Flat Fee MLS Listings Have Come of Age in the 2008 – 2009 Real Estate Market

Flat Fee MLS Listings have grown steadily since their origination in the mid 1990s. Recent changes in the real estate market have made the cost saving elements of Flat Fee Listing in the Realtors Multiple Listing Service even more attractive.

Three trends driving the popularity of Flat Fee Listings:

  1. Home sellers are learning that selling a home isn’t as complicated as traditional agents would like you to think.
  2. In the current buyers market, sellers who don’t have to cover the large traditional commission amount can price their home more attractively and sell sooner than competing homes.
  3. With home values not appreciating like they once did, sellers preserve more equity with a low cost home selling option.

Some real estate agents overplay the complexity of a home sale. Some believe they make a basic transaction sound very complicated to scare a seller into listing with them. Most home sales are simple transactions for one person to another, with little or no complication. There is paperwork, but Flat fee MLS in most cases all of the forms are standardized and easily understood with the help of a good Flat Fee MLS Broker. Most states require the Flat Fee MLS Broker to keep the required disclosures and contracts on file so they are just as interested in following all the applicable regulations as the seller, if not more so. If a transaction has complicated elements to it, real estate agents usually must involve an attorney (often at seller expense) because agents are very limited in what they are allowed to do in a transaction beyond filling in the blanks of the standardized forms.

Many sellers have used the cost savings of a flat fee broker listing to slightly under-price competing similar homes as a way to attract buyers faster. A Flat Fee MLS seller has more flexibility in their pricing than a seller who needs to cover the large commission charged by a traditional listing agent. In a buyers market, being a few thousand dollars lower in price than similar homes can be the difference between getting a showing or not, and then also in getting an offer or being the second place home.

Some sellers don’t have enough equity to afford the high priced traditional agent commission. Some sellers select a flat fee listing to preserve their hard-earned equity. Others go with a cost-saving flat fee MLS listing to avoid having to bring a check to closing. Realtors often suggest using a flat fee MLS broker when they know a seller can’t afford their commission.

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