If you like to save money by doing things yourself, consider selling your home without a real estate agent. Real estate agents generally charge a commission of about 5 to 6%, so going it alone means you’ll be able to keep more of the sale price. However, this means taking on several additional responsibilities, including listing your home, marketing it, and negotiating with the buyer. If you’re not ready to take all these steps, you could have trouble finding the right buyers or run into other problems. Rather than hurting your home sale, opting for an MLS flat fee listing service allows you to avoid paying a commission fee without dragging down the sale. A flat fee listing service like HomeZu can help you promote your home effectively without going through a real estate agent.

What Is MLS (Multiple Listing Service)?

A multiple listing service (MLS) is a directory that real estate agents use to share listings of homes currently on the market. MLS directories are databases that contain real estate listings for specific regions. Usually, only licensed real estate agents can add listings to an MLS.

How Does the MLS Work?

Real estate agents often refer to “the MLS” as one central system, but the term refers to hundreds of independent, local services nationwide. In addition to what’s available on public listing sites, such as listing price, number of bedrooms, and square footage, MLS entries include exclusive information like showing times and seller contact information.

Why Having Flat Fee MLS Is Important

Usually, the MLS is only available for licensed real estate agents who pay regular dues. Traditionally, access to the MLS was a benefit only those selling through a real estate agent could take advantage of. Flat-fee MLS services allow property owners to get their listings into the MLS directory without a real estate agent. Listing on an MLS will put your property in front of interested buyers and their agents. These directories consolidate homes from multiple sources, so agents and brokers rely on them more than public listing websites. This visibility is crucial for connecting homeowners who want to sell their property without an agent to potential buyers. A flat fee listing service usually includes listings on general listing sites like Redfin and Zillow and the MLS listing.

What Are the Benefits of Using an MLS and Flat Fee Listing Services?

Promotion and marketing can be some of the most challenging parts of selling your home without a real estate agent. An MLS listing puts your property in front of buyers’ agents on the platform they trust. This step can be valuable during the marketing stage of your sale. Making your listing visible to interested agents means these agents can connect you with the right buyer.

The two major reasons homeowners generally opt not to work with a real estate agent are financial savings and to have more control over the process. A real estate agent’s commission can be substantial, and since it’s a percentage of the sale price, it increases with the value of your property. While calculating your cost savings, remember that you may need to pay a commission to the buyers’ agent. If an agent brings you a buyer, you can expect to pay between 2.5% and 3%.

Some homeowners choose to sell independently to maintain more control over the process. If you have a clear idea of your desired listing price or ideal offer, avoiding a real estate agent will prevent pressure to compromise on those numbers.

Flat fee MLS listing services also work well to make the process as easy as possible for sellers while maintaining the flexibility of a sale by the owner (without compromising your home’s presence within MLS). This approach entails paying a modest flat fee, which covers listing in your local MLS and on one hundred other websites like Trulia and Zillow for six months.

Please note: you won’t pay any commission fees unless your buyer also doesn’t use an agent. You can schedule showings yourself or use a lockbox to skip in-person meetings. Consider a flat fee MLS listing service as an alternative solution — these services can help sellers save thousands on commission fees while also preserving control over when potential buyers come for showings and will handle the entire negotiation process independently. If you have the knowledge and confidence to manage this, a sale by the owner can be a great way to save money.



Ellie Chen

Ellie Chen is a graduate of New York University with a Master’s in Real Estate who has been an expert in property market trends and real estate investment for over 12 years. Her previous roles include working in real estate brokerage and as a property analyst. She has provided insights into real estate marketing, property management, and investment strategies. Her background includes roles in real estate development firms and as an agent. Beyond work, she is a great hiker and a volunteer in housing affordability programs. She is also a passionate urban cyclist and enjoys participating in community development initiatives.

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