When selling a house for sale by owner (FSBO) in Iowa, posting on the multiple listing service (MLS) greatly increases the number of buyers who will see your listing. Agents use the MLS to find properties for their clients, and listings are automatically syndicated to real estate sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com.
While a traditional listing agent charges 2.5–3% to sell a home, a flat fee MLS service will list your house on the local MLS for just a few hundred dollars.
However, you'll need to consider the trade-offs before paying for this type of service.
Who should use a flat fee MLS listing service?
A flat fee MLS listing can work particularly well if you have the time and experience to sell a house on your own.
If you decide to sell FSBO, you have plenty of flat fee MLS listing services to choose from in Iowa.
If you haven't sold FSBO before, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- You'll essentially be your own agent. You'll handle the pricing, showings, paperwork, buyer financing reviews, and negotiations on your own. While some flat fee MLS companies offer broker assistance, it'll cost you a premium, and the level of service usually falls short of what a typical listing agent provides.
- You'll probably still need to pay a buyer's agent fee, since most buyers use an agent.
- The biggest potential downside of a flat fee MLS listing is that your home may sell for less than it would with an agent, despite all the time and effort you put in. Homes sold without a realtor sell for about 6% less on average, canceling any commission savings. That may explain why the majority of sellers who try the FSBO route end up listing with an agent.
If you want a less risky way to save money, you may want to consider hiring a reputable discount broker. You'll still save thousands, but you'll have a dedicated local realtor by your side.
7 best flat fee MLS listing services in Iowa
|Company||Price range||Avg. customer rating (1–5)||Availability|
|PROmetro Realty||$2,995 + up to 3% at closing to $4,995 + up to 3% at closing||5 (18 reviews)||Iowa|
|Flat Fee Group||$399 + up to 3.5% at closing to $1,995 + up to 3% at closing||5 (64 reviews)||Iowa|
|Houzeo||$329 + 0.5% at closing to $399 + 0.5% at closing||4.9 (1,800+ reviews)||Nationwide|
|Unreal Estate||$99–599||4.5 (115 reviews)||All of Iowa|
|Fizber||$95–295||3.5 (100+ reviews)||Limited coverage in Iowa|
|FSBO.com||$399.95||3.8 (50 reviews)||Cedar Rapids, Greater Des Moines MLS, RMLS Alliance, and surrounding areas|
|Flat Fee Realty||$199||3.7 (6 reviews)||Iowa|
Why you should trust us
We spent dozens of hours researching flat fee MLS companies throughout the country. Our process included:
- Researching more than 140 national, regional, and local flat fee MLS services to compare services, contract terms, and fees
- Mystery shopping more than 20 flat fee MLS companies to understand the consumer experience
- Interviewing sellers and realtors who have experience with flat fee MLS real estate transactions
- Analyzing Google, Trustpilot, BBB, and Facebook reviews for each business
- Visiting user forums like Reddit and Bigger Pockets for additional perspectives on selling with a flat fee MLS service
Do you need an MLS listing?
If you decide to sell without a realtor, the only way you can get on the multiple listing service is with a flat fee MLS company. The MLS is where most real estate agents find properties for their clients, and posting on the MLS is how your listing gets on home-buying websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin. If you're not on the MLS, buyers will have a much harder time finding your property.
What to consider before hiring a flat fee MLS service
- You'll save on listing fees.
- You'll have more control over the sale.
- You can choose the services you need.
- You'll pay a buyer's agent to negotiate against you.
- You may miss out on leads.
- You'll likely encounter extra fees.
You’ll save on listing fees
In Iowa, a flat fee listing service may cost as little as $99–399 for an entry-level plan. A typical realtor commission, on the other hand, costs 2.5–3% of your final sale price (about $15,000 on a $500,000 house).
You'll still pay a buyer's agent to negotiate against you
Ninety percent of buyers work with an agent, so you’ll likely need to pay buyer's agent fees. Some flat fee MLS services actually require you to offer a buyer's agent commission of at least 2%.
Because buyer's agents have more experience with real estate transactions, they often have the upper hand in negotiations. FSBO sellers tend to pay more concessions while averaging $120,000 less than the median sale price of homes sold through an agent.
You’ll have more control over the sale
Many FSBO sellers enjoy having more control over how their house is priced, marketed, and presented to buyers. Without a realtor, you’ll be directly involved in the marketing, showings, and negotiations, which some home sellers find more personal than communicating through a listing agent.
You may miss out on leads
Flat fee MLS listings don't always get as many leads as they should. Buyer's agents may caution their clients against pursuing these listings because they worry FSBO sellers will be hard to work with or need extra help on their end, which could create a conflict of interest.
Additionally, MLS rules require a licensed agent to post a listing. So your contact information will only appear in the Agent Remarks section on the MLS — not directly on sites like Zillow and Redfin.
