ell me a bit about your background:
I am originally from Wayne, New Jersey. My family and I moved to Florida in 1992.
How and why did you choose your current profession?
After buying and selling condominium foreclosures for many years, I then started FlatFee.com in 1999. At the time, a “discount broker” was a dirty word to traditional brokers and realtors. However, through time, most brokers had a buyer from their office that they had shown one of our limited service listings. Their idea of FlatFee.com had slowly changed. Within two years, we were in 44 MLS’s covering all of Florida and Alabama counties. We quickly became the largest MLS listing office in Florida and Alabama and have been so for 14 years. I saw a rising interest in FSBO listings in the beginning that has steadily grown. I am sure that today every property owner understands the term For Sale By Owner. It is stated that 16 percent of homes are sold by discount brokers and/or FSBOs. I find this upward trend simply remarkable.
Tell me a bit about your business:
FlatFee.com is an Internet company that MLS lists properties for sale and for rent. For a “Flat Fee” a client saves the traditional three percent listing fee. The client chooses the commission they wish to offer the buyer’s agent. Realtors contact the client for showings, details, and presentation of contract. The client also reserves the right to sell the property themselves as a FSBO and would save all commissions.
The concept is simple. One would start a file at FlatFee.com and complete our MLS form and post photos of the property. Our staff would post the listing in the appropriate MLS. The listing is then syndicated to Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia plus many more sites.
From your business perspective, what is one of the most challenging issues facing community associations?
With large rental turnover, management companies and associations must save rental advertising dollars while retaining control of their rentals. Couple a listing commission savings with advertising to the three main public sites plus the exposure to every realtor in the local MLS, and the client has more control of their property than ever before.
What is the achievement—business or personal—that you are proudest of?
I have been proud of FlatFee.com through the last 16 years. We have been building strong relationships and trust with MLS’s, brokers, and clients that make our referral business outstanding. However, personally, my three children are the best achievement a person could ask for.
What is your business philosophy?
The correct business philosophy is: Work with clients as you wish they would have worked for you.
Which individual has had the most positive influence on your professional or personal life?
This answer is simple: My Mom. She is still going strong at 95 and is ever challenging herself to learn something new. Her lessons taught to me were to work hard, be honest, keep your faith, and care for family and friends. Follow these simple rules, and you will sleep at night with a clear conscience.
What activities do you enjoy outside of your professional life?
Outside interests are my garden and my Model A Ford. Both give me a chance to move away from the computer and clear my thoughts.