The attraction of selling your home without a realtor is conspicuous — why pay 6% commission when you can get away at a fraction of the cost? With flat fee MLS, it’s possible to list your home at a flat rate.
And as daunting as it may sound, it can be a seamless process.
Flat Fee MLS companies charge a standard rate to list your home on multiple listing services (MLS), an online database of homes in your region. These companies provide an alternative to selling your home with a realtor or brokerage firm. You can list your home at a fixed charge through a Flat Fee MLS company and save money.
Let’s check out everything we need to know about Flat Fee MLS.
What is a Flat Fee MLS Listing Service?
A flat fee MLS listing service will list your home on the MLS at a flat rate. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is an online regional database of homes for sale. An MLS advertises these properties to local real estate agents. The MLS listings get syndicated to real estate websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin.
If you’re a home seller, getting your house on the MLS will increase its visibility. More exposure means attracting potential buyers.
Only licensed real estate agents and brokers can access and list on the MLS. That’s where flat fee MLS companies come into the picture. They provide listing services for a fixed charge, helping you save on the usual 2.5%-3% commission that a listing agent charges. In the flat fee MLS listing, you briefly describe your property, give 6-25 photos, and expect to retain this listing on the MLS for 3-12 months.
What Does a Flat Fee MLS Listing Service Offer?
Usually, you get listed on the MLS at a fixed one-time fee when you go for a flat fee MLS listing service. It’s the upgrades that can cost you a few hundred dollars.
MLS listing companies may offer services like marketing, staging help, open houses, showing requests and negotiation support, pricing advice, help with paperwork, and more. The pricing tiers of flat fee MLS companies are based on these criteria.
A flat fee MLS listing service provides an “Entry Only” service, unlike a “Full Service”, where a real estate agent works with you full-time to market your house, handle showing requests, and anything associated with the sale of your property. When you go on the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) route with a flat fee MLS listing, you’ll need to handle these things yourself.
Flat fee MLS companies also provide services with an “a la carte” menu for home sellers requiring additional assistance. Services for marketing with yard signs and professional photography or purchasing support for contracts, paperwork, and closing.
Why Use a Flat Fee MLS Service?
41% of buyers looked at properties online in their home-buying journey.
A flat fee MLS listing service will post your home on MLS so local buyers can find your property. The MLS is a powerful marketing tool because listings of the MLS are automatically populated on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc. Zillow has ~2M daily active users, so your home gets immense online exposure.
When you list your home using a flat fee MLS service, you save the 3% listing agent’s commission and only incur a fixed rate. And once your listing is on a real estate website, you amplify the chances of a successful home sale. Just at a flat fee, your house gets exposure, and you save thousands.
How Does Flat Fee MLS Listing Work?
Once you decide to list your home on the MLS through a Flat Fee MLS Listing service, you get to choose one of the packages offered by them.
After receiving all the required details of your house, the fixed fee listing agent will make your listing live on the flat fee MLS and other real estate websites.
Subsequently, the buyer agents can view your property on the MLS and recommend it to prospective buyers.
» How to List on MLS: All You Need to Know
Are Flat Fee MLS Listings Worth It?
The major benefit of flat fee MLS listing services is the savings. With a flat fee service, you pay only a few dollars, saving 3% listing agent’s commission. In the case of typical real estate companies, you’d incur a hefty 6% realtor commission.
Another benefit is control over the transaction. Pricing your house, marketing, running an open house, negotiations— you have full control and autonomy in home selling.
Getting your home sold quickly for top dollar is ultimately the goal. When you choose flat fee MLS listings, you save even more money.
Is Flat Fee MLS the Fastest Way to Get Listed?
Yes. With Flat Fee MLS Listings, because there is no third party involved. You do all the work directly.
When working with real estate agents, you have to coordinate everything and after your revised documents are ready, only then those revisions reflect in your MLS listing. This manual intervention can take up to 3+ days.
Flat Fee MLS sites like Houzeo have digitized the mandatory paperwork as detailed milestones in the home seller’s dashboard. The comprehensive listing process is seamless and 100% online, facilitating instantaneous changes whenever required.
Is Flat Fee MLS Legal?
Yes, listing your home on the MLS for flat fee is legal.
In fact, the DOJ of America recently updated their bulletin highlighting the benefits of Flat Fee MLS for For Sale By Owner.
However, as a seller you need to take care of all the mandatory disclosures and paperwork to avoid legal problems in the future.
» For Sale By Owner Contract: Check out our detailed guide on drawing up a For Sale By Owner Contract
How Much Does it Cost to List Your Home on MLS for a Flat Fee?
It depends on whether you’re working with a full-service or a Flat Fee MLS service like Houzeo.
A full-service agent generally charges you around 2%-3% commission. On the other hand, you can potentially save a lot by using a Flat Fee MLS listing service.
The following costs are associated with a Flat Fee MLS listing:
- Upfront Flat Fee: This is the amount you’ll pay to get listed. Typically it is between $300 to $500.
- Fees at Closing: Most Flat Fee MLS services will not charge any additional fee unless you are in a minimum service state.
