The WordPress Hosting Strategy that Works for Real Estate Agents TODAY

Real estate agents are using WP Engine managed WordPress hosting to increase real estate website speed and convert more leads.

After seeing the results from Boston Condo Guy and Stuart St James migrating their WordPress-based real estate websites to WP Engine, we moved Entry Only New England as well.

Immediately upon migrating the Boston Condo Guy real estate website to WP Engine, page load times decreased from 5.2 seconds to 2.3 seconds, a 56% reduction!

Here’s a view of the website speed test on Boston Condo Guy before switching real estate website hosting providers.

Real Estate WordPress Hosting - Before WP Engine

Here’s the same website speed test conducted immediately following the migration to WP Engine, and not making any additional changes to the site.

Real Estate WordPress Hosting - After WP Engine

What Every Real Estate Agent Needs to Know About Hosting Their WordPress Website

More than 20% of the entire web runs on top of WordPress.

No doubt if you’re a real estate broker or agent, your web presence runs on top of WordPress too.

WP Engine has arguably the fastest WordPress servers on the planet. As Google makes website speed and page load times more critical ranking factors for their search results pages, real estate brokers and agents can easily get ahead of the curve by taking advantage of super fast WordPress hosting.

With Google telling me that high performance web sites lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions, I couldn’t argue with taking intentional steps to put Entry Only New England on the WP Engine platform.

WordPress Hosting Providers for Boston Real Estate Websites

If you’re using a low cost hosting provider that doesn’t specialize in highly optimized WordPress-based websites for real estate, you’re doing yourself and your clients a disservice.

WP Engine can easily scale alongside you as your business grows, it comes with automated daily backup so there’s one less thing to worry about, there’s a website staging environment included, and highly reliable WordPress security comes standard with any hosting plan.

Exclusive “Staging” Feature at WP Engine

One of the fundamental differences between WP Engine and other managed WordPress hosting providers, and frankly, something that sets them apart as a leader in the space, is offering a staging environment with each account at no additional charge.

Essentially, a staging site is an independent clone of your live production site. Rather than making changes to your production site, you can make changes to a safe staging site, and then easily migrate changes made in staging back out to production in a few clicks.

Each WordPress install at WP Engine can have its own staging site, you can create a staging site with one click, and promote changes made to a staging site out to production with a few clicks.

The support experience at WP Engine has been solid.

I love the live chat feature, and overall, support is miles better at WP Engine than a low cost hosting provider that can oftentimes struggle to get back to you in a timely manner should you need help – WP Engine support is real time and email support is extremely timely.

WP Engine WordPress Hosting for Real Estate - Free Trial

The Secret of Buyer’s Agent Commission That Could Save You Thousands of Dollars

As a seller, you control the total real estate agent commission to be paid when your home sells. It’s actually at the very front end of your sale, when you sign a listing agreement with an agent that you decide how much commission the listing agent is going to receive and how much commission the buyer’s agent will receive.

Sellers oftentimes don’t know that they control the buyer’s agent commission percentage, and you might be surprised to know that there’s a good chance you’re offering too much.

When a Realtor signs a listing agreement with you to sell your home, you’ll agree upon a number of items that form the basis for that listing agreement. That might include the listing price of your home, how long the listing agreement will be valid, and one of the biggest points of contention, how much commission the Realtor will charge you to list (and hopefully sell) your home.

When you agree upon the real estate agent commission to be charged, you’re actually agreeing on not just the total commission to be paid, but also, the split between the listing broker and the buyer’s agent, presumably the real estate agent that will bring a buyer to the table to purchase your home.

You’ll notice in a listing agreement, the one below is the official exclusive right to sell listing agreement furnished by the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB), that there’s first a clause that in essence calls for you as the seller to grant the listing broker the authority to offer compensation to a buyer’s agent, while there’s a second clause that dictates the total commission you will pay on the sale of your home.

