For Sale by Owner MLS Companies
Many people wonder if they can list their house on a local MLS without using a real estate agent to list your home. A realtor will be involved if you want to list your home for sale on the MLS, but how involved they are, and how much you pay them are up to you.
Flat Fee Vs Full-Service Realtors
Of course, there are various pros and cons to both options: working with a real estate agent and doing it all by yourself. In any case, you will definitely be working with a realtor, but the difference lies in just how involved they will be throughout the whole process.
What is the Difference between Flat-Fee Listing and a Full-Service Realtor?
A full-service realtor will do all the marketing necessary to sell your home. They will run open houses, etc. The good ones will create solid collateral marketing materials to hand out. They will run display ads in local papers, have Broker Open houses—and all the other marketing strategies that will allow you to sell the house easily.
On the other hand, a flat fee listing is more like a piece of marketing that you pay for. You pay the broker to place the listing in the MLS for you, get a sign out front (if its included in the package)—and that’s it. You will handle everything else from there on out. The benefit is that you will only be paying that flat amount, no more and no less. This means you get to save more money, but in the long run, it also means more work for you. It could be more time consuming as well.
You can do all of the things a realtor does by yourself. But that would time away from your work, or family or both. Not to mention the fact that a real estate agent would be more adept at handling such tasks. They have the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to sell your home effectively. A realtor will do all of that for you.
Still, there are other factors to be considered. Like saving money.
What Is a Flat Fee MLS?
Flat fee MLS or multiple listing service, refers to the practice in the real estate industry of a seller entering into an ‘à la carte service agreement’ with a real estate broker who accepts a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale price for the listing side of the transaction.
A flat fee MLS brokerage unbundles the services of a traditional real estate brokerage. It lists the property for sale in the local MLS à la carte. They will not require the seller to use all services.
The main goal of a flat fee listing is to be exposed on the MLS and cut the listing side of the commission completely out by dealing directly with ‘buyer’s agents’. The seller saves approximately half of the traditional commission. They also maintain the complete freedom to sell on their own.
On the other hand, the buyer’s broker is still typically offered a percentage, but it is also possible for this to be a flat fee as well.
In a flat fee MLS listing, the listing agreement between the real estate broker and the property owner typically requires the broker to enter the property into the MLS and provide other contracted services, with the broker acting as an ‘à la carte broker’.
A flat fee MLS listing, therefore, expands the seller’s freedom of choice. It allows them to pick from a menu of services. For example, a seller can choose to purchase marketing in an MLS, which the broker will then provide.
Many flat fee brokers like Flat Fee Pros offer upgraded packages that sellers often contract for. The services are customized to suit the seller’s needs and wants.
Should You Sell Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent?
Selling your home without hiring a real estate agent could mean thousands of dollars back in your pocket. This may sound tempting—but not everybody can benefit from this. First, you need to make sure that this is the best move for you. There are a lot of different factors to consider. You need to think about whether or not this choice really suits your current situation and needs.
Sure, you can visit any website that allows you to skip the listing agent and offer your home as “for sale by owner” or FSBO—but is it really the right move for you?
FSBO sellers should be prepared to do a lot of legwork in order to manage the sales process. But you also need to keep in mind that there is no guarantee of a final sale.
In a way, this is similar to trying to find an affordable home and getting a mortgage. But selling a home on your own is even trickier.
The first thing you need to know is the value of your home in today’s market. Are you willing to do the research and know more about the selling process? You don’t want to undersell or oversell your property.
You should also ask yourself if you are ready to work with a buyer’s agent: something you will eventually have to do. You should expect to take charge of sales and marketing responsibilities so that the selling process can go faster.
You should be ready to screen potential buyers and prepare to hear some criticism of your home. These may be minor things, but you’ll be surprised by how many sellers get caught off guard by these issues.
FSBO: Pricing Your Home. Knowing The Value of Your Home.
