Disclaimer: This post is meant to be used for educational purposes. Links and mentions of Wisconsin flat fee MLS companies in this post 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.
If you’re trying to sell your home in Wisconsin, costs are probably weighing on your mind. With the market shifting and home sales slowing down, you’ll want to expose your listing to as many eyes as possible – and keep the most money in your pocket as possible. But to attract the right buyer, it’s crucial that your house shows up on the multiple listing service (MLS).
Without a listing on the MLS, your odds of capturing the attention of serious buyers drop significantly – along with your chances of securing a price you’re happy with.
Of course, a licensed real estate agent will automatically list your home on the MLS, but what if you don’t want to commit to a full-service real estate agent? In that case, a flat fee MLS company may be worth considering for your Wisconsin home sale.
In this complete guide, we lay out everything you need to know about selling a home with MLS services, and we break down our picks for six of the top flat fee MLS companies in Wisconsin.
What is a flat fee MLS listing service?
Listing your house on the MLS is a vital step if you want to sell your home effectively. The MLS is a database that real estate agents use to help both buyers and sellers make a home transaction. As a seller, it’s important for your home to appear on the MLS because buyers’ agents rely on the MLS to find homes for their clients. What’s more, the MLS populates most of the major home search websites.
All told, a Bright MLS study found that 83% of all house sales happened through an MLS during the last three years.
However, only licensed real estate agents and Realtors® are allowed to post your listing on the local MLS in most cases. Flat fee MLS listing services are an alternative to using a full-service real estate agent to list your home on the MLS. Flat fee MLS services are designed to accommodate for sale by owner (FSBO) sellers and allow you to list your home on the MLS for a fee.
“I believe the reason that people use [flat fee MLS services] is so that they don’t have to pay as much of a commission as they would if the listing agent did the work,” explains Monique Simmons, a top-selling agent in Milwaukee who completes nearly 40% more home sales than the average area agent. “They still want the property to be out there for people to see it in more places than just on ForSaleByOwner.com or something like that, so they’ll use an agent to do a flat fee just to put it in the MLS so it gets syndicated out to more places.”
Which Wisconsin sellers might benefit from a flat fee MLS service?
If you’re selling in Wisconsin, you may be wondering, “Is a flat fee MLS listing service the right choice for me?” The answer is: it depends. Here are some indications a flat fee MLS service might be right for you:
- You’re determined to save on real estate commission
- You have real estate experience or understand the home sale process well
- You’re comfortable selling homes on your own
- You have plenty of time and energy to spend on the home sale process
Here are the type of sellers who generally aren’t a good fit for flat fees listings or FSBO selling:
- Sellers who are strapped for time
- Sellers who aren’t willing to put significant time and energy into the sale
- Sellers who aren’t familiar with selling property
- Sellers who haven’t considered all of the costs that go into selling a home alone
- Sellers who don’t understand the laws, documents, and responsibilities surrounding Wisconsin home sales
Pros and cons of using a flat fee MLS listing service
These are some pros and cons of using a flat fee MLS listing service in Wisconsin:
- You don’t need to pay real estate agent commission to a listing agent
- You have more control over your home sale
- Your home will be visible on the MLS while selling on your own
- You’ll still need to pay the MLS fee
- You’ll likely still have to pay the buyer’s agent commission (generally 2-3% of your home’s sale price)
- You’ll need to spend significant time and energy marketing, pricing, prepping, fielding calls, negotiating, filling out paperwork, completing updates, and doing other necessary tasks
- You’ll be responsible for legal issues and home sale documents
How do I list my home with a flat fee MLS service in Wisconsin?
Wondering what goes into using a flat fee MLS service in Wisconsin? Here are a few steps you can expect with most flat fee MLS services:
- Pick your flat fee MLS provider.
- Visit your flat fee MLS service’s website.
- Fill out your home’s registration information. This usually includes things like your home’s address, square footage, contact info, and other broad details.
- Enter an in-depth description of your home and upload important elements, such as your listing price and photographs.
- Complete your payment.
- Watch for your listing to appear on popular home search websites.
- Plan to field calls or answer emails from interested buyers or buyers’ agents.
Are flat fee MLS listings effective in Wisconsin?
No matter how you move forward with your home sale, listing your home on the MLS will likely be the most effective route. According to the 2022 On MLS Study, on-MLS houses sold for nearly 15% more than properties that were off the platform last year. On a $250,000 home, that’s a difference of $37,500.
