ListingSpark: Should You Use It for Your FSBO Sale?

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By Steven Porrello Updated May 24, 2023

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ListingSpark Review

ListingSpark is a listing platform that offers FSBO services to nine major markets in Texas. Founded in 2013, ListingSpark made a big name for itself as a "$7 per day" listing service. Recently, the company restructured its payment tiers and now offers a slew of listing services for a whopping $1,500–$3,000.

Bottom line: Do we recommend ListingSpark?

ListingSpark’s basic package, Spark Plan, seems like a good deal for experienced FSBO sellers, though the price is higher than most listing services. For about $1,500, the package comes with almost everything you need to sell your home: such as listing on the MLS and 1,000 other listing sites (such as Zillow), closing assistance, and a 150-point marketing plan that matches your listing with buyers. The only essential service missing is pricing assistance.

The Premium Plan, however, is not worth the extra $1,500 — even with pricing assistance. You’re better off selling your home with a professional real estate agent who charges a discounted commission rate.

Is ListingSpark legit? 

Yes. ListingSpark is a legitimate company based in Austin, Texas.

Founded by Aaron Jistel in 2013, ListingSpark began as a pay-by-the-day listing service, advertising a low rate of $7 per day. However, sellers actually paid by the billing cycle (28 days) for a total of $196 per cycle.

The company has since then restructured its payment tier and no longer offers pay-by-the-day services.

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ListingSpark vs. top FFMLS alternatives

FFMLS company Locations Avg. customer review Listing fee
Fizber Nationwide 3.9 $295
Homecoin CA, FL, GA, MI, MO, NY, NC, SC, TN, VA, WI 4.9 $95+
Houzeo Nationwide 4.9 $199-999+
Beycome AL, CA, CT, FL, GA, MN, NC, SC 4.5 $99-499 + 1%
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In-depth breakdown

Quality of service

📊 Our rating: 4/5

  • Essential services included
  • Overinflated premium package
  • Title and escrow services
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ListingSpark offers sellers in Texas a slew of good services, even with its basic plan. The Spark Plan can be ideal for experienced FSBO sellers who just want some assistance with closing. But you won't get pricing assistance or a comparative marketing analysis (CMA).

We don’t recommend the Premium Plan. For double the cost of the basic plan, you'll get pricing assistance, and a real estate professional will review your listing, answer your questions, and offer guidance. But for that price, you might get as much support from a full-service discount broker.

» SEE: ListingSpark's costs and fees

The other premium services (such as photography and open house signage) are nonessential and not worth the extra cost.

Services Spark Plan ($1,499) Premium Plan ($2,999)
MLS Listing
Listing on real estate websites
Basic photography
Signage
Lockbox
On-demand agent
Pricing assistance
Premium photography
Listing and photography review
Open house signs
E-flyer blast
Showing manager
Document assistance
Marketing plan
Closing assistance
Support team
Title and escrow services
Integrated platform
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ListingSpark also offers sellers assistance with closing, which includes title and escrow services. This can actually be a really good deal: title services alone can account for 0.66% of the home’s final sale price, or an average of $1,963. The only downside is that you have to use ListingSpark’s own service, Spark Title, which may or may not be the best value for your dollar.

Marketing

📊 Our rating: 4/5

  • MLS and 1,000 other real estate sites
  • Proprietary marketing software
  • Only available in 9 markets in Texas
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Both ListingSpark plans will list your home on the MLS and over 1,000 real estate websites, such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Redfin. That'll get you the maximum exposure.

ListingSpark also boasts a software that runs your listing through a 150-point marketing plan to match it with the perfect buyer. But it's unclear how the software works, or how well, so we didn't give the company extra points. ListingSpark’s own property search webpage gets very few visitors ( around 1,000 per month).

One downside is that ListingSpark is only active in specific cities, so your listing won't get exposure across Texas.

Where is ListingSpark available?

ListingSpark is available only to homeowners in select markets in central, eastern, and southern Texas markets: Austin, Bryan–College Station, Corpus Christi, Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, Killeen–Temple, San Antonio, and Waco.

Customer experience

📊 Our rating: 4/5

  • Generally positive reviews
  • No major red flags
  • Some complaints around responsiveness
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ListingSpark’s has positive customer reviews and an A+ on the Better Business Bureau. The 146 reviews on Google averaged to a rating of 4.5 out of 5 — that’s really good, especially considering that most users use third-party review sites to voice complaints.

