By Craig Moorhead
The Caledonia Argus
Andy Mulholland has made his mark on the world of real estate during the last 11 years. Now he’s relocated his business, Handy Andy Real Estate Experts, Inc. to 103 East Main Street in Caledonia, and is bringing a whole new model to just how properties are sold in our area.
“In Rochester I ran a traditional real estate office,” Mulholland said last week. “This is a very different model, a flat-fee model. I’m shifting from what I believe is the outdated, percentage-based commission... The problem I saw with that was that agents were getting paid a heck of a lot of money. It takes just 90 hours to get your real estate license. So someone can go through a 90-hour course and be paid, potentially, as much as somebody would be paid in an entire year for a normal job, by selling one home.
“If an agent sold a half-million dollar property, they could be paid as much as $30,000. The more I built my business, the more I realized it doesn’t have to be that way. The reason that I was able to shift to a flat-fee model is because I built systems that are very efficient. Most of my business is virtually based, which works perfectly with COVID-19... and that’s almost unheard of with real estate. That’s why I don’t have to charge these, what I consider to be, outdated commissions...”
Mulholland even helped to co-author a national best-selling book with a group of experts entitled “Cracking the Real Estate Code” (volume two), and has been featured in a documentary called “Selling America” by Emmy-award winning producer Nick Nanton.
Andy Mulholland unlocked the doors of his new office in Caledonia at the beginning of July. The business currently offers two levels of “do-it-yourself” (DIY) flat fee MLS listing services which cost $698 for basic assistance and $998 for premium DIY (which includes numerous additions such as marketing, a lock box, signage, listing in the open house registry, and more). A third option is a full-service agent-assisted listing for $4,495 ($595 down with $3,900 due at closing) regardless of selling price.
“That’s for us to handle everything for them,” Mulholland said. For a $200,000 home, the cost to hire a traditional agent with a six percent commission is $12,000. “So you’re saving $7,500 (by using a full-service flat fee).
“And a six percent commission is a pretty typical amount,” the real estate mavin stated. “Over the last 40 years, technology, the internet, the computer, have been put in place in these businesses, making things so much more efficient, but agents continue to charge the same amount. And home values have increased dramatically. So back in the 1960’s if you charged six percent on a $50,000 house it isn’t a huge amount of money to do the job, but nowadays with prices the way they are it is a huge amount of money, and I think home sellers end up giving so much of their equity away when they sell... So what happens is a lot of sellers choose to list on their own, especially in a more active market, like we have had over the last several years.
“The problem with that is that there are all kinds of things that can go wrong.”
Pitfalls and frustrations often occur when people have to deal with everything involved in selling, Mulholland noted. “This is a more modern approach. Don’t do ‘for sale by owner,’ because you’re going to miss things. It’s going to be a full-time job to handle that process. But don’t pay more than you really need to with today’s technology. We have built systems, and have people in place to manage that process so that we can provide the same or a better experience than a traditional agent, while there’s no need to charge that typical six percent.”
Headed by parents Andy and Ellyn, the Mulholland family moved to Caledonia last December. “We really enjoy the small-town living,” Andy said. “It’s the reason we moved here.”
Handy Andy Flat Fee Realty is also contributing a percentage of every dollar they earn towards Handy Andy CARES (C for Community, A for Aide, and RES for Resources), a program aimed at providing hope “to families with random, urgent financial needs” in our area. For more information on the program, or to nominate a family for assistance, check out their webpage at handyandysold.com/handy-andy-cares.