How to List a Home on MLS Without an Agent

How to List a Home on MLS Without an Agent

It’s common to want to sell your home without having to pay an agent to do it for you. The idea of controlling the pricing, marketing, and negotiation stages as much as possible is appealing. With today’s online tools and third-party services, you can do exactly that. Selling your home is no longer a process you have to leave in the hands of licensed professionals. You can use market data to decide on a fair price for your home, learn how to list a home on the MLS without an agent, and handle offers or negotiation conversations on your own.

But if you choose the DIY home sale route, start by researching how to handle all the tasks a listing agent would have managed for you. One key process agents typically take care of is the MLS listing, or the detailed profile of your property. In this guide, we walk through how to list a home on MLS without an agent. Learn more about why MLS listings matter, the process for listing your home for sale, and some helpful tips for every part of the journey.

The Quick and Simple Answer: How to List a Home on MLS Without an Agent

Use a flat-fee listing service to add your home to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) without the direct access given only to licensed agents or brokers. You can provide the property details, images, and other information for your listing, and an authorized license holder will upload the information and publish the listing. Once the listing is active, it will be available in the MLS database and major real estate websites.

Flat-fee listing services are easy to find online, but choosing the right provider is essential. Some free listing services will publish a page about your for-sale property, but it won’t be in MLS. For example, you can publicize your home on Craigslist. Instead, look for a service that charges you a flat fee and guarantees the listing with be in the MLS database.

The information you will be asked to provide includes:

  • Images or video files of the property
  • Details about the property, such as the bedroom and bathroom count, square footage, and features
  • Documents such as your Seller’s Disclosure form, any proof of maintenance or renovations you want prospective buyers to see, etc.
  • Offer instructions, which will be visible to agents on MLS but will not typically be visible on other real estate sites. Agents use these instructions to advise their clients on favorable offer strategies.

When you give this information to a listing service, you can manage your sale through MLS without having to hire an agent or pay a 3% commission for their services.

Related: Is Now the Right Time to Sell Your Home in Texas? An In-Depth Analysis

Learn more about why an MLS listing is such an important part of any home sale, the advantages and requirements of listing your home for sale without hiring an agent, and a more detailed breakdown of the steps involved.

The Deeper Dive: What Are Listings, What Is MLS, and Why Does It Matter?

A property listing is a detailed profile of your for-sale home that shares details of the property and information about the sale terms you expect to see in offers. If you’ve looked at properties on the market through sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, or Trulia, those individual property profiles are listings. Typically, those major websites pull the information from a state-wide database called the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. 

This database maintains records of coming-soon, active, pending, and under-contract properties as well as past transactions for each property with an MLS history. The core functions of the MLS are to:

  • Share details of upcoming and current for-sale properties among agents so they can share them with their clients.
  • Push the property profiles out to public-facing websites and forums so prospective buyers and investors can access the details themselves.
  • Create data that agents, brokers, and other real estate professionals can use to analyze trends and historical records.

If you’re a property owner and not a licensed real estate agent, then the MLS only ever indirectly interacts with your life. However, being able to upload your listing on the MLS is an incredibly important part of selling your property on your own. While it’s possible to sell a home without this step, it’s not advisable. Here are the key advantages of listing your home on the MLS:

  • More visibility: If you don’t use the MLS, you’re restricted to forums, real estate sites that allow manual uploads, and direct advertising methods like mailers and signs. These efforts won’t easily reach prospective buyers, and you’ll get far fewer showings or offers as a result of that limited visibility. But when your listing is in the database, it automatically makes its way to public websites and agent dashboards. Many agents also set up their clients with automated lists of properties based on specific search parameters, which are pulled from the MLS.
  • Clear communication: Most agents, investors, and brokers are familiar with MLS listings. They know how to read the printouts, what information they’re likely to find in the profile, and how to reach out to sellers based on their included contact information. There is a shared understanding of the offer instructions, property descriptions, and fields. This makes it easy for you to share the relevant details of your property and for interested audiences to find and understand those details. This standardization reduces tedious back-and-forth conversations or potentially costly misunderstandings.
  • Efficiency: Because MLS listings get distributed to multiple sites, you don’t have to manually do that work. This can save you hours of time uploading details.

