Category Archives: Scams

Flat Fee MLS in Rochester NY has been doing Flat Fee MLS in Rochester NY now for over 7 years and their business philosophy hasn’t changed from day one;

“if you give homeowners the same tools as the professionals, they will succeed.”

When we started years ago there was only one other company doing flat fee and they were doing it for over a thousand dollars.  We hit the market using technology and the Internet and at a fraction of their cost we put them out of business.  We developed systems to eliminate the middlemen in the equation which equates to big savings.

The founder of delivered a talk to the the NYS Bar on New Business Models in real estate in 2006. Continue reading

Infra-Structure Matters

When you are looking at flat fee brokers do yourself a big favor, check out their websites…Do they look like a fly by night or do they look like they are entrenched.  You will know the difference in a New York second.

Look for things like photos, owner’s phone numbers, enhancements, open house flags.  Do they offer featured listings, mortgage calculators, maps etc.

If you think that all flat fee brokers are the same think again!  There are those brokers that are me too brokers and there are brokers that are the leaders in their market.  Stay away from national companies that can’t tell you who the local guy is.  These companies farm your listing to the lowest bidder, and you are smarter than that, it will be a bad experience because neither care about your experience.

Line up yourself up for the best For Sale by Owner experience and find your self a broker who is entrenched.  List2Move prides itself in it’s infrastructure.  Go with the Flat Fee FSBO leader in Rochester NY.

What the heck is a Brokers Open?

Think of it like an Open House just for sales agents, except filled with smoke and mirrors.

OK, so here’s how it works.  Broker’s will tell sellers that they are going to ‘expose’ the home to other brokers as a way to gain exposure and educate them on the homes features and benefits.  Sounds logical doesn’t it?

So the listing agent will send out an email to all the agents and brokers advertising their open house,  and to get them to show up, they tell them that there will be a free lunch or there will be some drawing of some prize.  The next hurdle is getting someone else to pay for that lunch/prize, so they will grab a mortgage broker who wants to get exposure to new referral sources (agents) to supply the goods.

The hungry agents come for free goods, talk a little shop, eat…talk a little more shop, pound some desert and oh yeah take a look around and leave.   But before they leave the listing agent asks them if they can make any RECOMMENDATIONS…Most agents will suggest reducing the price or staging or some combination of both, like they just solved a mystery.  “hmmm, you should think about dropping the price 5 or 10 thousand dollars and see how that works”

Then the listing agent goes back to the sellers and tells them how successful the open house was, and that 8 out of 10 agents suggested a price drop.  That way it was a third party suggesting the price drop, not the guy who told them he could get a million dollars for the 200k home in return for signing that 6 month listing agreement.

Very clever, but Brokers Opens are not effective in selling homes.  There is no efficacy here at all since most brokers and agents have very very little control over their buyers today!    Buyers are telling agents where to go, not the other way around.



America’s Choice Rochester, NY: Flat Fee MLS doesn’t work?


America’s Choice (2.5% Real Estate Direct) 10/26/2009 stated on their website that Flat Fee MLS doesn’t work so lets check it out using their best case scenario…..

Let’s compare their YTD vs. the Rochester List2Move (Roxwell Properties, Inc.) to see if there is any truth here and we will use the best case scenario, which is where there is no other company  involved in the sale.

Our guess, even before crunching the numbers is they are blowing smoke for the simple reason of getting more of your money!


YTD 2.5% Real Estate Direct has generated 10 sales where the buyer has come directly to them so…

10 sellers paid $495 each to get on the program and 1% of the selling price of the YTD total $1,456,200 to the 2.5% Real Estate Direct brokerage or a total of…..  $19,512 out of the sellers pockets ($1951.20 each)

List2Move had 6 sales where the buyer has come directly to them so…since they pass the buyer directly to the seller, the sellers all saved that additional 1% in commissions!

6 sellers paid $495 each to get on the program and 0% of the selling price of the YTD total of 1,255,500 to List2Move or a total of $2970. ($495 each)

If you run with just the 2.5% Real Estate Direct numbers sellers would pay on average $1456.20 more than  they would have with List2Move to sell!

