When you sell your home through a flat fee MLS listing you could end up saving tons of money. But it’s not always obvious if a flat fee listing is a right choice for you and your home. Keep reading to learn more about what these services have to offer.
What Is A Flat Fee MLS Listing?
When you use a listing service with a flat fee you can save tons of money. This is because with flat fee services you are selling by the owner while still getting the most amount of exposure possible.
This exposure is direct to active buyers working with real estate agents that are using MLS as their main source to list what is on the market. MLS stands for “Multiple Listing Service” and is a database that shows available homes for sale. Licensed real estate agents can use MLS to find and access homes to list for their sellers and or find for their buyers.
MLS also will automatically post the listing on hundreds of real estate websites most that will only pull from this database. When you work with a realtor, most are considered to be “full service” and only will list your home on this database if you pay a listing commission and buyer’s agent. Both of these commissions are around three percent.
Flat-fee MLS listing services are a real estate broker licensed by that state that offers a listing service instead of full service. When you use a flat fee MLS listing service, you pay a sum of money that is pre-set that puts your listing on the database. This lets you make changes to your listing and schedule your open houses as you go through the process of selling your home.
This is different than a full-service listing, where you work with an agent to handle all your negotiations, showing requests, and anything else that goes into the selling of your home. When you do a flat fee listing, your personal contact information is listed, so you handle everything on your own.
Difference Between A Full Service And Flat Fee MLS Listing
You should keep in mind that there are many different terms used to describe both of these types of listings. There are also other real estate services that are discounted. Sometimes a flat fee MLS listing service can be called “fee-for-service,” “non-traditional” or “menu-driven.”
These names refer to any service that contrasts with traditional services that sell a property with the help of a licensed real estate broker. When you list your home on the MLS with a flat-fee you are limiting additional services.
Sometimes this is also called “a la carte” since the service isn’t limited but there are still more choices on the customer’s end. There also is confusion from other non-traditional services from real estate brokers that will charge a flat fee.
This could be a couple of thousand dollars instead of selling your home on commission. This isn’t the same as a flat fee MLS listing. When you talk about using a flat fee MLS listing, be aware of new technology out there, so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
How Can I List My House With A Flat Fee Service?
There are many options when it comes to listing your home on the MLS with a low flat fee. You want to make sure that you go with a company that has a network of reliable real estate brokers.
When you with a larger company you get the experience and knowledge needed to go through the ins and outs of this process. Larger companies also tend to get better service from their network of real estate brokers. This is because they send these brokers a lot of business, and local brokers want to make sure they keep their clients happy.
Steps To List Your House With Flat Fee MLS
When you list your home using a flat fee MLS service, there are a few things you need to do. First, you want to find the best flat fee MLS broker in your area. Then you will buy that MLS listing for a flat fee.
You will then need to provide property information, upload photographs, and sign a listing agreement. Then your house will get posted on the MLS. Let’s break this all down.
1. Find the Best Local Flat Fee MLS Broker
This is likely the most important step in listing your home for a flat fee. You want to make sure that the company you choose has a good network of real estate brokers that are state-licensed. You will also want to make sure that you list your home on the right local MLS.
There isn’t just one MLS, and most states have more than one MLS service, that is grouped and split based on counties. A good broker will make sure they are covering your listing on all of the MLS services in a state.
A bad company will simply post your home on whichever MLS service they are a member of for your state to save money. This won’t help you, especially if your home is on the wrong MLS page. So do some research and investigate the company before you settle on a flat fee broker.
How To Tell If A Flat Fee MLS Company Is Reputable
You can tell if a flat fee MLS company is reputable by checking a couple of things. Make sure this company has a page for your state, and that page is updated and current. You’ll want to be sure that they are a member of the right MLS in your area.
You’ll want to be sure their website is informative and also friendly. Do a quick Internet search to see what their online presence looks like and if they have positive reviews on their flat fee work. You’ll want to check this company is on the Better Business Bureau, and see how active they are with the online real estate business.
As for price, keep in mind that some companies will have rates that are cheaper and or even offer to list your home for free. Be aware that these companies are usually notorious for having bad customer service and or a ton of hidden fees. This is why you should always compare more than one service before you decide on one.
