For years, highly knowledgeable home sellers, such as commercial real estate agents, real estate attorneys, and former real estate agents, have contacted their friends in the residential real estate business and asked them to cut a deal. They say, “Just put me on the Multiple Listing Service (then it might be called Multi-Listing) for a small fee and I’ll do all the work.” Sometimes, if the residential real estate agent pays in full, the client is forced to keep the arrangement confidential. Although the home seller had no way to directly list their property on the MLS, they were able to find it through their realtor friend. However, the realtors do not offer such things to the public.
Since there has been so much demand for this type of service in recent years, real estate agents have realized that focusing solely on this area can be a profitable business. Flat-fee real estate brokers have effectively sold their services by charging an initial listing fee and offering customer-payable upgrades such as signs, lockers, and virtual tours. These money saving programs have become so popular for one reason, they work. Many sellers save thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in foreclosure.
Homeowners need to understand what an “by owner” listing is on the MLS. First, the listing is not technically “by owner,” because any time you list with a broker, even a flat broker, your property is no longer considered for sale by owner or FSBO. They are treated like any other listed property on the MLS. Buyer’s agents find the property through their normal search process and show the property knowing that a certain level of compensation will be paid by the seller when their buyer buys the property. The concept of “by the owner” is useful, but with the understanding that the owner controls their own list. You can decide how showings are run, when open houses are held, and how you want to negotiate. For some sellers, it’s just a matter of managing their listing for a paid MLS listing. The money you save is an added bonus. You can value the property as you see it. They either hold on to a certain price or drop in price to make the sale happen. Because money is kept in commissions, they often end up with more money in their pockets. Some sellers can answer all buyer and realtor phone calls on their cell phones instead of worrying about unanswered calls.
Listing on the MLS by owner, flat fee listing, flat fee MLS, or whatever the term is, has grown over the past few years and continues to grow even in a down market. Regardless of market conditions, maintaining one’s equity is important to homeowners. After all, when a realtor sells their property, they usually do it themselves, pay the buyer’s agent a commission on the MLS (usually 2.5 or 3%) and save thousands in the process. Homeowners want to list their properties in a similar fashion, and thankfully, they now have an option.