Can you List on the MLS without a Realtor?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

South End Boston Entry Only MLS Listings

2013 continues to see a rejuvenation of the real estate market, and Boston’s South End has seen condos sell for record prices and move off the market and under agreement quickly. One of the South End’s most recent condos to go under agreement is a duplex listed for sale by owner using an entry only MLS listing.

The owner of 85 Dartmouth Street #1 Boston, MA 02116 listed their South End duplex for $970,000 ($669 per square foot) using a flat fee Boston entry only MLS listing from Entry Only New England. Why are condo owners in Boston trying to list and sell their own home using the MLS instead of paying a listing broker who charges a full commission?

“Our all digital platform allows Massachusetts property owners to quickly and easily list their property for sale or rent in the official Massachusetts MLS system, which is syndicated to thousands of websites and buyers, for a one-time flat fee. We allow a FSBO to eliminate the listing broker commission when selling their own home, which can translate into literally thousands of dollars in savings on real estate agent commissions,” says Dean Charles, spokesperson for Entry Only New England.

85 Dartmouth Street #1 went under agreement in just nine (9) days, and if the FSBO seller gets their list price, they’ll save nearly $24,000 in real estate agent commission.

Boston Entry Only MLS Listing - 85 Dartmouth Street #1 in the South End of Boston

Boston Entry Only MLS

Entry only MLS listings across Massachusetts are at record levels.  2013 stands to be a banner year for the popularity of flat fee MLS listings, and the Massachusetts real estate market, as well as that of Boston, seem poised for additional growth in FSBOs selling their own homes without a Realtor.

The number of Boston entry only MLS listings is on the rise.  While it does not look like the number of sold listings in 2013 will outweigh records seen in 2010, the Boston market specifically is poised to see year on year growth in flat fee MLS listings being sold across all property types, including single family homes, condominiums, multi family, and residential rentals.

FSBOs Beat Realtors Says Massachusetts MLS Data

A recent FSBO versus Realtor study involving the analysis of home sales in Plymouth, MA 02360 shows that For Sale by Owners (FSBOs) using flat fee MLS entry only listings on average sold their homes both faster, and at a price closer to the original asking price, than real estate agents.

Flat Fee MLS in Plymouth MA

The Plymouth MA MLS data established that it takes, on average, 56% longer to sell a home with a traditional real estate agent charging a full commission than as a FSBO with an MLS entry only listing.

And separately, entry only MLS listings in Plymouth achieve both a higher sale price to original asking price ratio, as well as, a higher sale price to listing price ratio.

How to FSBO Plymouth Massachusetts

With the increasing popularity of flat fee entry only MLS listings, and the success in terms of days on market and sales to listing price ratios of this home listing technique against the status quo of a traditional listing broker approach, Massachusetts homeowners are evaluating how to FSBO their own home as an alternative to hiring a traditional agent to list their home for sale (at a full commission).

Get Started Now - Flat Fee Entry Only MLS Listing

How to FSBO Boston Massachusetts

With the potential to save thousands of dollars in real estate commissions, Boston and Massachusetts property owners are beginning to investigate how to sell by owner. With a for sale by owner (FSBO) approach to selling, Massachusetts homeowners are listing their own homes in the MLS without a Realtor and are eliminating at least half of Boston real estate agent commission fees – more and more sellers are learning how to FSBO Boston Massachusetts!

Selling Your Massachusetts FSBO Tips

Home sellers interested in selling a Massachusetts home without a Realtor must follow a checklist, including:

  • For Sale by Owner preparation
  • List, market, and promote your home like a pro
  • Access and understand Massachusetts real estate paperwork
  • Close your Massachusetts FSBO transaction

Massachusetts Flat Fee MLS for FSBOs

The internet enabled multiple listing service (MLS) is the cornerstone of any Massachusetts FSBO. When selling a home without a Realtor, property exposure is key, and the best way to drive FSBO exposure is via a listing in the MLS. A reputable and technologically advanced Massachusetts flat fee MLS listing service can list a FSBO in the MLS for a one-time flat fee.