Most of the time, you'll depend on your flat fee broker to forward you inquiries and showing requests. If your flat fee MLS broker manages a lot of listings, they may not forward leads, as this Houzeo customer found out.
You can choose the services you need
Most flat fee MLS companies have different packages so you can choose the level of support you need to sell your home.
If you're not worried about selling quickly, you may not need more than an MLS listing and a way for buyer's agents to contact you.
If you're less experienced with real estate, you can choose a plan that features broker assistance with pricing, paperwork, and negotiations. While these plans cost more, they're typically still cheaper than a traditional real estate agent commission.
You'll likely encounter extra fees
Flat fee MLS companies are somewhat notorious for hidden fees, such as an extra percentage of the sale price charged at closing. Companies may also advertise a budget MLS listing, but then charge a premium for basics like listing changes, lockboxes, additional photos, and the ability to receive buyer inquiries and showing requests directly.
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 cheaper listing fees with the 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 full-service price: a 1.5% listing fee — half the typical rate.
- Clever sellers save an average of $7,000 on commission AND they get offers 2.8x faster than the national average
Ready to find real estate agents who can help you save thousands on your sale? Enter your zip code below to get started!
7 best flat fee MLS listing services in Iowa: Full breakdown
PROmetro Realty: Best for sellers on the fence about FSBO
- The company is upfront that fees will be due to the buyer's agent at closing.
- Both plans contain a number of high-end features and resources, such as in-home consultations, hosted open houses, professional photos, and more.
- The Select package allows you to choose two a la carte features that will best fit your selling needs.
- There's no basic listing plan — only various full-service options.
- Plans are pricey compared to some competitors.
PROmetro Realty fees and services
|Pro||$2,995 + up to 3% at closing||
|Select||$4,995 + up to 3% at closing||Pro plan, plus:
PROmetro Realty's plans include significant support from a flat fee MLS realtor. This company is also upfront about sellers needing to pay a commission fee to the buyer’s agent at closing.
However, these plans are pricey compared to other flat fee companies and may be best for higher-priced properties that may need more advanced features, like 3D home modeling.
Online reviews are highly positive, with reviewers highlighting the agent's professionalism, expertise, and knowledge as well as a smooth selling process.
The website doesn't provide information about the company's cancellation policy. We recommend asking about this and any other potential fees before signing a listing agreement.
Flat Fee Group: Best for sellers wanting agent support
- The company is upfront that fees will be due to the buyer's agent at closing.
- Flat Fee Group offers a full-service option if FSBO isn't the right fit for you.
- All plans include 25 photos, making it easy to showcase all aspects of your property on the listing.
- The cost of additional add-on features can quickly add up.
- The Basic plan is priced on the high side compared to many competitors' entry-level packages.
Flat Fee Group fees and services
|Basic||$399 + up to 3.5% at closing||
|Premium||$799 + up to 3.5% at closing||Basic plan, plus:
|Full Service||$1,995 + up to 3% at closing||Premium plan, plus:
Flat Fee Group is a nationwide company, but sellers work with an independent local agent, so no middleman is involved.
MLS listing plans are on the high side compared with some competitors, but do include a good listing term and amount of photos. The Premium and Full Service packages provide some agent support for sellers, which can be helpful to less experienced sellers.
Online reviews for the Iowa agents are positive, with reviewers highlighting having a quality selling experience with professional and prompt customer service.
You can cancel early. But the up-front flat fee is nonrefundable once your listing is posted on the MLS.
Houzeo: Best for sellers wanting a national brand
- The process is 100% online, which is convenient for many sellers.
- You can complete and submit paperwork using the Houzeo mobile app (except with the Bronze package).
- Unlimited listing changes and open houses are available on most plans (except with the Bronze package).
- The call-forwarding service isn't available on lower-priced plans.
- Sellers can only receive virtual support from agents.
Houzeo fees and services
|Bronze||$329 + 0.5% at closing||
|Silver||$399 + 0.5% at closing||Bronze plan, plus:
|Gold||$399 + 0.5% at closing||Silver plan, plus:
|Platinum||$349 + 1% at closing||Gold plan, plus:
Houzeo is a proven national brand. Additionally, the company's online platform is streamlined and easy to use. Most plans include a mobile app, which is convenient for sellers. However, be aware that broker support is all completed virtually, and plans include a percentage (0.5% or 1%) due at closing in addition to the flat fee.
Online reviews are largely positive, indicating a quality and professional customer service experience. However, some negative reviews report unexpected fees and difficulties when canceling a listing.
You can cancel your MLS listing anytime as long as it's not under contract. A $25 termination fee may apply.
Unreal Estate: Best for finding a range of discounts on premium plans
- You get low, exclusive rates with code "Clever."
- Online reviews for Unreal Estate are largely positive.
