Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is the MLS the same as Realtor.com?

What is the difference between the MLS and  Realtor.com? This is one of our most frequently asked questions. 


The MLS and Realtor.com are related services but each one serves a different market and both can be used by FSBO sellers to market their homes.   It is important to remember that all homes listed on the local MLS boards across the country are also listed on Realtor.com.  If you only want to list on Realtor.com and not your local MLS we can do that, but we often are asked what is the difference?

Realtor.com primarily reaches individuals searching for home, as the largest real estate website it reaches a very broad group of buyers, searchers and people just considering moving.  Most brokers do not search Realtor.com, instead they rely on their local MLS services to find homes for their clients.

What does this mean for you?  First as a seller you must decide what type or buyers they are willing to consider offers from:
  1.  Independent buyers with no agents (no commissions owed)
  2.  Independent buyers (no commissions) and buyers with agents(50% of the normal commission owed)
It's really that simple.   If you want to primarily reach independent buyers then you should list only on Realtor.com, if you want to consider all possible buyers list on the MLS which includes a listing realtor.com

Ok so at this point most people tell us - Of course I don't want to pay any commission period, even 3% or half the normal rate.  But the problem is most buyers are working with agents, up to 80%  so you have to make a choice - do you want to exclude this pool of possible buyers?

The goal for most sellers is to get the best net offer, if that is one with a commission or one without it should not matter, only how much money ultimately ends up in your pocket.  If you're will to offer up to 3% commission to attract buyers with brokers and expand you possible number of offers then the MLS is the path.

To learn more about the MLS check these resources from around the web:

US Justice Department: Consumers Can Save Thousands of Dollars in Commissions
Wikipedia article about the MLS