Whether you're selling a ranch home in Cedar Rapids or a Victorian home in Des Moines, 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 MLS — the main place where realtors find homes to show their clients — in exchange for a small one-time 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 compared to agent-represented properties.
- You still pay a buyer’s agent fee: 88% of buyers work with an agent — who still needs to get paid. In Iowa, you’re on the hook for 2.50%-3.30% 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 Iowa! 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 flat-fee MLS listing options in Iowa, read on! We’ve reviewed the best (and worst!) services in The Hawkeye State.
The 4 best Iowa flat-fee MLS companies*
Flat Fee Realty
Flat Fee Group
Unlimited listing updates
For sale sign
* 💰 indicates extra fee or premium purchase required
Budget-conscious sellers who need a simple, affordable listing
- 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 a Idaho-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.
Experienced investors who need only a basic MLS listing
- You can set up a free FSBO web page along with your MLS listing.
- It's easy to switch to a full-service agent if you decide FSBO isn't for you.
- This broker offers only one flat-fee MLS package. However, the company offers a higher-priced full-service option if you want help with facilitating your sale.
- The company's flat-fee MLS option allows fewer photos and changes to your listing.
- The flat-fee MLS service is good for a shorter listing duration than usual (three months) and boasts a higher price than many other options.
Sellers who want to attract people looking for a FSBO property
- Fizber will promote your listing for you on social media.
- If you change your mind before your listing goes live, you can get a full refund within 30 days of purchase.
- The basic MLS package only includes six photos. Other companies include up to 25.
- You'll have to pay extra if you want to make changes to your listing.
Sellers who also want to list on a large FSBO marketplace
- Your home will appear in your local MLS and on FSBO.com. A lot of people shop directly for FSBO properties on their site.
- FSBO.com refers you to a broker in your area instead of listing your property itself. Your experience could vary greatly dependin on the broker you're matched with.
- You have to pay for seller disclosures, for sale signs, and lock boxes separately.
Hidden costs of flat-fee MLS companies
Some companies claim to offer flat-rate 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 for any service. Look out for "closing fees" or "admin fees" that you'll owe the broker in addition to an up-front flat fee.
Further, some flat-fee MLS companies offer a 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.
Frequently asked questions
How much do flat-fee MLS services cost in Iowa?
Typically, you should expect to pay about $200-400 for a flat-fee MLS listing in Iowa. However, we've seen basic plans for as low as $200 and more comprehensive services that charge as much as $1,400.
Do I still need to pay the buyer's agent commission?
Although you'll save some money by not having to pay commission to a listing agent (typically 2.50%-3.90% of the sale price), 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 selling agent commissions in Iowa range from 2.50%-3.30%.
How do I sell by owner in Iowa?
Iowa real estate laws require sellers to disclose all important information about their property, including:
- Building and safety information
- Environmental information (like erosion, noise pollution, and whether it's in a flood plain)
- Sewer and wastewater treatment
You'll make these disclosures by filling out the Seller Property Condition Disclosure. Potential buyers will review this document to make sure the property is free of deal-breaking flaws. You can either get this form from your listing broker or download it directly from the Iowa state legislature.
What are the alternatives to using a flat-fee MLS service in Iowa?
Discount and flat-fee real estate agents
Discount real estate brokers will list your property for as little as 1% — keeping 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 Iowa.
In Iowa, 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, from helping you accurately price your home to high-quality photography to negotiating with prospective buyers and filling out the paperwork.
You'll pay only a little more than you'd pay a flat-fee MLS service but save hours of effort by not having to do it all yourself!
Ready to start saving?
Find top agents who charge a flat $3,000 or 1%. Clever's agent-matching service is free, with NO obligation!
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 listing on your local MLS means not getting the most effective exposure for your property. MLS listings are posted to every major real estate website. 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.