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. While you will save a lot of money since you won’t have to pay a listing agent, you will still have to pay a commission to the buyer’s agent. This is usually 2.5%-3% of the sale price (we recommend offering at least 2.5% for best results).
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.
Which MLS will my property be listed on?
Your property will be most likely be listed on the Stellar MLS (formerly known as My Florida Regional MLS). This is one of the largest MLS in Florida and it covers all of the areas that we service. We only take listings in areas where we have actual MLS coverage. A map of our coverage area can be found on the homepage of our website.
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 a property, and these agents use the MLS almost exclusively to search for properties that meet 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 be 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 the 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 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.
Will my listing be displayed as a “For Sale By Owner” listing?
No. Your listing will look just like every other listing on the MLS. The MLS does not distinguish between For Sale By Owner listings and other listings.
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 within one (1) business day.
Do you offer special pricing for repeat customers, investors, and house flippers?
Yes! Any listing after the first listing is only $150.
How long does it take to get my listing on the MLS once I submit it to you?
Two (2) business days or less.
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?
No. We do not even use yard signs on our own properties because we find that most buyers are searching for homes on the Internet these days and signs are not nearly as effective as they used to be. Most real estate agents still use signs as more of a marketing and branding tool, not necessarily to find buyers for the house. You are welcome to put up a For Sale By Owner sign if you would like. Just be prepared for other agents to call trying to list your property. Our focus is on getting your house on the MLS and providing great service, not selling signs.
Do you provide a lockbox?
No. Lockboxes can be purchased at Lowe’s or Home Depot for less than what we could provide them to you for. We do recommend that you utilize a lockbox for showings so that you do not have to be present. See our video on ShowingTime for more information. Our focus is on getting your house on the MLS and providing great service, not selling lockboxes.
Do you charge anything other than the upfront $299?
No. There are no hidden fees and we do not charge a fee or commission at closing like other companies. You pay the $299 upfront and that is all.
Can I cancel at any time without a cancelation fee?
Yes, however, the listing fee is non-refundable.
Will my listing show up on public websites like Zillow and Realtor.com?
Yes, your listing will show up on all major real estate websites and several hundred other smaller websites. Please note that we have limited ability to control how listings are displayed once they leave the MLS. Every 3rd party website displays listings differently and handles leads differently according to their individual business models.
Will my contact information be displayed on the MLS listing? What about 3rd party sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com?
Your contact information will be entered into the agent only remarks section of the MLS listing. This will be visible to agents who are viewing the listing on the MLS. The instructions in the agent only remarks section will direct agents to contact you directly for questions, information, offers, etc.
The agent only remarks section is a separate section from the property description that gets sent out to public websites like Zillow and Realtor.com. Per MLS rules, the property description cannot contain contact information. Therefore, your contact information will not be listed on public websites. Public websites will display List Now Realty as the real estate company with Matt Buttner as the listing agent. However, anyone who calls our office number will be provided with your contact information, even during nights and weekends. Any email inquiries we receive will be forwarded to you as well.
Another thing to point out is that if the prospective buyer fills out Zillow’s contact form on the listing, Zillow may sell that inquiry to the highest bidder instead of sending it to us. This is completely up to Zillow and we have no control over it. The only thing we can guarantee is that if someone contacts us they will be provided with your contact information and any emails we receive will be forwarded to you.
Click here for a video with more information on this.
Will I be listed as the contact for showings?
Yes, the agent only remarks section on the MLS listing will instruct agents to contact you for showings. We can also set up ShowingTime if you would like showings to be scheduled automatically (recommended).
Why don’t public websites like Zillow and Realtor.com show my contact information?
The MLS does not allow contact information to be sent out to public websites. However, anyone who calls us in reference to your listing will be provided with your contact information immediately, even on nights and weekends, and any emails we receive will be forwarded to you.
How long does it take for my listing to show up on public websites like Zillow and Realtor.com after it is listed on the MLS?
