If you’re looking to sell your home, then this is the article for you. Here is a complete guide on how to successfully list your home on a local Multiple Listing Service.
First, a short look at what people expect from a real estate transaction. Every successful real estate transaction can be broken down into three different categories of expectations:
- Profit – It’s no secret that sellers want to make the most of their investment – and this means selling at the maximum price the market is willing to offer. Over half of the sellers state that profit is the essential aspect of a real estate deal.
- Control – Most homeowners willing to sell their property expect a certain degree of control over the transaction. Control can apply to different terms, such as payment and the date in which the property is to be vacated.
- Time – Sellers want to gain as much exposure for their property so it can be sold quickly. In real estate, exposure equals profit.
With these considerations in mind, let’s take a look at the main ways you can get your property listed on the Multiple Listing Service:
- Get an Agent – This seems to be the most popular option by far. Most homeowners will hire a real estate agent to handle all aspects of the sale for them. Most real estate agents will get a 5% to 6% commission.
- FSBO – FSBO or For Sale By Owner means that the owner will try to advertise the property on his own. FSBO usually implies putting up “For Sale” signs, contacting acquaintances, and putting up ads on the internet. Homeowners go for this option to save on the commission.
- Flat Fee MLS – This is probably the best choice in our list since you will enjoy much-needed exposure from the MLS but without having to pay a commission.
1. Hiring a Real Estate Agent
When going with this option, expect the real estate agent to do the following:
- Represent you, as well as your property.
- Prepare all the paperwork necessary for the sale.
- List your property in an MLS or Multiple Listing Service, and keep in mind all Licensed real estate agents can access the MLS. MLS listing will bring tons of exposure for your home, increasing the chance of getting a better deal.
- Assist you with negotiations and the sale procedure.
- Market your home through different means.
- Arrange visits from potential buyers.
It might sound easy enough and a pretty good choice at first, but there’s a catch. While this is still a good option for people who want to sell their home without too much of a hassle, this option has several drawbacks.
Hiring a real estate agent can get quite expensive because they will get 5-6% of your property sale price – especially if we’re talking about prime real estate.
Working with a real estate agent will also mean that you will relinquish control of the sale once you sign an Exclusive Listing Agreement. This means that even if you find a client for your home the next day, you won’t be able to sell your home without giving the agent his commission.
In some cases, hiring an agent to do the “leg work” for you means that you will shrink your overall income and increase the chance of not finding a buyer in due time. Some buyers may be wary of purchasing a property from a seller represented by an agent since the price is usually ~5% higher than the actual amount the owner is willing to sell for.
2. FSBO or For Sale By Owner
For sale by owner or FSBO as it’s commonly known in the industry means that you will handle all aspects related to the sale of your property.
You will have to advertise your home by yourself. You can do this online or in newspapers, as well as in groups of friends or family. After that, all that is left to do is wait for a willing buyer to contact you for viewing.
This option is probably the first choice for first-time property sellers, but the problem with FSBO is that your listing will get minimal exposure.
Sure, you can put it up on Craigslist or other websites, but the sale is most likely to fail due to a lack of marketing. This issue is not only time-related but also profit-related since the lack of proper exposure makes it harder to find a client willing to pay the price you want.
This leads us to our third option, a hybrid between the first two: By Owner Flat Fee MLS. This is probably the best way to sell a property without having to worry about agent commissions or lack of exposure for your listing. Many real estate veterans go for this option because it saves money, time, and effort.
3. By Owner Flat Fee MLS
Before we expand this option a bit further, you might ask yourself, “What is the Multiple Listing Service”? The Multiple Listing Service or MLS, for short, is a home or property listing database used by real estate brokers and agents to sell apartments or other types of property.
Every listing that gets added to the Multiple Listing Service gets distributed to hundreds of different real estate websites, both large and small. Getting your listing posted on the Multiple Listing Service is the most effective way to gain massive amounts of exposure for the property you want to sell.
The best part of it is that getting your listing added to the Multiple Listing Service means that thousands will see your property of local and national buyers who are working with a real estate agent.
That being said, the MLS is only accessible to real estate agents with a valid license.
So how can you add your listing to the Multiple Listing Service without having to hire an agent and pay him a commission on the sale?
