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NYC Flat Fee MLS – How to List on the NYC MLS for a Flat Fee

What is the NYC MLS?

A multiple listing service (MLS) is a shared listings database operated by a region’s local Realtor association.  In a MLS, brokers representing sellers will offer to co-broke and share 50% of their commissions to other brokers representing buyers.

A NYC flat fee MLS listing is a reduced commission service for home sellers who wish to have the exposure of being listed on their local MLS.

However, a cursory internet search for NYC flat fee MLS will yield much confusion to most NYC FSBO sellers.  NYC does have a dominant real estate broker association called REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York) but it is not affiliated with the National Association of Realtors.

It is a private organization that left the National Association of Realtors (NAR) long ago because the unique nature of the NYC real estate market made membership in a national real estate broker association largely irrelevant.

As a result, even though there is not a NAR operated multiple listing service (MLS) in NYC, REBNY operates a similar inter-brokerage listings database called RLS (REBNY Listing Service) which most brokerage firms in NYC subscribe to.

Therefore, the NYC MLS is really just the RLS which serves the role for NYC that multiple listing services do for most regions of the US.

List FSBO in NYC and Save 6%

Submit your listing online in 10 minutes or less. Get listed on the NYC MLS and benefit from full buyer exposure all while maintaining control over your sale and saving 6% in agent commissions.

Be careful of listing in the wrong MLS for NYC

You’ll first need to identify a reputable NYC flat fee MLS broker or FSBO website.  It’ll be important for you to be aware which local inter-brokerage database the NYC flat fee MLS provider promises to list your home in.

Why?  Because many large, “national” for sale by owner websites promising coverage for all 50 states do not have access to the RLS because it technically is not a MLS since it has no affiliation with NAR.  The “national” for sale by owner websites will promise to list you on your local MLS for a flat fee.  However, what MLS exactly are they talking about?

Be very careful of vague promises like this.  If you dig deeper and actually manage to get a response from one of these companies, they’ll probably admit that they’ll list you in the NY State MLS or Long Island MLS.  Essentially they’ll list you in a MLS that has no relevance or members in NYC.

Worst of all, these companies will charge up to $1,000 for the privilege of listing you on a MLS totally irrelevant for NYC.

Won’t the list me on other websites as well?  Yes, these “national” for sale by owner websites certainly will.  If you look closely you’ll see that they’ll list you on Zillow, Trulia and perhaps a few other free websites.  All of which are free and mostly irrelevant for NYC.  You’ll quickly realize that they won’t list you on sites like StreetEasy and Brownstoner which are actually relevant for the NYC real estate market.

What is the Manhattan MLS?

The Manhattan MLS is a small Realtor organization based in Manhattan which most brokerage firms in NYC do not subscribe to since they already pay to be REBNY members.  It failed to gain traction in NYC because the larger brokerage firms in the city refused to become members.  If you look at their membership list you will see that it’s mostly a collection of smaller firms and individual brokers.  Since REBNY is based in Manhattan, they understandably have a complete dominance of this New York City borough.

NYC Flat Fee MLS offered by Hauseit NYC.

List FSBO in NYC and Save 6%

Submit your listing online in 10 minutes or less. Get listed on the NYC MLS and benefit from full buyer exposure all while maintaining control over your sale and saving 6% in agent commissions.

What is the Brooklyn MLS?

Brooklyn used to have a confusing myriad of various multiple listings systems.  Fortunately, it’s become simplified in recent years with major consolidation among the various Multiple Listing Systems (MLS) which agents use in Brooklyn.  In 2010 the last two major Multiple Listing Systems in Brooklyn merged to form the Brooklyn New York MLS.

With that said, many of NYC’s largest real estate brokerages are not members of this MLS.  That’s because firms like Elliman, Corcoran, Mont Sky, Town, Stribling, BHS are Manhattan based and already subscribe and pay for the RLS (REBNY Listing Service).

Since these Manhattan based firms control the “brownstone” Brooklyn real estate market (areas like Williamsburg, Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights), there’s no need for them to also subscribe to the BNYMLS because most of the listings on BNYMLS are in Southern Brooklyn.

Moreover, joining an additional broker organization is expensive.  For example, REBNY charges each additional licensed real estate salesperson $250 for the first year of REBNY membership.  The cost for associate brokers and principal brokers is over $1000 per year.

Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for many of NYC’s largest real estate brokerages to also pay to join BNYMLS because of the even higher cost of joining that organization.  Member firms are required to buy stock in BNYMLS which is estimated to cost between $10,000 to $20,000.  Additionally, each licensed real estate salesperson must pay $160 to join.

So how do you get access to BNYMLS listings as a buyer?

Fortunately, all BNYMLS listings now automatically syndicate to popular real estate search website StreetEasy just like all REBNY listings already do.