Did you get that? When signing a listing agreement, you’re agreeing to pay a listing broker an overall real estate agent commission to sell your home, and as part of that, you’re also granting that listing broker the authority to offer compensation to a buyer’s agent.

Secret of Buyer's Agent Commission

Sellers Pay Buyer’s Agent Commission

Invariably, when you agree to provide a total real estate agent commission, let’s just say for example, of 5% when listing your home for sale, the listing agent will plug into the listing agreement 5% for the total commission, and 2.5% for the amount that you are granting them the authority to offer a buyer’s agent.

The listing agent will do a 50/50 split on the total commission nearly 100% of the time.

Why?

It’s simply common practice in the market, and it’s rarely ever challenged.

The listing agent actually incurs more expense to list your home for sale than a buyer’s agent would bringing a buyer to the table. Just think of some of the expenses that a listing agent might incur to list your home for sale as part of the marketing plan that they have for your property. That could include building a property specific website for your real estate listing, real estate staging, sending out postcards to the local neighborhood, hosting a broker’s open with food and refreshments, and creating and printing professionally designed real estate flyers for use during both open houses and private showings.

Clearly the listing agent incurs more cost than a buyer’s agent, why do both parties get the same commission?

Why and How to Lower Buyer’s Agent Commission

What if you were to ask your listing agent to tell you the most common buyer’s agent commission for your market. What if you were to ask your listing agent whether keeping their commission the same, but lowering the buyer’s agent commission would have any adverse effect, statistically speaking, on the sale of your home.

You can ask your Realtor those questions, however, they won’t know the answers, but by all means you can ask. The only true study of how much buyer’s agents get paid was conducted by Entry Only New England, it was a first of its kind study, and it revealed some exceptionally interesting facts about the nature of buyer’s agent commission rates in real estate transactions.

So, why not ask to lower the buyer’s agent commission when signing a listing agreement. You as the seller are in control of the percentages and/or amounts that get written into your listing agreement. What would an additional 0.5% mean to you?

The average list price of the most recent Boston condos to hit the market for sale over the past three days is $691,899. Just imagine if you were able to shave 0.5% of commission off your sale price – by keeping the listing agent’s commission at the level they proposed, but reducing the buyer’s agent commission that was originally proposed by 0.5%. That would equate to an additional $3,000 that would go into your pocket at the closing table!

The secret of buyer’s agent commission might just be that you as the seller are in control of buyer’s agent commission and that it’s reasonable to ask about decreasing that amount. Sellers oftentimes don’t know that they’re in control of buyer’s agent commission and you very well might be offering too much and could save yourself thousands of dollars in real estate commission by asserting control over the buyer’s agent commission percentage.

Can you List on the MLS without a Realtor?

The multiple listing service (MLS) is a powerful tool. Nearly all property is listed on, and sold through, a local MLS. A licensed real estate broker is the only person allowed to submit a listing directly to the MLS. If you want to FSBO your own home and sell without an agent, but still want to be listed on the MLS, you need to find a local flat fee MLS entry only listing service.

A flat fee MLS entry only listing service is operated by a licensed real estate broker – remember, they’re the only person that can technically get your property listed on the MLS. The “flat fee” denotes that for a one-time flat fee, the licensed broker that operates the entry only MLS listing service will submit your listing on the MLS and not charge you anything further, no additional fees or commission percentage splits. The “entry only” denotes that the listing broker will only enter your property on the MLS, providing limited service to you as a seller after the property is listed on the MLS.

The official MLS that serves Massachusetts is MLS Property Information Network, Inc. Their rules and regulations stipulate that by filing a listing, “the Listing Broker holds a current, valid real estate broker’s license issued by the appropriate state real estate licensing authority, agency or board, or its functional equivalent, in the state in which the Listed Property is located.”

Why is the MLS so popular and powerful?

