Updated May 10, 2019

Sellers run into a lot of costs when they are trying to put their house on the market. The biggest costs are agent commissions. Real estate agents help sellers put their house in front of buyers — but they can eat up around 3% (or more) of the total sale of your home.

Some sellers turn to flat fee listings as an alternative to paying agent commissions. Flat fee services may connect you with a listing agent or put your house on the multiple listing services (MLS) that may reach buyers in your area.

Yes, we said may. If that guarantee isn’t enough for you to consider a flat fee listing service, you’re not alone. Many sellers are turned off from flat fee listings due to complaints and horror stories that led to increased costs or a house that didn’t sell.

But don’t turn your back on flat fee listings just yet. Learn the most common flat fee listing complaints and what they mean for sellers who are currently deciding how they want to list their house. If you know what to look for before you pay your flat fee, you’ll avoid having to make these complaints as you sell.

Common Flat Fee Listing Complaints

  • Lack of exposure
  • Difficult real estate agents or brokers
  • Contention with buyer’s agents
  • Additional work
  • Additional fees

Lack of Exposure (From Cheap MLS)

The whole point of a flat fee listing service is to sell your home. If you want to sell your home, you want buyers to see your home. But not all flat fee MLS listings guarantee that your home will get the exposure to sell for the price that you want and in the timeframe that you want.

At Clever Real Estate, we pair you with a Partner Agent in the top 5% of your local market. You’ll pay a flat fee of 1% to list your home or 1% of the home’s sale price over $350,000. You’ll also get a full-service agent for that price, no lesser services.

There are hundreds of MLSs available throughout the United States. Some are more expensive than others; some offer more exposure than others. If the broker decides to put the listing on a cheap MLS, buyer’s agents and buyers won’t know that it exists.


Luckily, the solution to this problem lies in open communication. If you don’t know where your listing will be placed, you might want to find another flat fee listing agent who is more committed to giving your home the right exposure. Ask whether your listing will be placed on a local MLS (and make sure it is local to the buyers who want to buy in your area.)

Difficult Real Estate Agents or Brokers

Real estate agents or brokers know they can make more money through flat fee services. Sellers may find themselves connected to an agent or broker through a flat fee service and getting a low-quality professional for the low fees that they pay for. Luckily, that is not always the case.


Do some research before you agree to work with a real estate agent. Check out online reviews and read what sellers thought about working with your potential real estate agent.

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Contention With Buyer’s Agents

Flat fee listings are so popular because they save sellers money. Some real estate agents do not take kindly to flat fee listing services. Buyer’s agents may flat out refuse to show buyers a listing that was placed on an MLS through flat fee services. When buyers aren’t seeing these houses, they aren’t buying these houses.


Sellers have options for listing houses themselves. It doesn’t cost a cent to put your listing on Zillow. Buyers often conduct online research themselves, even if they have already recruited a buyer’s agent. If they want to see your house, a buyer’s agent will most likely show them your home. After all, buyer’s agents want to find their clients the perfect house. Make sure buyers in your area know that yours could be the one. Another option is to list with Clever, where buyer’s agents still receive their full commission, so they have the same incentive to show your property like any other.

Additional Fees

The whole point of a flat fee service is that sellers pay one flat fee, right? Unfortunately, some services charge a minimum flat fee with additional charges for a la carte services that sellers may purchase later.


Read some online reviews before you hand over your flat fee. Former sellers will tell you what additional costs or services popped up during the selling process and how much more they possibly had to pay. Schedule a free consultation with the listing service ahead of time and ask about common fees that you might face.

Although each of these issues come with a solution, there is a better one for you: a full service flat-fee real estate agent with Clever. They’ll tackle the entirety of your home sale, from listing to close for a low flat rate. If you’re wary of the complaints and want an excellent solution, get Clever.