Whether you're selling a greystone in Chicago or a townhouse in Carbondale, paying 6% in realtor fees is a lot.
That’s why some sellers use a flat fee MLS company to list their home on the multiple listing service (MLS) — the main place where realtors find homes to show their clients — in exchange for a small one-time flat fee.
What’s the catch?
- Less support: You manage your own sale — without a full-service agent to handle pricing, photography, paperwork, and negotiations.
- Lower sales price: For sale by owner (FSBO) homes usually sell for significantly less than homes sold by agents — 6% less on average.
- You still pay a buyer’s agent fee: 88% of buyers work with an agent — who still needs to get paid. In Illinois, you’re on the hook for 2.00%–3.00% 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 1.5%.
Clever is the best alternative to the full DIY approach if you're in Illinois! You'll save thousands on listing fees, while still getting the support you need to sell your home fast AND for top dollar.
If you’re still interested in finding options for Illinois flat fee MLS listing services, read on! We’ve reviewed the best (and worst) services in The Prairie State.
The 5 best flat fee MLS Illinois listing services*
Mentor ListingMentor Listing
- You can add as many open houses as you want to your listing without paying an extra fee.
- The base package only includes one photo. Most other companies include at least six (if not more) in their basic listing package.
- You'll have to pay an extra $200 at closing to cover Indiana's minimum service requirements.
Prello RealtyPrello Realty
- The basic listing package allows up to 25 photos. Many flat-fee mls companies limit you to six for their basic listing.
- If you spring for the MLS Plus package ($495), a professional photographer will come take photos of your property for your listing.
- All listing packages include a yard sign with a unique phone number that automatically forwards calls to you.
- You don't have many choices for add-on options.
- Prello Realty currently covers only the Chicago area, including Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.
- You can upload photos, manage your listings, and receive and negotiate offers all within the online platform. Great for people who don't like to talk on the phone!
- If you need help pricing your home, you can check the two home value estimates that come with each package.
- Sellers who opt for the $199 Premium version can use the platform to automatically list their homes on popular classified sites like Craigslist, Oodle, and Listanza.
- You'll get no assistance with paperwork, even as an add-on service.
- Beycome's site doesn't make it clear that you may still have to pay a buyer's agent commission.
Flat Fee RealtyFlat Fee Realty
- Your listing comes with all the state seller's disclosures that you'll need.
- You can pay a little more to post up to 25 photos on the MLS instead of the standard six.
- Flat Fee Realty doesn't offer any pricing or contract assistance.
- The company won't be your listing broker. Instead, they'll refer you to an Illinois-based broker who will list your property. If you have problems or questions, you'll end up talking to two companies instead of just one.
- 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, professional photography à 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.
Illinois flat fee MLS services by city
You'll also find some smaller flat fee MLS Illinois companies that specialize in particular cities. These uber-local flat fee MLS companies are more likely to offer flexible service packages and bring more area expertise than the big guys.
Each one of Illinois's flat fee MLS companies is different. Always make sure to read the fine print when evaluating offerings to make sure you're getting a fair deal.
Flat fee MLS listing services in Chicago
Flat fee MLS listing companies in Chicago are quite diverse in pricing and services. You'll find basic flat fee MLS listings starting at $175 and premium packages for up to $795, with a lot of à la carte options to choose from.
» EXPLORE: The Best Chicago Flat Fee MLS Companies
Hidden costs of flat fee MLS listing services
Some companies claim to offer flat fee MLS services but charge hidden fees at closing. We've even seen some companies that claim to offer a free MLS listing only to charge you a percentage of the sale price at closing.
These predatory practices could cost you thousands of dollars when you expect to pay only a few hundred.
Always make sure to read the fine print of the listing agreement for any flat fee MLS service. Look out for hidden fees such as "closing fees" or "admin fees" that you'll owe the broker in addition to an upfront flat fee.
Further, some flat fee MLS companies offer à la carte services like photography, paperwork help, and signage. These services can reduce some of your DIY work, but watch out. These add-ons can add up!
At a certain point, you may be better off finding a full-service agent who charges a clear and upfront discounted rate.
Selling your home is difficult, even with a flat-fee MLS company to handle your listing. Add in hidden fees, a la carte services, and premium service tiers, and you'll save a lot less than you planned, but still be stuck with most of the work.
There's a better option. Clever pre-negotiates lower listing fees with top agents in your area. You still save on commission, while getting the support of a full-service agent.
- Clever partner agents offer full-service support for a fraction of the traditional cost: a 1.5% listing fee instead of the typical 2.5-3%
- Choose from the best local agents representing top regional and national brokerages, like Keller Williams and Century 21
Ready to find real estate agents who can help you save thousands on your sale? Enter your zip code below to get started!
What are the alternatives to using a flat fee MLS service in Illinois?
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 four national and regional discount brokers that operate in Illinois.
In Illinois, Clever offers low rates, with an added advantage: Clever lets you compare multiple agents from major brands like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX.