However, FSBO isn’t always the smoothest path to a sale. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), just 7% of last year’s successful home sales went through without a real estate agent’s help. And of those sellers, 57% knew their home’s buyer.
NAR transaction data also shows that “FSBO homes sold at a median of $260,000 last year, signiﬁcantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $318,000.” Your FSBO results may largely depend on your sales, marketing, and negotiating skills, as well as the condition of your home and the local market.
How much does a flat fee MLS service cost in Wisconsin?
The price of flat fee MLS services can vary depending on the company and level of attention you choose. Oftentimes, flat fee MLS companies offer different tiers of service for different prices. Some companies offer higher-priced packages for features like yard signs or lock boxes. They may also provide more involved services, such as marketing, photography, or help from a designated broker. Overall, most flat fee MLS services in Wisconsin range from around $299 to $2,500.
6 flat fee MLS listing companies
It’s important to understand that not all flat fee MLS companies provide the same services. It’s a good idea to examine each MLS provider’s options and make sure the service fits your personal selling situation before you commit. Some flat fee MLS providers may also deliver more or less hands-on service, depending on whether they’re a local, regional, or national company.
Here are a few examples of local flat fee MLS companies in Wisconsin:
Service areas: Serves Southcentral Wisconsin
About: Madcity Homes prides itself as Dane County’s oldest and biggest flat fee MLS service. When it comes to the Madison region, it also has sold more properties than any other flat fee MLS, according to its site.
Reviews and rating summary: Madcity Homes has 4.9 out of 5 stars (75 total reviews) on Google. Reviewers praise the company’s professionalism and value.
Rate package overview:
$500 Basic Flat Fee MLS – This package will list your home on the MLS for six months. It also includes professional photos. If you live in Dane County, you’ll also get a yard sign and comparable sales summary.
$2,500 Broker Management Package – This option adds on the services of a broker. It includes a lock box, documentation, settlement statements, negotiations, and closing assistance.
Madison Flat Fee Homes
About: Madison Flat Fee Homes is family-owned and its team has more than two decades of experience selling real estate. The company provides extra closing assistance in addition to a simple MLS listing.
Reviews and rating summary: Madison Flat Fee Homes has 4.8 out of 5 stars (76 total reviews) on Google. Reviewers praise the company’s communication and negotiating services.
Rate package overview:
$450 upfront MLS Listing Fee + $1,500 at closing – With this package, you’ll get a one-year listing, professional photos, market analysis, an in-person listing appointment, a lock box, a printable property brochure, and a yard sign. It also includes closing assistance and negotiations.
Milwaukee Flat Fee Homes
Service areas: Serves Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Walworth, Racine, Kenosha, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc counties
About: Milwaukee Flat Fee Homes’ team has 25 years of experience selling homes. They start with a flat fee MLS services and allow you to add extra negotiation and closing services at an additional cost.
Reviews and rating summary: Madison Flat Fee Homes has 4.6 out of 5 stars (68 total reviews) on Google. Reviewers praise the company’s responsiveness and quality.
Rate package overview:
$550 MLS Listing Plan – This includes a one-year listing, professional photos, market analysis, in-person consultation, and a yard sign.
$1,550 Closing Service – This upgrade includes negotiations, documentation, contract administration, and closing coordination.
National flat fee MLS companies that serve Wisconsin
Here are a few national MLS companies that operate in Wisconsin:
Service areas: Serves Metro MLS, NE Wisconsin, Central Wisconsin, Northstar, Greater Northwoods MLS, Realtor Association of Northeast Wisconsin
About: Houzeo is a tech-focused, nationwide website designed to help FSBO sellers. In addition to providing simple flat fee MLS listings, it allows sellers to pick from a wide range of add-on options.
Reviews and rating summary: Houzeo has 4.9 out of 5 stars (769 total reviews) on Google. Reviewers praise the company’s customer service and low costs.
Rate package overview:
$299 Bronze – This package is meant for selling land or lots. It includes a three-month MLS listing and six photos.
$349 Silver – This package includes a six-month listing and 24 photos.
$399 Gold – This option includes a six-month listing and unlimited photos. It also features unlimited listing changes, showings, and counter offers.
$999 Platinum – In addition to the features in the lower-tier packages, this option includes service from a virtual broker.
Service areas: Serves all of Wisconsin
About: ISoldMyHouse.Com is another well-known site built to help FSBO sellers. Founded in 1997, they specialize in helping sellers complete the entire sale online.
