The MLS overview
The REALTOR® Multiple Listing Service, is by far the most powerful tool that can be employed to market a property. Every property that is listed in the MLS benefits from ALL of the advertising done by ALL of the agents and brokers sharing the MLS (Over 30,000 agents in the Southeast Florida MLS group).
That means every buyer that inquires about any property on the Internet, calls on any for sale sign or any classified ad, is referred by a corporate relocation program or affinity program, has just sold their home through a REALTOR® and is now ready to buy themselves, is referred to an agent by a friend or relative or has a friend or a relative who is an agent… — ALL of these buyers will end up looking for homes listed in the MLS.
Details are important
The MLS contains very detailed information on each property, all of which is searchable by agents looking for properties that meet the specific needs of their buyers. Having your property listed in the MLS makes it instantly available to the thousands of agents (and their buyers) sharing the MLS databases in South Florida. However, while the MLS is without question the most powerful tool for marketing your property, if it is not used properly it can become practically useless.
When an agent leaves off important information, or puts in wrong information, that property will not come up on the search lists for agents preparing homes with those features to be shown to their buyers, or for buyers doing their own searches on the Web. Unfortunately this is a very common occurrence and in most cases, the seller is never aware that it has happened.
Errors to avoid
Some of the most common omissions and errors are: Misspelled or omitted community name, square footage, waterfront info, pool info, view, style, lot information, floor location or number of stories, room sizes, equipment included, features, restrictions, Home Owner’s Association info, and showing instructions.
Impact of pictures
Probably the most inexcusable failure of many agent’s use of the MLS is with photos. The number one item by far that buyers want to see when they are searching for property online are Photos. Many buyers will skip right over listings without photos and ignore those with no decent pics. Yet many agents either through laziness or a complete lack of even the most basic technical skills fail to post any decent photos of their listings. In too many cases they don’t take any photos at all and either steal one from another listing or from Google Maps street view, sometimes even showing the wrong property, or just a picture of the community sign. They just don’t care and their sellers suffer as a result.
MLS and syndication
Key information from the MLS database is also automatically transferred to virtually all of the most popular Internet Web Sites carrying homes for sale: These include Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, Homegain and MANY more! In addition, your home is automatically listed on thousands of Broker Sites and all the major national and franchised real estate brokerage companies. Having wrong ,missing information or bad photos in the MLS means putting those same problems out to the whole world. Doing it right lets every potential buyer find your property and see it in its best light.
Benefits and costs
With all of these benefits, why doesn’t everybody list their home in the MLS? Well, the great majority of home sellers do. However, there is one primary concern sellers usually have with listing their home in the MLS – the cost.
In order to have your home listed in the MLS, you must have it listed for sale with a REALTOR®, and this almost always means paying a commission. The commission you have to pay usually covers both “sides” of the transaction — the buyer side and the seller side – the Selling Agent on the buyer side and the Listing Agent on the seller side.
While there is no set amount for these commissions, a typical amount in our market is 6%. That commission is typically split 50/50, although some greedy listing agents take a bigger percentage for themselves and give a smaller part to the agent who brings the buyer – a practice which is harmful to the seller, but that the seller rarely is aware of.
Additional selling tips
- Beware of listing agreements that lock you into a long term.
- Beware of listing agreements that require a cancellation fee unless you are willing to pay it.
- Always require your agent to send you a copy of the listing from the MLS and check it for errors.
- Consult more than one agent before picking who you should list your property with and who will represent you in the best way.
We will never charge you a cancellation fee nor lock you into an agreement that you cannot cancel at any time.