At the most basic level, the MLS is what it is because it’s the system of record for the real estate industry (namely residential property for sale and rent). Layered on top of that, in order to list a property for sale or rent in the MLS, you need to be a licensed real estate professional – so not just anybody can enter listings in the MLS.

With the MLS serving as the system of record, it’s the source from which property information is syndicated to literally thousands of websites across the Internet, including the real estate websites that get the most traffic (Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com). If a property makes it’s way into the MLS, it automatically gets syndicated, or transferred, to thousands of other websites. With approximately 90% of buyers searching for property online, the MLS is in essence the key to exposure, and ultimately getting a property in front of a buyer or renter.

Who do Buyers call, the FSBO or the listing company?

Your property is now in the MLS, who gets the calls, the FSBO or the listing company? Good question, it’s really a two part answer.

  1. As a licensed listing broker entering a flat fee entry only MLS listing into the MLS, there’s a data field that allows the listing broker to tell other licensed real estate processionals who have direct access to the MLS that they should contact the seller directly for showings and more information – so, the seller’s name and phone number are included in the MLS listing. However, that’s only the first part, and only applies to licensed agents who are able to access the MLS system of record directly.
  2. When a listing in the MLS is syndicated to the thousands of websites noted earlier, like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, only the listing brokerage’s contact information is syndicated, not the FSBO seller’s contact information. One subtle thing to note here is that by doing this, from the general public’s perspective, there’s no difference between a flat fee MLS entry only listing and a full commission listing.

At Entry Only New England (http://entryonlynewengland.com), we see that nearly all showing requests and calls are funneled directly to the seller, which tells me that most buyers are working with a licensed real estate agent, which aligns with studies that show most buyers work with an agent. When a buyer or buyer’s agent requests more information on a flat fee MLS entry only listing to the listing brokerage directly, the inquiry is passed onto the seller – there’s a good article on who’s contact information is listed on the MLS listing that describes all of this well.

Can you List on the MLS without a Realtor?

In summary, yes, you can. A FSBO who wants to sell their own home without an agent must work through a local flat fee MLS entry only listing service to get their property listed on the MLS for sale or rent. The licensed broker behind the flat fee MLS entry only listing service will enter the listing into the MLS, collect their one-time flat fee, and pass along all calls and inquiries regarding the property directly to the seller.

FSBOs Beat Realtors Says Massachusetts MLS Data

A recent FSBO versus Realtor study involving the analysis of home sales in Plymouth, MA 02360 shows that For Sale by Owners (FSBOs) using flat fee MLS entry only listings on average sold their homes both faster, and at a price closer to the original asking price, than real estate agents.

Flat Fee MLS in Plymouth MA

The Plymouth MA MLS data established that it takes, on average, 56% longer to sell a home with a traditional real estate agent charging a full commission than as a FSBO with an MLS entry only listing.

And separately, entry only MLS listings in Plymouth achieve both a higher sale price to original asking price ratio, as well as, a higher sale price to listing price ratio.

How to FSBO Plymouth Massachusetts

With the increasing popularity of flat fee entry only MLS listings, and the success in terms of days on market and sales to listing price ratios of this home listing technique against the status quo of a traditional listing broker approach, Massachusetts homeowners are evaluating how to FSBO their own home as an alternative to hiring a traditional agent to list their home for sale (at a full commission).

Get Started Now - Flat Fee Entry Only MLS Listing

Massachusetts Realtor Fees & Real Estate Agent Commission Rates

As Massachusetts home sellers begin to contemplate whether to sell their home, invariably one of the first things that come into their minds is Massachusetts Realtor commission fees. Real estate broker fees can significantly impact the bottom line for a seller and represent a material component to the amount of money a property owner walks away with after a successful sale.

Real estate agent fees and the concept of a real estate commission percentage can be nebulous. Sellers consistently have questions like:

  • What’s the average real estate commission?
  • Is there a standard real estate agent commission?
  • What is the real estate agent fee when selling?
  • Is there a typical Massachusetts real estate commission?

