Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost – is it really just 1%!?

YES! We sell your home for just 1% commission. No hidden fees, no upfront costs, no hassles. But we do much more than save you thousands of dollars – we’re actually more effective at selling your home than the other guys. Our stats for 2015 are pretty amazing:

  • Our listings get offers in only 9 days, on average.
  • Our listings sell for an astounding 99.6% of asking price.
  • Our sellers save an average of about $6,000 vs. a traditional agent.

You only pay us when your home sells, generally from the proceeds at closing. We don’t charge any additional fees – all this awesomeness is included. Why would you sell any other way?

How is OpenHomes different from a traditional agents, FSBO or flat fee service?

We sell your home for just 1% commission. That includes listing on MLS and hundreds of websites, plus experienced real estate attorneys to help you with the entire process, from listing to closing. With OpenHomes, we only get paid when your home sells.

Traditional agents: Traditional real estate agents often charge 6 or 7% of your home’s sales price. Most agents spend a lot of time on things that you can do just as easily yourself – like entering your home’s information, uploading photos, and scheduling showings. We use technology to make selling your home as easy, effective, and fun as possible. By streamlining the process with our simple online listing software, we put YOU in charge of your listing. We empower you to directly approve or deny showing requests via email, text, or phone – no more telephone tag. All our paperwork is handled electronically, so you can be on the beach in Bermuda or hiking the Andes and still sell your home!

FSBO/flat fee services: If you try to sell by owner or with a flat fee company, you usually have to pay upfront fees even if your house doesn’t sell, and they don’t provide help or support. You have to hire an attorney and pay him or her separately, or wade through all the paperwork and negotiations alone.

In addition, many websites block listings from flat fee MLS services – so your home will show up in the private agent-only MLS, but not on public websites where buyers actually search for their homes. You’re paying for the MLS but not actually getting the benefit of it – and that’s just crazy. Because of our broker classification, our listings cannot be excluded from any MLS website. In addition, we syndicate our listings to hundreds of other sites, to ensure that our sellers get maximum exposure for their properties.

Do I have to pay a buyer agent commission?

To list your home on the MLS, you need to offer some compensation (a percentage or flat fee) to an agent who brings a buyer. Unlike most companies, OpenHomes lets you decide how much to offer. For example, in south-central Wisconsin, the most common commission for buyer agents is 3%, while in south-eastern Wisconsin it’s 2.4%. If you offer less, you may discourage buyer agents from showing your home, but they can always include a commission request in an offer. No matter what you offer, the buyer agent commission is something that can be negotiated at any point during the sale.

While we are happy to work with any buyer agent, OpenHomes also works to bring buyers directly into your home, so that our sellers can realize additional savings. The average total commission (buyer agent % plus OpenHomes’ 1%) that our sellers pay is only 2.8%, which reflects our ability to market your home to buyers without agents.

How do I get started?

Just click on “create my listing” and fill out the information about your home using our simple online tool. Our software will guide you through the process of entering information and uploading your photos. Next, our real estate brokers and attorneys review your listing, add any missing information, and put it on the MLS and hundreds of other websites so you get maximum exposure. We’ll email you the standard listing contract, which is required for all listings in Wisconsin. You can see the residential listing contract here, and the condominium listing contract here.

Is OpenHomes my real estate agent?

Yes! OpenHomes is a virtual brokerage staffed by professionals who are real estate attorneys and brokers. OpenHomes is here to help you every step of the way, from listing, to negotiations, to closing. But unlike traditional agents, we don’t waste time and money driving around town, having coffee meetings, and sending faxes! Instead, we put all our energy into marketing your home and handling all the back-and-forth so you don’t have to.

Do I need to sign a contract?

Yes. For OpenHomes to represent you and market your home on the MLS, you need to sign a 6-month exclusive listing contract. You can take your house off the market at any point if you decide not to sell, but you can’t list it with another broker during that time. We use the standard Wisconsin state listing contracts that all real estate agents are required to use. You can see the residential listing contract here, and the condominium listing contract here.

What about showings – do I need to be there? How do I arrange them?

You decide who comes into your home and when. You can even provide specific instructions (“don’t let the gerbils out,” “please remove shoes,” “24 hours notice requested”). While you’re always welcome to be there throughout the showing, or to greet buyers and then take the dog for a walk. Most buyer agents prefer you not be present, so the buyer can more easily envision herself in the home. If a buyer doesn’t have an agent, you can show your home yourself or request that an OpenHomes attorney be present.

OpenHomes has an automated showing system that makes is really easy for you to approve showings and get feedback. Just tell us if you want to get calls, emails, texts, or any combination thereof. We provide a combination lockbox so that buyer agents can securely access your home when you’re away.

After each showing, we request specific feedback from the buyer and his or her agent. If there’s something you’d like us to ask about, just let us know and we’ll add it to the form. We share all feedback with you, unedited and instantly, so you’ll know exactly what buyers are thinking about your home.

Can I do a traditional open house?

Yes – just let us know when you want to have it, and we’ll market it for you. Generally, the more notice the better, but we recommend at least 5 days notice to make sure that the hundreds of websites we distribute to all get it in time. You can find more info about hosting an effective open house right here, in our Seller’s Guide.

How should I price my house?

While you always get the final decision, OpenHomes is happy to help you with a pricing strategy or comparative market analysis – just email or call us. Start by looking at your current property tax assessment, and then check out what else is on the market in your neighborhood, and see how their asking prices compare to their assessments.

Your asking price should depend on how fast you want to sell and how much money you want from the sale. If you’re pressed for time, list your home for slightly less than similar homes on the market. If you want to maximize your cash at closing, set a higher price – you can always lower it if you need to. Remember, though, that the first few weeks on the market are the most important, so you don’t want a price that is wildly out of step with the comparable sales. OpenHomes will provide you with buyer feedback after showings, including pricing feedback.

Finally, buyers can (and will!) offer any price they want, based on their perception of value and financial situation. Don’t be offended or surprised. Any offer is a great chance to sell your home, even if you have to negotiate a little bit to come to an agreement. For more advice on pricing, check out our Seller’s Guide. The only “right” price for a home is the one that both buyer and seller agree on!

I still have some questions!

Email us at info@openhomesrealty.com or call us at 800.201.2955. We are here to assist you in any way!