Whether you're selling a colonial in Bethesda or a beach house in Ocean City, 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 Maryland, you’re on the hook for 2.12%-2.91% 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 Maryland! 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 Maryland, read on! We’ve reviewed the best (and worst!) services in The Old Line State.
The 6 best Maryland flat-fee MLS companies*
Cottage Street RealtyCottage Street Realty
- The basic package includes the maximum number of photos allowed by your local MLS while many flat fee MLS companies limit you to six or fewer photos.
- The premium and supreme packages get the broker more involved in your listing with things like contract reviews and market analysis.
- You have to sign up for the Premium package ($799) before you can e-sign contracts.
- The basic listing doesn't include any kind of pricing assistance.
DNK Real EstateDNK Real Estate
- You can choose from a lot of a la carte add-ons like virtual tours, extra photos, and premium yard signs that you can purchase to customize your listing.
- The basic listing only includes one photo.
- Listing changes (include price and status) cost $25 each.
- Other flat-fee MLS companies charge less and provide more with their basic listings.
Mr. Lister RealtyMr. Lister Realty
- Both packages include a 12-month listing term.
- The base package allows for up to 20 photos. Many similar listing packages limit you to 10 or fewer.
- The Quick List package doesn't allow any free changes and the Seller's Choice package ($650) only comes with two free changes.
- You have to pay extra to add an open house to your MLS listing.
Net Realty NowNet Realty Now
- The basic listing package includes comparable sales info for similar properties in your area, giving you a better idea of how to price your house.
- For an extra fee, you can access Showingtime, a software Realtors use to coordinate property showings.
- You don't have many options if you need more than the basic listing but don't want to pay for the full support listing package ($1,299).
Simple Choice RealtySimple Choice Realty
- The basic listing package includes 25 photos. Many competitors include fewer than 10 with their lowest listing tier.
- For an extra fee the listing broker will review your contract and walk you through everything included in it.
- You'll pay extra to get your contact info added to your Zillow listing.
- Simple Choice Realty doesn't cover all areas of the state. You can check with the broker to see if they take listings in your area.
- You can choose to defer payment until after closing.
- The company claims it will beat any competitor's price by 10%.
- XFlatFeeMLS offers a full refund if you decide to list with one of its recommended full-service agents instead of selling FSBO.
- The deferred payment plan costs more than twice the unlimited listing.
- The website is hard to navigate and offers no way to manage your listing and leads online.
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.
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!
Frequently asked questions
How much do flat-fee MLS services cost in Maryland?
Typically, you should expect to pay about $250-500 for a flat-fee MLS listing in Maryland. However, we've seen basic plans for as low as $70 and more comprehensive services that charge as much as $2,000.
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 2.20%-2.99% 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 Maryland range from 2.12%-2.91%.
How do I sell by owner in Maryland?
Maryland 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 Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Form. 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 directly from the Maryland state legislature.
What are the alternatives to using a flat-fee MLS service in Maryland?
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 Maryland.
In Maryland, 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 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, 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!
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 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.