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Discount MLS Listing

Feb 29, 2008
While sellers often realize that the MLS is the most effective marketing tool available to them, few are aware that it does not have to cost an arm and leg to get on the MLS. Any broker in the local association of Realtors has access to list a property in the MLS. While many of these individuals are traditional agents with traditional price structures, there are a handful of others that list a property for a greatly discounted flat fee. Some charge as little as a few hundred dollars to list a property, and instead of trying to make a large amount of money on each sale, they go after volume - listing as many properties as possible. It is a somewhat new business model; however, it is a way of doing business that has been very well-received among homeowners.

The way that a discount MLS listing works is simple. The seller contacts a flat fee broker and requests listing paperwork. They fill out an MLS listing agreement along with a profile sheet which describes their home in great detail - number of bedrooms, square footage, pool or no pool, directions from major cross streets, etc. Additionally the seller emails or sends one or more photos of the property so that agents or potential buyers can have a visual idea of what the home has to offer prior to actually viewing it. Once the broker receives the paperwork signed by the seller, they upload the information to the MLS and it is disseminated to hundreds or thousands of other brokers, not to mention to many websites including some of the highest traffic real estate sites like Realtor.com. From there, agents or buyers can arrange to see the home. When they are ready to make an offer, they make it directly to the seller. The seller can accept, reject, or counter offer any offer that they receive. Once there is a signed, accepted contract by both parties, the property is 'in escrow' and the closing oftentimes is agreed to and scheduled within 30 to 45 days. Most properties do close, although some fall out of escrow with the home being returned to market.

The benefits of a discount MLS listing are simple: maximum marketing exposure without paying a steep price to get it. While a flat fee listing broker is compensated with just a pre-paid flat fee, most sellers continue to offer a buyer's agent a commission, often two to three percent, in the event that their buyer purchases the home. This is no different than what occurs when the property is listed by a traditional agent not offering a discount. The seller is free to sell the home to an unrepresented buyer. Most flat fee brokers focus their advertising online and via word-of-mouth; they avoid expensive newspaper and TV ads and pass the savings on to the customer. So although you may not have been aware that a discount MLS listing even existed, there very well may be a flat fee broker offering service in your local area.
About the Author
Donald Plunkett is the President of Congress Realty, a $299 flat fee real estate company offering its MLS listing services in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Washington.
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