Home sellers today have multiple options for listing their homes for sale and in the current economy, many are opting to go the route of ‘For Sale by Owner’, more commonly coined as ‘FSBO.’ While employing the FSBO sales method may be cost-efficient, there are also limitations that one does not face when employing a real estate broker.
One such limitation for FSBO sellers is the inability to use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) directly. The MLS replaces an earlier system wherein each real estate company had its own ‘internal inventory.’ With the MLS, real estate agencies post their inventories in one central database for the geographical area, which is open to the public for viewing. Sellers employed “selling agents” to place their property on the MLS for a commission on the sale price, often between four to seven percent, paid to the selling agent at closing.
Increasingly, more brokers are offering flat fee MLS listings to FSBO’s and any others interested in the service. With a flat fee MLS listing, a broker provides the service of placing information about a property into the MLS system for a one-time low fee.
This service has a positive effect for all parties, buyers, sellers and real estate agents. From the buyers’ standpoint, the MLS provides a more straightforward way to look at a range of properties. Buyers also know that since FSBO sellers operate without an agent, there will be one less cut taken out of the sale price. From the sellers’ side, it is important to utilize the MLS in the sale of their real estate and the MLS flat fee listing service is the most economical method to sell a real estate property. For the broker, while the MLS flat fee listing service decreases the revenue stream under the selling agent method of yore, the broker receives payment immediately at the time of service. It is a win-win method.
The idea of flat fee MLS listings is also part of a greater movement where Web access to information is reshaping conventional business methods. Traditional systems that operated on a more closed information pattern are yielding to more flexible purchasing strategies for large investments like cars and homes.
Flat fee MLS listings are one of the most economical and efficient methods for sellers to get information about their real estate on the market and into the public eye. They are a low fixed cost alternative to high buyer and seller agent commission fees.