Disclaimer: This post is meant to be used for educational purposes. Links and mentions of Arizona flat fee MLS companies in this story do not constitute an endorsement. Individual program details can change — please visit a provider’s website for the most current information on rate packages, fees, service areas, and more. HomeLight always recommends doing your own research to determine which selling option is best for your situation.
You may be thinking about whether to use a real estate agent to sell your Arizona home or go the FSBO (for sale by owner) route and use an Arizona flat fee MLS company.
The Grand Canyon state’s previously hot real estate market may have given you some confidence in your own selling abilities, or maybe you have an independent personality and want to take advantage of the flat fee MLS listing services available. On the other hand, as mortgage interest rates increase, you may be witnessing the market’s cooling off and wonder if it’s really the right move. We’ll break down the points you need to consider before making a decision.
What is a flat fee MLS listing service?
Selling a home can be complicated and even more so if you’re going it alone. But even if you’re a FSBO seller, you’ll still need to get your home added to the multiple listing service (MLS) to attract buyers. There are a number of different services in Arizona and other states that provide MLS services for a flat fee. You can think of it as an alternative to selling a house using a traditional real estate agent.
In a nutshell, the MLS is a real estate database used by the real estate industry to help clients buy and sell property. Although normally only licensed real estate agents can access and post listings on a local MLS, there are services that allow FSBO owners to list as well — for a fee of course. For reference, in the MLS, a “listing” means a “property for sale.”
There’s been an influx of various home search websites, however, those sites are all populated by what’s on the MLS, and the MLS is an agents’ go-to source for property information. It’s the flat fee MLS listing services that enable FSBO sellers to bypass the traditional agent and get their home included on the MLS.
What Arizona sellers might benefit from a flat fee MLS service?
Flat fee MLS services might be a good option for some sellers, but not all. Here are a few situations when sellers might consider using a flat fee MLS service:
- Sellers who want to save on the cost of a real estate agent’s commission.
- Sellers who have a hands-on personality and are confident in their home selling skills.
- Sellers who enjoy a challenge.
- Sellers who think their knowledge of the property makes them the best person to handle the sale.
- Sellers who have strong real estate industry knowledge such as a real estate attorney.
- Sellers who have the time and resources to learn all the details of the FSBO process.
- Sellers who are facing foreclosure, want to sell quickly, and don’t think they have time to work with an agent.
Different flat fee MLS listing companies offer different levels of service depending on how much you pay, but it’s generally a far cry from the comprehensive level of home-selling services provided by a traditional agent. That means if you go the FSBO route, you’ll need to be willing to take on a variety of tasks normally handled by a real estate agent.
Here are some of the responsibilities you’ll probably have as a FSBO seller:
- Conducting a comparative market analysis of the area where your property is located.
- Using your own research to choose the best asking price for your home.
- Writing a compelling listing description.
- Taking quality photos of the inside and outside of your home and yard.
- Responding to inquiries about your home from potential buyers.
- Scheduling, advertising, and hosting open houses.
- Showing the property to individual buyers.
- Understanding your legal liabilities and providing disclosure paperwork.
- Providing a purchase contract.
- Handling negotiations and counteroffers.
Pros and cons of using a flat fee MLS listing service
Here are some aspects of the flat fee MLS listing service to weigh against using a traditional agent.
- No large real estate commission (typically 5%-6%)
- Control of all aspects of the sale from start to finish
- Known costs are paid upfront for selling the property
- Don’t have to spend time finding an agent
- Flat fee plus possible commission to buyer’s agent (2.5%-3%)
- Responsibility for addressing any issues that arise to protect sale
- Mostly a self-service process that involves lots of time and energy
- Might not get the best selling price due to lack of experience
- Greater risk of legal liability
One of the main reasons why sellers opt for the FSBO route is to save on paying the agent commission. However, keep in mind that the buyer will likely be using an agent and sellers are generally responsible for paying the buyer’s agent commission, which is typically about 2% to 3% of the sale price.
How do I list my home with a flat fee MLS service in Arizona?
If after deliberating over the pros and cons you’ve decided to list your home using a flat fee listing service, here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Search online and ask other people who have sold their own homes for recommendations about flat fee MLS listing services in Arizona.
Step 2: Once you have selected a few companies, compare the various rate and service packages based on your needs.
Step 3: Study the service providers’ websites to learn about the process for getting started, which may differ.
Step 4: Contact the service via phone, email, or an online form if provided. Be prepared to offer information about your property and have your marketing photos ready.