FSBO sellers make one common mistake, and that is pricing their home too high. This will leave your property struggling on the market. If a home sits for a long while, buyers will start wondering what is wrong with it. The best thing for you to do is come out of the gate with the right price for your home. This will give you the best shot at selling it early on.
In order to market a home competitively, you should know about the final sale prices of similar properties in your community. Sellers can look up real estate websites to find local sales trends and selling prices for comparable homes in the community.
On these sites, you can also find the average length of time the properties spent on the market. Still, these websites won’t have all the data that a real estate agent has access to. For this reason, it is a good idea to ask a realtor to perform a market analysis.
Working With a Buyer’s Agent, For Sale By Owner Properties
Usually, in a real estate transaction, you would have an agent to list your home. You would pay them a fee, which is traditionally around 6 percent of the purchase price. The buyer’s agent and seller’s agent often split the commission in half.
However, since you are gonna be selling it on your own, you can offer a commission to the buyer’s agent to incentivize them to show your home. The commission is about 3 percent of the sales price. A buyer’s agent typically expects this, so not paying a commission could shrink your pool of potential buyers.
Regardless, you should first learn about your state’s real estate laws. This is to avoid overpaying the buyer’s agent or getting stuck in a transaction that is more harmful to you.
Managing Sales and Marketing Responsibilities
Do not underestimate the amount of effort it takes to market a house. It is more challenging than you think. For starters, you need to keep the home clean, clutter-free and “show ready” at all times. This is only the first step.
In order to market a house, it is important to take good, professional photos of the property. You also need to write effective sales descriptions to go along with these photos. These will captivate any potential buyer. Not only will it catch their attention, but it will also give them all the information they need to assess whether it is a good fit for them or not.
You need to buy and install a “for sale” yard sign with promotional flyers that include your contact information. You will also want to place the home in the MLS, a real estate brokers’ database of properties for sale. But since FSBO sellers can’t submit to an MLS, this is where the flat fee brokers come in. They will list the seller’s home in the MLS for a flat fee, which is typically a few hundred dollars.
Listing the property on several classified advertising and real estate websites will also help your goal. In addition to all these marketing necessities, FSBO sellers often need to find and hire people to help them complete the sale. They might need to hire real estate attorneys to review contracts and offer advice.
Dealing With Criticism of Your Home. The Emotions Tied To It.
It is a small issue, but it’s also one that can affect you on a personal level. Unlike real estate agents, FSBO has a personal attachment to the home they are selling. Sure, a realtor can be passionate about selling the property, but they won’t be affected by criticisms from coming from buyers.
This is an emotional aspect of selling a home that is often overlooked because it only affects FSBO sellers. Owners should expect to hear a lot about their home’s shortcomings, especially from buyers trying to negotiate a lower price.
Even worse, they may not receive any interest in their home, especially if the price is too high. It will be easier to sell a home as an FSBO if you don’t have that emotional attachment to the property and can take an objective view of its value.
Screening Potential Buyers
You can’t sell the house without screening potential buyers. Before you sign a contract with a buyer, you need to be certain that they will be able to come up with the money. You don’t want to remove the house from the market to negotiate with someone who is not qualified for the home in the first place.
Before accepting an offer, ask for a current mortgage pre-approval letter from a reputable lender. The letter will show that the buyer spoke to the lender and has been preapproved for the purchase price of the home.
MLS Listing for FSBO: How Does it Work?
The best thing about FSBO is that if you are willing to go through all that hard work, you do not have to pay people a commission. You can negotiate the deal by yourself as an FSBO seller. It does require a lot of effort, but it can work wonders if you know what you’re doing.
MLS is a great way to get your house more potential buyers and find the first handful of people who are interested in your property. Using this type of service goes a long way towards selling your house.
But you want to create a listing that is as attractive as possible. You need to take into consideration how you tell the story of your house, and why people should buy.
MLS is the main place to provide and find information on properties for sale. If your home is not listed on an MLS system, your chances of selling your home are greatly reduced. It’s no exaggeration that the MLS listing is the reason 80 percent of properties sell.