Why You Need to Know How to List a Home on MLS Without an Agent

Most home sellers won’t look into how to list a home on MLS without an agent. They’ll simply hire an agent who will manage the listing as part of their aggregate marketing, consulting, and deal management services. But you might not want to work with a listing agent to sell your home because:

  • You don’t want to pay a 3% agent commission for representation.
  • You feel comfortable managing the negotiation and contract elements of the transaction on your own.
  • You want to stay in control of the entire marketing, negotiation, and closing process without having an intermediary agent.

All of these reasons and multiple others are all valid. You can sell your home as a For Sale by Owner transaction and manage the entire process in your preferred style. This might look like completely independent, hands-on work, or you might use some third-party software and services for different parts of the sale. But when you know how listings work and can find a flat-fee listing service you trust, you don’t have to rely on an agent—and you can save 3% on your house sale.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to List a Home on MLS Without an Agent

We’ve given a brief overview of how to list a home on MLS without an agent. These four steps explore the process in more detail so you know exactly what to do at every stage of creating and publishing your listing.

1. Develop Your Pricing Strategy

Before you put your home up for sale, you need to know what sort of offers to expect. Do some research into recent sales of comparable properties in your neighborhood to estimate the sales price your home is likely to receive. For example, if three homes with similar features in your neighborhood have sold for $350,000 in the past 90 days, you might list your property at $350,000.

You can conduct this research by finding raw data on your own or by using smart real estate pricing tools online.

Don’t Forget to Consider Offer Parameters/Instructions

Your pricing strategy primarily focuses on:

  • The price you expect or anticipate seeing in offers you receive
  • The listing price, which may be exactly the same as the above number, or it might be strategically higher or lower to prompt more offers and interest

However, there are more than just pricing considerations. If you anticipate needing a leaseback, if you want cash-only offers, or if you have a strict deadline for receiving offers, let agents know in your MLS listing offer instructions.

2. Get Professional Photos and Video Assets, Not Just Specs and Feature Details

The information you provide about the property—square footage, address, property age, etc.—will help interested buyers find your property. Agents use this data to filter through hundreds of listings and zero in on homes that align with their clients’ interests. 

Photos and videos are what can really change your property from a ‘maybe’ to a ‘must see.’ Adding home staging can even help boost the sales price or shorten the sale timeline. Prospective buyers will click through the graphics to decide whether they want to schedule a showing, visit your open house, or put in an offer. Hiring a professional photography service instead of taking cell phone pictures (or even worse, having no images at all) will make your property stand out.

3. Find a Flat-Fee Listing Service to Manage the Upload

Once you have your pricing strategy, property details, and images, select a flat-fee listing service that can upload everything to MLS. High-quality services will offer you a communication dashboard for managing offers and inquiries; they’ll also help field questions about the listing.

Related: Key Things to Consider When Evaluating FSBO Websites

Some services also have auxiliary features, such as pricing software, professional photography, and open house or showing tools, so start shopping around for a listing service as early as possible in the process.

4. Manage Your Communication Channels

Your active listing will give your property traction and get the attention of buyers or agents. Include your preferred contact details (such as your cell number or email address) so you can answer questions from agents and discuss hypothetical offer terms. If your listing service provider gives you a dashboard for managing offers or communication threads, you can also use those tools to stay on top of all your potential buyers.

List Your Home on MLS Without an Agent

Listing your home on the MLS is a great strategy for getting more attention and inviting agents and buyers to make an offer on the property. But when you don’t want to hire an agent or pay their hefty commission, that doesn’t mean you have to forego this strategy. 

Instead, you can list your property on the MLS with a flat-fee listing service like ListingSpark. Our services have transparent prices, and we offer a wide range of tools for optimizing your listing, managing offers, and getting your property to closing day. Reach out today to start preparing your listing and get your home on the market.

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