It turns out, the owners themselves can list their home directly on the MLS by merely purchasing a Flat Fee MLS Listing. This is by far the best option for homeowners willing to sell, and are the reasons why:
Increased profit – Instead of paying your real estate agent a 5-6% commission on the total sale price of your home, you will only have to pay a reasonable flat fee for your listing. You can save thousands of dollars!
Better control – With this option, you won’t have to sign an exclusive binding contract when listing your home on the MLS, but only an MLS Listing Agreement. This way, you will have full control over the sale.
Save time – With better exposure for your property, you’re also more likely to sell it faster. Apart from that, you can quickly change your listing details without too much of a hassle. For example, if you worked with an agent and wanted to make changes to your listing, you’d have to request the transition to the agent, and he would send you an Amendment Agreement, which would have to be signed. After that, the change can be applied to your listing. Sounds complicated, right?
What is a Flat Fee Multiple Listing Service Listing?
A Flat Fee MLS Listing is a type of real estate service offered by a licensed real estate broker who acts as your access point to the Multiple Listing Service platform. The real estate broker will charge a one-time, flat fee to generate leads for your property and list it on the MLS.
How does it work?
By opting for this service, you will only be able to add your listing to the MLS, but not have access to other properties from the database. You are still the seller of your property and maintain all legal rights of a “For Sale By Owner” transaction, except you can’t present yourself as an FSBO since a real estate broker still assists the deal.
How to list on the MLS as an FSBO – For Sale By Owner
Listing your property on the Multiple Listing Service as a For Sale By Owner is overall quite manageable. Here are the steps you need to take:
1. Do Some Research – Firstly, you will have to do a bit of research and find an MLS Listing broker in your area.
2. Pick a Listing Plan – Secondly, you will have to choose a package or a plan according to your needs.
3. Property Information & Photos – Thirdly, you will have to take photographs of your home and submit other property details.
4. Paperwork – Signing the listing agreement is the last step.
1. Do some research
There are plenty of real estate brokers who you can work with to get your listing on the Multiple Listing Service. Each one of these brokers offers different packages and plans, so it’s a good idea to research a bit before deciding who to work with. Apart from the regular one-time, flat fee, some brokers may try to charge you extra expenses such as a closing fee or a listing agent fee. You should avoid these additional services to keep your profit intact – the main goal here is to get your property listing on the MLS.
Some useful links to check:
Savvy Lane – https://savvylane.com/
Flat Fee MLS – https://fsbo.com/flat-fee-mls
2. Pick a Listing Plan
After deciding on which real estate broker to work with, you can proceed with buying a package or plan. Brokers tend to offer different packages that are suitable for various clients. You should pick a package that suits your type of sale.
3. Property Information & Photos
After selecting a plan, you will have to provide information related to your property. This will include regular listing information such as year built, number of bathrooms, and so on. You will also have to provide photographs of your property, both interior as well as exterior.
If your home has a high market value, it’s a good idea to turn to a professional photographer. Most MLSs will allow users to upload up to 24 photos on their listing, so high-quality images are a must.
4. The Paperwork
The last step is signing the different disclosures and agreements required by the Multiple Listing Service. The broker you are working with will enter your listing information into the MLS database, and they will be shown as the listing agent.
This is probably an essential step in the process, so take some time and double-check to see if the information provided is correct.
What is next?
After submitting the paperwork and information, you will have to wait between 24 and 48 hours before the listing will be available on the Multiple Listing Service. Your broker will let you know once the listing is up and accessible. As soon as your listing goes live, you should review it to eliminate any potential problems.
After getting your home listed on the MLS, you will still have things to do. Even though the listing will be under the name of the broker you are working with, it’s you who will have to do most of the work.
You will have to show the house, do additional marketing, hold open houses, provide extra information regarding the property, negotiate with potential buyers, and more. If you want to make some changes to the listing, you will have to coordinate with the real estate broker.
After finding a buyer and accepting their offer, you will go through the closing process. You will have to pay the buyer’s agent a commission and submit the closing information to the MLS listing service.
Sellers are obliged by the MLS rules to notify their brokers within one business day after closing a sale. Brokers, on the other hand, are required to update the property listing within one business day after it’s off the market. If brokers do not refresh the listing, they will be fined, and in most cases, they will pass the fine onto you.
Flat Fee MLS listing is by far the most profitable and the most effective when selling your home since you only have to pay a small flat fee to the MLS. If an agent does not represent you as a buyer, then you won’t have to pay a commission, and you will get to keep the full amount of the sale.