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 by 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 lock box 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.
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.