Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan
Real Estate Agent and Prospective Buyers at Open House
Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan

    A Detailed Guide to Pricing Your Home with Flat Fee MLS

    Discover the benefits of Flat Fee MLS for selling your home. Learn about the process, benefits, and how to effectively price your home using a comprehensive guide. Navigate the world of real estate with expert insights from Unreal Estate.

    Introduction to Flat Fee MLS

    What is Flat Fee MLS

    Flat Fee MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, is characterized by a set price real estate service that allows homeowners to list their property on a comprehensive database accessed by licensed real estate brokers and agents. This is an alternative to the conventional home selling method that commonly involves hefty realtor fees. Flat Fee MLS is facilitated by a licensed real estate agent who lists your home on the MLS and other online portals, offering maximum visibility to potential buyers. This method is an entry-only service, meaning that the agent's role usually stops after listing, leaving other duties such as handling home sales, negotiations, and closing processes to the homeowner.

    Why using Flat Fee MLS?

    The most significant appeal of using a Flat Fee MLS is the potential to save considerable costs. Traditionally, real estate agents command a commission somewhere around 5%-6% of the total home sale price, split between the listing and buying agents. With a Flat Fee MLS, homeowners pay a prearranged sum for the listing service, avoiding the standard commission structure. This method is often favored by savvy sellers with time to spare for selling activities, such as scheduling open houses, negotiation orchestration, handling showing requests, and more. However, not all Flat Fee MLS services are equal, and it's crucial to pick a reputable provider for optimal results.

    How does Flat Fee MLS work?

    The process of listing your home through a Flat Fee MLS service incorporates several steps. Firstly, you'll need to find the right broker who caters to your physical location and indicates a proven track record for successful sales in your area. Upon selecting your broker, the next step is to purchase the MLS listing package for a pre-set fee. You'll need to provide detailed property information, upload high-quality photos, and sign a listing agreement. Once your listing is live on the MLS, your property gains exposure to a vast array of potential buyers, significantly increasing your chances of a successful sale.

    The benefits of listing with Flat Fee MLS

    Flat Fee MLS delivers several compelling benefits, predominantly relating to cost-saving and control over the selling process. As a homeowner, you get to handle all aspects of the sale, fostering a sense of ownership and control over selling activities. Leveraging this service also avails your property to unprecedented exposure, not just on the MLS but on numerous real estate websites, some of which pull listings exclusively from the MLS. This expanded visibility effectively increases your reach to potential buyers, supplementing your chances of securing a sale. Despite these benefits, it's crucial to ensure that you select a reputable Flat Fee MLS service to guarantee optimal outcomes as some offer different levels of service. Services range from basic listing to additional inclusions like contract reviews and pricing advice.

    Understanding Home Pricing

    When selling your home, the right pricing can make all the difference. After all, it's a primary factor that potential buyers will consider before showing interest in your property. In this context, let's delve into the importance of pricing your home right, the critical factors that influence home pricing, the common mistakes sellers often make, and understand how overpricing and underpricing can impact your sale.

    Importance of Pricing your Home Right

    Effectively pricing your home is a crucial aspect of the selling process, primarily because it sets the stage for a potentially quick and favorable sale. When priced right, your property may attract multiple interested buyers, potentially leading to a quicker sale. The correct price for your home is usually one that's competitive for the current market and consistent with the selling prices of other houses in your area.

    Remember that a home priced within the right range can also prevent the property from stagnating on the market, which can occur when a property is priced too high. If a property remains unsold for a long period, potential buyers may suspect there's something wrong with it, further complicating your selling process.

    Factors that Influence Home Pricing

    Numerous factors come into play when pricing your home. These can range from the condition of the property and recent real estate market trends to the location of your home and the supply and demand dynamics in your local market.

    For example, the overall condition of your home will significantly influence its value. A well-maintained home could potentially command a higher price compared to a similar property in need of repairs. Similarly, if local real estate trends indicate a seller's market (where demand exceeds supply), you might price your home slightly higher. On the flip side, in a buyer's market (where supply exceeds demand), you may need to adjust your price lower to attract potential buyers.

    Common Mistakes in Home Pricing

    While pricing your home, it's crucial to avoid several common pitfalls. One such mistake is letting your emotions guide your pricing decision. As a seller, you may have a certain attachment to your home, leading you to overvalue it. However, potential buyers may not share these sentiments.

    Additionally, ignoring real estate market trends or failing to consider comparable properties in your area can also lead to incorrect pricing. It’s imperative to remember that the local real estate market dynamics largely dictate your home’s value, and understanding these factors can help you determine an optimal price.

    How Overpricing and Underpricing affect your Sale

    Setting the wrong price for your home can negatively impact your sale. Overpricing your home can deter potential buyers, causing your property to stay on the market longer. This stagnation can then create a negative perception about your property, further dropping its appeal.