The Results

Conclusion: Flat Fee MLS does work!  These figures were based on America’s Choice’s and 2.5% Real Estate Direct’s best case scenario.  The only reason they are attacking the Flat Fee MLS business model is that it is hurting them financially! When you take into consideration the number of listings by each company YTD (2.5% Real Estate Direct 160 listings YTD and List2Move 49 you can see that only 1 in 16 (6%) listings sold with AC/2.5% best case and 1 in 8 (13%)with   The numbers tell the story. has received the Greater Rochester Association of REALTOR Sales Master Gold Award for the last two years and is going to be receiving another this November, not because “Flat Fee MLS doesn’t work!

The Smoke

Traditional real estate is most certainly under attack by the Flat Fee Monster and they don’t like it, as sellers from all over the country are tapping the MLS which is putting a hurt on real estate commissions everywhere.

Since there is big money involved companies in an effort to survive are using all they have left to compete with… smoke.

America’s Choice and 2.5% Real Estate Direct are not immune to this even though they are considered discounters. They still are surviving on the commissions where most flat fee companies don’t, so they are still in a way, traditionalists. Steve Levitt, author of Freakonomics predicted in 2006 that Flat Fee discounters would be the “death blow to traditional real estate.”

Traditionalists believe that if they confuse the customer it will put money in their pocket.  The problem is when the consumers figure it out, and they will, it comes back on the creditability of the company/agent.

Competitive take

This kind of competition is good, not necessarily when it confuses the customer, but when it forces other competitors to bring the truth to the surface like we have.  Ultimately consumers will be the judge and when anyone tries to mislead them on what is best for them it will have an equal and opposite reaction.

We believe this attack on flat fee is directly related to us advertising our services starting in October 2009.  So we want to thank our competitor for the complement :)

*Figures: Taken directly from the GRAR MLS, Reports 11/7/2009

Democrat & Chronicle Homescam

Placing an ad on Homescape…. don’t fall for it. 

I recently heard of a FSBO couple who wanted to be listed with the real estate listings on the D & C.  They contacted the Democrat and Chronicle and were told that they could gain access to it for (don’t quote me) $100 which they gladly paid, but the property didn’t come up in the search.  Instead it came up in the secluded classified section, all by itself. 

People, think about exposure in real estate for a minute.  You want to position yourself where the buyers are right?  Then don’t think in terms of a single website, think in terms of networks.  Buyers in general don’t go to a single website like the Democrat and Chronicle classifieds, especially if they live in Los Angeles- instead they go to the Realtor Network which is made up of hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of websites and they don’t even know they are on the network.  That is the beauty of it. 

The Internet has made exposure confusing for those that are not totally Internet savvy.  That is why we are here to help you save your equity.

The bottom line is not to buy “advertising” on just one website, you want hundreds….

If you live in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, or Rochester, NY or the surrounding areas go to and get on the Realtor network.

Good Selling

Home Warranty Experience

Should a For Sale by Owner offer a Home Warranty? 

A friend of mine who is a real estate attorney bought his home almost one year ago this month.  Along with the purchase of the home came a one year home warranty that the seller had paid for to help sell the property.  The home warranty company was from Home Security of America.

Recently over lunch he said he was going to use the home warranty to get his microwave either fixed or replaced but it is worth noting that he was adamant that the microwave was going to be replaced.  I told him that I had never heard of anyone cashing in on these types of policies, and that if it were me,  I would take the $50. that he was going to have to shell out to get a repairman just to look at it and put it towards a new microwave and be done with it. 

He was adamant that the microwave was going to be replaced, so he spent the money, and sure enough it wasn’t covered. 

I have not heard of any really good experiences with home warranties. If you have… post it here.

Here is the skinny on this home warranty. If the seller were to buy it today it would cost $430 for one year of “coverage.”  Oh, and don’t forget the “set up fee” of $80 to initiate the warranty. 

My attorney friend said that the only one benefiting from this warranty was the warranty company and the agents that sell it. 

So… to answer the above question, only if the buyer specifically asks for it!

Free home or property market value price

Here is the skinny on any “FREE” Home or property valuation offers you will see on the web.

As soon as you type in your personal information, they email a teaser to three or more agents who will then decide if they want the rest of the information (like your name and phone number) and pay for it.  Some agents would actually bid on getting your information. 

The agent will then try to contact you with a CMA (comparative market value) or a guesstimate of value.

The goal of the agent will be to get you to sign a listing agreement with them, sell the house, collect the commission and live happily ever after.

Our advise is to stay away from this or any service that looks or smells like this.