What about selling the home through one of those companies

that advertise to put the house on the MLS for a small fee?

By Elise Timpe                              BACK

In it's most basic sense and original purpose, the MLS is actually  a "help wanted" ad from the listing agent to other licensed agents. The listing agent usually offers a portion of the commission paid by the seller to the other members of the MLS (Realtors®) if they find and represent a buyer for the listing. Listings without a stated compensation for the buyer's agent are not allowed on the MLS.


This is what makes the MLS so powerful. Once a home is listed, all regional Realtors® have immediate access to the information. The commission offered represents their total salary and operating expenses if they're successful in completing a sale of the property, and is the motivating factor that makes the MLS so effective in enlisting the help of thousands of Realtors® in selling your home.


They will also take note of whether the seller is represented by a Broker, or has just paid a fee for the input with no further connection to the agent doing the MLS inputting (listed as "entry only"). 


In effect, when the seller is representing themselves, the buyer's agent will have double the liability and often, double the work, than if the seller were represented by a licensed broker. This may cause many agents to avoid listings that are "entry only".


These listings will appear all over the internet along with regular listings, usuallly next to a broker or agent's name to call for more information (whoever's site it is). When the buyer calls the agent on the page or their personal agent, the agent will go to the MLS to look up the details. Buyers who aren't professional brokers, attorneys or investors are usually very hesitant to buy a home without professional assistance. Most buyers wouldn't  know how to write an offer or what to write it on and wouldn't take the chance on the largest purchase of their life.


Getting a Real Estate license involves the study of contract law, among other things. One misplaced checkmark could end up costing either party thousands of dollars. Before digital storage, my closed sale files were 3-5 inches thick with paperwork.


How effective do you think an "input only" MLS listing is to the seller under these circumstances?

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Agents are people who are licensed Real Estate Salespersons. They must work under a Broker, who is ultimately responsible for the agents actions, though the agent is an independent contractor, not an employee. The Broker is the one authorized to collect the commission check earned by the agent and then pays a portion to the agent while retaining a portion for themselves.

Brokers have the right to work on their own and sometimes will work under another Broker as a Broker Associate.

Realtors® are Agents or Brokers who are members of the Realtor® associations and are held to higher ethical standards.

I've been using the terms interchangeably in this article.