FSBOs (for sale by owner properties) represent 10% of the home sales market. This method has been a popular selling strategy for some homeowners as people sell their homes to relatives, handle estates after the loss of a family member, or prefer to sell their property quietly. In Texas, anyone can sell their home without a real estate agent or an attorney, so many people do so: former realtors, property investors, and people wanting to explore the market on their own.
Today, homeowners have far more tools and resources available to guide them as they learn about how to list on MLS without an agent, making it an even more feasible option. You can find guides about how to negotiate, stage your home, and market the property as cost-effectively as possible. There are also tools available for every stage of the process, from home pricing to coordinating your upcoming move.
One vital step in the process is following a strategy for how to list on MLS without an agent so you can reach as many buyers as possible without paying expensive realtor commissions.
Home Selling 101: Benefits of Exploring How to List on MLS Without an Agent
Selling your home with the help of a listing agent can be a tempting proposition if you’re not interested in the real estate market. An agent will recommend a strategy, create an MLS listing for the property, and coordinate with buyers and their agents on your behalf. It’s a very hands-off process, and choosing the right agent can make things convenient. However, there are several advantages of representing yourself without hiring a listing agent.
- You save on closing costs. A listing agent would cost you approximately 3% of your home’s purchase price, or $10,545 at the median home price of $351,500.
- You control every aspect of the process, from how you prepare your home for the market to how you negotiate.
- You learn about the real estate industry and can more comfortably buy, sell, or invest in the future without an agent.
- You can still list your home on MLS, or your region’s Multiple Listing Service database, without needing an agent’s help.
The MLS is a popular database of past, current, and future listings with real-time updates that are visible to realtors and consumer-facing real estate sites. Typically, only licensed agents and brokers can access the database to view listings and, more importantly, post listings. Through options like a flat-fee listing service, you can create a listing for your property, giving you benefits like:
- Buyers’ agents and their clients can find your for-sale property as it shows up in their searches and reports.
- You don’t have to manually upload your property information onto real estate listing sites, some of which don’t even allow this in the first place.
- Agents or unrepresented buyers can easily contact you and make offers.
- You can save on that hefty agent’s commission by getting MLS access at a fraction of the cost.
These benefits can make all the difference so you don’t have to spend weeks waiting for your home to sell or sacrifice 3% of the revenue on your property sale.
How to List on MLS Without an Agent in 5 Steps
Listing your property on MLS without a professional guide can seem intimidating. The process is typically opaque as agents handle everything and their clients rarely see the database. But the process only requires five simple steps, all of which you can manage alone through an MLS listing service.
Step #1: Choose Your Flat-Fee MLS Listing Services Provider
There are multiple flat-fee MLS listing services you can find online. These companies can publish your property’s listing on your behalf as their core service. However, companies offer different solutions and services, from comprehensive marketing packages to consult hours. At first glance, they may seem fairly similar. Look for these important aspects to choose a service provider that you feel comfortable with:
- Clear-cut fee for a barebones service option: When you just want the MLS listing capabilities, don’t choose a company that will try to upsell you or make it complicated.
- Additional services on an a la carte basis: Some high-quality providers will offer auxiliary services that make selling your home easier. These might include the services of a real estate photographer, support and advisory hours, tools for organizing private showings and open houses, and more. Opt for companies that let you pick and choose what supplemental services fit your strategy.
- Relationships with other key actors in the home sale process: Home sales involve many different people and organizations (appraisers, lenders, title companies, etc.). While buyers will pay the home inspector, you, as the seller, might need to pay a surveyor or the title company. Look for providers that have a network of at least some of these professionals so you can get lower rates and/or faster services.
- A high-caliber reputation: Any time you hire a service that you aren’t personally familiar with, it’s important to research. Look at their ratings and reviews, see if someone in your network has successfully used them, and make sure they’re trustworthy to the best of your ability.
Once you’ve made your final choice, it’s time to get the ball rolling.
Step #2: Gather All the Information for Your Listing
Listing templates have dozens of fields where you can add helpful details and descriptions of your property. The information you’ll need to assemble includes:
- The type of property
- Property-specific details like the construction materials, year of construction, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the dimensions of the home, and features
- The address (including the lot number and tax block) and the school district
- Details about utilities, city and county allowances, and HOA
- Preferences for the offer, such as your preferred title company, the proposed buyer financing you’re comfortable with
- Open house information so buyers’ agents can properly access and show the home
- An illustrative property description
You’ll also need to prepare two documents to upload along with the property details: the Lead-Based Paint and Residential Property Disclosure forms. These documents verify that you’re unaware of lead paint in your home, especially if it was constructed before the federal ban, and provide detailed information about problems with the property (such as past termite infestations, foundation damage, etc.).
Gather this information, but don’t create your listing just yet.
Step #3: Hire a Professional Real Estate Photographer
The photos in your listing can make a significant difference in how quickly your property sells and how much it sells for. As a general rule, pictures taken on a phone camera are grainy, have poor resolution, and don’t offer good lighting effects. Professional photographers will bring high-quality cameras that take crisp and colorful images. They also have years of expertise and bring in lights that disperse shadows to create a wonderful first impression of your home.
Today’s photographers can do more than take pictures of the interior and exterior. They can take drone footage, create a virtual tour and digital floor plans, virtually stage your home through software, and edit videos.
Step #4: Strategically Choose Your Property’s Listing Price
The next step is deciding your home’s listing price or the starting point for negotiations. Getting this price right is essential. If it’s too low, you lose out on potential profits. If it’s high, then your home may sit for a long time on the market, causing you to drop the price to get attention.
One strategy for choosing the right price is to use a smart pricing tool with access to current and historical data for your area. Quality online tools can use your property’s details and machine-learning algorithms to calculate a price based on market behaviors, the season, and hundreds of other influential factors.
Step #5: Create and Upload Your Listing
At this stage, you have all the information you need, conveniently organized and verified. Now, it’s time to plug everything into your flat-fee listing service. Online providers offer a convenient portal where you can enter all the details, upload your photos, and attach your required documents.
From there, the service will upload it to the MLS database where it will be distributed to real estate sites, agents, and buyers.
Steps to Take After Your Listing Is Live
Once the listing is marked as ‘coming soon’ or ‘active,’ agents and prospective buyers will start to engage with you. You’ll receive questions, offers, and hypothetical negotiation points. As you enter this part of the process—actually marketing and selling your home—you’ll need to manage these tasks:
- Respond to inquiries
- Keep track of offers and negotiations
- Select an offer
- Maneuver through to closing
- Ensure the listing record is sunsetted
Streamline Your Process for How to List on MLS Without an Agent
Today, it’s markedly easier to sell your home without an agent than in previous decades. There are a lot of online platforms, data-powered tools, and virtual services for every part of the process to help you manage the tasks an agent would have otherwise handled. At ListingSpark, we provide flat-fee home listing services, pricing tools, photography services, and more so you can create a detailed MLS listing without worrying about commission fees. Reach out today to see how simple the process of creating your property listing can be.
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