Clever matches home sellers like you with pre-vetted, full-service agents for only a 1.5% listing fee. That's half the rate agents typically charge, letting you keep thousands more in your pocket when your home sells.
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!
Want to find a top local agent without overpaying on realtor fees? Clever negotiates 1.5% listing fees with top-rated realtors from trusted brokerages like Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and Berkshire Hathaway.
Get guaranteed full service for a fraction of the 3% rate agents typically charge. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a top local agent today!
Selling without an MLS listing
It's always possible to try selling your house by owner without listing on the MLS. But this makes sense only if you already have a potential buyer lined up.
That's because not having a local MLS listing means not getting the most effective exposure for your property. MLS listings are posted to every major real estate website and local realtor sites. Plus, real estate agents access MLS listings to find properties for their clients.
If you don't secure an MLS listing, you'll be limited to sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and relying on a yard sign.
Frequently asked questions about flat fee MLS Illinois companies
How much do flat fee MLS listing services cost in Illinois?
Typically, you can expect to pay about $200-400 for a flat fee MLS listing in Illinois. However, we've seen basic plans for as low as $100 and more comprehensive services for as much as $800.
Do I still need to pay the buyer's agent commission?
We strongly recommend offering a commission to the buyer's agent. This will incentivize agents to bring their clients to your home. With a flat fee Illinois MLS broker, you'll still save money by not paying commission to a listing agent (typically 2.00% to 3.50% of the sale price).
How much to offer a buyer's agent is up to you, but their commission in Illinois typically ranges from 2.00% to 3.00%.
How do I sell by owner in Illinois?
Illinois real estate laws require sellers to disclose all material defects about their property, including information about:
- Building and safety
- Environmental concerns (like the presence of lead paint or asbestos)
- Insects and pests
You'll share this information with potential buyers using the Residential Real Property Disclosure Report. You can either get this form from your listing broker or download it here.
How much does MLS access in Illinois cost?
A licensed real estate brokerage or local real estate brokers are the only professionals in Illinois with access to the local MLS (multiple listing service). When using a flat fee MLS service, you can expect to pay between $200–400 for an MLS basic package in Illinois, according to Midwest real estate data.
What sites does the MLS distribute listings to?
In addition to the local multiple listing service, property owners will have their for-sale homes listed on real estate websites such as realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. While it's important for your home to be listed on the local MLS, you can benefit by having your home on these real estate websites to capture any out-of-state interest in your home. For example, a homebuyer living in South Carolina can see the listing for your property in Illinois on realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, or Redfin.
What are the benefits of using a flat fee MLS listing service?
Using a flat fee MLS listing service in Illinois can help you save money when selling your home. Instead of paying for full service realtor support, which can be, on average, 2.72% of the sale of your home, you pay an MLS service a low flat fee. This flat fee gets your property listed on the MLS so a real estate agent can view your home and show it to a potential buyer.
You can find a flat fee MLS company that offers comprehensive packages to make selling your home for sale by owner (FSBO) easy and cost effective. The best flat fee MLS companies provide materials like yard sale signs, lock boxes, photography, and a showing service to make the real estate process easier. Selling FSBO can be a lot of work compared to using a real estate agent, so finding a flat fee listing company that offers a full-service package with additional resources to help is the best way to go.
What are the drawbacks of using a flat fee MLS listing service?
Selling your home FSBO takes a lot of heavy lifting. Compared to full-service realtor support, you'll need to take on most tasks throughout the selling process, from marketing and photography to showings and open houses. Using a flat fee MLS service is beneficial for marketing your home, but if you don't have prior experience selling a home, the tasks left to you can be overwhelming.
While using a flat fee MLS company can save you in paying a listing agent's commission, keep in mind that you'll need to pay a buyer's broker commission on the sale of your home. Selling FSBO also puts you at risk of not earning top dollar for your home, as negotiating the sale price can be a challenge for sellers without home selling experience. Real estate agents are well versed in negotiations, which can be one of the benefits of licensed broker support.
What is the best flat fee MLS listing service in Illinois?
The best flat fee MLS Illinois company is Mentor Listing, especially if you're an experienced seller looking for a simple listing. For a low flat fee, you get an MLS listing as well as unlimited listing changes and downloadable forms.
Inexperienced sellers can get more help from a listing broker by working with Prello Realty, which offers comprehensive packages that include a high number of listing photos and professional photography. However, the added services come at a higher cost than simple services.
How do I get access to the MLS in Illinois?
The MLS is accessible to any licensed real estate agent and company in Illinois. Flat fee MLS Illinois companies can help sellers list their homes on the local MLS for a low fee.
What is a flat fee MLS company?
Flat fee MLS Illinois companies list homes on the local MLS for a lower price compared to hiring a real estate agent. While some of these flat fee MLS companies offer additional services, sellers are responsible for most of the heavy lifting, including pricing, negotiations, and marketing.