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Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 04/09/2013

Real Estate Matters: Listing on MLS improves chance of FSBO success

I have finally had it with real estate agents and have decided to use a for sale by owner (FSBO) Web service.

The company offers a few different options with various prices. The most expensive includes six months of being listed in the local multiple listing service (MLS). The other options offer advertisements on real estate Web sites (Realtor.com, etc.), but not a listing on the MLS.

There is a big difference in price just to be listed on the MLS for six months. I am a little hesitant to do this option since I know six months can easily go by with no offers. Is an MLS listing really necessary?

Studies indicate that most homes sell with the help of a real estate agent. The No. 1 tool to market those homes is probably the MLS. This listing service in most markets gives real estate agents the ability to see and review all listings in an area. If your home isn’t in the MLS, you’re missing the most effective tool to sell your home.

Twenty or so years ago, an FSBO seller would advertise his home in local newspapers and a lawn sign to market his home. Few if any of these FSBO sellers succeeded in selling their homes. More recently, the Internet has started to level the playing field, but many buyers still work with real estate agents to buy their home. Those agents rely on the MLS.

An FSBO service may offer various packages to sellers such as you. The more you want, the more you pay, with the top package giving you access to the MLS for six months. We guess you want to give your home the greatest exposure possible and that you wouldn’t want to exclude a major source of potential buyers.

As you decide whether you want an a FSBO package, you must understand what it will take to sell your home. If you overprice your home for sale, trying to sell it yourself isn’t likely to give you a good result.

You still will need to price your home right, make sure your home shows really well, both from the inside and the outside, take great photos for posting on Web sites, create a beautiful brochure for the home, and make sure the description of your home is succinct, emphasizes the good points of your home and accurately shows off its best qualities.

As the real estate market has improved in many areas, you likely have a better chance of selling your home today than you had a year or two ago. But home sellers can make the same mistakes in any market. Again, you need to decide whether you want to spend money upfront to sell the home yourself in a FSBO or try again with a real estate agent.

We think that listing your home on the MLS is a good step toward getting your home sold. Unless you find a buyer that is searching for a home on the many sites out there that carry listings, you might miss out of that one buyer truly looking for a home like yours.

Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is “Buy, Close, Move In! Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. If you have questions, you can call Ilyce’s radio show (800-972-8255) any Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact Ilyce and Sam through her Web site, www.thinkglink.com.

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin  |  05:30 AM ET, 04/09/2013

 
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