Up to 72 hours, usually much sooner. Please allow at least 72 hours before contacting us regarding a listing not showing up.
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 syndication 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 adequate. However, 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 of hundred bucks is a small price to pay to ensure your property is represented at it’s best.
Can you recommend a professional photographer?
Unfortunately, no. We cover such a large area that we do not have a photographer that we could recommend.
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.
What are the requirements for photos?
The MLS requires that the first photo is of the exterior front of the property. Other than that, photos can be ordered however you would like. We ask that you rename the actual filename in the order that you would like them displayed (i.e. 1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg, etc.). If you do not do that we cannot guarantee that they will be uploaded in any certain order. Photos can also not be taken from other listings, community/HOA websites, or anywhere else. You must take the photos yourself or have written permission to use them. This is an MLS rule.
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.
How many photos can I upload?
The MLS allows up to 50 photos to be uploaded.
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 buzz words 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. We also recommend setting up ShowingTime for your listing (see video below).
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 of 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.
Can I access the MLS listing to make changes?
There is no way for you to log in and access the MLS listing directly since it is only available to licensed real estate agents. However, if you send us an email we can make changes for you.
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 within one (1) 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 of hours, however, we’ve seen it take up to 72 hours in some instances. If it has been over 72 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 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 11-12 months. What’s going on?
The initial listing agreement is for 11-12 months. This is because the MLS requires a listing expiration date. And by law, we cannot sign folks up for an indefinite listing agreement. However, we will happily renew the agreement at the end of the 11-12 months at no additional charge, provided all of the terms of the initial agreement have been followed. Most properties sell well within the first 11-12 months and we rarely have to renew a listing agreement.
What is the best day of the week to list my property or make a price reduction?
Thursday. This puts the listing right in front of buyers who are getting ready to look at properties over the weekend. Please be sure to give us enough time to get the property listed or to make the price reduction. Allow two (2) business days for a new listing and one (1) business day for a price reduction.
Can you recommend a title company?
Unfortunately, no. You may use any title company or real estate attorney that you would like. Real estate attorneys usually charge a little more than a title company. They all do just about the same thing and the price difference is usually only a couple hundred dollars.
Do you provide blank forms?
Yes! You can access blank forms by clicking the Existing Clients button at the top right of our website. Most of the time you will not need these forms since offers from real estate agents will be presented to you on the proper forms. You would only need blank forms if you were approached by a buyer who is not being represented by a real estate agent, which is rare.
What is the process like once I submit my property information?
Once you submit all of your information through our website, upload photos, and make your payment, we will begin entering the listing information onto the MLS. We will then send you a copy of the listing to review before it goes live. We can make changes to the listing if needed at this time. Once the listing is looking how you want it, we will send you the listing agreement for electronic signature. After it is signed by all owners we can make a listing active on the MLS. We recommend allowing two (2) business days for this process.
Do you list vacant land?
Yes, just select vacant land during the listing process.
Do you list multifamily properties?
Yes, just select income property during the listing process.
Where can I see other properties you have listed?
You can see all of our listings by clicking the Our Listings button at the top right of our website.
Can I review the listing before it goes live?
Yes, we will send you a copy of the listing to review before the listing goes live on the MLS.
Who needs to sign the listing agreement?
The listing agreement must be signed by all owners of the property. We will ask for their names and email addresses during the listing process. If the property is titled to an LLC, corporation, or trust, the listing agreement must be signed by someone who is authorized to sign on behalf of the entity.
How do I get started?
The best way to get started is by submitting your property information through our website. Just follow the prompts to list your property. You will be guided through a series of web forms. We will ask you just about everything that the MLS asks us.
Which areas do you cover?
We cover 15 counties in Central and Southwest Florida. There is a map of our coverage area on the homepage of our website.
How long can my property description be?
The MLS allows the property description to be a maximum of 1,530 characters. The description cannot contain anything regarding pricing, contact information, commission, etc.