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FAQ'S   (Frequently Asked Questions)
Flat Fee MLS Program


What is the MLS?

The local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a centralized computer database used exclusively by real estate brokers and agents to search and list properties in a common place. All brokerages/companies use the same MLS database in a geographic area. The listings are then shared with the other agent/broker members no matter which brokerage company they are with. Members can search the database for listings and show other member listings with full cooperation. In other words, any company can show and sell any other company's listings and receive a commission. Studies have shown that almost 90% of home buyers bought a house that was listed in the MLS. There are over 6,500 real estate agents and brokers in the Syracuse, Rochester, & Buffalo regions that have access to the MLS (Matrix) since the regions were combined for 3 times the exposure. In the separate Albany and Capital Region, the MLS (ENYRMLS) is used by all members of the Greater Capital Association of RealtorsŪ and many other local subscribing brokers and agents.

Who is this Flat Fee MLS service designed for ?

Primarily for people who want to save alot of money in commissions like "for sale by owners", people with little equity who can not afford to pay a full 6% commission, people with really expensive houses where 6% would be way too much money to pay, people who want to be in control of the sale process, or just anyone who wants to save at least approximately 50% vs. the traditional full service listing. In other words, sellers who don't mind paying the buyer's broker a commission but don't want to pay a listing commission. Also for those who want the exposure the MLS gives them but want to try selling on their own to save the whole commission.

What is the total cost for the Flat Fee MLS Service?

The total cost is a one time $295 (Silver MLS Program) or $395 (Gold MLS Program) payable up front and there are no other hidden charges or other listing commissions at all..... none! That alone saves you the whole 3% listing commission minus the flat fee. We offer a few optional extras but none are required.

What about the buyer broker's commission?

You have to decide how much commission to offer the buyers's broker when you list. It's totally up to you..2%...2.5%...3%...a bonus to the selling agent????  It's your decision and that's payable at closing. Note: the more you offer the buyer's broker, the more showings you will get.

Can I sell by myself and not pay a commission ?

YES... Absolutely! If you sell on your own to a buyer who was not brought there by a Realtor, there is no commission at all. None. Try doing that with a typical full service listing...you can't. This is one of the main selling points here is that you can continue to sell on your own and also have maximum exposure through the MLS.  It's the best of both worlds FSBO & MLS.

Will all the local Realtors have access to my listing ?

Yes, all agents (over 6,500) in Western/Central NY & Finger Lakes region who are MLS members will have access to your listing and that is virtually all active agents and brokerage companies. The same holds true for the Albany and Capital Region with over 3,000 local agents and brokers having access.

What do I the homeowner have to do with this service?

Keep doing what you are already doing as a " for sale by owner" including appointment setups, answering questions about the house, doing your own open houses, marketing, showing the house, follow up, etc. This is a limited service agreement so you will need to do some of the work. If an agent sells it, they will then do the remainder of the duties. Northern Star Realty will get you in the MLS and on 60+ major real estate websites including Realtor.com for all the exposure you need to sell. You may sell it on your own and pay no commission or a RealtorŪ may sell it for the commission you decided to offer.

What if I have a expensive house, is it still just the flat fee ?

Yes all houses are just the flat fee to get in the MLS regardless of the price. The more expensive the house, the more you save.

When I get a written offer am I on my own ?

No, unlike some services we will look at your offer (Gold MLS Program), give you our opinion, answer any questions, do a seller's net sheet and possibly offer some suggestions. We do not negotiate for you however with this service. We strongly recommend an attorneys approval with any accepted offer.

Who will get the phone calls?

You will get all calls from RealtorsŪ per the MLS instructions. Your owner's phone number will be shown wherever MLS rules allow. Some sites do not permit it but only allow RealtorŪ numbers. If our office receives any calls or emails, we will immediately forward them directly to you. You will get 100% of your leads! You can trust us and feel free to test us anytime! Your telephone number is on the yard sign (if you choose one) so you do get calls from that directly. The MLS logo is also on the sign so Realtors will know you are cooperating. Remember the MLS is designed for Realtors, so when you are in the MLS there's a pretty good chance one of the thousands of agents in the system will sell the house. Any leads that come in on the house are 100% yours so you still can sell it yourself and not pay a commission.

What if I decide I want a full service broker instead of Flat Fee MLS after awhile?

It's no problem, you can cancel your listing at any time and for any reason. We will even give you your money back if we refer you to a full service broker (usually your choice but we make the first call to them). Basically we would be receiving a referral fee and would reimburse you from that when the house closes.

Are you a licensed NY Real Estate Broker ?

