Frequently Asked Questions
Why is fee for service real estate models not the norm, it seems so obvious?
Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” This is unfortunately true for the real estate industry. The National Association of Realtors issued a study that said the average agent works 16 hours on average for their clients. As of May 2019, the average home prices were $315,000. That means clients are paying about $590 per hour to their agent. LET THAT SINK IN. This same study also said the average agent sells 5.5 homes per year. That means as an industry we are working less than 2 hours a week all year. Surgeons and doctors don’t make that kind of money per hour and they went to school for over 10 years. Realtors go to school for 2 weeks and make more per hour than doctors and surgeons. It wasn’t easy to break ranks with the traditional real estate industry, but if you are reading this and are looking for a better way to buy or sell your home, we did it for YOU.
Scout’s model seems too good to be true. How can you charge a low flat fee starting at just $5,000 and still be profitable?
In order for this to make sense, we had to drastically increase our efficiency. So we built a streamlined process to ensure great customer experiences. A team of specialists handles every step of the process. We use cutting-edge technology to empower our team to work faster, with more accuracy, and with more predictability. This has drastically driven down costs and reduced the time we spend on transactions. Those processes made our business incredibly efficient. But they also allow every client’s experience to be easy, quick, and enjoyable. Today, we’re able to produce a higher volume of sales in less time—while also passing the savings along to you. It’s a WIN-WIN relationship! How is this possible? Well, to put this in perspective, most real estate companies are doing the exact same thing they’ve done for the past 50 years. Our industry has gotten much easier for AGENTS to make more money, but it’s barely added any extra value to the client since the internet was invented! So all we had to do is take advantage of new technology, and the rest was easy. The real question for real estate companies now is, are we willing to pass along that value to the customer, or will we keep it all for ourselves? And for us, the answer is clear. We want you to win along with us.
Since Scout is saving clients so much money, what services are missing?
Not one thing. Everything you would experience with another company you get with us at a fraction of the cost. Because our operations are so efficient, we actually have so much more to offer. In addition to your dedicated agent, you also will have a team of specialists working on your behalf—including services like, marketing, negotiation, legal, and much more. We fundamentally believe in VALUE INNOVATION for our clients, which means reducing cost and amplifying value for them.
Who is Scout?
Scout is on a mission to eliminate commission for homeowners. We are a flat fee for service real estate company that drastically reduces cost and improves your return potential so you can build your net worth. Paying a commission % for listing your home is outdated. Real estate commissions pre date the internet and the internet has completely changed how people buy and sell homes. We felt it was time for a change. Scout is a real estate company that saves you thousands when you buy or sell a home. Instead of charging outrageous commissions for a home sale, we offer a low flat fee. This saves our clients an average of $10,000. And as a homebuyer, we save you thousands on your closing costs. All this so you can keep more equity. After all, it’s YOUR EQUITY, not our commission.
How long has Scout been in business?
Scout was started as a traditional real estate brokerage in Jan 2013. After 7 years, 1,500+ transactions, $500 Million in sales, and receiving numerous awards like Inc 5000 fastest growing companies in America, we learned the residential real estate industry was in desperate need of change. In Jan 2020 we made a bold pivot to become a flat-fee brokerage.
Why did Scout change from a traditional brokerage to a fee for service company?
Frankly, our clients deserved more. We realized we could create tremendous value for our customers by simply charging them fair flat fees based on the services we provide—instead of their home’s value. We began to look at our work from a different perspective, and to measure our success based on what we could give to our clients rather than what we could take from them.
Why does Scout partner with the Homes for Homes mission organization?
Homes for Homes builds homes for those in need in impoverished countries. We started donating to Homes for Homes since it began over 5 years ago. During that time the organization has housed over 1,300+ people in need. It’s been an amazing privilege to see how God has used our business to be a blessing to those in need.
What is Scout’s perspective on their relationship with clients?