Each one of these questions is a good one, and frankly, natural to ask.  With real estate commission percentages where they are at in the US, it’s important to take into account their impact on a sale.

What does that mean?

For illustration purposes, on the sale of a $409,000 home, with 6% being paid as real estate broker fees, the seller will pay $24,540 in Realtor fees – therefore,  the property owner is more accurately selling at $384,460 (after taking into consideration the typical real estate commission).

You can learn more about the average Massachusetts Realtor fees, how real estate brokerages establish their real estate commission rate, and gain insight into exactly who pays the Massachusetts real estate agent fees by further exploring real estate agent commissions.

Internet Enabled MLS Creates Flat Fee MLS Listing Success

We’re exploring a controversial topic, specifically, with real estate market efficiency in mind, are Seller Agents really needed in your real estate sale?

You own a home. You want to sell it. You don’t want to pay a traditional real estate brokerage 5% or 6% to do it. Why not? To put it succinctly, at its most basic level, you believe the exposure provided by the combination of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the Internet is sufficient to attract a qualified buyer.

As a seller in a real estate transaction, the commission to which you agree compensates two (2) parties, the Seller’s Agent that you personally hire to market and sell your property, and separately, the agent representing the buyer you hope to attract. Given the Internet enabled MLS, it’s argued that the only party you need to compensate is the Buyer’s Agent. The power of exposure given to you by your property’s inclusion in the MLS and the subsequent propagation of that property information across the Internet will generate the exposure, demand, and qualified buyer you need. For all practical purposes, that service is not worth the 2% – 3% that you would pay a Seller’s Agent to accomplish those tasks.

Getting Your Property Into MLS

Thus, your main concern should now be how to get your property into the MLS in the most efficient way possible, so that this Internet enabled MLS does its job in exposing your property to the masses. It’s your confidence in the ubiquitous availability of information in today’s society and the deeply rooted desire of buyers to seek out information that allows you to even consider going it on your own as a for sale by owner (FSBO) type, foregoing a Seller’s Agent, and also foregoing the 2% or 3% that you would typically pay them…to expose your property.

What you’re starting to realize is, if your property is in the MLS, it will be exposed.

Across the US, this exposure and the current dynamics of the residential real estate market in general are based on the guise of a local MLS system. That’s the baseline, and the only practical and comprehensive entry point. Real estate agents still hold the keys (pun intended) to the MLS system, and you’ll need their involvement to get your property into the system, and to be exposed.

Who are the MLS innovators?

The dynamics have been changing, are changing, and are changed. A firm like RealDirect (http://www.realdirect.com) is changing things for New Yorkers with what they call Owner Managed Listings, and a platform like Entry Only New England (http://entryonlynewengland.com) is giving Massachusetts homeowners the opportunity to list on the MLS without a Realtor for a one-time fee with something called a flat fee MLS listing.

It’s going to be the discovery that there is a need for such services, that the consumer deserves that choice, along with the continued refinement and availability of such services that gets us started down the road toward a goal of what some might call real estate market efficiency.

Real Estate Market Efficiency

The US operates in an economic system or arena referred to as capitalism. While you’d be hard pressed to prove that it’s truly a free market system, nonetheless, its aim is market efficiency, a phrase that was first coined in the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) of Eugene Fama in 1970 whereby at any given time, prices fully reflect all available information on a particular stock and/or market.

In the context of the real estate market, we are heading toward market efficiency when alternative means are used to expose a property to buyers in such a way that the cost of doing so takes into consideration that a Seller’s Agent, and their corresponding commission, is not always necessary given the ubiquitous availability of property information, namely on the Internet. In addition to real estate commissions, there are other large barriers to overcome to achieve real estate market efficiency, yet, a flat fee MLS listing, or entry only MLS listing as it’s known in some locations, is a first step towards such an end.