, only the actual market can tell us what the value really is. Keep in mind, this is not a static concept and value can be influenced by fluctuating factors such as timing, current demand and other competition.

Using this method, we set a list price no higher than what we believe a good, well-suited buyer will pay. Our intention is to receive a full-price offer. The reason why this pricing strategy is effective is because buyers make offers based on what I call “hopeful buying” (optimistic state that an offer could reasonably be accepted). Most buyers place offers with the intention of meeting the seller in the middle. If an offer is not a full-price offer at our “relevant list price” than it is a meet-in-the-middle. That being said, the lower the list price, the higher the hopefulness of buyers. Hopeful for what? Hopeful that they can get a deal at their “happy buy number” (amount they will be satisfied buying at). That hopeful “buy number” is a meet-in-the-middle offer.

multiple offer pricingThe technique of relevant/accurate pricing hinges on a seller (or the agent negotiator) being of the mindset that whether a buyer brings their offer up to the relevant list price or not does not matter. If a buyer walks, that’s fine. But, buyers never walk, they circle…meaning they are always thinking about raising their offer. All the pressure is on the buyer. My expression is, “we care about all buyers, never one buyer.” When the buyer knows the price is good, they are more likely to hang around and stay in the game.

Let’s consider a pricing example for all 3 types of pricing:

You have a seller who wishes to add wiggle room and lists a home for $480,000 with a “walk number” (amount they will accept) at $440,000 and a “happy walk number” (amount they will happily accept) of $450,000…In this scenario, the buyer’s hopeful buy number is $440,000. So that buyer would have to offer $400,000 to meet the $480,000 seller in the middle (a huge gap!) That offer is unrealistic and the buyer has no hope of getting the seller down that far. Therefore, no offer is coming! This is how Over Pricing can backfire.

Relevant Pricing may be $450,000 which in this case is the seller’s “happy walk number.” So, if the buyer wants a $440,000 deal they would offer $430,000 and meet in the middle at $440,000. That is both realistic and satisfies the “hopefulness” of the buyer.

Multiple Offer Pricing would be a $440,000 list price. All buyers from $410,000-$440,000 want to place an offer and a multiple offer situation may occur. When that happens, the best buyer wins out and so does the seller because the seller ends up with more options and possibly the leverage to bring a buyer up to the happy walk number.

News projects….

My new book about real estate should be out by September. The title is The Sand Box. It’s all about what’s wrong with the way the majority of listing agents do business and how to effectively negotiate.


As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at 877-232-9695.

1st Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Update from broker Keith Gordon

The way I get a feel for the tone of the real estate market update is through 100’s of our active and pending listings, industry articles as well as dozens of conversations I have each day with buyers, sellers, agents, mortgage brokers and title professionals.

We negotiate many deals each day and this gives us great insight into what I consider to be the most accurate and real-time pulse of real estate.  Any mention of politics in my market reports is strictly intended to share my take on how politics affect the real estate market and are in no way meant as a way to push any particular political agenda.  That said…

Political and Financial Factors Affecting the Real Estate Market Update:

  • The new administration’s Make America Great Again agenda is stalled and I don’t forsee that changing in the second quarter.
  • The DOW breaking of 20,000 was a rally anticipating big business and banks would benefit from tax reform and deregulations.
  • Many predicted that the new administration would have their way but due to failed ACA repeal, one should not expect a fast track to tax reform.
  • The DOW is always very stingy on giving back gains.
  • Overall consumer confidence remains relatively high.

In conclusion, I think the bloom is off the rose.

Are real estate prices slipping? Yes. Interest rates moved up ½% since my last report in December 2016 post-Trump victory. My forecast at that time was steady-to-up for real estate prices and stocks.

What I didn’t anticipate in my last report was a fractured republican effort regarding the Trump agenda nor the Russia-Trump saga.

We are now at a break-point and a few things do concern me, each of which are significant in their own way. Let’s go to real estate prices, the economy and interest rates. It appears buyers remain focused on value. My gauge of real estate is based on our call volume, listing volume (new listings) and offer flow.

I see a mixed bag, still showing signs of possible strength as new listings are coming in at a pace which is 7/10. It feels like 2015 to me and not the sluggish pace of 2016 nor the fast pace of 2014. I do not see interest rates as problematic. What I see as problematic is consumer confidence dropping as Trump falls short of market expectations.

real estate market update
Source: CNN Money

When I say market, I mean stocks more than real estate. Real estate follows signals from other indicators such as consumer confidence and the public’s overall feeling of well-being…in particular, their 401Ks.

At this point, I see stocks and consumer confidence the big question. Amazingly, with all of the political uncertainly and drama, the DOW is still north of 20,000. Should the DOW support crack back through the 20,000 level, I would expect a retest of DOW 1840 followed by consolidation.

The overall Florida real estate tone hasn’t changed much other than Miami-Dade and Naples seem to be softer. These two markets had been leaders.  Manhattan real estate has been said to be softer as well. I feel prices in Florida will remain tempered at best. In contrast, certain cities in the US are reflecting record high sales prices such as Denver, San Francisco, Portland and San Jose.

My recommendation as ususal: price your real estate aggressively with no wiggle-room. Price your homes at “happy-walk” numbers.

Our companies are evolving and growing… and ADDvantage Real Estate: Basic flat fee MLS listing in MLS (and a higher service offering of Platinum Pro through Altru Realty.)  877-232-9695

Altru Realty: Our hybrid company focused on better negotiation practices and seller representation. Plans include Altru Virtual and Altru Concierge).  888-392-4806

PIQ Realty (traditional real estate) with our new PIQ Doc management system; Realtors that want to work with me hang their licenses under this brand.  727 551 4474

New Frontier Title (affiliated business): closing transactions all over Florida; managed and operated by Sheree Akins.  877-544-6447 

Coming Soon…

Showing Bee (our national publicly facing listing aggregation company based on seamless showing technology which is listing agent-centric)

Bee Forms (our national form generator designed to manage and simplify the complicated task for MLS data entry forms)

Move in Virtual Tours (our new photography company created to support Altru, PIQ and ADDvantage customers with advanced Matterport 3-D immersive technology and HD enhanced magazine quality photos. We are open for business in Tampa Bay extended and our new NY operation.

New hires and operations:

  • Opened Altru Branch in Buffalo, NY (lead by broker,  Renee Golda-Widman)
  • Hired a new negotiator/Altru Concierge/Altru Realty (Toni Lupo)
  • Hired another closing coordinator for Altru Realty to back up our star paralegal closing coordinator, Marci Kunzig (Lynn Simonton)
  • Hired new SEO/SEM company for Online Digitial Marketing: Accent Digital Marketing 

In other news, I am about halfway through writing my new real estate book.  The book will reveal insider perspectives geared to help the consumer prepare for buying and selling real estate . Some of you have spoken with me and understand my take on pricing and negotiations.  In my next blog, I will share an unedited excerpt from the book.  The topic: Wiggle room is good…everyone wants to negotiate, right?  NO—they don’t!

Stay tuned for more and as always, thank you for choosing

Best Regards,

Keith R. Gordon

Authorized Broker for GetMoreOffers®

ALTRU® Realty

ADDvantage® Real Estate Services