You also want to make sure that you have a responsive broker, as MLS can add fines if a status update isn’t made within 24 hours or if there is any incorrect information. If you put your house on the market as “For Sale By Owner” then you are the one responsible for those fines.
You also will want to find out if that broker will forward you any inquires or buyer leads they get. A good MLS listing service will also let you instantly cancel their services if you want to.
2. Purchase Your Flat Fee MLS Listing
Once you have found a flat fee MLS company you want to work with, you need to buy the listing. Most of these companies will let you buy this service right on their website.
Before you buy this listing, you’ll want to make sure you understand their refund policy. A lot of these companies will let you get a full refund and cancel if they haven’t started working on your listing yet.
3. Provide Information For Your Property
Now that you bought your flat fee listing, you will need to fill out some paperwork. The first form will be the information for your home’s property, so the right data is in the MLS. A good flat fee broker should be able to do this with an online form that’s easy for you to fill out.
If your flat fee broker is still using a fax machine or mailing this paperwork, then this might not be the best company for you. Typically MLS will have a lot of fields you need to fill out to describe your home.
The right flat fee broker will have these fields ready for you to fill out. While less reputable brokers, won’t get all this required information, leaving the data out entirely or worse wrongly guessing this information.
You want to make sure you give your broker all the right information about your property for these forms. Never misrepresent any details of your home, as this will disappoint buyers and could even make you liable for misrepresentation.
Once your house is listed you should get a pdf of the listening as it appears on the database. This allows you to review the accuracy of your post and let your broker know if you want any changes.
4. Upload Your Photos
To correctly market your home online, you will want to make sure that the photos you use to represent your home look their best. You will also want to make sure the photographs you use are either professional or the highest possible quality if you take these photos yourself.
Keep in mind the MLS doesn’t let you have an unlimited amount of photos. Most limit these photos to about 25 to 40. So check how many photos you are allowed.
If you have more photos than the MLS allows, you’ll want to pick the best photographs you have. You don’t want to let your broker pick which photos they think are best, as they might not choose the best photos.
Most flat fee MLS listing websites will have a photo upload form you can submit your photos. While other MLS websites will need you to email the photos or send a link where these pictures can be downloaded. Most importantly you want to make sure these photos look good.
A lot of flat fees MLS listing websites will have a photo upload form for you to submit your photos. Others will require you to email them or send a link where these photos can be downloaded.
The most important part is that the photos look good. How the photos get to the flat fee company is more a matter of convenience.
5. Sign A Listing Agreement
Next, you’ll need to sign the listing agreement. This agreement outlines the limited terms from the broker and how much commission you are offering the buyer’s agents on the MLS.
A lot of real estate brokers and MLS systems tend to offer two different types of listing agreements.
This agreement will either be the Exclusive Right To Sell, where you pay the listing broker a specific amount whether you find a buyer on your own or through their services. There are also Exclusive Agency Agreements, which lets the seller market the house outside of the broker and not pay any commission if they find their own buyer.
You’ll want to sign an Exclusive Agency agreement and be very cautious of an Exclusive Right to Sell agreement.
How Much Money Can I Save With A Flat Fee MLS Listing?
You will save at least fifty percent of commissions when you use a flat fee service. That fifty percent is what you would spend as a commission for a full-service listing agent. These full-service agents will take a percentage of your final selling price as their commission.
When you list your house on the MLS without a full-service realtor, then you don’t have to pay commission. Since that broker is giving you a limited-service of the MLS flat fee and the rest is your responsibility.
When a buyer agent brings you a buyer, they will still have to pay the buyer’s agent a commission that you agreed on when you signed your listing agreement. Also, know you have the choice of finding a buyer who isn’t represented by a buyer’s real estate agent, and then you don’t have to pay commission at all.
If this happens, you can save thousands of dollars. The exact amount of money you can save with a flat fee MLS will depend on the value of your home and your area’s standard commission rate.
List Your Home Through A Flat Fee Service
Now that you know what a flat fee MLS listing is, how it works, and how much money you can save, find a reputable flat fee real estate service today. Make sure you ask the right questions and do a background check on this service.
If you’re looking to sell your home with a flat fee service in the Denver, Colorado area, contact us today.