Best MLS services | Other ways to save on your sale | FAQs about flat fee MLS companies
In California, you could pay realtor fees as much as 6% of your home's final sale price. That’s a lot, which is why some sellers use a flat fee MLS company instead of a realtor.
A flat fee MLS service lists your home on the multiple listing service (MLS) — the most important directory of homes for sale — in exchange for a one-time flat fee.
Flat fee MLS companies are usually cheaper than traditional realtors, but they come with some big downsides.
You sell by owner. Without a realtor, you manage most of the hard work of selling your house yourself. You're responsible for tasks like photography, marketing, buyer negotiations, and pricing.
You may sell for less. Without an agent, it's harder to price your home and negotiate with buyers, which often means you get a lower sale price. Homes sold by owner sell for an average of 6% less than agent-represented homes.
You still pay the buyer’s agent commission. Using a flat fee MLS company you don't have to pay a listing agent’s commission, but you likely still have to pay the buyer’s agent commission. In California, this commission is typically 2.00% to 2.82% of the final sale price.
If you want to save on fees but aren’t ready for a do-it-yourself experience, Clever can match you with full-service realtors who work for a low flat fee of $3,000 or 1%.
Clever is the best alternative to the full DIY approach if you're in California! You'll save thousands on listing fees, while still getting the support you need to sell your home fast AND for top dollar.
» SAVE: List with a full-service agent for just $3,000 or 1%
If you’re still interested in finding the best flat fee MLS California companies in California, read on! We’ve reviewed the best (and worst) services in The Golden State.
The 6 best California flat fee MLS companies*
Flat Fee Guru
Unlimited listing updates
For sale sign
* 💰 indicates extra fee or premium purchase required
Sellers who want a lot of a-la-carte options
- Congress Realty has a phone system that forwards any phone calls about your listing directly to you.
- You can request a free Comparative Marketing Analysis if you want a better idea of what homes in your area have sold for recently.
- Congress Realty costs a lot more than competitors with similar MLS packages.
- You have to pay an extra $50 if you want more than four photos in your listing.
Budget-conscious sellers who only need a basic listing
- You can add on listing support and offer negotiation for an hourly fee.
- The basic listing comes with eight photos. Many listing packages under $100 include less than five photos.
- The basic listing is only a three-month listing term. If you need more time, you have to upgrade to the Annual plan for a 12-month listing.
- You can't make changes to your listing or add open houses with the basic plan.
- This broker is currently only available in Northern California.
Sellers who don't mind paying for extra guidance from the listing broker.
- You don't have to pay upfront. Instead, you'll pay the flat fee when at closing.
- You'll get help preparing offers, counter-offers, and disclosures from the broker.
- There's only one listing option and it's fairly expensive — although you do get a lot of broker support. This isn't a great option for sellers on a tight budget.
- HomeListers.House is currently only available in 10 Southern California markets.
Sellers who want to post a lot of photos
- The base package includes up to 20 photos. A lot of other companies limit you to fewer than 10.
- If you decide to list with a full-service Realtor, you'll get double your listing fee back if you sell with an agent referred to you by Flat Fee Guru.
- You have to pay extra if your home is over 3,000 sq. ft.
Budget-conscious sellers who need a simple, affordable listing
- The basic listing comes with 15 photos.
- If you go with the Silver Plan ($399), you'll get a for sale sign and property flyers as part of the package.
- The basic plan doesn't come with contracts, forms, and disclosure documents.
- If you cancel the basic plan within 60 days, you have to pay a $125 cancellation fee.
Sellers looking for a lot of a-la-carte options
- You can fill out, sign, and submit all your seller's paperwork on the Houzeo app.
- When you enter your address, Houzeo auto-fills publicly available data about your property.
- Houzeo lets you buy additional services like contract reviews, agent showings, and professional showings a la carte.
- You have to pay extra for pricing assistance — several local competitors offer this for free.
- You're limited to 10 free changes for price, status, and description in their two most popular packages. Most competitors offer unlimited free changes.
Flat fee MLS companies in California by city
California has several flat fee MLS companies that focus on particular cities and counties. These smaller companies offer more expertise on the local real estate market and more flexible packages that are better suited to the area.
Whether you choose a local company or a national brand, read the fine print before signing anything. Make sure you get the services that will most benefit you.
Flat fee MLS companies in Los Angeles
We found several options for flat fee MLS companies in Los Angeles, from local brokers to national listing companies. You'll find a lot of choices for both price and services. We found basic listings for as low as $150 and complete listing packages for nearly $1,000.
» EXPLORE: The Best Los Angeles Flat Fee MLS Companies
Flat fee MLS companies in Fresno
Fresno has a lot of affordable options for flat fee MLS listings. You can pay as little as $100 for a basic six-month listing or pay up to $1,000 for hands-on assistance from the listing broker.
» EXPLORE: The Best Fresno Flat Fee MLS Companies
Flat fee MLS companies in San Diego
The flat fee MLS options in San Diego are pretty limited. We didn't find options for both listing packages and add-ons that you might find in other regions of California. Still, you can find some affordable prices. We found basic listings for $50 and comprehensive packages for $1,000.
