FAQs FOR SELLERS
Multiple Listing Service Questions
IS MLS4OWNERS A LICENSED REAL ESTATE BROKER?
Yes, MLS4owners is licensed as a real estate broker by the State of Washington. Our designated broker has been licensed to sell real estate in Washington since 1992.
WHAT IS AN MLS?
A multiple listing service (MLS) is a effort among real estate brokers to share data about homes for sale, and to cooperate with and compensate each other for assisting with the sale. MLSs create the most comprehensive computerized database of homes for sale, and the majority of real estate sales are a direct result of MLS exposure. When you see a home for sale on any real estate website, that information probably came from the MLS database. The MLS is the tool real estate professionals use to keep informed. Through MLS4owners.com, this “prized possession” of real estate brokers is now available to homesellers at a fraction of the price.
IS MLS4OWNERS.COM A MEMBER OF A MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE?
Yes, MLS4owners.com is a member of six multiple listing services in Washington state. The largest is the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), which serves virtually all of Western Washington and several counties in Eastern Washington. We are also members of these other five multiple listing services: RMLS (Clark County – Vancouver area); Spokane; Yakima; North Central Washington (Chelan, Douglas and Okanogon); Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick, West Richland, Benton City, Finley, Burbank, Prosser, and other areas of Benton and Franklin Counties).
IS THIS THE SAME MLS USED BY AGENTS AT THE BIG REAL ESTATE COMPANIES?
Yes, homes advertised by MLS4owners.com will be exposed to over 20,000 members of the NWMLS. If your home is outside of the NWMLS service area, you will be exposed to agents in your local MLS as well.
WILL MY HOME SELL FASTER AND FOR MORE MONEY IF I EXPOSE IT THROUGH THE MLS?
Yes, the MLS is the marketplace for real estate. Until MLS4owners.com, people like you had no way to get maximum exposure without paying a high commission. Lack of market exposure is the biggest obstacle facing For Sale By Owners (FSBO).
WILL ADVERTISING WITH MLS4OWNERS REALLY SELL MY HOME?
Yes, if your home is marketed through MLS4owners.com and priced correctly for its condition and the market, your home will have the broadest possible exposure. Please view the results and our testimonials– our past customers are our best sales people!
- For up to 30 days we can put you in a Temporarily Off The Market status, based on your written request on an official MLS form that we can fax or email to you. When you are ready to come back on the market, you will have the same MLS number and expiration date. The NWMLS will allow us to use this status for up to 30 days at no charge, and the reasons they will accept include vacation, illness, repairs and similar issues. Refinancing a mortgage is not one of the reasons, because mortgage companies appear to require that mortgaged properties not be subject to a listing agreement. Please check our Service and Fees Center for current cost.
We will send your information to the multiple listing service within one business day of receiving your agreement and required data. Within hours, your home will be exposed to more than 20,000 member agents of the multiple listing service. Within 24 hours, most local real estate websites (including MLS4owners.com) will have linked to the MLS data. National websites such as Realtor.com, Zillow normally display properties within 1 day.
I HAVE A GREAT PICTURE OF MY HOME. CAN I USE IT?
Yes, you can email up to 25 photos when you submit your advertising agreement. We are required to post at least one photo of the exterior or the view upon activation, and we can add other photos at your convenience. Photos must be in .jpg (JPEG) format and should be in normal landscape orientation (because upright "portrait" photos and panoramas tend to get distorted or stretched to fit the space available).
No. Multiple listing services now track cumulative days on market (regardless of previous cancellations), so getting a new MLS number no longer has the advantage it once did. It is also against MLS rules.
I AM LOWERING MY PRICE. CAN I GET A NEW MLS NUMBER?
The MLS permits us to cancel and relist a property based on a price change, if the price reduction is greater than 5% of the lowest price of the listing. The MLS would require that we obtain a new listing agreement, but we could re-use the old data and photos if you wish. The cost for this is $100, and the new listing would expire one year from the date of activation of the original listing. While the listing would have a new MLS number, the "cumulative days on market" field would continue to count the total days on market.
WHAT IS A KEYBOX, AND HOW DO I GET IT?