We believe we are children of God serving Children of God. Other than your love, to labor on someone’s behalf is the second greatest gift you can give someone. It is a privilege to serve others. We believe service to others is a combination of both having the heart to serve as well as having the skill and ability to deliver results. We work tirelessly to develop the skills and ability to enhance your experience as a customer. At Scout, the training never stops. We are committed to constant and never-ending improvement. And we do it for our clients.
What is Scout’s perspective on Real estate agents?
Agents have a very important place in society. We believe in the incredible value agents can add to clients. But it’s important to understand technology has radically changed the job description of an agent over the past 10 years. Technology has diminished the historical job description of agents. Technology has made our work much easier, much faster, and much cheaper. We believe agents now have an opportunity to add additional value to our customers by passing the cost savings down to them. Creating more value for clients is the only way for agents to stay relevant long term, and it’s important we stay relevant.
How much does Scout charge to help me buy a new home?
NOTHING. Buyers’ agents are compensated by the seller of the home.
How is buying a home with Scout different than using a traditional buyer’s agent?
With Scout, you get everything you would get with a traditional agent—but with the added support of a specialized team. Your dedicated buyer’s agent shows you homes, does market analysis, and negotiates your offer. This buyer’s agent is supported by showing specialists, buyer coordinators, and transaction coordinators. This support staff ensures you have on-demand access to see homes, they’re available to answer your questions immediately, they handle all the paperwork and scheduling, and they execute our proven buyer process to ensure you have an incredible experience.
What are the advantages when Buying with Scout?
See Homes First – Our cutting-edge technology sends you the latest listing within minutes of it going live.Tour Homes Faster – We know the importance of seeing homes ASAP. That’s why our showing agents are “on-demand” to come help you at the drop of a hat.A Team in Your Corner – Your dedicated agent will be supported by a team of specialists who identify off the market opportunities, coordinate details and timelines, help you tour homes, and more.Be Educated, not Sold – Our agents are salaried so they look out for your best interest—not their bank account. We educate and empower you to make your best decision with confidence…and without feeling pressured.Save Thousands – Save up to an additional $5,000 when you buy and sell with Scout, in the form of a “closing costs” credit.
What is the purpose of us having a Buyer Consultation?
The purpose of the buyer consultation is to get crystal clear on your needs and design your personalized home buying journey. Next, we go over the 7 steps to purchase a home. We then establish expectations going forward so the relationship is set up for success. Lastly, we build your home search based on the buyer questionnaire and set up an auto-notification to send you listings the instant they enter the market.
What if I sign a Buyer’s Representation Agreement and we become unhappy with the relationship?
We only want to work with clients who want to work with us. If you aren’t happy with us for any reason, then you are free to cancel our agreement at any time, for any reason. We aren’t going to hold a contract over your head to keep you working with us.
What do I tell listing agents when they ask if I’m represented by an agent?
Tell them you have already hired an agent and signed a Buyer Representation Agreement with Scout.
As a Scout buyer how do I find my new home?
In the buyer consultation, we will set up your home search based on your Buyer Questionnaire. You will be instantly notified through an auto notification email of any new listings that entered the market which meet your criteria. You will then send us the homes you want to see and the time you want to see them. After we schedule the showings with the seller, a showing agent will take you on a home tour. Our team approach gives us the capabilities to give you on-demand access to homes. In an active sellers market, speed is the name of the game. The last thing you want to do is wait for an independent agents schedule to open up and be able to see a property. With Scout, you’re more likely to get the home you want.
How do I decide on an offer price?
Valuing a home and making a great offer are both art and science. At Scout we created a tool called the “Decision Point” tool. This resource has 22 of the most important answers to uncover before making an offer. Scout agents take the position as an educator during this critical time in the buyer journey. Chances are, if you’re in the position in life to purchase a home, then you’re capable of making good decisions. We don’t believe in selling our buyers. We believe in educating them and empowering them to make their best decision with confidence.
What is earnest money and how much should I put down on a house?
