Full Service vs. Flat Fee Real Estate Agents: What's the Difference?


We’ve all heard it said… moving is one of the biggest stressors in life. If you are trying to decide between using a full service realtor or a flat fee service agency to sell your home, take a look at this comparison of the two. It may help alleviate some of that stress and give you further confidence in making the best decision for you.

First and foremost, agent availability is extremely crucial in an intense market.

Full-service agents who are eager to serve their clients will be there for all of the important milestones during the selling process. They are the client’s advocate and provide fiduciary responsibility from start to finish. This is essential, especially if you’re navigating the ins and outs of selling your home for the first time. In contrast, flat fee companies work for a reduced fee and their goal is to make up for it with a higher volume.
While a reduced flat fee sounds appealing, there are a number of ways a seller can lose more money than they save.   
– Real estate transactions tend to be threaded with critical timelines and deadlines that often times fall after hours or weekends.  Our experience has shown that a flat fee agent can be hard to reach or just plain unavailable when answers and resolutions are needed making it difficult to keep a transaction on track. Typically a more vested full-service agent tends to understand the urgency and are available for critical timelines negotiations and responses. 
– We have also found that flat fee agents do not typically show an interested buyer their own listings whereas full service agents do. Denying Colorado Springs buyers access to the home will delay the selling process for a homeowner. The longer a home is on the market, the more money it will cost the seller.  According to the National Association of Realtors, the longer a home is on the market the less it will sell for.  This can equate to thousands of dollars of lost proceeds to a seller.
– Flat fee agents are typically not available after hours to receive offers and for negotiations, whereas full service agents work outside of business hours. This is essential in a hot market like Colorado Springs because buyers expect a quick response time during an intense market, usually within hours. Sellers working with flat fee agents may not receive notification of an offer until after the response deadline indicated by the buyer. This causes frustration for all parties involved and, more times than not, a frustrated buyer will quickly move on to the next home. 
– In addition to not being available for offers and negotiations after hours, flat fee companies are also unavailable outside of business hours for inspections, property access, or for when buyer/seller conflicts arise. Contracts can automatically void due to a buyer/seller impasse making it critical for an agent to step in to help mitigate issues.
– One of a real estate brokers most important tasks in getting your home sold is marketing.  Good marketing is critical to the timely and lucrative sale of a home.  Flat fee brokers typically have the homeowner take photos of the home.  Buyers are less than drawn to that online vibe.  Full service agents offer an array of services to help get a home sold at top price including professional photography, drone photography and staging services.
So, while a flat fee real estate broker may save you a few thousand dollars at the closing table, it could cost you unknown many thousands of dollars in other areas.  Be sure to ask a flat fee broker the tough questions about availability to both you and prospective buyers for your home, as well as their marketing plan to get your home sold.  It could be eye-opening!
At Woodleaf Realty, our dedicated team of agents is committed to offering Colorado Springs residents a full-service home selling experience. We believe by providing a full service experience we can take some of the pressure off sellers, helping to create room for more important things (like packing and saying goodbye to dear friends).
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell in Colorado Springs, we are here for you. Contact our team today!