If you’ve decided to sell your home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) , and know how important it is for others to find your home online, you may have started looking into flat fee MLS listing services.
Listing with these services seems enticing, as they promise to get your home seen without paying a seller’s agent their traditional fee. But are there risks involved? Do the risks outweigh the benefits? Let’s take a look.
What is a flat fee MLS listing service?
The MLS (or Multiple Listing Service) is the database of homes that sites like Redfin and Realtor.com use, as well as all the major brokerages like Keller Williams and John L. Scott.
Typically, listing your home on the MLS is a job for a seller’s agent, but if you’re looking to save some money when selling your home, you can hire a flat fee MLS listing service to put your home on the MLS where it can then be discovered by other house hunters online. Flat fee MLS listing services charge a flat fee to list your home on the MLS, and usually, this flat fee is much less spendy than hiring a full-service agent.
Do Flat Fee MLS Listings Work?
Paying someone a flat fee to list your home on the MLS absolutely works in the sense that they’ll simply enter in all the required fields online, take their fee, and leave the rest up to you (and chance). While they do occasionally have other services such as advertising online or setting up a website for your home, for the most part, you are on your own.
That means that you will be required to do the rest, such as take your own photos of the property before listing, print out your own fliers, post your own signs, host your own open houses, negotiate the price, and see the home through to closing. If you are hoping to pay a flat rate fee with more services than just sticking your home on the MLS, we recommend reading this article here.
What are the benefits of a Flat Fee MLS?
If you as the seller are willing to do a little legwork to save a bit of money, the benefits of a flat fee MLS listing service are pretty excellent. Because most homebuyers begin their search for a home online, paying for the opportunity to have yours included on most major home search sites means you don’t have to work as hard to advertise for the sale of your home.
Your house will be included on most major home search sites and ready to reach relevant audiences. Becuase the majority of homes are found online, using an MLS listing service allows you the freedom to sell your home yourself while still being visible to millions.
Beyond that, using a flat fee MLS listing service means you are able to save (on average) between 3-4% of what your home sells for . This doesn’t mean that you should skip out on offering a 2-3% commission for the buyer’s agent , as an incentive for them to show your home to the buyer, however. Offering this ensures that your home is shown to the right people. And who knows! Maybe you’ll end up selling to an unaffiliated buyer, and get to keep the buyer’s commission as well!
What are the risks with a Flat Fee MLS?
When listing with a flat fee MLS, there are a few things you want to watch out for. The first is to make sure you work with a local MLS listing service. This is important, as there are separate MLS services for different locations.
You want to make sure that your MLS service sticks your home on the right MLS to be viewed by the people who are looking for a home in your area. You will not be visible to your relevant audience if you list with a service that does not work with your area.
Additionally, make sure you work with with a company that knows your area and market specifically. When you work with a service that knows your area and market, they’ll have a better idea of how to feature your home in such a way that it stands out in your market.
It is also imperative that you work with a company that is known for its excellent customer service and has reviews to show it. Excellent customer service means they will provide ways for you to get a hold of them when you have a question or concern about your home selling process– which, unless you’ve done this before, you will. Beyond customer service, make sure your package offers unlimited revisions to your listing to ensure that your home is being represented in the best way possible online.
Is a discount broker is a better alternative than a Flat Fee MLS Listing?
Good question! The answer is: it depends on what you are looking for.
If you are looking for a way to save 3-4% of your sale price and are willing to do the work involved to sell your home, go for it! Keep in mind, however, that once you list with a service or agent, you are required to sign an “Exclusive Agency” agreement, meaning once you sign with them, you can’t sign with another brokerage or agency, as the MLS only allows one listing agent.
If, however, you are looking to save time as well as money while listing your home, then a Flat Fee MLS listing service probably isn’t the right fit. While there are ranges of how supportive these types of services are, none of them are going to do the work involved in getting your home sold from listing to escrow. If you are looking for a more hands-on approach, but don’t feel comfortable giving a large portion of sales to a broker, there are other options.
Above all, make sure whatever method you choose to sell your home, that you are satisfied with both the process and the results.
Clever offers the savings of a flat fee service with the full service of a traditional agent, allowing you to save thousands, and still get professional representation.