Earnest money is a deposit that a buyer makes, at the time of offer, to show the seller that you’re serious about purchasing their home. That money is put in an escrow account and used in 1 of 3 ways. It’s applied to the purchase of the home at closing.It’s returned to you if you back out of the contract because a contract contingency wasn’t satisfied.You forfeited the money because you walked away from the contract after the contingencies were satisfied. There is no set amount of earnest money that you have to put down. We typically see people putting down about 1% of the purchase price of the home.
Can Scout recommend a great lender to help me get pre-approved?
YES!! For years we have worked with Mike Smalling with F&M Bank. Mike has 30+ years experience in the mortgage industry. Year after year, he is one of the top 10 producers in the state of Tennessee. It just so happens he is at one of the largest and most cost-effective lending institutions in the state. We dare you to try and find a cheaper rate, a lower closing cost, and a better experience. Reach out to Mike and you will see why we love working with him. Cell: 615-300-6599 [email protected]
How do I get started buying my new home with Scout?
You have a couple of options to get the ball rolling. You can schedule a discovery call with us, which is either a video conference call or phone call. You can also schedule a buyer consultation meeting by clicking on the links below. We look forward to working with you.
How does Scout’s flat fee model work?
Traditionally when a listing sells, the seller pays a 6% commission based on the value of the home. The 6% commission would be split, 3% to the buyer’s agent and 3% to the seller’s agent. At Scout, we believe the payment we receive to sell your home shouldn’t be tied to the value of your home. It should be tied to the service we provide you. That’s why we have a tiered pricing structure starting at $5,000. We believe you should have a choice in which service plan best suits your unique needs. Our pricing is based on tiered service plans. Sellers will be responsible for paying the buyer’s agent in addition to our low flat fee.
What is included in Scout’s service plan when I list my home?
Our $5,000 basic plan includes the following: 8 step coming soon strategy, professional photographs, listing on the MLS and 70+ others listing websites, open house, email to our list of over 20,000, Facebook & Instagram post, weekly communication reaping the previous weeks activity and game planning for the week ahead, 3 phased pricing approach, building a seller net sheet so you know exactly how much you will walk away from the closing table with…no surprises, 24/7 call center scheduling, dedicated transaction coordinator to handle all the paperwork and scheduling, listing maintenance to make sure you listing is well positioned on the market compared to other active listings, attend the appraisal. We have other fee for service plans that include things like: listing video, pre-listing appraisal, pre-listing inspection, community mailers, broker open houses, paid advertising, etc.
What am I NOT getting when working with Scout?
The only thing you’re missing out on is having to pay that huge commission to your seller’s agent, like you would when working with traditional agents. Other than that you aren’t missing out on anything from our full-service brokerage. In fact, you actually get more than you normally would, because our team of specialists works on your behalf for marketing, negotiations, legal, and more.
Do I pay Scout anything up front?
You don’t pay anything up front. Scout gets paid from the proceeds of the sale, just like traditional closings, we only get paid when we deliver results. And if we don’t, it’s free.
Are there any additional fees during the process, such as home inspections, appraisals, photography, etc.?
NO additional fees. Our fees include professional photography, a sign, a lockbox, marketing services, a listing on the MLS, transaction coordination, and a dedicated agent to guide you through each step of the buyers process. It’s important to note, traditionally the seller pays the buyers agent’s commission. Traditionally that fee is 3% of the homes value. That is up for you to decide how much you compensate a buyers agent. When you purchase a home, the buyers agent fee will be covered by the seller so you will make it up on the next purchase.
Do I have to pay a Buyer’s Agent Commission?
At Scout, we replace the seller agent’s (also known as the “listing agent”) commission with a low flat fee of $5,000, but the seller is responsible for the buyer agent’s commission — typically 2.5-3%. Paying a buyer agent’s commission is valuable to motivate outside agents to show your home and bring you a contract, but ultimately, the amount and decision to offer commission to the buyer’s agent yours!
What happens if a buyer wants to buy my house and doesn’t have an agent?
