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Flat-Fee MLS Reviews in Michigan: How to Weigh Your Options

Flat-fee MLS listings allow sellers to avoid paying hefty commission fees. But at what cost? Learn exactly what you’d be giving up working with a flat-fee MLS listing service and if there’s a better alternative in Michigan that can still save you money.
Flat-fee MLS listings allow sellers to avoid paying hefty commission fees. But at what cost? Learn exactly what you’d be giving up working with a flat-fee MLS listing service and if there’s a better alternative in Michigan that can still save you money.

Selling your home can cost more than you think — especially when you factor in those hefty commission costs. With flat-fee MLS listings, you can skip the standard 6% commission fee and instead, pay a low, upfront fixed-fee to list your home on the MLS (plus the buyer's agent's commission).

However, with low costs come limited services.

Most flat-fee MLS listing services don't offer much assistance when it comes to selling your home. For the most part, you'll be left to your own devices throughout the entire selling process.

If saving on commission is your main goal, flat-fee MLS listings aren't your only option. It's worth exploring every avenue to see if you're able to still receive the full benefits and services of a traditional agent but at a lower cost.

To help you navigate all your options get in touch for a free, no-obligation consultation with a top-rated agent in your area.

But first, to help you better understand how flat-fee MLS listing services work, including their benefits and drawbacks, here's everything you need to know about listing with a flat-fee MLS in Michigan.

What is a flat-fee MLS listing?

A flat-fee MLS listing allows you to get your home on the multiple listing service, or MLS, without working with a real estate agent and paying the standard 6% commission. Instead, you pay an upfront, fixed fee and the company will list your home on the MLS.

On average, you'll pay an upfront $100 fee to list with a flat-fee MLS company, though costs can range anywhere between $49 and $500 depending on the level of service the company provides.

By using a flat-fee MLS listing service, you'll avoid the standard seller agent's commission, but you'll also forgo the majority of services a real estate agent provides, as the majority of MLS listing companies only offer limited services. You'll be the one taking the lead on selling your home.

Why should you list on the MLS?

Often considered the “key to the kingdom,” the MLS is the best way for your home to be seen by motivated, potential buyers. The MLS is the first place real estate agents go to list and search for available properties, helping them collaborate and facilitate real estate transactions.

Around 90% of all homes sold in the nation are due to MLS listing exposure. No other listing site has the same power to advertise your home, especially as major third-party listing sites like Zillow, Trulia, and realtor.com pull listing data directly from the MLS, furthering your home's exposure.

When should you use a flat-fee MLS?

If you choose to sell on your own and forgo working with a real estate agent, you'll also be giving up access to the MLS as only licensed agents are able to list on the MLS. This is where flat-fee MLS services can help FSBO sellers (sellers who sell on their own) gain the same exposure.

Granted, most MLS listing services stop there.

The majority of flat-fee MLS listings offer limited services, so you should only use an MLS listing service if you're comfortable doing most of the work to sell your home on your own.

Seller's Responsibilities with a Flat-Fee MLS

While flat-fee MLS listing companies offer varying levels of service, no matter which company you choose, you should be prepared to take on at least some of the responsibilities of a traditional agent.

Even with flat-fee MLS services that claim to offer a “full-service experience,” you will rarely have an in-person agent to assist you.

For instance, with basic flat-fee MLS services you'll typically only receive a listing, yard sign, lockbox, and maybe access to contracts and marketing materials.

The rest will be up to you.

You'll be responsible for pricing your home, taking photos, prepping and staging your home, scheduling and hosting open houses, handling buyer offers and counteroffers, managing paperwork, negotiating, and staying organized during closing.

And when it comes to cost, while you avoid paying a seller's commission, you'll still be on the hook for the buyer's agent's 3% commission as well as the typical transaction fees and closing costs which can add on an additional 1% to 3% of your sales price. Unless you're well-versed in legalese, it's smart to hire a real estate attorney to verify all your contracts and documents to avoid mistakes and legal recourse down the road.

You'll also want to budget for any added costs such as a lockbox, yard sign, or extending your listing if it takes you several months to sell.

What to Look for in MLS Listing Service Reviews

Nowadays, most of us need to look at least a handful of reviews before we decide to purchase anything, whether it's a new phone or a new pair of socks. And with a high-ticket item like your home, you'll want to ensure you're working with a reputable company before you hand over your most valuable asset.

To find the most helpful and legitimate reviews, look at reviews on third-party sites like Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau. Reviews on these sites will be less biased than those you'd find on the company's website because they won't post any negative reviews.

And while your instinct may be to automatically look at the best 5-star reviews and the worst 1-star reviews, you'll actually gain more insight from middle-of-the-road 3-star reviews. With 3-star reviews, you'll find more balanced and honest opinions rather than the extremes on either end.

Also, look for reviews that specifically mention customer service. Especially because MLS listing services typically operate virtually and without a dedicated agent to help you, you'll want to make sure you'll have access to your listing information and are able to get your questions answered. If reviews mention lengthy response times or no response at all, you may want to reconsider — you don't want to be left in the dark when you're still waiting on a yard sign or want to update your listing.