Yes, Robert J. Piazza of Northern Star Realty is a licensed real estate broker in NY, a member of the NYS Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Robert has 33 years experience in the real estate business and knows the local markets. Northern Star Realty is a local business so you work and communicate with us directly as there is no middleman.

How much money can I save ?

On a 200,000 house at 6% commission the total commission would be $12,000 if you used a full service broker. If you used Northern Star Realty's Flat Fee MLS service on the same 200,000 house, it would be $395 (Gold MLS Program) + $6,000 to buyer's broker (assuming you offered 3% commission) for a total of $6,395 total...for a savings of  $5,605
If you had a more expensive house, you'd save even more and you'd save almost the whole commission (less the flat fee) if you sold it yourself. Also if you offered less than 3% commission on the above example, you'd save even more.

Why should I list using Northern Star Realty's Flat Fee MLS?

Well .....with us..... you know who you are hiring. We are locally owned and Robert Piazza/Broker has been a member in good standing of the NYS Association of RealtorsŪ, National Association of RealtorsŪ and the local real estate board for over 33 years. You will work with Robert, a FSBO specialist who has sold multi millions in his real estate career, coached real estate techniques to thousands of people for a nationally known seminar company and is a Sales Master Gold & Platinum Award winner. He knows the local trends, customs, forms and pricing.
We do not try to lowball you on price then try to sell you add ons for your service. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish! We include everything you need to sell. We are reputable, local and professional. We give you a great value and can save you thousands of dollars on your sale as we have for many others. We offer a special money back guarantee and we offer a "cancel anytime" policy. Even though our program is a limited service agreement, we still offer professional local broker support whenever needed. We can offer valuable tips to make your transaction smoother, prevent you from making costly mistakes, and give you negotiating tips with our 33 years experience. Knowledge is everything in real estate and with us you have it. You will not be on your own. Our testimonials are growing for a reason!

What is the difference between Northern Star Realty's $395 Flat Fee MLS and America's Choice?

America's Choice is a marketing group that will list your house on their own personal marketing site. Properties do not go on the RealtorŪ MLS for $495. If you want your property to go on the MLS with America's Choice, first you pay the $495 then you must list with their sister company called "2.5% Real Estate Direct" and be willing to pay them an additional 1% listing commission where you still do much of the work. So to put it in the MLS with them, it will cost you $495 PLUS 1% listing commission PLUS the buyer's brokers commission (2.5 - 3%). Do the math, it's no comparison plus we have more experience (33 yrs) and better customer service. Click here to see example.

I thought when I listed a property with a Realtor I would still have to pay a commission if I found my own buyer?

In simple terms, with a traditional full service listing called an "exclusive right to sell" you would have to pay a commission if either a broker sold it or if you found your own buyer. This is the type of listing full service brokers use. We don't use that type.
Instead, Northern Star Realty's Flat Fee MLS program uses an "exclusive agency" listing where you would still owe a buyer's broker a selling commission if he/she sold the house but not if you found your own buyer. In either case Northern Star Realty does not collect a listing commission when the house sells other than the flat fee that you have already paid. With either type of listing, both go into the same exact MLS for maximum exposure.


Will other agents show my property with this type of Flat Fee MLS listing?

Yes...Absolutely! They are getting paid a commission just like any other MLS listing, that's why we do a listing agreement. All listings are in the same MLS with the commission specified and as long as you are offering a fair and reasonable commission (usually 2-3%), you will get showings. Keep in mind most listings in the MLS are offering 3% commission to the buyer's broker, not all but most, so that is what agents are used to. We have a very good relationship and reputation with all area brokers and get constant showings from other brokers on our listings because they know us and they know our listings will pay a fair commission (2-3%). We do not abuse the MLS and other brokers/agents by allowing sellers to pay ridiculous low commissions (under 2%) so agents willingly and readily show our listings.

Can I sign up online or does someone come to my house ?

The service is designed to be used online so as to keep costs down. You can also use the USPS.

Is there any NYS sales tax on the flat fee?


I want to use the service, what do I do to get started ?

Just go to the "buy it now" button at the bottom of the Flat Fee MLS page for your city (see below) and order using credit/debit cards, Paypal, or you can send a check. As soon as we receive your payment we will send you a link where you can download the paperwork or fill out online. Your listing is entered in the MLS usually within 24 hrs. upon receipt of the listing paperwork and you will be sent a copy of your listing to verify.



Rochester 585-392-8222
Buffalo       716-240-4825
Syracuse   315-760-4594
Albany       866-781-1296
Toll Free    866-781-1296

email  northernstarrealty@gmail.com


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