    Underpricing, while it may attract a larger number of potential buyers, will likely result in you leaving money on the table. This pricing strategy could be beneficial in a hot seller’s market, possibly triggering a bidding war that drives the final sale price above your initial asking price. However, underpricing is a risky strategy, and the final outcome can be uncertain.

    Navigating the home pricing process can be challenging and requires a keen understanding of your local real estate market. Consider seeking professional assistance from brokerage services like Unreal Estate to ensure your pricing aligns with your property's value and the current market dynamics.

    Pricing Your Home with Flat Fee MLS

    Step-by-step guide to pricing your home

    Starting with the first step in pricing your home using the Flat Fee MLS service, it's crucial to realize that you have to transition from the mindset of a homeowner to that of a seller. What sets apart the two is the need to look at the property objectively, viewing it as any potential buyer would.

    To begin with, thoroughly evaluate the structural and aesthetic elements of your house. Consider any particular strengths, such as a well-maintained garden or ample parking space; likewise, acknowledge any weaknesses, such as structural issues or outdated interior designs. This comprehensive analysis will aid in accurately pricing your home.

    A common method employed in real estate is determining the price per square foot. This could be assessed by dividing the most recent appraised value of your home by its size (in square feet). However, while setting the asking price, remember to also consider factors such as the location of the house, any recent upgrades, market conditions, and the prices of comparable listings in the vicinity.

    Lastly, before openly listing the house for sale, you might want to consider conducting a pre-inspection by a professional inspector and addressing any concerns that might reduce the property's value. Potential buyers will appreciate your upfront nature and be impressed with your willingness to take initiative.

    The role of an appraiser

    Engaging a professional appraiser is a crucial step in the journey of pricing your home using Flat Fee MLS. An appraiser calculates the value of your property based on multiple factors including the size, age, location, condition, and recent sales of comparable properties. This valuation is critical, especially when potential buyers apply for a mortgage since lenders will not provide a sum higher than the appraised amount.

    It's essential to understand that while you may have a personal attachment to your property, the appraiser is neutral. They won't consider factors such as the memories you've created there or the effort and resources poured into turning the house into a home. Their focus is solely on tangible aspects that contribute to the property's market value.

    Being of great importance, the choice of an appraiser should be thoughtful, involving verification of their license and experience, and considering their expertise in your specific locality. It's also beneficial to select an appraiser who is recognized by UnrealEstate to ensure the reliability of the entire process.

    Why consider comparable listings

    Comparable listings, or 'comps', form the spine of the pricing strategy in real estate. These are recently sold properties with similar features and located in the same area as yours. Analyzing comps helps to determine a reasonable and competitive price for your home.

    The process of shortlisting comps involves selecting properties with a similar age, size, and style as yours, and located ideally within 1-2 miles of your property. Sold within the last six months, these properties help paint a precise picture of the current real estate market situation in your area.

    Comparing your home to these properties allows you to fine-tune the price you've calculated using other methods, ensuring it's neither overpriced nor underpriced. While the former might deter potential buyers, the latter means you end up underselling your valuable possession. Utilizing comps correctly can ensure that your house is priced perfectly, attracting a good number of potential buyers.

    Adjusting your price with market changes

    As anyone familiar with the real estate market knows, property prices are not static. Instead, they fluctuate with changes in the market due to a plethora of reasons including the overall economic scenario, mortgage interest rates, and local supply-demand dynamics.

    Therefore, it is recommended to regularly monitor the market after your property has been listed and adjust the asking price accordingly. For instance, if you find that comparable homes in your locality are selling at higher prices, you might want to consider increasing your asking price. Conversely, if houses are not selling as quickly as expected, or if they're selling at prices lower than your listed price, it might be time to reconsider your asking price.

    Remember, the initial price is not necessarily the final one. The real estate market evolves and so should your pricing strategy. Embrace flexibility in adjusting your price as it could very well be the difference between your house selling or not.

    Tips for Success with Flat Fee MLS

    Preparing Your Home for Listing

    When it comes to listing your home using a Flat Fee MLS service, the first step is preparing your home for listing. An essential aspect of this process is making your home presentable and appealing to potential buyers. This can be done by undertaking necessary repairs, decluttering your space, and employing some basic home staging techniques.

    Another major part of preparing your home is getting an accurate home valuation. Understandably, it's a substantial part of deciding your listing price. This estimate is based on factors such as your home's value, property type, and an estimated local tax rate. You should also consider hiring a professional appraiser to ensure you set a competitive and fair price.

    Finally, be aware of the legal requirements and paperwork necessary when selling a property. This varies from state to state, making it essential to familiarize yourself with your locality's real estate laws.

    Writing an Effective Property Description

    Assuming your home is prepared for listing, the next step in successfully navigating a Flat Fee MLS service is to write an effective property description. This is where you get to highlight the unique selling points of your property and why a potential buyer should be interested.

