Sometimes FSBO's need to “think outside the box” and use By owner MLS…

Many sellers throughout the US are beginning to pick up on what's been the best known secret in Florida for years: flat fee MLS listing. Florida continues to be the most advanced flat fee listing state and now by owners throughout the US are saving thousands in commissions listing flat fee on the MLS. It's hard for many home sellers to believe because it does seem too good to be true. But the beauty is, it is true and it does work.

For those who have heard the term flat fee MLS listing but need a little more background, I will explain how it works…

A flat fee listing is somewhere between a For Sale By Owner listing and a traditional full service listing through a real estate agent. Some would say it is a loophole in the sense that FSBOs are given the ability to self-represent while still exploiting the exposure of the MLS. That loophole is really complements of a US Department of Justice lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors® over anti-trust violations. However, technically, a flat fee listing seller does have a listing agent. It's just that their agent charged them an up-front flat fee as opposed to a commission percentage at the close. Most flat fee MLS listing brokers simply input the property to the MLS. However, some of the more sophisticated companies offer more service such as contract representation or have varying levels of service. (Ex. This also depends on the state laws. Some states require that agents provide more service than others such as Missouri.

Why Flat Fee Listing is the like having the best of both worlds…

When a person engages in a flat fee MLS listing, the property is placed on the same MLS that is used by Realtors®. The Multiple Listing Service is a database that Realtors® have exclusive access to. They list and search properties within their own local MLS. By engaging a flat fee listing company to list your home in the MLS, you are leveraging the MLS the same way that a seller would who has agreed to pay a Realtor® 6 or 7%. But in your case, you can offer commission only to the buyer's agent side, thus saving about ½ of the commission. You property gets the superior Internet exposure, including an ad on which only displays properties listed in the MLS.

Ready for the best part?

In many states such as Florida, North Carolina and Georgia, if you sell the property to an unrepresented buyer (meaning one without a Realtor®), you owe zero commission! That's right. Nada. You have only come out of pocket whatever you paid for the flat fee listing itself with the MLS company.

As our economy changes and the real estate business evolves, we believe flat fee MLS listing will become more and more common. Sellers (and buyers) are becoming increasingly more Internet savvy and oftentimes are more real estate savvy than their own neighborhood Realtors®. It just makes sense that these self-serve real estate listing methods will gain in popularity.

For more info about how to sell a home via flat fee listing, read about our 4 flat fee MLS listing plans.