The MLS is Dead!
At least that’s what journalists keep saying. They are wrong.
In 2019, half of all homebuyers in the U.S. reported they found their home on the internet. The vast majority of homebuyers use websites like Zillow and Trulia to research homes and neighborhoods before they purchase.
Where do these websites get their information?
The local Multiple Listing Service is more important now than ever. If you are in Fort Worth, you need the MLS in Fort Worth. A Houston or Austin listing does you no good. Homebuyers won’t find your home.
Read on to learn how to list your home the right way.
What Is the MLS?
A multiple listing service (MLS) is a listing service created and maintained by a group of real estate brokers. In the U.S., MLS is a generic term. It does not refer to one type of service or listing.
That said, the information and suite of services offered by a local MLS are standardized across North America. A local MLS refers to a group of real estate brokers who agree to share and consolidate information about listings and sales.
The MLS creates a shared electronic database for affiliated brokers and members. In some areas, membership is limited to Realtors (members of the National Association of Realtors) only. Some states, like Texas, allow access to any licensed real estate agents, whether or not they are also Realtors.
Websites such as Trulia and Zillow purchase access to MLS information to populate their websites. They may not get the full information that an agent has. Listing on any MLS requires the cooperation of a member.
Do I Need an Agent to List on the MLS in Fort Worth?
It is possible to list without an agent. The question is: “Is it worth it?”
Consider the time and effort needed to get the best price for your home. Home sellers pay around 6% of the sales price to the agents representing the buyer and seller. This commission is split between the buyer’s agent and the selling agent.
You can save the commission on the sale of your home. Just take on the steps associated with your home sale. There are no laws in Texas restricting real estate transactions to Realtors.
Most Real Estate Agents in Texas Are Commissioned
In Fort Worth, the rate is about 3% of the sales price to the listing agent. For that 3%, you can expect the agent to:
- Do market research and give expert input about your home price
- Create marketing materials and distribute them to attract buyers in your market
- Place their sign on your home and take inquiries
- List the property for sale with the correct local MLS (Greater Fort Worth)
- Schedule showings and open houses
- Collect and present offers from buyer and buyers agents with explanations as necessary
- Negotiate counter-offers and offer acceptance
Take on these duties and the commission normally paid to the seller’s agent stays in your pocket. That could mean a hefty bit of change saved since the average (median) sold price for a single-family home in Fort Worth is now $230,000.
Are You Ready to DIY?
“Fizz-bo” or FSBO (For Sale By Owner) is where you commit to doing the work yourself. You do the research to determine your home’s property value. You find and vet prospective buyers.
You show the house and write the contract. It might sound straightforward, but the process can take months if the market isn’t just right. In a rising market like Fort Worth, you may find just the process of finding the right listing price challenging.
If you price too low, you might have no room to negotiate. You could lose the chance for more lucrative offers. Pick an excessive asking price and your days on market number rockets.
How Do You Plan To Guide Buyers To Your Property?
Most buyers find their homes online or through the MLS. Posters, flyers, and sign-spinners might not attract the types of prospects you want. You need an MLS listing.
As an FSBO seller, accurate home descriptions, showing the house, etc. is 100% your responsibility. In Texas, templates for required forms are available free online. Consult with a real estate attorney if the process is unclear.
To use the Greater Fort Worth MLS, you can pay an agent 3%. An alternative is to pay for listing only. One fee and you get maximum exposure to active buyers and buyers Flat Fee MLS listing provides data entry into the MLS. The rest of the long list of tasks falls to you. Your telephone number and contact information are listed instead of a broker.
While you do save on commission paid to the seller’s agent, you do not save on the commission paid to the buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents will be reluctant to show your home to their clients without a commission.
Make Your Listing Shine
Some entry-only services cost as little as $99. Just remember, you are 100% responsible for everything in your listing and following all the rules– even though you aren’t a real estate professional. With a low-priced listing, photographs may be limited or the listing restricted in some way.
Flat fee listings tend to be “ala carte” and each task is priced individually. Additional photographs, price and status changes, open houses, telephone forwarding, etc. can add up quickly. Break the MLS rules at your own peril.
Your name and contact information are listed. If anything is wrong with your listing, you face penalties from the MLS if the correction isn’t prompt.
Keep any status changes up to date and make sure your cooperating agent inputs the changes your MLS listing within the 24-hour window.
Steps to Success
There’s more to getting your house sold than simply being on the MLS in Fort Worth.
Set Your Price
Be aware of the two prices when you create your listing. There is your asking price and then there is a price the market will bear. It takes some number-crunching to find the right compromise.
Do Your Research
Comps are other recently sold homes with the same characteristics as your home. Look for homes in close proximity, similar construction, and age.
Use at least 6 months previous comparable home sales prices for your calculations. Add and subtract your home features compared to your comp listings to get your price range. For example, more full bathrooms possibly increases value.
If comps show three-bedroom homes and your house has four bedrooms, then adjust upwards by the market value of a bedroom. Features such as a corner lot or an excellent nearby elementary school can affect perceived value.
Show and Sell
Make your home look its best. Clean and declutter from the front walk and entryway all the way to the medicine cabinet inside. Paint and update interiors. Spruce up the landscaping.
Add lighting and remove personalization where you can. Get well-lit photographs of your home, inside and out. Photograph every room and all exterior angles.
Make sure to qualify prospective buyers before they enter your home. Strangers in your home present some danger. Take precautions.
Negotiate and Close the Sale
You will negotiate directly with the buyer or their agent. You will owe the buyer’s agent their commission. A buyer will present you with an offer, usually on a standardized contract form.
The offer contains:
- The price the buyer is willing to pay and the time the offer is valid
- An amount of “earnest money” and down payment
- Address and legal description of the property
- Items to be included or excluded in the sale, such as carpeting, draperies, fixtures, appliances, etc
- Move out and closing date
- Liquidated damages or payments for use and occupancy of the property if not delivered by the agreed-upon dates
- Terms for inspections and the buyer’s final walk-through
- Assurance for a clear title to the property and escrow instructions
- Terms for paying expenses such as utilities, property taxes, and homeowners’ association fees through the closing date (usually the seller)
- Any contingencies
You may counter-offer any of these terms. Once you agree, you proceed to close with a title company to prepare the deed transfer. If you are not an expert, have your documents reviewed by a licensed professional or real estate attorney.
Keep your MLS listing updated with any offers or progress that you make. You may be fined if you miss a status change.
In-Between Barebones Flat Fee Listings and Full-Commission Agents
Entry into the MLS in Fort Worth isn’t an either/or choice. There is another alternative brokerage service to consider.
For a flat fee instead of a commission, you can have an agent prepare your MLS listing. They can help with scheduling showings, prepare your documents and have them checked for legality.
The flat-fee real estate brokerage is not a new model of business in Texas. You could pay less than 1/3 the commission on an average home. Bluematch uses data and technology to reduce costs and still provide the services you need.
Ready to start your listing without excessive fees or commissions?
Contact us today!