Flat fee MLS services are a relatively new phenomenon in the world of real estate—and as you might expect from a freshman concept, they’re being received with equal parts skepticism and excitement.
But they aren’t an idea that needs to be veiled in mysticism. Flat fee MLS services aren’t that complex, but they also aren’t the definitive choice for selling a home. Instead, they’re a promising new solution that opens up new options for people trying to sell their homes. Here’s all you need to know to find out if an MLS is right for you.
What is a Flat Fee MLS?
For many people, the idea of selling a home without an agent was largely unthinkable. Largely that came down to the fact that agents and realtors served as gatekeepers to the larger market. But you don’t necessarily need to enlist the full services of a realtor to be able to list your home.
While they may serve as gatekeepers, many agents offer a flat fee to use their access to an MLS, or multiple listing service. An MLS will spread your listing across all of the major directories as well as on prominent sites like Trulia and Zillow.
Do You Need to Rely on an Agent?
While agents often work out flat fee relationships with clients, there are other platforms that offer similar services without getting an agent involved. And since they’re designed explicitly to tear down the wall between buyer and seller, they tend to offer some of the best deals in the business.
Sites like HomeLister are becoming promising opportunities for sellers because they pair low flat rate MLS listings with an expansive suite of essential services for anyone selling their own home.
What Kind of Services Do MLS Platforms Offer?
That can vary wildly depending on the platform, especially considering that this is a relatively new phenomenon. That means you should be performing due diligence to make sure that you’re getting the most for your money.
Selling a home on your own can be difficult, and you can quickly lose money on your transaction if you aren’t smart with it. Paying a little extra for a more thorough service is well worth the investment for many inexperienced sellers.
In most instances, the services you can expect are similar to the sorts of services that you’d get by enlisting the services of a real estate agent. That includes lockboxes for your home and platforms for staging virtual tours; but if you know where to look, you can find tools that can help you through the whole sales process. From managing negotiations with multiple potential buyers to making sure your paperwork is properly filled out, you can find everything from financial to legal advice on many of these sites.
Is There an Upfront Cost?
One of the best things about going with a flat rate MLS is that you often don’t have to pay a dime until you’ve closed on your home. While the actual terms may vary from company to company, there are plenty that offer their services free of charge and then just take a pre-established flat rate commission once the house has actually sold.
Just be sure that you read the fine print carefully. Depending on the value of your home, there are instances where a percentage commission might actually be less than the flat rate.
Flat fee MLS services aren’t a miracle that’s going to rewrite the real estate industry, but it does offer hope to plenty of prospective sellers. At the very least, you should take the time to evaluate whether or not it’s a good fit for you.