- There's a wide range of plans to suit all experience levels.
- The two lower-tier plans have limited photo allowances.
- Unlimited listing edits are only included in the premium plan.
- Customer support is exclusively online for the two lower-tier plans.
Unreal Estate fees and services
|Starter||0.5% at closing||
|Basic||$99 upfront + 0.5% at closing (or just $99 through Clever)||Starter package, plus:
|Deluxe||$139 upfront + 0.5% at closing (or just $250 through Clever)||Basic package, plus:
|Premium||$249 upfront + 0.5% at closing (or just $450 through Clever)||Deluxe package, plus:
Unreal Estate is a nationwide broker that offers a wide range of plans suitable for everyone from novice to experienced sellers. The company's flat rates are very low, ranging from free to $249. However, there's a 0.5% fee at closing, which will likely add at least a thousand dollars to your final bill.
Fortunately, you can drop that 0.5% upcharge on Unreal Estate's three most popular plans by using code "Clever." That way, you'll lock in a flat rate of $99–450 without paying a percentage at closing.
Overall, Unreal Estate offers good value, although we recommend using either the Deluxe or Premium plans. The two lower-tier plans don't offer a high photo limit, which we consider essential for selling FSBO. The Premium plan also offers unlimited listing edits and a 30-minute broker form review, making it particularly good value.
Fizber: Best for experienced sellers
- Fizber offers competitively priced, no-frills MLS plans.
- MLS listing plans offer unlimited edits.
- You receive all buyer leads.
- Free and Digital Boost plans are only for listing on Fizber — not your local Iowa MLS.
- MLS Boost plan only includes 6 photos, whereas most plans provide closer to 25 or maximum allowed.
- If you want any of the MLS Boost add-on features, you're better off selecting the Premium plan that includes all those features for less.
Fizber fees and services
|Free Listing on Fizber Only||Free||
|MLS Boost||$270||Digital Boost plan, plus:
|Premium MLS Boost||$295||MLS Boost plan, plus:
Fizber is a nationwide company that offers competitively priced MLS listing services. The Premium MLS Boost offers a good collection of basic features helpful for selling FSBO. However, be aware that the free and Digital Boost plans are for listing on Fizber only — not the MLS.
Additionally, these plans may be best for more experienced FSBO sellers, as the packages do not include agent support.
Online reviews for Fizber are mixed. While some reviews report a successful experience, many negative reviews report poor communication, feeling like they did not get the flat fee service they paid for, and trouble with listing errors that they couldn't get fixed.
The MLS Boost and Premium MLS Boost come with a 30-day refund if your MLS documentation has not been submitted to the broker. Otherwise, the fee is nonrefundable, but you can cancel anytime.
FSBO.com: Best for sellers wanting a video with their listing
- Your listing will appear on FSBO.com, which can help you connect with buyers interested in FSBO properties.
- The plan provides up to 20 photos and 1 video, which can help showcase your property to potential buyers.
- MLS plan includes a 0.5% to the listing broker at closing, making this a pricey plan compared to competitors.
- Sellers don't receive agent support despite paying a listing broker fee at closing.
- FSBO.com outsources your listing to a third-party broker.
FSBO.com fees and services
|MLS Package||$399.95 + 0.5% at closing||
FSBO.com provides a flat fee MLS package that also puts your property on their FSBO directory, which could be appealing to some sellers. The plan includes basic features found in many entry-level MLS listing plans, like 20 photos, syndication across multiple real estate sites, and a 6-month listing term.
However, be aware that sellers are also charged a 0.5% fee to the listing broker at closing in addition to the flat fee, making this package pricier than many similar plans by competitors. Additionally, sellers will also have to pay a buyer’s broker commission.
Online reviews are mixed, especially regarding the quality of customer service. However, this may be because listings are given to different brokers throughout the country. We recommend talking to the broker before signing the agreement to find out about any additional fees and how leads are forwarded to you.
You can cancel anytime, but you can't receive a refund once the MLS forms have been submitted to the listing agent.
Flat Fee Realty: Best for experienced, budget-conscious sellers
- The company offers competitively priced, no-frills MLS plans.
- The listing process is simple and easy to use.
- The listing real estate agent will retain 0.25% of the buyer's broker commission.
- You have to pay for a $50 upgrade to include more than 6 photos on your MLS listing.
Flat Fee Realty fees and services
Flat Fee Realty offers a basic, cost-effective flat fee MLS listing service that's efficient to use. That said, there is little opportunity to customize the package to fit your needs and no agent support, so the company may be best for more experienced sellers.
Flat Fee Realty online reviews are limited and mixed, which may be because different brokers are used in different states. We recommend sellers speak to the broker first before signing the listing agreement to ensure a good fit and so it's clear how you'll receive buyer leads.
You can cancel anytime. But you can only receive a refund (minus a 5% credit card processing fee) within 14 days of purchase and if the listing has not been completed.