We also ran those reviews through a program that identifies emotional language. Here are some of the recurring themes our program picked up on:

🟢 Top positive themes 🔴 Top negative themes
  • Responsiveness
  • Value
  • Seller portal
  • Selling process
  • Frustration
  • Inconvenience
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Cost

📊 Our rating: 2.5/5

  • Packages are priced higher than most listing services
  • High cancellation fee
  • Premium package only slightly cheaper than an agent
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ListingSpark offers two packages to FSBO sellers in Texas: Spark Plan ($1,499) and Premium Spark ($2,999).

Spark Plan can be a good deal for experienced FSBO sellers who want some assistance with closing. For a $350,000 home, paying $1,499 for a listing service is around 0.43% of the sale price. That’s less expensive than a 1.5% listing agent, but you won’t get pricing assistance, which is one of the most challenging parts about FSBO.

Premium Plan offers marginally more services that aren't worth the price. If you're budgeting around $3,000 for home selling, you're better off investing that money in a quality real estate agent — and possibly get a higher sale price as a result.

ListingSpark cancellation policy

When you list with ListingSpark, you’ll pay a small amount of the plan’s total price up front and the rest at closing. That fee is $250 for the Spark Plan and $500 for Premium. If you cancel your listing before your home sells, you'll still pay the remainder of your plan.

ListingSpark fees

ListingSpark may help you avoid paying a listing agent. But you’ll still be responsible for paying commission for the buyer's agent (usually 2 to 3%). If your buyer finds your listing without a licensed real estate agent, ListingSpark will charge you a "transaction facilitation fee" of $350.

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User friendliness

📊 Our rating: 5/5

  • Strong website technology
  • Easy account setup and property listing
  • Free software testing
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After creating a free account and testing out the software, we were very impressed with how fast and easy to use ListingSpark’s platform is. A large Knowledge Center also provides free resources and guides on FSBO, as well as some troubleshooting tips with the software itself.

You’ll see your remaining tasks and the estimated time to complete them. These times are somewhat inaccurate, however, as ListingSpark expects you to have completed certain tasks beforehand (such as crafting your own listing description and having photos ready).

Next steps

If you’re planning to sell your home FSBO in Texas, then we think ListingSpark’s "Spark Plan" could be worth trying. But if you decide partway through that you don’t want to sell your home through ListingSpark, you won’t get a refund for your plan.

If you're on the fence about FSBO, you might want to look at some low-commission real estate brands first. You’ll pay more to hire a licensed listing agent to represent you, but you might get a higher sale price for your home as a result.

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Methodology

We evaluated the each flat fee MLS (FFMLS) and for sale by owner (FSBO) listing service based on five core criteria and created a weighted score:

  • Quality and range of services (25% of final score)
  • Brand recognition and marketing methods (25%)
  • Customer reviews and experience (15%)
  • Cost value (25%)
  • User friendliness (10%)

Quality of score

Essential services. We examine whether the FFMLS companies offer fundamental services such as local MLS listings, syndication to popular sites like Zillow and Trulia, maximum photo allowances, unlimited free listing changes, and continuous active listing until sale closure.

Value-added services. We identify and credit additional services that genuinely aid in selling and managing the sale, like unlimited listing changes, professional photography, or an efficient online dashboard. Superfluous offerings that don't substantially enhance the selling process are not factored positively.

Marketing

Visibility and reach. We assess the effectiveness of each company's marketing strategies beyond the MLS baseline. This includes additional marketing efforts like social media promotion, digital advertising, and the company's own website traffic and visibility.

Customer experience

Our evaluation includes:

Review analysis. We aggregate and analyze customer reviews from various online platforms, creating a weighted average rating. A sentiment analysis program is employed to identify prevalent themes and insights.

BBB complaints. We check for any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, considering how these might reflect on the company's customer service and reliability.

Cost

Pricing comparison. We scrutinize the actual costs of the company's services, comparing them against other brands and national averages to determine overall cost-effectiveness and value for money.

User friendliness

Ease of use. The user-friendliness of the company's app or portal is evaluated, focusing on the simplicity of uploading and managing listings, as well as the overall user experience.

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