The real estate industry is changing. With the Internet, we are now discovering that business we once relied on others to perform, say travel arrangements for example, is now quite often easier to handle entirely online by ourselves, eliminating the middleman. Naturally, it makes sense to ask if this is where the future of real estate is heading.
There is no doubt that homeowners have suffered in regards to the real estate market during the economic downturn that began in 2007. Since the real estate peak in mid-2006, home prices dropped approximately 34% around the nation. In Massachusetts, property values declined 19%. Yet despite these depressing numbers, real estate commissions still average approximately 6 percent. On a house that sells for $250,000, a real estate agent can earn upwards of $15,000, which takes quite a chunk out of an already diminishing amount of equity for a home seller.
Therefore, today most homeowners have one goal: to sell their property quickly while keeping expenses low. To help sellers achieve this goal, Stuart St James is launching a MA flat fee MLS real estate service platform called Entry Only New England. Traditionally, real estate agents are hired to help sell your home and one of the first things an agent will do is list your property on the multiple listing service (MLS).
Using Entry Only New England, you as an average homeowner can quickly and easily list the following property types in the official Massachusetts MLS, on your own as a for sale by owner (FSBO), for a one-time low flat fee:
- Single family home for sale or rent
- Condominium/Co-op for sale or rent
- Multi-Family for sale or rent
- Land for sale or rent
What is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
An MLS service is a database that real estate agents and brokers leverage to share their listings in order to find buyers quickly – this database is therefore a compilation of all real estate for sale in a given market. Ninety percent of the properties listed for sale in the United States are contained on an MLS system. MLS systems typically service a local market, and within Massachusetts, the go-to standard for MLS systems is called Multiple Listing Service, Property Information Network (MLS PIN). MLS PIN is the largest MLS in New England and one of the largest in the nation. The property database of MLS PIN contains over 43,000 properties for sale and more than one million off-market listings, as well as full public records for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and other areas of New England.
Within the MLS, when listing a home for sale, the listing agent will include information on the home, such as address, age, number of bedrooms and baths, and square footage among other specific details. Photographs are also included as well as a link to a virtual tour if applicable.
As a seller, listing a home on the MLS exposes a property to thousands of buyers that simply couldn’t be reached otherwise. And the information is timely as listings are updated daily and new properties on the market are published. Listings within the MLS are syndicated across a host of popular websites, including Google, MSN.com, Yahoo.com and other prominent, high traffic real estate websites. Suffice it to say, an MLS system is the de facto standard for the real estate industry, and just as appealing, the Internet is where 90 percent of all homebuyers start their search.
A integral piece to this puzzle is that only licensed real estate agents and brokers can list a property for sale in the MLS. MLS PIN, for instance, investigates each and every agent and broker that secures a membership to their platform, and you must have an active real estate license to list property for sale on MLS PIN.
How Does Flat Fee MLS Work?
Quite simply, when using a flat fee MLS model, a licensed real estate broker will list your property in the official MLS with your pictures, property description, and listing price. Your home will look no different in the database than those represented by a “traditional” real estate brokerage or agency. Once your property is on the MLS, and syndicated across hundreds of websites online, it will be exposed to thousands of buyers and their agents who will contact the seller directly (rather than a listing agent) for showings and additional information if needed. To list on the MLS for sale by owner, a seller pays a simple, one-time, flat fee for this service – in essence, the “service” entails entering your property for sale on the MLS, and that is where the phrase entry only MLS listing was born.
From here, the seller will act as their own listing agent, taking on the responsibilities normally associated with a listing agent. For that work, the seller will realize a savings of up to 3 percent in real estate commissions or Realtor fees, or upwards of 5% to 6% of the sale price if the buyer does not have their own agent.
Using an example of a home that sells for $250,000, assuming a real estate commission of 6%, which is oftentimes split between the listing agent representing the seller and the buyer’s agent representing the buyer, a seller could save over $7,200 when leveraging a flat fee MLS solution.
Who Should Use For Sale By Owner (FSBO) MLS
Any seller who wants to save money and is comfortable with the tasks of selling their property as their own agent should consider selling their home using flat fee real estate – essentially becoming a MA FSBO MLS Seller. For many homeowners who have watched their home values drop and are reluctant to part with any more money, this may be an excellent way to keep significant savings while creating maximum exposure for their Massachusetts property.
Why Entry Only MLS Listings Are Popular
For Sale by Owner (FSBO) MLS services have gained popularity in the United States and throughout Massachusetts because sellers simply don’t want, or cannot afford, to pay the standard 5% to 6% in real estate commissions associated with listing their home with a traditional real estate brokerage. It’s also an excellent opportunity for a seller to control the process of their home sale, while benefiting from the MLS listing that a traditional full service agency provides. Since the majority of homes are sold through the MLS, this flat fee service does what could not be done before, making your home available to the 90 percent of buyers who use the Internet to search for their home.
Once you have paid your flat fee, no other charges from the agency are required. You are never asked to pay more than the one-time fee itself. No hidden charges or surprises will incur which makes this service even more attractive. With the new flat fee MLS listing platform of Entry Only New England, you can list your home in approximately 20 minutes, the process is 100% online, secure, and efficient.
Remember, it’s the house that sells a home. By reconsidering traditional methods to sell your property, where appropriate, a flat free MLS entry only listing may be the future of the real estate industry as sellers strive to cut costs while trying to realize more of the profits.