How to list on the MLS by owner in Iowa
1. Educate yourself on the for sale by owner (FSBO) process
When selling FSBO in Iowa, you take on all the tasks of a licensed real estate agent, including understanding Iowa real estate laws and procedures. Responsibilities that fall to a FSBO seller in Iowa include:
- Marketing the property
- Handling showings and open houses
- Reviewing offers, including contingencies and buyer financing
- Handling negotiations with buyers or their agents
- Completing the required paperwork and disclosures
- Accommodating inspections, appraisals, and information requests
- Making sure all legal and contractual requirements are met
- Working with a title and escrow company to coordinate the closing
Educating yourself in advance on the process may help you determine what level of support you need from a flat fee MLS service.
You may also need to hire some additional assistance, like a transaction coordinator or real estate attorney, to help with the contracts and closing.
2. Find the right flat fee MLS listing service for you
Flat fee MLS companies range from big, national brands that operate mostly online to smaller brokerages where you deal directly with a local listing agent
Before signing a listing agreement, talk with customer support or the broker to make sure the company is a good fit. Ask about what's included in various service packages and whether there are any additional fees due at closing.
Another thing to consider is the lead forwarding process — whether it's automatic or if you have to wait for a broker to forward buyers' contact info to you. Also look into the cancellation policy. If you're not happy with the service, you want to be able to cancel the listing quickly and get it pulled from the MLS, so you can move on with a better alternative.
Finally, read online customer reviews on third-party sites. Ideally, look for reviews posted within the last year to get a sense of the current functioning of the company.
3. Choose a service package
You have options when it comes to MLS service plans, from no-frills MLS listing to full agent support at a flat fee rate.
At a minimum, you'll want a plan that places your listing on national and local real estate websites, allows for numerous photos (24 or more ideally), includes a 6–12 month listing term, forwards buyer leads in a timely manner, and lets you make changes to your listing for free.
If you know you'll want some additional help, look for companies that provide optional add-on services like pricing assistance, digital forms and disclosures, offer and contract review, negotiation and counter offer consultations, and access to a platform like ShowingTime for easy appointment booking and feedback from agents.
Top alternatives to a flat fee MLS listing service in Iowa
Sell with a discount broker
The best discount realtors offer the same services as a traditional real estate agent, but at a much more competitive rate — as little as 1–2%.
Some discount brokers even offer flat rates, typically starting at about $5,000.
More discount realtors are becoming available, but not all offer the same level of service, savings, and value. That's why we recommend talking to realtors from a few brokerages before making a decision.
If you want to compare your options in Iowa, Clever Real Estate may be a good place to start.
When you request an agent through Clever, you'll receive multiple agent matches from top local brokerages, like RE/MAX and Keller Williams. You can compare agents and choose the best one for you.
Clever's agent network includes 19,000 top-performing realtors across the country — who all offer discounted rates through Clever's network. When you sell your home, you'll pay a listing fee of just 1.5% (about half the typical rate).
Why pay more in commission fees for less service? Clever offers you bigger savings without sacrificing the service you expect from a traditional realtor.
✅ You'll only pay 1.5% to list your home
✅ You'll work with a full-service realtor from a top broker
✅ It's free, with zero obligation — you can walk away at any time
Saving on realtor fees doesn't have to mean sacrificing service. Find a top local agent today!
Try selling 'for sale by owner' without an MLS listing
It’s technically possible to sell your house without listing it on the MLS. But this method isn't likely to work unless you already have a buyer lined up.
Without an MLS listing, fewer buyers will know your house is for sale. The MLS is the main way real estate agents find properties for their clients. It also guarantees that your listing gets on popular home-buying websites, including Zillow.
If you forgo an MLS listing, you’ll have to rely on less effective sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Or you can hope that a buyer sees the for sale sign in your yard.
FAQ about flat fee MLS listings in Iowa
How much do flat fee MLS services cost in Iowa?
Typically, you should expect to pay $200–400 for a flat fee MLS listing in Iowa. However, we've seen more comprehensive services that charge as much as $2,995. Additionally, some companies charge a listing agent fee at closing.
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. How much to offer a buyer's agent is up to you, but most buyer's agent commissions in Iowa range from 2.14% to 3.27%.
What is the best flat fee MLS listing service in Iowa?
The best flat fee MLS Iowa company is Flat Fee Group, especially for sellers wanting agent support. For sellers wanting agent support and needing high-end features, PROmetro Realty may be a good option. For sellers looking for a basic, low-cost flat fee listing, Fizber and Flat Fee Realty offer inexpensive plans. Houzeo also offers various affordable plans with various features to fit different sellers' needs.
How do I get access to the MLS in Iowa?
Licensed real estate agents have access to the local MLS in Iowa, 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 Iowa companies.