Florida Flat Fee MLS Listing Service - Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Florida Flat Fee MLS Listing?
You may have heard real estate investors or other experienced sellers talking about listing on the MLS for sale by owner in Florida. This can be done with a Florida flat fee MLS listing service. Instead of hiring a real estate agent to list your property on the MLS, you can list your house on the MLS in Florida for a flat fee. This gives your property the exposure it needs to sell while saving you thousands on real estate commission.
What is the MLS?
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a comprehensive online database of real estate listings and sold property data that is accessible by real estate agents, real estate appraisers, and other qualified individuals. The MLS is also a common source of data for 3rd party websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Homes.com. There are actually many different MLS that cover different areas - some are completely independent and others are run by Realtor associations. Contact us today about listing on the MLS for sale by owner in Florida.
How do I know which MLS to list my property on?
Leave that up to us! We know exactly which areas each MLS covers. As long as your property is located in our coverage area, we’ll make sure it is listed on the correct, local MLS. We’ll even list your property on more than one MLS if your property is located in a crossover area - at no extra charge!
Why does my property need to be listed on the MLS in Florida?
The MLS is the single greatest tool for giving your property the exposure it needs to sell. The majority of potential buyers in your market are working with real estate agents to find property, and these agents use the MLS almost exclusively to search for property that meets their buyer's criteria. By utilizing a Florida flat fee MLS listing service, you can ensure your property is put directly in front of those agents and their buyers.
Your listing will also by syndicated to hundreds of public websites like Realtor.com, Zillow.com, etc. When you make a change on the MLS, all of those websites will automatically update. This saves you hours of time it would take to manage and update a listing on those websites by hand.
Do real estate agents avoid flat fee MLS listings in Florida?
This is a common myth that has been perpetuated by the some in the real estate industry. As long as a competitive commission is offered, buyers' agents are just as happy to sell a listing offered by a Florida flat fee MLS listing service as they are to sell a traditional full-service listing. From their perspective, there is very little difference between the two. We list hundreds of properties every year, and we have never heard of a case where an agent has boycotted a flat fee listing.
Do I have to offer a commission to buyers' agents?
Yes, a commission must be offered when listing on the MLS for sale by owner in Florida. Buyers' agents are compensated by the commission offered on the MLS listing and they generally do not work for free! Any amount of commission can be offered, although the most typical is 3% in the areas we cover. We recommend offering at least 2.5% to ensure your listing is competitive.
How long will it take for my house to sell?
It depends on a lot of different factors. If your house is priced right, needs no repairs, and is located in a desirable area you could start receiving offers within the first week it's listed, but sometimes it takes longer. As a general rule, we recommend gradual price reductions if your house is not selling. You should be getting at least 2-3 showings per week if your house is priced right.
What if I have a question during the sale process? Will you be available to help?
Absolutely! There is no extra charge for this. You shouldn't have to pay extra to ask your real estate broker a question, even if it is a flat fee MLS listing. The best way to ask a question is via email and most questions are answered the same business day.
Do you offer special pricing for investors and house flippers?
Yes! Repeat customers pay only $150 to list their properties.
Can you help me price my property? Do you provide CMA’s?
We do not provide CMA's or advice on pricing. In order to provide that information accurately, we would need to know your local market extremely well, and that's just not possible with our large coverage area.
Do you provide a yard sign or lockbox?
We don't provide yard signs. We've found they do not work as well as they used to with everything being online nowadays. Most of the calls you get are from tire kickers and nosey neighbors. However, some sellers still want a sign and you're free to use your own FSBO signage.
A lockbox is a good idea, even for owner-occupied properties. You can pick one up at Lowe's or Home Depot for cheaper than what we would be able to provide it to you for. Our focus is on getting your house on the MLS and providing great service, not selling lockboxes and signs.
Do you charge a fee at closing?
Unlike some other flat fee MLS companies, we do not charge a fee at closing. You pay us a flat fee upfront and nothing more. Beware of companies that charge an unbelievably low fee upfront.
Will my contact information be displayed on the MLS listing? What about 3rd party sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com?
Most MLS will only allow seller contact information to be put in the "Realtor Only" section of the MLS listing. This information will be viewable by licensed agents on the MLS but is not part of the public information that is syndicated to 3rd party sites like Zillow. These sites will typically show the contact information for List Now Realty.
We always put the seller's contact information in the "Realtor Only" section of the MLS listing (e.g. Call Bob Smith for showings at...) so that real estate agents know to call you for showings and information instead of us. If we receive an email from an interested buyer through a 3rd party site, we will forward the email to the seller for follow-up. We also have an answering service that takes calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide callers with the seller's contact information.
I want to list my property on the MLS, but I don’t want the listing to be syndicated to public websites like Zillow. Is this possible?
It depends. Some MLS have this option and some do not. We always recommend having your listing syndicated everywhere for maximum exposure. However, if you want to limit syndiation we’d be happy to look into it for you on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for more information.
Are the photos I took with my phone good enough for the listing?
Most photos that were taken with a cell phone or point and shoot camera are mediocre at best. We recommend that you have a professional real estate photographer take photos of your property prior to listing. This usually only costs $200-$300 and it makes a huge difference. Everyone is shopping for homes online these days, so photos are everything. A couple hundred bucks is a small price to pay to ensure your property is represented at it’s best.
What size photos should I upload for my listing?
We recommend a minimum of 2,000px per side. This is usually large enough to be displayed correctly across the internet while still having a manageable file size.
Why can’t I use photos I found on the internet or from a previous listing?
