Did you know that not all real estate brokers and not all agents are necessarily members of your local MLS (multiple listing service), wherever you may live in the U.S.? What does it mean if a broker is not? Let’s consider the implications.
Most people know that the MLS is where real estate agents post their listings. This is the first step in marketing a property. Putting the listing in the MLS gives other agents who are members of the MLS the ability to view the details of that listing and share the listing with their potential buyer clients. All of this exposes the listed property to more potential buyers.
So why wouldn’t a broker be a member of a local MLS? There are three logical reasons. First, it is too expensive. That is not likely, since it is not an expensive service. In fact, it is the least expensive marketing an agent will ever do. The second possible reason is that the broker has a better marketing plan. That could be, but this also not likely, since the best marketing plan would include first listing it in the local MLS. The third possible reason would be that the broker’s membership was suspended or revoked by the local MLS board. If that is what happened, we don’t even want to discuss going further with that broker. Anyone who list with such a broker either does not know about the suspension or revocation or they are on Ritalin.
For the consumer, there are several more important considerations in deciding to list with a non-MLS participating broker.
- What is the broker’s plan to market your property? Does he or she even have a plan?
- How are the listings exposed to the rest of the world, or are they at all?
- Does the broker depend almost entirely on just hanging poor photos of your listing in the window at his or her office? How many buyers will that expose your property to?
- Is the broker’s effort at marketing focused only on local buyers in a limited marketing effort, or is there any national exposure to the many out-of-state buyers?
- With no exposure to all the other local brokers and agents, how does the broker intend to expose your listing to all potential buyers, or even many of them? Most buyers will be working through other agents, right?
- What is the broker’s relationship with other local agents? Good? Bad? Non-existent?
- If the broker is not part of the local broker network, understand that it is highly unlikely that other local agents will ever tell their clients about the broker’s listings. Why should they, they don’t get paid.
- A non-MLS broker will not have an IDX (public) search capacity from their website and your listing won’t show up in other agents’ websites through their IDX public property search tool.
- Does the broker have many other agents who will help market your property, or is the broker a loner?
- A non-MLS broker may try to entice customers with discounted commission rates. One question here. Would you pay a discounted price for a burnt steak, a rotten potato, and freezer burnt vegetables? What’s a discount if you don’t get the service, can’t sell your home, or don’t get the best price?
- Last question. What is the broker’s relationship with past clients? I don’t mean just 2 or 3, I mean many of them. Anyone can end up with a few happy clients, but what about dozens or 100’s of clients? Are there a lot of burned bridges? Don’t you want to know?
Your logical goal when selling your home is to get the highest possible price in the least amount of time. I recommend choosing your real estate agent carefully. It’s a very important decision for you.
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