Step 5: Wait one or two days for your listing to go live on the MLS.
Step 7: View your listing online and contact the service provider immediately if any changes need to be made.
Step 6: The information from the listing will then populate on real estate websites like Realtor, Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, etc.
Step 7: Stay posted for any important communications from your service provider about the listing. You may have more regular contact if you purchased additional services.
Step 8: If all goes well, expect to receive inquiries from buyers’ agents or prospective buyers, which could result in offers and hopefully a successful sale.
Someone might use a flat fee listing service if they owe too much on their property. For example, if their mortgage is $300K and they can only sell it for $310K — that would be the only situation that you would move in that direction.
- Monique Walker
Real Estate Agent
Real Estate Agent at Re/Max Excalibur Realty
Currently accepting new clients
- Years of Experience
- Average Price Point
- Single Family Homes
Are flat fee MLS listings effective in Arizona?
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nearly 90% of home shoppers purchase a house using a buyer’s agent. The small number that are FSBO sellers usually have a specific reason for doing so such as having experience in real estate or wanting to avoid paying the agent’s commission. In 2022, 50% of FSBO sellers already knew the buyer of the home, according to NAR data.
However, according to Maricopa County real estate agent Monique Walker who has 20 years of industry experience, a hot seller’s market can cause an uptick in the number of FSBO sellers because it’s much easier to market and sell a home for top dollar. Yet, as the Arizona real estate market softens alongside many other areas in the U.S., Walker is seeing less activity among FSBO sellers and flat fee agents because more effort and experience are needed for a successful home sale. However, there are still occasions when people choose to go it alone.
“Someone might use a flat fee listing service if they owe too much on their property,” says Walker. “For example, if their mortgage is $300K and they can only sell it for $310K — that would be the only situation that you would move in that direction.”
Otherwise, sellers are likely going to lose more money than they’re going to save with a flat fee MLS service, Walker adds.
How much does a flat fee MLS service cost in Arizona?
Flat fee MLS listing service rates can range from $100 to $1,200 for a full-service package. At the cheapest end of the spectrum, the services will merely list your home based on the information you give them for the MLS. However, there are more expensive packages available that offer longer listing periods, more photos featured on the listing, video upload options, assistance with required paperwork, assistance with scheduling open houses, and other services.
Arizona home sellers have options when it comes to flat fee MLS services. There are local, regional, and national companies to choose from, and their level of assistance can vary widely. But don’t expect that any will provide the level of service you’ll receive with a traditional Realtor®.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of flat fee MLS listing companies serving Arizona home sellers.
Arizona flat fee MLS listing companies
Although Arizona sellers have options in terms of having flat fee listing services to choose from, keep in mind that not all are created equal. As you review some of these providers, consider your home-selling situation and needs and weigh them against the strengths and weaknesses of the various services.
First, we’ll go over a few examples of local flat fee MLS listing services. Later in the post, we’ll provide a few national examples.
Flat Fee Group
Service areas: Serves Arizona
About: Founded in 2015, Flat Fee Group is run by real estate broker Jeff Davis who’s also the owner of the American Realty Academy. The service is a chapter of a larger national organization that provides FSBO sellers with the opportunity to work with a broker.
Reviews and rating summary: Flat Fee Group is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ BBB rating. Yelp reviewers give the company 4-stars out of 5, with one user expressing, “Hands down, this was the best experience we have had with a flat-rate fee listing broker…we could not be happier.”
Rate package overview:
Max plan – $1,499: Includes a listing period of 12 months and unlimited MLS photos. The package includes all the necessary contracts, disclosure and addendum forms, full broker support, assistance with escrow and closing, unlimited listing changes, broker negotiation assistance, and more.
Entry-level package– $799: Includes a listing period of three months for local MLS listing and five MLS photos, and listing contracts.
Additional service notes:
- Supplies comps and market data
- Publishes open houses
- Full contract admin support
- Video upload
- Broker follows up after showings
- Lists on over 400 real estate websites
Service areas: Arizona, Alaska, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington
About: Founded and run by real estate broker J. Andrew English, Congress Realty presents itself as the largest provider of flat fee MLS listings in the U.S. It distinguishes itself by saying that it’s a licensed brokerage as opposed to an unlicensed referral-only website. It says its affordable plans save sellers money.
Reviews and rating summary: Congress Realty earned 5-star ratings for 20 out of 21 Yelp reviews. Patrons said they were happy with the service, with some saying that they’ve used the service multiple times and plan to do so again in the future.
