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Real Estate 101: What Exactly Is A Flat Fee MLS Listing

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Selling your home can be expensive. Closing costs can be up to ten percent of the sale price of your home, eating into your hard-earned profits. If you are on a tight budget or simply do not want to spend that much on real estate fees, consider a flat fee MLS listing instead.

What is the MLS?

The multi-listing service, or MLS, is the key to getting your home sold. It is a database of all homes for sale, sold, and off-market in your area. Typically, a local MLS covers an area about the size of a county, but sometimes the area is larger for rural parts of the country. When your home is listed on the MLS, all the agents authorized to work in that area can see it and show it to their clients. Likewise, aggregator websites pull their listings from the MLS to post on their websites for online clients to see.

Why is the MLS so important?

Unfortunately, if your home is not listed on the MLS, no one will see it. No one will know your home is for sale unless they physically drive by and see the sign. According to Inman, a leading news source for licensed agents, less than nine percent of homes sold due to a yard sign compared to 76 percent that found their home through an agent or an aggregator site online. 

What is a flat fee MLS listing?

A flat fee MLS listing is a way to get your home listed on the MLS while saving money. Instead of hiring a full-service listing agent that charges a three percent commission to add your home to the MLS, you can use a flat fee MLS listing service and pay much less. If you are selling a 350K home, for example, a three percent commission means that you are paying the listing agent alone over $10,000 in commission. Paying a flat fee instead is much more economical, especially when you need to net a certain amount from the sale of your house in order to purchase your next home. 

Are there other fees involved or is the flat fee the only charge?

A flat fee MLS listing only reduces what you pay to the listing agent on your property. It does not reduce your other closing costs or the amount you will have to pay the buyer's agent in commission, which is typically two and a half to three percent. The buyer's agent is traditionally paid by the seller out of their proceeds. If you decide to pay less than the standard amount commission, you would simply edit that number in the listing agreement with your flat fee MLS listing service. Please note, however, there is a chance that a buyer's agent may not show your house to their client if there is the chance that they are being paid less than the going rate. 

Before listing with a full-service real estate agent, research to see if a flat fee MLS listing like Crawford Realty Inc is right for you.