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List on the MLS without a Realtor?

Can I list on MLS without a Realtor? We hear this question asked often, and the simple answer is NO. Only licensed real estate agents (also referred to as Realtor) have access to the MLS. The MLS or Multiple Listing Service was created and designed so licensed brokers and agents could easily share their listings with other brokers and agents.

They also created the “co-broke” commission fee to facilitate the offering of part of their commission to another broker if they found a buyer for their listing. Here is Wikipedia’s definition of Multiple Listing Service

A Multiple Listing Service (MLS, also Multiple Listing System or Multiple Listings Service) is a suite of services that enables brokers to establish contractual offers of compensation (among brokers), facilitates cooperation with other broker participants, accumulates and disseminates information to enable appraisals, and is a facility for the orderly correlation and dissemination of listing information to better serve broker’s clients, customers and the public.

So who owns the listing “data”?
The listing data stored in the MLS’s database is the proprietary information of the Realtor who has obtained a listing agreement with a property’s seller.

Why are listings displayed on websites like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com?
Because brokers allow their listings (for the purpose of lead generation and marketing) to be syndicated to these popular websites in the hopes that they will find buyers for their listings. They also hope that if their listing does not meet the buyers needs, that they will be able to continue to work with that buyer and find them a suitable home and make a commission off them. It’s all about making money!

If I want to sell my home “By Owner” how do I get on the MLS?
You can use a Flat Fee Listing service like ours, which helps “For Sale By Owners” list their homes on the Multiple Listing Service through a “Flat Fee Listing” broker. The broker handles the actual input and maintenance of the listing data, photos, etc, while you’ll be handling the rest of the transaction. Keep in mind, the broker is always responsible for this listing, so notifying the broker of any changes to the status is extremely important. Most MLS require changes to be updated within 24-48 hours, and may impose a fine on the listing broker for late input.

Do I need to pay a commission if I list on the MLS?
The simple answer is YES. In order for a broker to list your home on the Multiple Listing Service they are required to make an offer of compensation (aka the “co-broke” fee). This will be part of your listing agreement with the flat fee listing broker, and you’ll decide how much commission to offer when you complete the required listing form. That commission must be paid (by you) at the closing to the buyer’s broker.

If the buyer doesn’t have an agent, do I still pay?
NO. If there is no agent working with your buyer, then you are not obligated to pay anyone a commission. In some rare cases you may need to pay a fee to the Multiple Listing Service for selling (ex: the Georgia FMLS), but 99.9% of the time, there are no extra fees to sell to a buyer with no broker when using a flat fee listing broker.