Flat-Fee MLS Listing Services in Michigan

Kermath Realty

With over 5,400 listings under its belt and 35 years of experience, Kermath Realty provides four different listing package options for you to choose from. They provide a Basic MLS package where you'll be expected to do all the legwork outside of listing your home, a Limited Plus package that adds on a few services such as providing the right documents and a combo key box.

The next level up is their most popular package, Full Service. With this package in addition to the basic services, you'll also receive a comparable market analysis (CMA), contract reviews, and assistance with negotiations and closing. For even more support, you can upgrade to the highest level package, Full Service Platinum which adds on an extra-large yard sign, assistance during inspections, and contract and offer reviews plus help with negotiations and closing.

To get started, simply choose your package option, take 20 minutes to fill out all the forms, send back your information along with photos, and your listing will be posted within 24 hours.

  • Fees: The Basic MLS package will cost you $299 plus additional fees for any add-ons like a lockbox, open house, or market analysis. The next level up, the Limited Plus, costs $399. To use their most popular option, Full Service, you'll pay an upfront fee of $799, or if you choose their Full Service Platinum package, it will cost $999. With any of these options, you'll also pay a $17 shipping fee.

  • Areas covered: Kermath Realty covers hundreds of markets in Michigan with their full list of operating cities on their website.

  • Services: With their most basic MLS package, you'll have a six month listing on your local MLS plus five photos. The next level up allows you to list for 12 months, add 30 photos, a lockbox, and access to necessary documents. But to receive more support with negotiations, contracts, offers, and closing, you'll want to upgrade to either of their Full Service packages. However, with any package option, you'll still have to handle appraisals, open houses, and photography on your own.

Kermath Realty Reviews

Kermath Realty has 3.3-star rating on Google as of September 2019. Check out all 22 reviews.

Luxury Living Real Estate

Luxury Living Real Estate offers two separate listing packages. For the most basic service, they'll list your home on the MLS for 6 months, allow up to 25 photos, access to printable flyers, and will send online forms to help with your transaction.

Or, you can choose their full-service option that includes a six-month listing agreement, up to 50 photos, printable flyers, lockbox, yard sign, and agent assistance with photos, offers, negotiations, paperwork, inspections, appraisals, and closing. However, if you want an open house you're out of luck. As of 2010, Luxury Living Real Estate no longer provides home showings.

  • Fees: For their standard MLS listing, it will cost you an upfront fee of $149. For the upgraded full-service package, you'll pay an initial $199 fee plus 1% commission to Luxury Living Real Estate at closing. And while they promise no hidden fees, if you do need to make changes to your listing that involve staff assistance you may be charged additional fees.

  • Areas covered: Luxury Living Real Estate only provides services for Southeast Michigan.

  • Services: With either package option, you'll receive a six-month listing agreement, photos, and online forms. For more agent involvement, you can opt to use their full-service option where they will provide in-person agent support to help with documents, contracts, handling buyer offers, negotiations, and closing.

Luxury Living Real Estate Reviews

While Luxury Living Real Estate as a whole has no online reviews, Michael Krausman, the company's broker, has a 4.9-star rating on Zillow.

Modern Way Realty

With over 14 years of experience, Modern Way Realty offers sellers two options to sell their home: a basic package and a full service option. With the basic package, they'll list your home for 12 months, allow up to 25 photos, provide necessary documents, and free access to scheduling showings online — the rest is up to you.

If you want a bit more help throughout the selling process, you can choose their full service package that in addition to the basic package services, includes flyers, a yard sign, a CMA, virtual tour, and full agent support to assist with paperwork, negotiations, buyer offers, and closing. And while you'll have more guidance, you'll still be responsible for any appraisals, inspections, open houses, and taking professional photos.

To get started , simply choose which package you want, fill out the required documents, send in your photos, and your listing will be up in 24 hours.

  • Fees: For their basic package, you'll pay an upfront fee of $295 though if you want to include a lockbox you'll have to pay an additional $35. To use their full service package, it costs a flat fee of $595. Keep in mind, for either package you'll also have to pay the buyer's agent's commission.

  • Areas covered: Modern Way Realty provides its services throughout the entire state of Michigan.

  • Services: The most basic service includes listing your home on the MLS, 25 photos, and access to online documents and an open house scheduling service. Or, upgrade to the full service option to receive a lockbox, a yard sign, flyers, a CMA, and agent support with offers, negotiations, contracts, and closing.

Modern Way Realty Reviews

As of September 2019, Modern Way Realty has a 5-star rating on Zillow with 49 reviews.

Money-Saving Alternatives to Flat-Fee MLS

Using a flat-fee MLS listing service isn't the only way you can save money when selling your home. One alternative is working with a full-service, discount realtor where you'll not only be able to list your home, but you'll also receive the same support, benefits, and services of a traditional real estate agent — all at a fraction of the standard 6% commission rate.

To explore your options and learn exactly how a discount realtor works, get in touch with Clever who can connect you with a top-rated, full-service, discount agent for a free, no-obligation consultation on how you can sell your home and save thousands.

> Learn more about Alternatives to Flat-Fee MLS Services.

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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