I recently listed my Massachusetts home on MLS, but I’m not using a real estate agent to sell my property. Since I wanted to list on MLS without a realtor, my biggest question was "What MLS listing service should I use?" Doing a listing For Sale By Owner (FSBO), I want a flat-fee MLS listing service that has a good online presence as well as a history of quality person-to-person customer support. It seems like none of the flat fee MLS listing services have any 3rd party reviews online.
There also seems to be a general divide between key offerings – companies that offer barebones, no feature service for under $200, and other companies that offer a variety of packages and features starting at $300. The sub-$200 packages seem extremely risky and could wind up being useless if you enter your listing information wrong. The $300 and up packages tend to allow you to make updates at no or low extra cost, and include features like including your open house listing along with your for sale listing on MLS. These are important considerations when doing For Sale By Owner.
Long story short, I ended up using buyself.com and was very pleased with them. Read below for my details of my process in searching for a service provider.
Below I will briefly discuss some of the other companies that I also researched. You can find a list of URLs to more reviews for flat fee MLS services here: http://www.flatfeereviews.com/index.php?topic=2.0.
I was extremely tempted to use bloomkey.com – I even starting going through the checkout process with their MLS package. Their site seems to offer all the right features and in a timely manner, too. However, I could not find any real reviews of the company online (other than what the website posts on its own pages). Additionally, their Alexa web traffic ranking was pretty bad at 1,948,035 (with a rank of 1 being the best). Although these Alexa rankings often can be misleading, they are still usually a good indicator of how mainstream a company is. Bloomkey’s ranking of nearly 2 million means that they get about as much web traffic as a typical personal blog does, and probably means that the company has only a couple of people working for it.
I also found other sites like flatfeemls.com and flatfeelisting.com, which were my next 2 choices since I was able to find 1 or 2 user reviews for them (although that’s still not great). My hesitation with these companies was that there was never any information regarding what forms you need to fill out (especially with flatfeemls.com), or extremely slow process for getting the paperwork, submitting it, and getting the listing to be active. At least flatfeelisting.com has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
The flat fee service getmoreoffers.com has a lot more reviews online, all of them positive. However, getmoreoffers.com is primarily only for listing in Florida, even though they offer their services for all states. For me this uncovered another consideration that I needed to make – does the offered service change depending on which state you live in? Indeed it does. For example, if you want to list your open house details on your local MLS, then you might be out of luck with some of these services that are based in other states. This is the case with realmartrealty.com (also an A+ BBB rating, but based in New Jersey).
When I was trying to find online reviews for one of the above companies, I actually found a YouTube video for a different company – buyself.com (apparently operated by parent website flatfeemlslisting.com, but not to be confused with the similarly named flatfeelisting.com that I previously described). They also have an A+ rating on BBB. This seems to be the company with the longest history that I could find (they have been offering this service since 1998), best customer service responsiveness, supports same-day rush listing if necessary, has a few online user reviews (all positive) and includes a lockbox. click to go to it) and for sale sign as part of their "Standard Package". This immediately became my favorite choice. However, I noticed that they had different versions of their website, like having open house options available in Tennessee (even though they are based in Minnesota… ?) For my state of Massachusetts, the web site gave no indications of being able to schedule my open house as part of the MLS listing. I called the number on their site (several times, they starting answering their phone after 10:30am EDT) to ask about this – and apparently they don’t list an open house option as a separate add-on because it already comes for free with their "Standard Package". I called them several times, each time they picked up the phone immediately.
I decided to go with buyself.com. I liked that I was able to get them on the phone, receive more options for a lower price ($299), get same-day rush processing (no extra cost), and have a company with a long history and good BBB rating. Sure enough, I ordered their package at 10:45am (EDT), and by 6:00pm the same day I had an active MLS listing and open house scheduled for the upcoming weekend. After ordering, they contact an MLS entry-only agent local to my area to handle the listing, and this person was also always immediately available on the phone without being placed on hold (and I called them about 10 times throughout the day, too!) The lockbox they sent me is pictured here, it is the kind you see at a lot of homes and was good quality (click to go to it). The “for sale” sign was not very professional looking, I would suggest getting a beefier, metal sign at your local hardware store.
I’ve only covered these companies briefly. You can find a list of URLs to more in-depth reviews for flat fee MLS services here: http://www.flatfeereviews.com/index.php?topic=2.0
If you have more information about any of these companies, any other companies, or have any other questions or comments about this topic, please add to the forum at www.flatfeereviews.com and we’ll try to get more information available to everyone!