If a buyer who is not represented wants to purchase your home, then your listing agent will not represent them as a client. Your listing agent will either refer the buyer out to another Scout agent or act as a facilitator for them in the negotiations. We have loyalty to our sellers. We will always act as a fiduciary for you, which means we’ll put your interest ahead of ours. In this scenario, if we act as a facilitator for the buyer then we can save you even more money. We double the listing fee and you keep the rest of the buyer’s agent commission.
What are the advantages when Selling with Scout?
Save Thousands – We don’t do commission. Instead, we charge a Fair Fixed Fee. Our fee starts at just $5,000—and saves our clients an average of $10,000.No Up-Front Fees – You only pay when your home sells. And if we aren’t giving you the desired results, you can cancel at any time.Only Pay for What You Need – There is power in having the ability to choose. That’s why we have tiered service plans to meet your exact needs.A Team in Your Corner – You’ll have dedicated specialists handling your marketing, coordinating details and timelines, showing agents, and more.Proven Marketing Strategy – Our marketing strategy combines the latest technology with the most effective traditional methods to sell your home for more money in less time.
What is the process for a buyer to schedule and show my home?
When a buyer wants to schedule a showing, it is important their call is answered immediately. That’s why we use a call center that answers calls 24/7. They make sure no showing request goes to voicemail and never gets responded to. They will coordinate the showing time and showing instructions with the seller and the buyer.
What can I expect from a communication standpoint?
Real estate markets are very dynamic and can change from week to week. That is why we schedule weekly call with our sellers, typically on Tuesdays. On this update call we will discuss the prior week’s marketing efforts, feedback received from showings and open houses, changes with other active listings who we have identified as direct competitors, and any new listings that have entered the market that could affect the sale of your home. You will receive a complete recap of the previous week’s activities, as well as discuss our strategy for the coming week.
What is the purpose of a Listing Presentation?
The purpose of the listing presentation is to get crystal clear on your needs and demonstrate how our services will accomplish your goals. Next, we go over the 6 steps to selling your home. We then establish expectations going forward so the relationship is set up for success. Lastly, we discuss our marketing strategy, pricing strategy, and communication strategy. These strategies are designed to sell your home for the most money in the shortest period of time.
How long is the listing agreement?
Typically a listing agreement is 120-180 days. We have a “cancel at any time” policy. If for any reason you feel like we aren’t representing your best interest then you can cancel our agreement. We aren’t going to hold a contract over your head if you aren’t happy. With Scout, you are always free to make your best decision.
What does the 100% money-back guarantee entail?
We put our money where our mouth is. We believe it is unfair to put clients in a position to lose. We believe it is wrong to over-promise and under-deliver on what we said we would do. We believe in reversing the risk you feel, and putting that risk on our shoulders. This is how confident we are in our service model. If we get to the closing table and your experience wasn’t what we promised, then let us know and you will not pay us anything.
What are the benefits of me using Scout for both the sell and buy?
First off, Scout’s sell and buy bundle gives buyers up to $5,000 of closing cost credit on the purchase of their next home. This closing cost credit comes from the buyers agent commission we receive on the purchase of your new home. Ask your agent for details. Secondly, think of selling your home and purchasing a new one as one transition instead of two transactions. It is easier to ensure a seamless transition on both transactions if the same agent represents you on both the buy and sell. The two main reasons for having your transition interrupted are mismanaging timelines, and navigating the home inspection contingency period. If timelines or inspections get either side off track, then you may find yourself in a situation where you either sell yourself out of a home or lose the home you were trying to purchase because you were not able to sell in the contracted timeframe. But when the same company is representing both sides, it’s even easier for us to carefully monitor and make sure all timelines and inspections are managed properly from both sides.
How do I get started selling my home with Scout?
You have a couple of options to get the ball rolling. You can schedule a discovery call with us, which is either a video conference call or phone call. You can also schedule a Listing Presentation meeting by clicking on the links below. We look forward to working with you and saving you boatloads of money!