When selling your home, having your listing appear in the local Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is one of the most effective tools you can use to generate exposure. But it’s not a magic bullet for selling your home. In fact, while a flat-fee MLS-only listing may seem like a good bargain, there can be some real disadvantages to this approach, especially when compared to a full-service listing agreement with a licensed Realtor®/real estate professional.
Here’s an abbreviated list of reasons why MLS-only listings sometimes don’t perform as well as advertised:
Your listing is in the wrong MLS
We recently ran across an MLS-only listing here in Ponte Vedra, FL. The posting was entered by a brokerage in Hollywood, FL, near Miami. They posted the listing in the St. Johns County Board of Realtors’ MLS, because, I assume, the home itself is in St. Johns County. Problem is, we have two real estate boards and MLSs that serve St. Johns County in Florida. The St. Johns County board services primarily St. Augustine, and has a membership of approximately 750 Realtors. The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors’ MLS covers a much larger area, including Jacksonville (Duval County), St. John’s County (including Ponte Vedra, where this home is located) as well as Clay and some of Nassau counties. The association has more than 6,000 Realtor members. This is where this listing belongs. But because the broker from south Florida is not familiar with our area, or our associations, the homeowner won’t get his or her listing in front of the vast majority of the area Realtors that are most likely to bring a buyer.
It’s the only thing you’re doing
Now that your listing is on the MLS (the right one), there’s nothing left to do but wait for the offers to roll in, right? Wrong. Posting your home in the MLS is just one part of what should be a multi-pronged strategy to sell your home. When you use a full-service real estate brokerage to list your home, for example, posting it in the MLS is just the first step. Then there’s networking and marketing to be done, including social media marketing, search engine marketing, broker open houses and much, much more. Plus, there’s the overall maintenance of the listing, adjusting to changes in the market and more.
Oh, and even if you did get a bunch of offers soon after going live in the MLS, you’ll likely be troubled by the one nagging question that every seller has when they get a quick offer: “Did I price it too low?” A Realtor (and appraiser) could have probably helped you answer that question from the get-go.
No one wants to deal with an amateur
Lastly, let’s deal with the elephant in the room. Realtors are not going to skip your MLS-only listing just because you’re not fully represented by an agent. If it meets our customer’s needs, is priced right and makes sense for our buyer, we’ll show them your home. When it gets difficult is when we have to start negotiating the details of a contract with an inexperienced seller.
Think about what you do for a living. Do you want to deal with the new guy who has no experience and doesn’t understand all of the rules, processes and regulations of your business? That’s what it’s like when dealing with a seller without professional representation. It’s not that we can’t get the deal done, it’s just that it can be that much more difficult.
Do you have a good relationship with a title company and do you understand the ins and outs of title insurance? If not, are you prepared to hold escrow deposits? Are you familiar with the changes that will be coming to the closing process beginning this October, based on new regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?
Point is, with another real estate professional across the table, we all have a better chance of getting the transaction closed in a timely fashion, with a minimal amount of hassle. In the end, when two real estate professionals work together in the interests of their customers, the result is more likely to be a happy buyer, and a happy seller.
And that’s what we all want, isn’t it?