Almost every MLS now has a rule that prohibits using photos that you did not take or do not have permission to use. This is because it is illegal and violates copyright laws. Since the MLS is displaying the photos, they are liable to ensure the photos were not used without permission. This includes photos from previous listings, screenshots from Google Maps, screenshots of satellite imagery, and photos of amenities taken from your HOA’s website. If you did not personally take the photo, you must provide written permission from the owner of the photo.
What defects do I have to disclose on a Florida Flat Fee MLS Listing?
Defects that are not readily observable such as Chinese drywall, sinkhole activity, leaky roofs, and pest problems are considered material defects and MUST be disclosed to the buyer, however, there is no requirement or MLS rule that says these disclosures must be made on the MLS. We recommend putting the disclosures in writing and having the buyer sign off on them. This will be evidence that you did your part in making the disclosures required by law. Please contact us for copies of these disclosure forms at no charge.
What buzzwords should I use in the description/public remarks for my Flat Fee MLS Listing?
According to a 2012 study by Point2 Homes, the following top 10 buzzwords were the most frequently used in the real estate industry:
- Hardwood floors
- Stainless steel appliance
- Your dream home
- Great room
- Priced to sell
- Must see
Do your best to describe the property in detail and use descriptive words so that prospective buyers can easily imagine themselves living there. Be sure to describe the property only - not people. Avoid anything that could be construed as discriminatory. We will review your remarks prior to listing on the MLS and we reserve the right to change anything that may violate Fair Housing policies.
Why did you change/remove the information I provided for my listing?
As members of the local MLS, we must abide by MLS rules and regulations. We review all information and remarks that sellers provide to us before listing the property. We reserve the right to modify and/or remove anything that violates MLS rules or fair housing laws.
Some of the more common MLS rules include:
- The first photo must be of the exterior front of the property.
- Contact information, commission information, and lockbox codes cannot be listed in the public remarks.
- Real estate signs and/or For Sale by Owner signs cannot be visible in any photos.
- List price cannot be raised and lowered over and over again (yo-yo pricing).
- When a property goes under contract or sells, the MLS listing must be updated within 48 business hours.
What is the best way to handle showings? Should I be at the property or should I leave?
We recommend that you never be present during a showing unless you have to be - even if the property is owner-occupied. It makes things awkward for everyone. Instead, put a key to the property in a lockbox and leave during the showing. When you return home, remove the lockbox for safety reasons. Of course, if the showing is with a buyer who is not represented by a licensed agent, you’ll want to be there.
Why am I not getting any showings?
The most common reason that sellers do not get showings on their property is that their list price is too high. We recommend pricing your property competitively based on what similar properties are selling for in your area. We also recommend gradual, regular price reductions to keep your listing from getting stale.
Another reason for not getting showings is poor quality photos. We frequently see photos that are too dark or out of focus. It's best to take photos of a bright, well-lit room. Resist the urge to take photos in portrait orientation - the MLS and other websites will put black bars on the sides. And remember to pick up any clutter before the photos are taken. No one wants to see a messy house. You might also consider having a professional real estate photographer take photos of the property before listing. This typically costs a couple hundred dollars and can be well worth it for bright, vibrant photos that can be displayed online.
Another common problem we see is sellers who offer too little commission to buyers' agents. Technically and ethically, buyers' agents are not supposed to steer their clients to certain properties based on commission, but it absolutely happens. Most listings on the MLS (70-75%) offer a 3% commission to buyers' agents. Around 20% of MLS listings offer a 2.5% commission. And 97% of MLS listings offer a 2.5% or higher commission. We often see sellers who offer less than 2.5% to save money. While we're all about saving money, a commission that is too low can affect agents' willingness to show the property. We always recommend a commission of at least 2.5% to ensure your listing is competitive.
How do I know if someone calling me for a showing is actually a licensed agent?
You can verify if someone has a real estate license at www.MyFloridaLicense.com. It’s also a good idea to have the person text or email you a photo of their driver’s license so you can verify who you’re talking to. Oftentimes you can Google their phone number to see if it shows results that point to them. If you have any doubts, please contact us and we’d be more than happy to look into it for you. Do not give access to your property to anyone if you’re not 100% sure they are a licensed agent.
How do I request a change to my listing? How soon will the change be made?
The best way to request a change to your listing is by email. We strive to make all changes the same business day.
I made a change to my MLS listing but the change is not showing up on Zillow, Realtor.com, etc. What’s going on?
Most changes show up within a couple hours, however, we’ve seen it take up to 48 hours in some instances. Sometimes the changes do not show up at all. If it has been over 24 hours, please contact us and let us know. Sometimes we’re able to refresh the feed on our end and sometimes we can make the change manually. In some cases, we’ll actually have to contact Zillow or Realtor.com directly and open a support ticket to have them resolve the issue. Either way, we will do everything we can to get the issue resolved for you.
Can you list open houses on the MLS?
Yes, most MLS allow us to list open houses for your listing. Most of them also syndicate the open house information to public websites like Zillow and Realtor.com. We can list your open house dates at no extra charge. Just email us the information and we’ll take care of it for you.
Your website says “List Until It Sells” but the listing agreement is only for 12 months. What’s going on?
The initial listing agreement is for 12 months. This is because the MLS requires a listing expiration date. And most folks wouldn’t want to enter into an indefinite agreement. However, we will happily renew the agreement at the end of the 12 months at no additional charge, provided all of the terms of the initial agreement have been followed. Most properties sell within the first 12 months and we rarely have to renew a listing agreement for an additional 12 months.