The multiple listing service (MLS) is a powerful tool. Nearly all property is listed on, and sold through, a local MLS. A licensed real estate broker is the only person allowed to submit a listing directly to the MLS. If you want to FSBO your own home and sell without an agent, but still want to be listed on the MLS, you need to find a local flat fee MLS entry only listing service.
A flat fee MLS entry only listing service is operated by a licensed real estate broker – remember, they’re the only person that can technically get your property listed on the MLS. The “flat fee” denotes that for a one-time flat fee, the licensed broker that operates the entry only MLS listing service will submit your listing on the MLS and not charge you anything further, no additional fees or commission percentage splits. The “entry only” denotes that the listing broker will only enter your property on the MLS, providing limited service to you as a seller after the property is listed on the MLS.
The official MLS that serves Massachusetts is MLS Property Information Network, Inc. Their rules and regulations stipulate that by filing a listing, “the Listing Broker holds a current, valid real estate broker’s license issued by the appropriate state real estate licensing authority, agency or board, or its functional equivalent, in the state in which the Listed Property is located.”
Why is the MLS so popular and powerful?
At the most basic level, the MLS is what it is because it’s the system of record for the real estate industry (namely residential property for sale and rent). Layered on top of that, in order to list a property for sale or rent in the MLS, you need to be a licensed real estate professional – so not just anybody can enter listings in the MLS.
With the MLS serving as the system of record, it’s the source from which property information is syndicated to literally thousands of websites across the Internet, including the real estate websites that get the most traffic (Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com). If a property makes it’s way into the MLS, it automatically gets syndicated, or transferred, to thousands of other websites. With approximately 90% of buyers searching for property online, the MLS is in essence the key to exposure, and ultimately getting a property in front of a buyer or renter.
Who do Buyers call, the FSBO or the listing company?
Your property is now in the MLS, who gets the calls, the FSBO or the listing company? Good question, it’s really a two part answer.
- As a licensed listing broker entering a flat fee entry only MLS listing into the MLS, there’s a data field that allows the listing broker to tell other licensed real estate processionals who have direct access to the MLS that they should contact the seller directly for showings and more information – so, the seller’s name and phone number are included in the MLS listing. However, that’s only the first part, and only applies to licensed agents who are able to access the MLS system of record directly.
- When a listing in the MLS is syndicated to the thousands of websites noted earlier, like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, only the listing brokerage’s contact information is syndicated, not the FSBO seller’s contact information. One subtle thing to note here is that by doing this, from the general public’s perspective, there’s no difference between a flat fee MLS entry only listing and a full commission listing.
At Entry Only New England (http://entryonlynewengland.com), we see that nearly all showing requests and calls are funneled directly to the seller, which tells me that most buyers are working with a licensed real estate agent, which aligns with studies that show most buyers work with an agent. When a buyer or buyer’s agent requests more information on a flat fee MLS entry only listing to the listing brokerage directly, the inquiry is passed onto the seller – there’s a good article on who’s contact information is listed on the MLS listing that describes all of this well.
Can you List on the MLS without a Realtor?
In summary, yes, you can. A FSBO who wants to sell their own home without an agent must work through a local flat fee MLS entry only listing service to get their property listed on the MLS for sale or rent. The licensed broker behind the flat fee MLS entry only listing service will enter the listing into the MLS, collect their one-time flat fee, and pass along all calls and inquiries regarding the property directly to the seller.