Has it been a while since you've put a house on the market? Is it your first time selling a home? In today's real estate market, you have many options when it comes to selling your home.
Using a real estate agent is one of the most common ways to list and sell your house. However, not everyone wants to deal with an agent or needs a full-service broker. Often, the fees for using a realtor can reduce the profit on the sale of your home.
Have you heard of flat fee listing on the MLS? If you're trying to sell your home on your own, here's what you need to know about using a flat fee MLS listing.
1. How the MLS Works
The MLS (multiple listing service) is a collaboration between numerous brokers and listing agents. Through these listings, real estate professionals have access to more listings and information to help buy and sell homes on the market.
It's the real estate industry's way of helping each other sell homes across a network. When listing a house on an MLS service, brokers pay a fee. They recover that fee—and more—through the sale of your home.
As the seller, you pay the commission for both the selling and the listing brokers. Commissions average around 3% of the final sale price for your home.
2. You'll Save Money, But You'll Lose Services
Real estate agent commissions can add up to a significant amount of money. When you work with an agent, their commission covers everything they do for you:
- The MLS listing
- Professional photography of your home
- A yard sign and other printed materials
- Online marketing
- A lockbox, staging, scheduling and hosting showings
- Negotiations and paperwork
Selling your home FSBO (for sale by owner) saves the commission fees you would pay to a broker. Using a flat fee MLS listing helps FSBO sellers list their homes on the MLS.
However, you lose the services a broker provides. Including the MLS listing.
3. How a Flat Fee MLS Listing Works
Flat fee listing on the MLS could be the answer to selling your home on your own.
When using a flat fee agent, they list your home on the MLS. And that's all they do for you. Flat-fee pricing is usually under $500. It's a different type of listing that signals to other brokers that your home doesn't have an agent to handle showings.
Remember - while you'll save the money you would pay a listing agent, you'll still need to pay the commission fees to the buyer's agent. However, paying one commission instead of two can mean significant savings.
While flat fee listings are a great way to save some money, you'll need to handle everything else yourself.
4. Creating a Compelling Listing Isn't Easy
Real estate agents have the experience to create an effective property listing. To stop a potential buyer from scrolling past your house online, your listing needs to stand out.
Highlight your home's best features and describe your property in a way that attracts buyers. Include details about the neighborhood and the area's amenities.
A great listing also includes professional photos. Walking through your house and snapping photos with your iPhone might not capture your home in the best way. Consider hiring a professional real estate photographer to help sell your home with great photos.
5. What to Do as the Seller
When you connect with a flat fee realtor, they'll handle the listing. From there, you're on your own.
- You'll handle all marketing, the yard sign, and a lockbox
- You'll need to prepare your house for sale, including staging the home
- Your listing broker will forward inquiries to you
- When an interested buyer wants to see your house, you'll coordinate with the buyer's agent to schedule a time
- When a buyer makes an offer and you close on the sale, you'll need to inform your listing agent within one day. They need to remove the listing from the MLS
There's a reason listing agents earn a commission. They do a lot of work, and there are a lot of rules to follow during the home selling process.
But if you're ready to take on the responsibility of marketing and showing your house yourself, working with a flat fee realtor is a great way to save money.
6. Not All Flat Fee Brokers are the Same
Not every broker offers flat fee MLS services, and not all flat fee realtors are the same.
It's easy to fall for a flat fee scam or to get stuck without help if you're not careful. Do your research and ask questions before choosing your broker.
- Be sure you read your contract with the flat fee broker carefully before signing over your listing
- Make sure the agreement allows for unlimited revisions to the listing. And be sure you can add plenty of photos
- Check that the listing agent is available to you for questions or support as you work through the home sale process
- Confirm that your flat fee agent will help you with the final negotiations and paperwork
Many flat fee brokers offer package options to include support and help with paperwork. It's tempting to go for basic listing services to save more money, but don't leave yourself hanging without enough resources to complete the sale of your home.
Know Before You Go With a Flat Fee MLS Listing
Using a flat fee MLS listing isn't for everyone, but it can save you some money if you're up for the challenge. Know what you're getting into before choosing a flat fee broker, and good luck on the sale of your home!
If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out some of our other blog posts.