Free MLS listings... - Posted by Brad TX

Posted by Ron (MD) on March 22, 2001 at 18:01:49:


Here in Baltimore there are brokers that will do this for $99 or $199. You get essentially no service from the listing agent beyond multiple listing the property.

Even though I am licensed and get back half of the listing commission, I have used these bare bones brokers.

Now, one caveat. It wouldn’t hurt to talk to agents from other brokers to try to get a read on the local agents’ attitude toward these cheapie listing companies. Here, many agents won’t show a house listed by Mr. Lister (probably the biggest) because the other agents hate that he’s taking away some of their business. Also, they complain that they are only getting half commission (i.e., 3%), yet they are doing the work for both sides of the deal. As you probably know, though, after a property is listed, there is very little for the listing agent to do.

When I was using one of these companies, I was using a small, little-know broker. My hope was that other agents wouldn’t know that it was a cut-rate listing broker. I will say that I was disappointed by the amount of activity, but I couldn’t be sure if it was due to the listing agent’s reputation, etc. or the location or price of my house.

What I do is, I FSBO a house during the repair period and for 30 days after the work is done. Then I list them. I don’t like to pay a realtor commission, but I also don’t like to let a house sit.

I will say one thing about using agents. When I FSBO a house, my standard contribution to the buyer’s closing costs is $2,000 (on a $60k-$70k house) and I always get full price. I used to be concerned that a buyer’s broker would try to beat down the price and increase my contribution. In fact, I found that their first priority is to get the deal done. Typically, before they write a contract, they call me to see how flexible I am. I tell them I will only accept a full price contract and I will contribute only $1,000 (which is half what I normally do). The contract almost always comes back with those terms. I even had one come back with a $5k higher selling price! Bottom line, I am usually able to mitigate the commission a bit by reducing my contribution.

One other thought. I do almost all of my rehabs in one zip code. Most of my sales are without having to multiple list. The bad news is that my houses do not show up as comps in the system. Since my houses usually sell well above most others in the area, I want the appraisers to use them for comps. To do this, I’m going to start paying $99 to have them put in the MLS even when I find my own buyer. It should make future appraisals a bit easier.

Hope that helps.

Ron Guy

Free MLS listings… - Posted by Brad TX

Posted by Brad TX on March 22, 2001 at 15:45:05:

for only $298 ;).

I was thinking about using this service to help sell my rehab.

You pay $298 to get listed in the MLS. You sign NO listing agreements. If you sell it first, that’s all you pay. If a realtor sells it, you pay them 3%.

What do you guys think about this. Is this a good deal??

Check it out at

Brad TX

Re: Free MLS listings… - Posted by Bob in Atlanta

Posted by Bob in Atlanta on March 23, 2001 at 10:32:36:

Take a look at HomeBytes - I think they are cheaper. They charged me $495 + .12% from the seller when it sells. Depending on your area, you might pay just $495. YourIgloo is $298 plus they take .75% of the realtors commission. I don’t think you should reduce the buyer’s agent commission - they just won’t show your house.

Did it - sold - done! - Posted by Rosie_FL

Posted by Rosie_FL on March 23, 2001 at 08:49:17:

I FSBO’d my rehab for a few weeks then listed it for flat $299; had a contract signed the next day. Closed in 2 weeks. Selling agent received 3%.

Case closed.

Re: Free MLS listings… - Posted by Wayne (MD)

Posted by Wayne (MD) on March 23, 2001 at 06:28:59:

I was an agent for two years about 10 years ago and from my point of view, I learned there is a great misconception about the MLS that states, ?If you put your house on the MLS, you will reach all the buyers looking for houses like yours.? Well, that isn?t true. What you do is reach all the agents.

The agents have control of all the buyers, because the buyers go to agents to find them houses. Therefore, if you decide to list with the MLS, your primary marketing efforts should be at agents. If the agents are not excited about your property, they are not going to waste their time showing your property to their buyers.

Fortunately for the FSBO crowd, buyer loyalty is somewhat lacking and they keep looking on their own as well. Still, the major buying real estate market ? the major ?qualified buyer? buying real estate market ? resides with the agents. Therefore, if you decide to not be a true FSBO, your primary job should be getting agents excited about your house. And this is true whether you list conventionally or through a cheapie MLS outfit.

A listing agent most often does next to nothing. Sometimes they promise ?We will advertise your house.? If you?re lucky, you will get a weekly call from the listing agent telling you about the action on your house and other agent feedback. The only advantage of the listing agent is the MLS and all those other agents, so from my point of view, the $99 MLS listing is a terrific bargain.

How do you make agents aware of your listing? The same way other agents make agents aware of their listings. They make up flyers and distribute them to all the agent mailboxes in town. They get on the phone and call other agents. Sometimes, they even host a luncheon in the house itself (hungry agents love free lunches!). And they offer selling agent bonuses.

If you take the flyer route, make the flyers hot and exciting so that the agent sees your property as an easy sale, hence an easy commission. There are even services that make up and distribute agent flyers (although I doubt they would do it for non-agents). The big difficulty I see here is that the showing agent usually calls the listing broker for details on how to show the house; in this case, they would have to call you and if you are too difficult to get to, then your house might not be shown. Also, your house won?t be shown if it is grossly over priced.

There is absolutely no advantage to a selling agent to not show such a house. There may be an advantage to the listing broker to not show the house, but the agent will get paid the same regardless.

Ron is not correct when he says the agent loses half his commission when you go to the cheapie MLS listing service. Unless the agent also is the listing agent, half the commission is all he or she gets and then that has to be divided with the broker. In other words, out of a $6,000 commission, the agent ends up with a gross of only $1,500, hence a $500 selling agent bonus increases the agent?s take by 33%! That?s a nice incentive. Selling agents don?t care who lists a property; selling agents get paid the same regardless of who lists the property. What selling agents are interested in is what?s in it for them!

Sorry for the length.


Re: You get what you pay for, - Posted by Ed Copp (OH)

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on March 22, 2001 at 18:15:28:

and often a lot less than that.

This kind of listing attracts sellers of overpticed homes (called listings). They want to be on a “LIST” so bad that they will pay to be listed. Often the pricing is not realistic, and putting it on a “list” will not change that.

You ask is this a good deal? The short answer is no, but it really depends on what you want. All the “list” will accomplish is to get you approached by a “few” realtors (or a few hundred in a brisk market). Also you can expect a few inquiries from investors who will want a wholesale deal.

Since what you are doing is making a statement: my house is overpriced, and I am too cheap to pay a commission going in.

I really don’t know what to do next…HELP.

It is not realistic to expect a real buyer to show up.