Rate package overview:
Premium package – $499: Includes a six-month listing term, access to all state forms and disclosures, up to 10 free MLS listing changes, maximum photos allowed by the MLS, DocuSign access, showing scheduling tool, automated phone forwarding, unlimited open house showings.
Basic package – $299: Includes six months of MLS listing, six photos, access to state forms and disclosures, five free MLS changes, access to DocuSign, comparative market analysis, seller phone number displayed on MLS listing.
Additional service notes:
- Plus and Full Service packages also available
- Listing featured on CongressRealty.com and social media for Premium
- Access to Showing Time software for Premium
Mountain Lake Realty
Service areas: Serves the following Arizona MLS areas: Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona/Verde Valley, Cochise County, Graham County, Apache County, Navajo County, Gila County
About: Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Mountain Lake Realty has been a brokerage member of Zillow since 2016. They say they’ve listed millions of properties and save customers an average of $12,000 to $15,000. Mountain Lake Realty also advertises no hidden fees.
Reviews and rating summary: Mountain Lake Realty earned an average 4.7-star rating from 13 reviews on Zillow. Customers praised the service, including the broker Thomas Mastromatto, for professionalism and for saving them money.
Rate package overview:
Virtual full service package – $1,200: Includes professional photography, a seller report, disclosure and Docusign paperwork provided, phone and email call forwarding. It also offers 10 open house schedulings, an electronic lock box, contract review, and sign post installation.
Basic package – $295: Includes a 12-month-long MLS listing along with disclosure paperwork support, contract review, and phone and email forwarding.
Additional service notes:
- Maximum home value for basic and mid-tier packages is $999K, $1.2M for the full service package.
- Can cancel anytime.
- Scheduling support for two open houses for Basic and 10 for Full Service.
National flat fee MLS companies that serve Arizona
Service areas: Serves all 50 states
About: Established in 1997, ISoldMyHouse.com wants to give homeowners options to sell their home that don’t involve high commissions. They offer a number of different educational resources like guides, how-to’s, checklists, product recommendations, videos, and other content to help sellers navigate the process.
Reviews and rating summary: ISoldMyHouse.com received an average of 4.69 out of five stars on Better Business Bureau. Reviewers commented on positive experiences using the service with one calling it “terrific.” Others talked about saving thousands of dollars on commissions by using the service.
Service areas: Serves all 50 states
About: Founded in 1997, FSBO.com works to bring together buyers and sellers through its flat fee MLS listing service for those who don’t want to work with a traditional real estate agent. The company provides a property search tool directly on its website, including foreclosure listings.
Reviews and rating summary: FSBO.com holds a 4-star rating on Better Business Bureau based on two reviews. One reviewer commented that they were happy with the end-to-end service that they received.
Service areas: Serves all 50 states
About: Houzeo is a property tech platform that offers tools typically provided by real estate agents to FSBO sellers. Among other assets, Houzeo offers an IntelliList listing management system and a showings tool for easier scheduling and management.
Reviews and rating summary: Houzeo earned an average 4.9-star rating from 1,594 reviews on TrustPilot. Reviewers commented on the high level of professionalism, customer support services, responsiveness, and prompt issue resolution.
Alternatives to a flat fee MLS service
Option 1: Flat fee real estate agent
A flat fee real estate agent offers to list and sell your home for a flat rate rather than a percentage of the home sale. A flat fee agent will often provide some of the same services as a traditional agent but with a different payment structure — they get paid the same amount regardless of how much the home sells for, potentially saving the seller money. However, they may not put as much effort into selling your home without the incentive of a higher commission, and you may not receive some services like professional photography, video tours, attending open houses, etc.
Option 2: Discount real estate brokers
If you want more support comparable to a traditional real estate agent but don’t want to pay a high commission, a discounted agent might be an option for you. It’s somewhat of a middle-of-the-road approach where you’ll typically pay more than a flat fee MLS service but less than the standard agent commission. However, keep in mind that you may still have to pay the standard commission for the buyer’s agent, reducing the savings potential. They may also take on a larger client load and so may devote less time selling your property.
Option 3: Full-service, experienced real estate agent
For many sellers, merely getting their house listed on the MLS isn’t enough to garner top dollar and a fast sale. By working with an experienced real estate agent, sellers can get comprehensive support throughout the process. For example, Walker explained how she provides clients with a 16-point action plan that includes professional photos and presentation on the MLS, using extensive local knowledge to appropriately price and market the property, and skilled negotiations.
With the market softening and prices trending downward, it’s becoming harder to sell properties, making it more essential to work with a top agent, says Walker.