Here’s an example of the costs involved in listing a home with a flat fee MLS listing service like Entry Only New England versus selling with a traditional real estate listing broker.

This real life example demonstrates a $395,000 home listed for sale with EntryOnlyNewEngland.com versus listing that same home with a traditional real estate brokerage.

Assume that for the entry only listing, you have decided to compensate a Buyer’s Agent (i.e. a licensed real estate agent representing the buyer of your home) 2.5%, and assume that for the traditional real estate brokerage listing you are being charged a 5% commission that the listing brokerage will split in half between themselves and the brokerage representing the buyer.

FSBO Massachusetts Flat Fee MLS Entry Only Listing Example

How to Sell Boston by Owner

In the example above with a $395,000 home, a Massachusetts FSBO would gain an additional $9,580 by selling their home without a Realtor using an entry only listing with EntryOnlyNewEngland.com versus listing for sale with a traditional real estate brokerage.

Internet Enabled MLS Creates Flat Fee MLS Listing Success

We’re exploring a controversial topic, specifically, with real estate market efficiency in mind, are Seller Agents really needed in your real estate sale?

You own a home. You want to sell it. You don’t want to pay a traditional real estate brokerage 5% or 6% to do it. Why not? To put it succinctly, at its most basic level, you believe the exposure provided by the combination of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the Internet is sufficient to attract a qualified buyer.

As a seller in a real estate transaction, the commission to which you agree compensates two (2) parties, the Seller’s Agent that you personally hire to market and sell your property, and separately, the agent representing the buyer you hope to attract. Given the Internet enabled MLS, it’s argued that the only party you need to compensate is the Buyer’s Agent. The power of exposure given to you by your property’s inclusion in the MLS and the subsequent propagation of that property information across the Internet will generate the exposure, demand, and qualified buyer you need. For all practical purposes, that service is not worth the 2% – 3% that you would pay a Seller’s Agent to accomplish those tasks.

Getting Your Property Into MLS

Thus, your main concern should now be how to get your property into the MLS in the most efficient way possible, so that this Internet enabled MLS does its job in exposing your property to the masses. It’s your confidence in the ubiquitous availability of information in today’s society and the deeply rooted desire of buyers to seek out information that allows you to even consider going it on your own as a for sale by owner (FSBO) type, foregoing a Seller’s Agent, and also foregoing the 2% or 3% that you would typically pay them…to expose your property.

What you’re starting to realize is, if your property is in the MLS, it will be exposed.

Across the US, this exposure and the current dynamics of the residential real estate market in general are based on the guise of a local MLS system. That’s the baseline, and the only practical and comprehensive entry point. Real estate agents still hold the keys (pun intended) to the MLS system, and you’ll need their involvement to get your property into the system, and to be exposed.

Who are the MLS innovators?

The dynamics have been changing, are changing, and are changed. A firm like RealDirect (http://www.realdirect.com) is changing things for New Yorkers with what they call Owner Managed Listings, and a platform like Entry Only New England (http://entryonlynewengland.com) is giving Massachusetts homeowners the opportunity to list on the MLS without a Realtor for a one-time fee with something called a flat fee MLS listing.

It’s going to be the discovery that there is a need for such services, that the consumer deserves that choice, along with the continued refinement and availability of such services that gets us started down the road toward a goal of what some might call real estate market efficiency.

Real Estate Market Efficiency

The US operates in an economic system or arena referred to as capitalism. While you’d be hard pressed to prove that it’s truly a free market system, nonetheless, its aim is market efficiency, a phrase that was first coined in the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) of Eugene Fama in 1970 whereby at any given time, prices fully reflect all available information on a particular stock and/or market.

In the context of the real estate market, we are heading toward market efficiency when alternative means are used to expose a property to buyers in such a way that the cost of doing so takes into consideration that a Seller’s Agent, and their corresponding commission, is not always necessary given the ubiquitous availability of property information, namely on the Internet. In addition to real estate commissions, there are other large barriers to overcome to achieve real estate market efficiency, yet, a flat fee MLS listing, or entry only MLS listing as it’s known in some locations, is a first step towards such an end.