- Hidden Charges: Many unscrupulous brokers will reel you in with a $99 listing. Beware – that’s just the start. You’ll be paying $500+ in hidden fees. A $50-yard sign will be sold you to for $135. Some brokers may demand extra charges at closing when it would be too late to do anything.
» Closing Costs for Sellers: Know How to Lower Your Closing Costs. Calculate the approximate seller’s closing costs with Houzeo’s advanced calculator.
How does Flat Fee MLS work in minimum service states?
In minimum service states, Flat Fee Listing providers are legally bound to offer minimum level of service to clients. If you belong to one of these states, you can expect to pay more for a flat fee MLS provider than you would in states without minimum service laws.
The services provided vary in each state.
Flat Fee MLS vs. Full Service Agents
What are the best flat fee MLS listing services in America?
Houzeo is an online real estate platform that allows for sale by owners to list their homes for a flat fee. Home sellers can list their property with Houzeo for as little as $349. They also provide advanced tools that enable a modern home seller to list quickly and sell their home with ease. Your listing gets syndicated to Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and hundreds of other websites.
Houzeo offers 4 Flat Fee MLS packages. Depending on the location and price, each package includes unique services such as social media exposure, documentation assistance, professional photography and many more. Previously, home sellers had to spend hours or days filling out millions of forms! Houzeo’s automated tools have reduced the process’s time, effort, and cost
» Houzeo Reviews: Houzeo is 100% online. You can finish listing formalities in less than 60 mins
Beycome has the 2nd best technology, after Houzeo. It also has decent reviews, so you know that their customer service is good. If you are looking for affordable deals, Beycome is a good option. Their basic flat fee MLS option is a great buy at $99, but it’s only available in eight states. But, do remember since it is a DIY real estate service, it might be difficult for first-time sellers.
Beycome’s prices are reasonable, and their technology is useful. But they have a limited coverage. The $99 package requires a mandatory $25 cancelation fee. The virtual full-service package has a 1% commission which adds up your expenses.
» beycome Reviews: Read our in-depth review on beycome.
Homecoin is a tech-centric, Flat-Fee MLS platform registered in San Diego, California and now offers its services in 9 other states. They provide affordable MLS access to for sale by owner home sellers. You can list your home on the local MLS and websites such as Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, and Realtor.com within 24 hours for as little as $95.
However, do not let the too-good-to-be-true $95 upfront fee sway you. Compared to most Flat-Fee MLS services, Homecoin is significantly overpriced. For example, seller disclosures, which are mandatory in the state of California and other states, are not included in the MLS listing package. They are an additional $450 to $2,999. Therefore most sellers will pay several times more than $95 to sell their home with Homecoin.
» Homecoin Reviews: Is the $95 listing fee too good to be true?
Why Choose Houzeo?
Houzeo is by far the best MLS listing service for the following reasons.
- Maximum Exposure: Houzeo’s flat-fee service gets your property automatically syndicated to different national portals/brokerages such as Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, Redfin, and hundreds more.
- Fast Listing: With Houzeo, you can expect your listing to be active in just 2 business days. In the states of North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, listings get activated within 24 hours.
- Save on Commissions and Expenses: With Houzeo, you only pay a flat fee to get listed in the local MLS. There are no hidden costs at closing. Houzeo’s affordable listing plans are packed with tools and needed services to provide you with the best results.
- 100% Online and Automated Listing Experience: Our IntelliList Listing Management System is a user-friendly feature that helps you manage and update your listing. You can request changes online. The newly launched “counter-offer” feature allows home sellers to directly make a counteroffer on the offers received on their listed home.
- 5 Star Reviews: Our Google and Trustpilot reviews got 4.9 stars overall. More than 96% of home sellers reviewed us as “Excellent”.
- Houzeo Mobile App: Houzeo allows you to check your listing, assess offers, and search for homes on sale (for buyers), all of this right from your smartphone. You can review and compare offers on your home even when you are on the go!
💸 List on the Most Advanced MLS Platform Now!
With Houzeo you get all the benefits of the MLS, but with No Listing Agent Commission.
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Flat Fee MLS Listing Services Near Me
Alternatives to Flat Fee MLS Companies
We talked about some of the best flat fee companies in America. But it should be noted that some companies are quite notorious for marketing gimmicks and predatory practices.
An example could be that they would claim to allow free listing on the MLS but then charge you a percentage at the time of closing. Some Flat Fee MLS companies might also slap some hidden charges on you and make you pay thousands of dollars when you only expected to pay a small amount.
The companies that we mentioned above are all reliable and trusted real estate brands among home sellers. However, if you still have unresolved concerns about flat fee MLS companies in America, we suggest you go with these options:
Option 1: Sell with Discount Real Estate Brokers
- Full-Service at a Discount: Discount Brokers are licensed individuals or companies that help you sell your home at a low commission or a flat rate. Most discount realtors charge a single fee for the entire sale.
- Great Exposure: Most discount brokers have the tools to provide excellent exposure to home sellers. They offer social media exposure, a personalized website, and other features despite offering their services at a discount.
