When you decide to sell your home, there are multiple ways to do it. Most people simply entrust the task to an agent and do nothing much more than signing the deal. But this convenience comes at a substantial cost. The commission on a real estate deal is usually between 5% to 6%, which is split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. Now, if your home is worth $500,000 the commission can be as much a $35,000 – the median wage in the US. That’s a massive amount of money, and you could easily find a ton of uses for it. To retain this money, you need to bypass both the seller’s and buyer’s agents and close a deal. While avoiding the latter is not completely in your control, the decision regarding the seller’s agent is your’s alone.
So, can you actually sell your home without the help of an agent? And how effective will your efforts be? Continue reading, and find out.
What is a Flat Fee MLS Listing?
A flat fee MLS is how you can get listed on the MLS, without paying a fat commission to a real estate agent or broker. But, first things first. What is MLS? Multiple Listing Services is an independent website that lists all the homes for sale in the country. The MLS does not support or favor any agent, nor does it receive a commission when a sale takes place. It only charges a fee. Getting listed on MLS gives your home wide visibility, and it is the best way to let buyers know that your home is up for sale. There also are multiple MLS’. Some cater to specific areas, types of homes, etc. Once on the MLS, your home will also be listed on all the relevant listings. It will also feature on websites like Realtor.com and Zillow.
But, you can’t list your home on the MLS by yourself. You need to get it done by a licensed real estate agent. The agent will list the house in lieu of a commission when the house is sold or for a flat fee, also called a flat fee MLS listing. Here’s an infographic by isoldmyhouse, in case you want a more comprehensive explanation.
Who are Flat-Fee MLS Services Good For?
Flat Fee MLS services are ideally suited for people who would like to save money. But then, that includes everybody! So let’s say that it is best suited for people who also have the time and energy to spare. Since there isn’t any real estate professional involved, you have to do everything. Right from the description and photographs on the listing pages, to the negotiations and sale deeds, you’re running the show. If you don’t want to pay a commission-based realtor but still want help, you can also hire a full service realtor that offers a flat rate to sell houses.
Advantages of Selling Homes with Flat-Fee Listings
When you use a flat fee MLS, your home is considered as an FSBO (For Sale By Owner). So, besides the obvious commission savings, your home becomes a magnet for those looking to save money too. That’s because buyers know that an FSBO seller is going to be more open to negotiation. Why wouldn’t you agree to a $5,000 reduction, if you’re going to be saving $25,000 on commissions? In addition, people often feel more comfortable dealing with the seller, rather than a business-like agent. And when you do save that commission money, here are some tips on how you can budget it better.
Disadvantages of Selling Homes with Flat-Fee Listings
Real estate agents have spent decades in the field, and have dealt with hundreds, if not thousands of homes. It is replacing this expertise that is your biggest challenge. That said, selling a home is no rocket science. There are a wide variety of resources out there, which, combined with common sense and a keenness to learn should see you rise to the occasion. One workaround is to buy additional services along with the listing if required. For example, showings could be added to the flat fee MLS deal. Or, perhaps, legal services.
Flat Fee MLS Vs Flat Fee Realtor
So, you don’t want to pay a massive commission. Yet, you want a realtor to see the process through. What do you do? Go for a flat fee realtor. Such realtors work on a fee, not commissions. They also work on volumes. By closing multiple deals, they make up in earnings what they lose out on in commissions. Of course, it will cost you more than a flat fee MLS. But, it will get a lot of expertise on your side. If you’re planning to bundle quite a few services along with the flat fee listing, this is an option you could consider.
How Much Does it Cost to Use a Flat Fee MLS Service?
A flat fee MLS package can be bought from just $99 onwards. But, beware of sites providing a below-par experience. Always check on the finer details of the deal – the sites they’ll list your house on, the number of photos you can upload, etc.
A good online reputation is also a must, like at the Better Business Bureau. A flat fee listing is the best way to get your home sold and pocket the proceeds at the same time. Sure, using an agent is convenient. But, by thinking like a hustler, and putting in some effort, and you’ll make a handsome profit. And if you find hustling fun, here some more options to check out. Will you opt for a flat fee MLS? Tell us in the comments below.