You’ve started the huge undertaking of selling your home–and you’ve hit a hurdle. You know that advertising on the MLS is the best way to get numerous, interested eyes on your listing, but how do you do this without a realtor?
It’s possible to list your home on the MLS without one. Read on to learn how and why to list on MLS!
Why List on MLS?
The MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. It’s been around before the advent of the Internet, and as technology has progressed, it’s gone through many evolutions.
Today, the MLS is multi-regional – there are over 600 all across the US. It’s a way for brokers to market homes to other brokers without the public getting hold of private homeowner information and confidential communications between brokers.
The main benefit of listing on the MLS is marketing. By listing on the MLS, every buyer agent in your region can find your listing.
Moreover, your listing is automatically added to other sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Homes.com. It’s an incredibly efficient way to get more eyes on your home for sale, which means the potential to sell your house faster.
Flat Fee MLS Listing
The only way to list your home on the MLS without paying an expensive realtor’s commission is through a flat fee MLS service. This service is offered by licensed real estate brokers. Besides listing your house on the MLS, they provide no other services.
At the beginning of the process, you typically fill out online forms with specific information about your house to ensure your listing is accurate. The broker will gather this information and use it to list your house on the MLS, where it can stay active for 6 to 12 months.
After it’s listed, you’re in charge of the rest of the home selling steps, such as cleaning, staging, photographing your house, and house showings with potential buyers.
Discount Real Estate Brokers
The only other option to list your house on the MLS, besides becoming a realtor yourself, is to hire a discount real estate broker. They’re also called “1% Listing Agents” or “Flat Fee Full-Service Agents.”
Discount real estate brokers only have a fee of 1%. This is because they’re dealing with a high volume of clients while doing less work than a regular, full-service agent.
This means you’re less likely to get the amount of personal attention and guidance a full-service agent will give you, but you may be fine with this if your goal is to save as much money as possible.
It’s up to you to determine whether you need a full-service agent or not. For instance, you may have an easier time if you’re currently in a seller’s market.
A Successful MLS Listing
Although a broker is handling your listing on the MLS, you’re still in charge of three primary areas that have a great influence on how many interested buyers you receive. This is pricing, staging, and photographing.
The worst thing you can do when it comes to pricing is overpriced your house. Your listing is the hottest during the first two to three weeks of showings. Interest starts to lessen after about 21 days.
Don’t stress too much about pricing your house too low. You’ll receive multiple offers, and this will naturally drive the price up. However, it’s always better to price your home depending on comparable listings.
Look at similar homes with similar square footage within a 1/4 to 1/2 mile radius of your own. Keep in mind that even if a house is within 1/4 of a mile away from you, barriers such as freeways and railroads can drive the price up.
You’ll also want to consider these values as you compare homes and adjust your price:
Afterward, compare these original list prices to final sales prices to find accurate ratios. In a seller’s market homes will sell for more than their list price. In a buyer’s market, they’ll sell for lower.
You’ll also want to look into withdrawn and expired listings, pending sales, and active listings to get an idea of how long you expect your house to be on the market. You may also find patterns that have caused these houses not to sell that you can take steps to avoid.
After you have a price that you’re happy with and that is competitive in the market, start prepping your home for photographs and showings. You can either hire a professional stager to do this for you or take some time and do it yourself to save money.
Staging is one of the most lucrative activities you can do to help your home sell fast. It sets the scene for buyers so that they can imagine themselves living in your home. If your home is cluttered and full of personal effects, this makes it much harder to view your house as their potential home.
Here are some steps to stage your house without breaking the bank:
- Clean – Your goal should be to make everything new – from the carpets to the faucets of your sinks.
- Declutter – Clutter is distracting and can make a space feel chaotic and small. Clear away your knickknacks, piles of papers, and toys. Move them to a storage space or your garage.
- Depersonalize – Remove refrigerator magnets, family photos, and personalized artwork.
- Remove Odors – It’s easy to become desensitized to your home’s smells after living in it for years – ask a friend or colleague for their opinion. Utilize candles, baking cookies, and deodorizing spray.
- Define Rooms – Each room needs to have a specific focus. For instance, don’t keep your exercise equipment in your office.
- Strip Wallpaper – Strip your wallpaper and paint the walls with a neutral color – buyers are not likely to share your personal tastes.
- Flooring – If your carpet is dirty and beyond the point of cleaning, remove it and replace it with hardwood floors or ceramic tile. You can also use high-quality vinyl tiles for a budget-friendly alternative.
- Lighting – Update your window treatments and open up blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. Then, add light fixtures for decorative and accent lighting.
- Furniture – Make sure your furniture isn’t too large or small for the room – both will make the room appear smaller. Focus on making your rooms appear spacious yet homey.
- Exterior – Lastly, the exterior isn’t something that should be ignored – it’s the first impression a buyer gets of your home. Trim and mow your lawn, hedges, and trees. Plant seasonal flowers and power wash your driveway and walkways.
Poor picture quality is a common mistake seller make when they list their properties. It gives potential buyers a poor impression of the house and may mean the difference between drawing their interest or not.
Real estate photography is highly technical. Professional photographers use high-end cameras, lenses, and other equipment in order to make the most of their shots. They also know of photographing and editing techniques in order to accurately portray your house in its best light.
With that said, if you’re determined to photograph your home yourself, here are some tips that professionals use:
- Purchase a camera and tripod to take photos that show the entirety of a room without crooked lines.
- Photograph from entryways and doorways in order to get the majority of the space.
- The brighter the room, the better. Open curtains and turn on lights. Afterward, edit your photos by increasing the exposure or decreasing shadows.
- Avoid mirrors! Make sure your reflection isn’t distracting buyers. Set your camera on a timer and hide it as the photo is taken.
- Try out different angles and compositions instead of taking one photo and moving on to the next room. You never know which will look best.
Selling Your Home – Simplified
By now you should be aware of the benefits of listing on the MLS, how to list on MLS without the need of a realtor, and how to list your MLS properly to show your house in its best light.
Selling your home is never an easy process. However, you can make it easier on yourself by collecting the marketing benefits the MLS gives you.
Ready to sell your house commission free with all the power of a for sale by owner, while keeping the benefits of a realtor? Get started with us today!