And the MLS is not one system either. This is a number of databases across the country, listing multiple properties from different states. Most of them are specific to a region or an area, but there are a few that are nationwide.
This type of networking has a rich history, tracing back to the 19th century when brokers met up in person to trade information on properties. In order to get your house listed, you need to pay a company to list for you. Only a licensed real estate agent within the state can help you with this.
So once you pay a realtor a flat fee, they will list your home on the MLS for you. Still, you will have to pay the selling broker a commission that is separate from the listing fee.
If you find your own buyer, you may not pay them a commission—but it depends on the terms of your contract. Avoiding the commission entirely involves putting it into the contract in the first place that you will not pay a commission if you find your own buyer. Be prepared to prove that you found your buyer without help from the realtor, including their advertisements for the property.
If someone sees the realtor’s sign in your yard and asks you about the property, then the realtor is still responsible for finding that buyer.
If you prefer not to pay anyone, you have limited options. You can list your house for sale on websites such as Craigslist and Zillow. You can also try advertising in your local paper, and place your own “For Sale by Owner” sign in front of your house.
Keep in mind that the largest base of potential buyers is in your area. Few people are looking for homes out of state, and you should still keep an eye out for them. But in order to sell your house, your best bet is to stay local.
Going for that MLS listing is crucial because it sharply increases your chances of completing the sale. Plus, it will give you more credibility—which is a great bonus in the eyes of potential buyers.
If you are working with a real estate company, feel free to check out the packages they offer. As your own seller, you wouldn’t have to avail all of their services, and instead, you can just choose the ones that you want. Upgrading your package can make it more convenient for you, without having to hire a realtor to do everything for you. These additional services may come in handy though, especially for aspects of the sale that may seem easy at first, but turn out to be unmanageable. There’s no shame in hiring the experts.
Some packages may differ by how many places you can list your house. Of course, the more places you list, the more likely it is for you to sell the property. Packages may also vary depending on how long the house is listed. Some packages start at six months, while others go up to a year. Again, the longer your house remains unsold, the more people will wonder what is wrong with it.
Price ranges may vary widely, so shop around for the best deal.
Creating a Listing On The MLS
When buyers or realtors are looking through listings, they are only browsing around and looking for something that will catch their attention. So you only have a few pieces of information to draw them in. This will include your headline, a picture, and a price. Make sure to highlight whatever makes your home unique and appealing. A unique beauty or an interesting location will certainly make them stop browsing for a second. Be mindful of what you put in the title because that can make or break a potential sale. Even the most perfect buyer won’t get a chance to see your house if your listing doesn’t spark their interest.
Try to make your listing stand out as much as possible. Use capital letters, and leave your reader curious. But make sure your house can actually deliver on those promises. Pick a good heading, choose a professional photo, and put the right price on the property. You will surely attract the right buyers.
Getting them hooked is one thing—but actually making them interested in buying the property is another beast entirely.
If you tell a story, it shows that your house is more than just a house. It allows you to share the history behind the place. It is important that you take advantage of this to help you sell your house.
Talk about the location and try to play it up. People are always looking for different things when it comes to location—you can’t exactly predict what is going to appeal to them. So just play up what makes your property great. Is it close to a good school system, or a park, or some great restaurants? Is it more secluded, comfortable, and isolated? Describe your home’s strengths and the right buyer will love it.
Of course, while you are trying to sell a house, it’s easy to get caught up in the sales talk and forget that the client should only know so much. Only include all the relevant details because you don’t want to overload them with information that might distract them from the greater qualities of the house.
Selling a house all by yourself is no easy feat. This is why there are professionals who are committed to getting the job done. But if you want to do it on your own, it is definitely possible. For a flat fee, you can get your home listed on an MLS database and increase your chances of getting a sale.
Do your research, exert lots of time and effort into marketing, and remember to play up your home’s strengths. But most importantly: be patient. This is not a very easy thing to accomplish, but you will get it right eventually. Sign up for one of our packages and experience the power of Flat Fee Pros and take control of your home sale.