Reviews and rating summary: ISoldMyHouse.Com has 4.7 out of 5 stars (60 total reviews) on Google. Reviewers praise the company’s value and responsiveness.
Rate package overview:
$299 Get Listed Package – This package features a six-month listing and six photos. It also includes online customer support and open house scheduling.
$399 Get Sold Package – This option includes the features within the previous package but upgrades your photo allowance to 25 photos.
Flat Fee Group
Service areas: Serves all of Wisconsin
About: Flat Fee Group is a national company that works with licensed brokers across the U.S. In Wisconsin, the designated broker is Standard Real Estate Services, a husband and wife team that first started in 2006.
Reviews and rating summary: Flat Fee Group’s Wisconsin branch has 5 out of 5 stars from the Better Business Bureau. Reviewers praise the company’s helpfulness and courtesy.
Rate package overview:
$299 Silver – This includes a three-month MLS listing with 25 photos. It also features phone and email support, as well as seller disclosures.
$599 Gold – This upgrades you to a 12-month listing with 35 photos. On top of the Silver Package features, it provides a wire stake sign, pull sold comparables, a lock box, and DocuSign Contracts.
1% Commission Platinum – This is a full-service option that tacks on negotiations, a pre-sale inspection, repair coordination, in-person reviews, and full-service representation.
Alternatives to a flat fee MLS services
If you’re not sure a flat fee MLS service will fit your selling situation, you have other options. Simmons says that people who are considering a flat fee MLS just to save on commission may want to speak with a real estate agent. She explains that in some cases, you might be able to negotiate directly with the agent to pick and choose the services you want at a discount.
“Maybe there’ll be some things that I can take away in order to make still sure that you’re fully represented,” she says. “You know, you want to be represented, and a Realtor® costs a lot less than attorneys.”
Plus, there are even more options worth exploring. Here are a few alternatives to flat fee MLS services:
Option 1: Flat fee real estate agents
Flat fee real estate agents will help list and sell your home for a flat price instead of a percentage of your home’s sale. By paying a lump sum up front, it may be easier to see how much money you’ll be netting from your sale. On the other hand, flat fee agents may not have the same incentive to list strategically or negotiate for a high price that commission-based agents do. Some flat fee brokerages may also ask you to complete paperwork, navigate legal issues, and handle other selling tasks on your own.
Option 2: Discount real estate brokers
Discount real estate brokers still generally operate on commission, but they ask for a lower cut of the final sale price. These discounted brokers usually provide essential services, such as listing your home on the MLS, marketing your home, and handling paperwork. However, they tend to rely on high client volume in order to squeeze the most out of lower-commission jobs. That means you may not always get the attention and one-on-one support you’re looking for. The level of service you receive will depend on the quality of the discount broker.
It’s also important to keep in mind that even if you go with a discount real estate broker, you’ll typically still need to pay the buyer’s agent’s full commission.
Option 3: Full-service, experienced real estate agents
Another option is to hire a full-service real estate agent with experience selling homes. Although they’ll ask for a commission, they also cover a range of tasks that FSBO sellers often overlook. That includes marketing, conducting market analysis, setting a listing price, identifying high-ROI upgrades, negotiating, handling paperwork, and more.
Simmons says it’s common to see FSBO sellers back out of their plan and turn to a full-service agent after they see how much is involved in a sale.
“From what I’ve seen in Wisconsin the past few years, when they [use a flat fee service], 90% of the time, they end up converting to a full listing because it just gets to be too much,” she says.
What’s more, even though you’ll be paying a full-service real estate agent commission, sellers who use their help often end up pocketing more cash than they would on their own. HomeLight’s data has found that high-performing real estate agents in the top 5% of the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent.
If you’re looking for a top-selling, experienced real estate agent, try HomeLight’s Agent Match platform. This free tool will match you up with a top agent who knows how to sell in your local area.
Ready to sell your Wisconsin home?
No matter how you ultimately decide to sell your Wisconsin home, it’s wise to list it on the MLS. A flat fee MLS may be a solid option for your situation if you’re dedicated and have experience in real estate sales. If you’re new to selling in Wisconsin, you may want to consider one of the many alternatives. In all cases, be sure to weigh all of your options carefully, and you’ll be positioned to sell your home with confidence in Wisconsin.
Header Image Source: (Coasted Media / Unsplash)