“Marketing and agent-to-agent communication matters now,” Walker says. “Properties were selling very quickly before and now they’re not. So all of our different ways of getting exposure for a property matter now, whereas before sellers could list on the MLS and get 10 offers.”
Here are some of the top benefits of using a full-service, full-commission real estate agent or broker:
- Knowledge of the local market
- A comparative market analysis to determine the best selling price
- Ability to sell for a higher price
- Can help with staging and recommending necessary maintenance and upgrades for a higher sale price
- Appraisal expertise for more accurate valuation estimate
- Can preempt inspection pitfalls
- More marketing experience and broader visibility for property
- Sellers have less work to do during the sale process
- Contract expertise to avoid delays and potential lawsuits
- Professional negotiation skills
HomeLight data shows that the top 5% of real estate agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent. Use our free Agent Match platform to connect with an experienced agent in your area who can help you achieve a fast sale at the highest selling price.
Will I save money with a flat fee MLS listing service?
You may be wondering whether you’ll sell your home for less if you use a flat fee MLS service or if you’ll really save money.
While you’ll save money on agent commission fees, you’ll likely lose more in the net proceeds from the sale. That’s because in exchange for those upfront commission savings you’re sacrificing the time, work, and knowledge that a professional agent would put toward your property to command top dollar. This mainly comes from their marketing efforts, pricing scheme based on experience, and negotiation skills.
Furthermore, if you factor in the cost of your time and labor in addition to the risk of a lower sale price, the commission savings may not be as worth it as it initially appeared. According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) report, the median sale from a FSBO home was $260,000, which is 7% less on average than properties with agent representation.
This is illustrated in the following example based on the study’s findings:
Selling FSBO = $260,000
Selling with an average agent = $318,000
Selling with a top-rated agent = $349,800
In this example, even after deducting a 6% agent commission of $20,988, the selling price with a top agent may still come in at $68,812 more than the FSBO selling price.
What if I need to sell my Arizona home fast
You may be drawn to the FSBO route because you can quickly list your property and dive right into the selling process without having to interview agents. If a fast sale is your number one priority, a better avenue may be to seek a cash offer from a house-buying company such as an iBuyer or a We Buy Houses investor group. Be prepared that the cash offer won’t be as high as you’d get selling on the open market. However, if you’re in a situation such as inheriting a house out-of-state, facing foreclosure, or having a property that needs a major amount of repairs you can’t afford, receiving a cash offer could be a good option.
One of the most convenient ways to sell a home fast is through HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. It enables you to skip repairs, showings, and commissions by enabling you to receive a no-obligation cash offer in as little as 72 hours. If you accept an offer, you can close in as little as 10 days.
What else should I know about selling a house in Arizona?
Although there aren’t any laws specifically applicable to FSBO sellers in Arizona, there are more general laws that anyone selling property should know about. Although the title company will help take care of tax-related requirements, FSBO sellers will be responsible for adhering to the state’s disclosure laws. Failure to adhere to the laws could result in litigation, fines, or a terminated sale. In lieu of working with an experienced agent who would be versed in disclosure laws, FSBO sellers could hire an attorney during the process, though it’s not required to do so in Arizona.
More helpful insights about flat fee MLS services in Arizona
You may be interested in trying a FSBO sale for your property but are concerned about potentially hurting your chances in the process. According to Walker, it’s not necessarily a very positive route to take but one could use a flat fee MLS listing service for 30 days or less without hurting future chances should you subsequently opt for a traditional agent. However, regardless of the length of time, it’s essential to be aware of all the legal liabilities involved with being a FSBO seller.
She encourages all sellers to interview a few agents and ask them how many properties they have listed and sold in the past six months, what their list price to sales price ratio is, and their average days on market. Given that real estate transactions are generally the largest financial decisions of someone’s life, it’s important to take the time to properly vet an agent or any real estate service before making a decision.
Conclusion: Ready to sell your Arizona home?
Using a flat fee MLS listing service as part of your FSBO process could be a sound option for those with strong real estate knowledge or others who want to put in the time to learn so that they can have maximum control over the process. Meanwhile, some sellers who don’t think their properties have the potential to earn a profit from the sale might also choose a flat fee MLS listing service. However, choosing it just to save on the agent commission may not be the best choice because chances are you’ll still have to pay the buyer’s agent commission, fees for the MLS listing service and may not sell for as high as you might using a traditional agent.
Check out the following HomeLight articles for more information and guidance on selling your house in Arizona:
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