» EXPLORE: The Best San Diego Flat Fee MLS Companies
Flat fee MLS companies in Sacramento
We found typical rates for flat fee MLS companies in Sacramento from $50 to $500, with a lot of options for à la carte services and comprehensive listing packages.
» EXPLORE: The Best Sacramento Flat Fee MLS Companies
Flat fee MLS companies in San Francisco
San Francisco may be the most expensive city in the U.S., but you can still find affordable flat fee MLS listings here. We've seen basic packages for $100 and comprehensive listings for up to $1,000.
» EXPLORE: The Best San Francisco Flat Fee MLS Companies
Hidden costs of flat fee MLS companies
The flat fee MLS industry is notorious for hidden fees and predatory practices. Some companies offer a “free” MLS listing only to charge a percentage of the final sale price at closing.
Another common tactic is for companies to advertise one flat fee but charge “closing fees” or “admin fees” on top of that rate. Read the fine print to know what a company will charge you for.
Most flat fee MLS companies also offer a range of services that you can pay extra for. While these fees aren't hidden, they tend to be overpriced and can quickly inflate your final bill.
These extra costs may make flat fee MLS companies less economical for you. If that’s the case, a discount real estate agent who offers a clear and upfront rate may be a better option.
What are the alternatives to using a flat fee MLS service in California?
Discount and flat fee real estate agents
Discount real estate brokers will list your property for as little as 1% — but keep in mind that you usually still have to pay a 2.6–3% buyer’s agent fee.
We’ve reviewed five national and regional discount brokers that operate in California.
In California, Clever offers the lowest rates, with an added advantage: Clever lets you compare multiple agents from major brands like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX.
Clever is an agent-matching service that can match you with a pre-vetted, full-service agent for only $3,000 (or 1% if your home is priced above $350,000), plus the typical buyer's agent commission.
Your Clever agent will handle everything for you, helping you accurately price your home, get high-quality photography, negotiate with prospective buyers, and complete paperwork.
You'll pay only a little more than you'd pay a flat fee MLS service, but you'll save hours of effort by not having to do everything yourself!
Selling without an MLS listing
You technically don’t need to list on the MLS to sell your home. But unless you already have an interested buyer, forfeiting the MLS will make your house much harder to sell.
By not being on the MLS, your house will be harder for buyers to find. The MLS is the main way buyer's agents find homes for their clients, and MLS listings are reposted to every major real estate website.
You can try other methods — such as putting up a for sale sign or listing on a free service like Craigslist — but these options are less effective. You'd likely get fewer interested buyers, which would make it harder to sell your home for your desired price.
iBuyers are another viable way to sell your house. These companies buy houses for cash at what they claim are market rates. They're worth considering if you need to sell fast — you can get a preliminary offer in as little as 24 hours.
The downside to iBuyers is that they charge high fees, typically 5–14% of the purchase price. Generally, iBuyers are only a good choice if you value speed and convenience over making the most money off of your sale.
California currently has two iBuyers working in select metropolitan areas:
Frequently asked questions
Flat fee MLS companies in California typically charge around $200-400. But the amount you pay depends on the level of service you want. Basic plans are as low as $100, whereas more comprehensive packages are as high as $1,300.
You should always offer a buyer’s agent commission, although technically you can choose not to. Failing to offer a buyer’s agent commission disincentivizes buyer’s agents from showing your home to their clients, which will make your home harder to sell.
Buyer’s agent commission in California is typically 2.00% to 2.82%, but it’s ultimately up to you what to offer. If you use a flat fee MLS service, you won’t have to pay a listing agent commission (typically 2.09% to 2.91% of the final sale price).
In California, the law requires sellers to disclose all important information about their property to potential buyers. This includes information about:
- Safety issues
- Environmental issues (such as noise pollution, erosion, and flood risk)
- Sewer and wastewater treatment
You'll share all of this information in the California Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement. Your listing broker will provide this document for you to fill out.
The best flat fee MLS California company is Congress Realty. It offers à la carte options so sellers can build customizable packages. This flat fee MLS service also offers a free comparative market analysis (CMA), which is an essential tool to help sellers strategically price and negotiate their homes.
For sellers looking for a basic, low-cost flat fee listing, MLS Town features a no-frills package that works well for experienced sellers. For inexperienced sellers, HomeListers.house, while a pricier option, offers guidance from a listing broker.
Licensed real estate agents have access to the local MLS in California, and working with an agent is typically how sellers get their house on the MLS. To save money in realtor fees, sellers can get their home on the MLS for a flat fee by working with one of the best flat fee MLS California companies.
A flat fee MLS company posts sellers' homes on the multiple listing service (MLS) for a lower fee compared to what a real estate agent charges. However, flat fee MLS companies don't offer the same array of services as traditional agents, though some companies offer additional services. These services can include listing support or a comparative market analysis.