Do You Really Need the Multiple Listing Service to Sell Your Home?

This one will get lots of agents upset with me.  The simple answer is not so simple.  There is no one size fits all response.

Obviously you don’t “need” the multiple listing service or even a real estate agent for that matter.  But let’s leave “for sale by owners” off the table ( a new post addressing FSBO’s will be coming ) since the number of those sales has actually been declining and represent such a small sector of the homes that have closed title.

Our New Jersey office has always offered a 2% commission non-Multiple Listing Service (MLS) program for sellers who wanted to potentially save the most dollars while still being professionally represented by a licensed agent.  This means that agents from other real estate offices would not be able to show and sell that listing unless they were being compensated by their own buyer.  It’s what’s called an “office exclusive” listing.

In the raging real estate market of 2005, a significant number of our listings sold this way with no MLS service.  Long time agents will tell sellers this can’t happen, but it certainly can.  Today the program still works for the right property.  We just sold a home in northern NJ with partial views of New York City with no MLS.  In today’s world it’s difficult to hide a home from potential buyers.  Even though the homes listed this way are not on the local MLS, they are still advertised on all major real estate web sites including those designed to be used by agents. If a buyer locates a property that is perfect for them but their own agent cannot show it, I do not see that buyer walking away from the home.  They will call us for a showing.

That being said, a home that is either priced poorly or located in an area where there is no scarcity may benefit from the MLS and being accessible to the thousands of agents out there.  Most buyers prefer to deal with their own agent (which is the one thing For Sale By Owners miss) and if your home is just one of many that are similar they may not go out of their way to see it.

As mentioned earlier, the decision for a seller as to whether to choose a very low commission non MLS program or spend a bit more for the MLS, needs to be based on the individual situation and property.  Some of our sellers choose the 2% plan knowing they can always switch to the full MLS program later (usually no more than 3.9% total).  In any event there is no need to pay a higher fee.  You can visit our web site at or call with more questions.  This is a topic that lends itself to discussion.

Required Disclosures:  In New Jersey all commissions are negotiable.  Savings are used for comparison purposes only and are not guaranteed.


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