    Describe your home's features accurately and appealingly. Talk about key details, such as the number of rooms, the size of the home, the style of the home, any unique architectural features, recent renovations, and the character of the neighborhood.

    Remember to use positive, engaging language, but avoid exaggerating or making misleading claims. According to real estate experts at Unreal Estate, inappropriately representing your property could lead to potential legal issues.

    Using High-Quality Pictures

    After the financing options have been discussed, the next step in your Flat Fee MLS journey is to use high-quality pictures. Photos are often the first impression potential buyers get of your home, so you need to ensure they represent your property well.

    Take clear photos with good lighting that showcase your home's best features. Consider hiring a professional real estate photographer if your budget allows. They have the right equipment and expertise to make your property look its best.

    Remember that photos should complement your property description, showing the features mentioned.

    Being Responsive to Potential Buyers

    Once your home is listed, be prepared to be responsive to potential buyers. You'll likely receive inquiries and showing requests, and your responsiveness can significantly influence a potential buyer's interest level.

    Respond promptly to messages or phone calls, arrange for home viewings at convenient times, and be prepared to answer questions about your property. Being accessible and communicative increases your chances of a smooth, successful sale.

    Typical timeline for a sale

    The trademark of Flat Fee MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, is that it offers homeowners a cost-effective way of selling their homes by themselves, typically known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO)[]. But what can sellers expect in terms of a timeline?

    Upon listing with a Flat Fee MLS service, your home is published to the MLS, exposing it to a vast number of potential buyers. From there, the rate at which a sale is finalized can vary based on a multitude of factors, including the prominence of your property, its location, and current market trends. Sellers need to be prepared for a period that could span anywhere from a few days to several months. During this time, homeowners are required to handle all aspects of the sale, including scheduling open houses, fielding showing requests, and negotiating with buyers, all contributing to the timeline of the sale.

    While traditionally, a complete sale could take 30-45 days after an offer is accepted, with the advent of modern real estate technology, the period might be significantly less.

    How to handle offers

    One of the substantial responsibilities of a Flat Fee MLS seller is managing offer negotiations. After your home garners interest, you are the one in the driver's seat. This responsibility is a significant departure from traditional real estate transactions where realtors handle negotiations.

    Upon receiving an offer, sellers need to evaluate if the terms align with their interests. At this stage, the advice provided by industry professionals is that "assuming that the offer is accepted, you can move forward with reviewing financing options" provided by potential buyers. Remember that you are not alone in this. Tools and resources available at Unreal Estate can guide you on how to navigate these discussions.

    Lastly, ensure any agreement reached is in writing to protect both parties involved.

    The closing process

    The closing process in a Flat Fee MLS sale is not unlike that of a traditional sale. Once both parties agree to the terms of the sale, the closing process initiates. This stage involves several legal and financial proceedings, such as title searches, home inspections, and finalizing the mortgage.

    Though Flat Fee MLS Listing lets sellers manage all aspects of the sale, you need to ensure that all activities are appropriately completed. It's also noteworthy that while the seller saves on the listing agent's real estate commission, they might encounter additional costs during the closing process.

    Possible outcomes post listing

    After listing, there are substantial possibilities. The first and most desired outcome is a successful sale. Your property receives considerable interest, and you find a suitable buyer.

    However, not all homes might enjoy immediate success. In some cases, your property might not generate sufficient traction. When this happens, sellers can look at reassessing their listing, from altering the asking price to enhancing their advertising strategies. It's important not to lose heart at this stage of your Flat Fee MLS journey. All houses sell; it's just a question of when and at what price.

    : For more details on the Flat Fee MLS service, check this excellent piece on its secrets and workings. : This article provides further insight into the specifics of a Flat Fee MLS listing. : Get a deeper understanding of Flat Fee MLS and the process of listing with this service. : Learn more about the intricacies of Flat Fee MLS, and discover tips before opting for this listing service. : Explore this guide to know more about the time and effort involved in selling a home FSBO with Flat Fee MLS.

    Conclusion

    As a homeowner, this forward-thinking service hands you the reins: you get to decide the listing price, manage negotiations, and directly engage with potential buyers. Plus, it's budget-friendly, potentially saving you a bundle on realtor fees. Don't worry if this process seems a bit overwhelming; at Unreal Estate, we're here to guide you consistently, ensuring your home-selling journey is both seamless and rewarding. To put it simply, Flat Fee MLS gives you the best of both worlds - the power to take charge while making sure your property gets the spotlight it deserves.

    If you already have the photos out of the way and are ready to list, check out our selling options at unrealestate.com/sell or find your perfect home at unrealestate.com/search.

    We’d love to hear your thoughts about this article and our blog. Let us know how we did by completing the Unreal Estate Blog Feedback Survey.

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