- Advanced Tech: Home sellers can list and sell their houses from the comfort of their homes with a click of a button. Some of the low commission real estate agents provide advanced seller dashboards, showings management, and much more.
Sell your home with the top discount realtors in America. These are our recommendations:
|Listing Spark||0.5% Commission|
|Ideal Agent||2% Commission|
⚡ Discount Real Estate Brokers: Check out our rankings of America’s Best Discount Real Estate Brokers
Option 2: Sell as For Sale By Owner
- Quick & Smooth Sale: 77% of the FSBO sellers sold their houses in 2 weeks. Advanced FSBO websites like Houzeo help home sellers to find their buyers fast and make a successful sale.
- Complete Control Over the Process: The best part about doing FSBO is the freedom to make decisions about your home sale without the intervention of a real estate agent.
- Save Thousands on Commissions: Since there is no listing agent involved, you end up saving thousands of dollars on the seller agent commission which would have been impossible otherwise.
⚡ For Sale By Owner Websites: Check out our rankings of the best For Sale By Owner Websites in America.
Option 3: Sell to “We Buy Houses for Cash” Companies
- Fair Market Value: Home sellers get 50% – 70% of the property’s market value for their houses be it a distressed property or not.
- Save on Repairs: When selling a home for cash, you can skip on repairs to reduce your expenses. You can also try selling a house as is to save money and time.
- Fast Closing Process: Home sellers have lesser paperwork. Also, no home inspectors are involved. As such fewer formalities speed up the closing process significantly making it a quick transaction.
⚡ Companies that Buy Houses for Cash : Check out to Find the Best Cash Company in America!
Option 4: Sell to iBuyers
iBuyers are companies that will buy your home for cash outright. Their cash offers have no financing or appraisal contingencies. The price is decided with the help of their proprietary algorithm, recent real estate data, and their in-house experts. An iBuyer can offer and close the deal within 24 hours. However, there are certain pitfalls when dealing with an iBuyer.
- Their offer price is many a times way lower than the actual market price
- Their offer price is often non-negotiable
- They charge steep service fees – generally 5%-14% of the purchase price
Hence, iBuyers are only recommended if you want a quick sale rather than save your money.
⚡ iBuyer Reviews: We’ve rated the best iBuyers in America!
Option 5: Sell with Full-Service Real Estate Agents
If a home seller wishes to sell with a real estate agent, then they can opt for full-service Realtors who can help them to list and sell their property without any hassle. The benefits of selling your home with a full-service agent are:
- Help at Every Step: Home sellers can enjoy a smooth and stress-free sale because the REALTOR will take care of the complex steps. They will also help you find the best buyer for your property.
- Experienced Agents: Real estate brokers with years of experience can provide great market insights to sell your home fast. Home sellers can immensely benefit if they work with experienced and qualified full-service agents.
- Save with Full-Service Agents: Some of these agents offer their services at a flat rate or low commission. This allows home sellers to save on listing commission while selling their property.
» Realtors in the U.S: Sell your house with the top REALTORS in America!
Tips to Improve Your Flat Fee Listing
With a flat rate MLS “entry-only” listing, you are essentially your own agent.
Here are some tips to help you in your listing process.
Resources for Selling Your Home
Selling your house involves various steps like pricing, marketing, negotiating, paperwork, etc. Check out our comprehensive guide for selling your house.
Seller’s Disclosure Requirements in America
A seller disclosure form is a standard checklist form mentioning material defects and features of the property. Read our guide to know your disclosure obligations in America.
12 Best For Sale By Owner Websites in 2022
With a For Sale By Owner MLS listing website, you can access the MLS. When you choose to list on the MLS by owner, you only pay a small upfront fee instead of paying the full listing agent commission.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Top Flat Fee MLS Listing Services in the US?
Houzeo is the top Flat FEE MLS Listing Service in the U.S. It offers the best combination of maximum savings, advanced technology, 5-star customer support, and listing exposure.
Do I Need to Offer a 2.5% Buyer Agent Commission?
Technically, no. But I would. Almost 90% of homes in the U.S. sell with a buyer agent involved. To get top dollar for your property, you want to target these agents. So we suggest offering a competitive buyer agent commission. You're saving the 2.5% commission on the listing agent side going the Flat-Fee MLS route anyway. Chances are, offering a competitive buyer agent commission will get you strong offers.
Are Flat Fee Realtors Good?
Some home sellers are skeptical about flat-fee agents because they work for such a low price but a Flat Fee MLS listing service like Houzeo stands out with its excellent services, maximum savings, and praiseworthy customer support.
Can you list on MLS without a real estate agent?
No, only licensed real estate agents have access to the MLS, and that’s why you cannot get on the MLS without a licensed realtor.
Will Agents Contact Me with a Flat Fee MLS Listing?
Yes. Your contact information will be included in the “Showing Instructions” section of your MLS listing. Buyer’s agents will contact you directly if they want to show your home. They may also want you to sign a commission agreement before showing your home to their buyer.
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