The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
If you’re thinking about selling your house, you’ve probably got a long list of questions about how to maximize your profits. One of the most important considerations is who you hire to sell it. If you live in the Southeast, one option is Mark Spain Real Estate, a brokerage that offers a few different ways to sell a home in select markets. Read on for a closer look at the company, how it works and whether it’s a good fit for your needs.
What is Mark Spain Real Estate?
Mark Spain is a real estate brokerage based in Alpharetta, Georgia (which is just north of Atlanta). The company launched in 2016 when Mark Spain, its founder, left his agent role at Keller Williams to found his own firm. Today, it has multiple offices across the Southeast and operates in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Texas. The company offers home selling services, as well as homebuying and renting options.
How does Mark Spain Real Estate work?
The company works in a similar fashion to most real estate brokerages. Buyers and renters are connected with a Mark Spain agent to search for suitable options. For home sellers aiming for a traditional listing on the open market, a Mark Spain agent conducts a comparative market analysis to get a sense of how much the home is worth, lists the home on the local MLS and markets it to sell, as any agent would. According to the company’s website, their traditional listings sell in an average of 25 days and typically go for 98 percent of asking price. However, that’s not the only way to sell a house with the company.
Selling your home with Mark Spain
Rather than sell your home with Mark Spain, as outlined above, you can also sell it to the company, with no agent and for cash, via its Guaranteed Offer program. This operates in a similar manner to most cash-homebuying companies: It makes a cash offer on your home, contingent upon an inspection, and if you accept you can close the deal in as little as 21 days.
Not all homes are eligible for the Guaranteed Offer program, though. To qualify, a home must be a single-family property that:
- Is located in one of Mark Spain’s service areas, and not in or near a flood zone
- Was built after 1960
- Is valued between $50,000 and $650,000
- Is owner-occupied or vacant
- Is not distressed or bank-owned
- Does not have unpermitted additions or significant foundation problems
This option can be very helpful if you’re hoping to buy a house before selling your current one, because you’ll have a firm idea of how much money you’ll have to spend. The downside, though, is that cash-homebuying companies almost always offer less than you might make with a traditional sale on the open market.
How does Mark Spain make money?
While Mark Spain Real Estate doesn’t disclose the specifics of its business model, agent-assisted real estate transactions typically operate on a commission basis. Agents will make a percentage of the sale price from every transaction, and a portion of that percentage typically goes to the brokerage. The company says it sold $3.8 billion in residential real estate in 2022, so even a small cut of that would be a large profit. If you’re thinking about working with Mark Spain, be sure to ask your agent for a complete breakdown of the commission you’ll need to pay and what closing costs you’ll be responsible for, if any.
It’s also likely that the company makes money from flipping the homes it buys through its Guaranteed Offer program. While Mark Spain does not purchase distressed homes in as-is condition, as most cash homebuying companies do, the purpose of offering a quick real estate sale with cash paid upfront is usually so that the buyer can then fix the property up and resell it for a profit.
Mark Spain service areas
Mark Spain Real Estate is not a nationwide operation, but it does have wide coverage throughout the Southeast. As of May 2023, the company services the following markets:
- Alabama: Birmingham
- Florida: Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa
- Georgia: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Athens, Buford, Marietta and Stockbridge
- North Carolina: Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh
- South Carolina: Greenville
- Tennessee: Chattanooga and Nashville
- Texas: Dallas and Fort Worth
Mark Spain alternatives
There are plenty of other ways to sell a home in the Southeast, a particularly hot region for real estate these days. Here are some alternatives:
- Use a different brokerage: There are more than 106,000 brokerage firms in the country, according to the National Association of Realtors. Ask your friends and family for real estate agent recommendations in your area, and interview several candidates to find the right fit for you.
- Find an iBuyer or homebuying company: If you’re thinking about Mark Spain’s Guaranteed Offer program, you might also want to look into iBuyers and other companies that buy homes. The two biggest names in iBuying, Opendoor and Offerpad, both operate in many of the same markets Mark Spain does, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Tampa and Dallas–Fort Worth.
- Do it yourself: If you have the time and are comfortable negotiating, consider the FSBO, or for sale by owner, route. However, you need to be prepared to do a lot of work to promote the listing and attract interested buyers.
- Rent it out: Depending on your financial situation, it may be possible to hold on to the house and earn some rental income rather than selling. If you’re thinking about it, make sure you have what it takes to be a landlord.
Bottom line: Should you use Mark Spain Real Estate?
The company offers several options for selling a home, most notably the Guaranteed Offer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best choice for you. If you live in one of the company’s service areas, check their online reviews and ask around to see if anyone you know has had experience with them. If you do decide to use them, be sure you have a solid understanding of what commissions and fees you will be charged before you sign anything — their website does not answer that question, so you’ll need to ask it flat-out.
It’s unclear based on the company’s website, but all signs point to yes. Most agent-assisted real estate transactions involve a standard commission rate, which typically totals 5 to 6 percent of the final sale price. The company does have a builder referral program that specifies a reduced commission of 4 percent for sellers who are also purchasing a new-construction home from certain Atlanta-area builders. No specific fees are outlined for the Guaranteed Offer, which does not involve an agent, but be sure to inquire about both fees and closing costs. Don’t sign anything until you have a solid understanding of how much you will be charged.
Yes, Mark Spain Real Estate is legit. It was founded by Mark Spain, a second-generation real estate agent, and is based in Alpharetta, Georgia. The company has around 400 agents and 16 offices across the Southeast. It has also been named one of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Top Workplaces.
Mark Spain Real Estate has been in business since 2016, when Spain, the company’s founder, left Keller Williams to launch his own venture.