- What is a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Flat Listing?
MLS is a comprehensive database shared by local real estate agents. Agents can access this database to find exactly what their buyers are looking for. This one resource gives real estate agents a significant advantage over anyone selling on their own. In fact, over 90% of buyers find their new home through MLS.
Real estate companies that offer flat-rate MLS listings will enter information and images into MLS for a fee ranging from $99 to $995 depending on the level of services provided. However, fees are usually offered to an agent who brings in a buyer. These fees can be any amount by law, but are typically 2% to 2 ½% compared to the 6% to 9% charged for full service listings.
- What’s the difference between flat fee listings and full-service realtor listings?
The owner assumes the functions usually provided by a real estate agent. These include taking photos, providing promotional copy, gathering information about the property, identifying repairs and improvements that will help sell and increase ROI, deciding on the best price negotiable, to monitor the market, to adjust prices if necessary, to call for visits, to negotiate directly with buyers, to obtain legal advice, to facilitate inspections, to renegotiate if necessary and all that is necessary to conclude the sale.
- What services are usually provided by flat rate brokers? In addition to adding your listing to the regional MLS, the listing is typically syndicated to dozens of web portals such as Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, AOLrealestate.com, etc., as well as local real estate companies directly. Owner has provided photos which are added to MLS and portal sites. A sign and/or a safe are usually provided. Some companies offer free renewal or listings that do not expire. If available in the area, companies often offer meet-and-greet services that offer a convenient way to schedule showings. With higher priced subscription packages, more services are added.
- What are the disadvantages of flat rate ads? Selling by owner is a lot of work. More than half of successful owners say they won’t try to sell on their own again. Indeed, besides the necessary work, it may not improve the return on investment. Realtors have years of hard-won experience. If they can’t generally offer their clients a better return on investment than the owners themselves, they wouldn’t survive in the profession. Besides the logistics that can reasonably be handled by an owner, a lot of judgment is required. One misstep and the deal often fails. Inexperience, even among new licensed real estate agents, can cost thousands of dollars or the entire sale. Most brokerages provide close supervision and training to their new agents for at least the first year. The owner does not have this essential advantage. Flat rate brokers who offer remote assistance cannot do so with the same expertise as a real estate agent who has personal knowledge of the local market and the property. Finally, beware of invoking cause claims of pimping.
Despite the work and uncertainty involved, many sellers manage to sell on their own using the resources of a flat fee broker to significantly maximize their housing investment.
- The way to do it.
Contact a reputable flat rate MLS broker who you can speak with directly to answer specific questions. This brief article can only give an overview of the process.
While for-sale-by-owner packages vary from broker to broker, here are some important considerations:
- The broker should be experienced and knowledgeable about local market conditions to provide prompt guidance and advice.
- The broker should be local and able to provide market data and referrals for lawyers, contractors, inspectors, etc.
- The broker should be readily available 12/7.
- The broker must be a direct member of the MLS where the property is located and not a portal site that remotely lists properties through affiliates.
- An exclusive website should be included that sends independent buyers directly to the owner to save co-broken commission.
- Appointment center showing scheduling services should be provided at no additional cost.
- The owner must retain the right to sell himself without paying any additional commission.
- Changes or breaks to the listing shall be provided at no additional cost.
- The listing should not expire until the home is sold or taken off the market by the owner.
- An electronic lock box and sign shall be provided and delivered at no additional cost.
- All inquiries should be directed to the owner.
- Professional quality photographic services must be available.
- Photos and videos provided by the owner must be enhanced by the broker to the standards generally found on the MLS.
- The broker must also offer full service upgrades with fixed fees credited to the final commission.
- Closing steps
- Hire a local package broker
- Provide details and photos
- Approve listing on MLS and submit fees
- Organize the presentation with the appointment desk
- Negotiate offers
- Obtain a lawyer (recommended)
- Fulfill contact obligations. This is done with the help of the co-broker and your lawyer.
- End up with more revenue than if you had a full listing service