A keybox is a device that holds a key to your house. Only licensed real estate agents have access to this device. If you want your home available for viewings even when you aren’t home, lock boxes are wonderful and a real convenience for real estate agents and homebuyers. If you want to maintain control of who is showing your home, you should not have a lock box. If you would like to use one of our MLS keyboxes for $100.00, we will mail it to you with return postage paid. Please don't put your only key in the box, as only real estate agents have access to the box through their secure codes.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I RECEIVE AN OFFER?
Congratulations! You should negotiate directly with the buyer or the buyer’s agent. When you have completed negotiations and accepted the offer, to comply with MLS rules you MUST notify us so we can update your MLS advertisement to show that you have a pending sale.
DO YOU ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS?
Yes! We accept online payments using credit and debit cards through our checkout. You can also choose to mail your check to the address on the advertising agreement. This does not slow down the activation process, as we can activate you upon receipt of the necessary listing information.
CAN I DO ADDITIONAL MARKETING ON MY OWN?
Sure, you can advertise wherever you choose. We find that most For Sale By Owner advertising results in few calls from qualified buyers, with most of the response coming from real estate agents and other service providers looking for new business. However, it never hurts to advertise on your own.
Working With Buyer Agent Questions
HOW MUCH SHOULD I OFFER TO AGENTS WHO WORK WITH MY BUYER?
This is the number one question we receive. The choice is yours! When our general manager sold his Tacoma house this way, he didn’t know whether his buyer would prefer to work with an agent or not, and he wanted to attract the largest possible audience. He offered 3% because it appeared to be what most of his competitors (neighbors) were offering. He received offers through agents and direct from buyers, and the best offer was direct, so he paid no commission. Our customers’ most common choices are 2.5% and 3%. We have had people be successful as low as $500 and as high as 5%, and everywhere in between.
HOW DO AGENTS KNOW WHAT COMMISSION I AM OFFERING?
The buyer’s agent’s fee (also known as the selling office commission) is advertised in the MLS database, so agents know before they call you what you are willing to pay them to show and sell your home.
MAY I OFFER A ZERO COMMISSION?
No, as the MLS exists for brokers to share information and provide compensation, we are not permitted to offer a zero commission. The MLS requires that all members be aware of a specific commission that is being offered, and that the amount displayed in their database be non-negotiable. While we can change the amount in the database, the MLS requires that agents know how much they will be paid to show and sell the home.
Many issues including price and commission affect showing activity, and each seller’s strategy is different. You may find that maximum market exposure is achieved when competitive commissions are offered. If you want less agent participation, adjust the commission accordingly. The choice is up to you, and to ensure we stay in compliance with MLS rules the lowest we will advertise is $500.00
No, multiple listing service rules prohibit including commissions in the remarks that show up on public websites. However, real estate agents will know what you are offering because they have access to the multiple listing service databases.
CAN I JUST SAY THE COMMISSION IS "NEGOTIABLE"?
No. multiple listing service rules require that you disclose the commission in your listing. You are agreeing that you will pay that commission if an agent represents a buyer on the terms and conditions you advertise.
WHAT DO REAL ESTATE AGENTS THINK OF MLS4OWNERS.COM?
Many buyer agents recognize that we bring inventory into the marketplace that would otherwise be a For Sale By Owner, and they have earned millions of dollars in commissions by helping our customers save many more millions when they sell their homes. Some listing agents do not like our program, because they would rather that you signed up with them, and frankly we aren't on many Christmas card lists. Some agents are under the mistaken impression that limited service is not allowed; but Rule 4(e) of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service specifically says we can offer this service as long as we disclose the limitations, and the Revised Code of Washington says the same thing. Some agents think they have to do more work when there is no listing agent, but our experience over the last decade says that isn't so. Of course, most agents love to work with honest, cooperative, friendly sellers who are offering a competitive commission, and you can maximize your sales potential by treating all interested parties in a professional manner.
WHY DO OTHER REAL ESTATE BROKERS LET YOU ADVERTISE MLS4OWNERS LISTINGS ON THEIR WEBSITES?
Like MLS4owners.com, most brokerages have download agreements with multiple listing services, enabling them to display all homes for sale in the entire system. This gives visitors to their websites a better selection and increases the broker’s chance of earning the business of the homebuyer.
HOW DO AGENTS SHOW MY HOME?
Agents will see your home in the multiple listing service, or one of their clients will find your home on one of many websites. The agent will then call you for showing instructions or follow the instructions posted in your advertisement.