Where should I list my home as a Brooklyn FSBO seller?

You will have to choose between a brokerage firm that will either belong to REBNY or BNYMLS.  If you are in Northwestern Brooklyn or neighborhoods that are more accessible to Manhattan you should consider a REBNY firm.  If you happen to be in deep Southern Brooklyn you may also want to consider a BNYMLS member.

With that said, if you had to choose, go with a REBNY member firm because they are undoubtedly the largest broker trade organization in the city.  It is common cited that they have over 16,000 active members whereas the BNYMLS is reported to have around 3,000 members in Southern Brooklyn.

As a Brooklyn FSBO seller, you can also list with a REBNY Member Firm and access the RLS (REBNY Listing Service), which is the equivalent of the NYC MLS, without paying full commission.  Through a “flat fee RLS listing” you can typically pay several hundred dollars to be listed in RLS plus a dozen other popular search websites.

Regardless of which broker you choose, your home will be listed in critical NYC specific search websites such as StreetEasy and BrownStoner as well as national websites such as Zillow and Trulia.

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How do I sign up for a NYC flat fee MLS listing?

At Hauseit, we make selling your New York City property much less expensive. Why pay 6% in commission to a listing agent when you can easily sell on your own and save a hundred thousand dollars or more in commissions?

Our NYC Flat Fee MLS listing package gives FSBO sellers the exact same listing exposure as they’d receive by hiring a 6% commission, full-service listing agent, but for a fraction of the cost.

Hauseit’s Agent Assisted FSBO listing service advertises your home on New York City’s most popular broker database, called RLS, and a dozen sites like StreetEasy all at once.

Because we use the same listing systems as traditional, full-service agents, you will have the exact same exposure to buyers as you would if you decided to pay 6% in commissions.

You can get started with Hauseit today in under ten minutes by following two simple steps:

Step One: Visit to submit your listing details and order your listing package.

Step Two: Receive and e-sign a Flat-Fee MLS listing agreement to give our affiliate authorization to post your listing on the RLS and other sites like StreetEasy

Once you’ve completed these steps, your listing will go live and begin appearing across all sites, like RLS and StreetEasy, over 24-48 hours. You can expect to begin receiving inquiries from buyers shortly thereafter. At that point it will be up to you to show your property, answer questions and follow-up with interested parties.

After all, nobody knows your property and neighborhood better than yourself!

Do I need to sign an exclusive listing agreement for a NYC flat fee MLS listing?

Yes because the RLS and StreetEasy will only accept exclusive listings.

However, the modified listing agreement you will sign will only resemble a traditional Exclusive Right To Sell Listing Agreement by name.

It will technically be an exclusive listing agreement because our affiliate broker will need your permission to exclusively advertise your property.  This simply means that no other brokers will be allowed to list your property except our affiliate.

You do not want other brokers openly listing your property on public websites without your permission anyway.

Why?  Because if they find a direct buyer from a website like Zillow they’ll attempt to charge you 3% commission for that buyer!  Why would you allow that when you get leads directly from our affiliate from those same public websites?

The most important difference is that the modified listing agreement for a NYC flat fee MLS listing will specify that you do not owe any further commission to your listing broker beyond the flat fee which you’ve already paid.

This is a dramatic difference from your typical Exclusive Right To Sell Listing Agreement where the seller will owe 6% commission as long as a “ready, willing and able buyer” is found at the seller’s listing price, even if the seller decides to not sell!

When would I owe commission during a NYC flat fee MLS listing?

The beauty of a NYC flat fee MLS listing is that you the seller will have complete control on if and when you’ll ever owe a commission.

The only time you will owe the commission you agreed to offer in RLS is if you close your sale with a buyer represented by a buyers’ agent.

If it is a direct buyer, you will owe zero percent commission.  If you decide to cancel your listing agreement and not sell at all, you are free to do so at any time and you will owe zero percent commission.

As a result, the only time you will owe a commission to a buyers’ agent is if you feel that the value of their offer is worth it to you in spite of the commission owed.  This may often be the case as over 90% of buyers in NYC are represented by buyers’ agents.  Many international buyers and out of town buyers are especially likely to be represented by buyers’ agents.  International buyers may often be cash buyers who are willing and able to pay more.  As a result, the buyer agent commission you offered will often be very worthwhile to pay!

Should I under-price my apartment to attract more buyers?

You can easily see the significant advantage you will have over a traditional home seller under a typical Exclusive Right To Sell Listing Agreement.  Traditional sellers will be afraid to underprice their homes because they will be forced to pay the full 6% real estate commission when a buyer is found at their price even if they decide not to sell.

In contrast, in a flat fee RLS listing you do not owe any further commission to your listing broker at the time of the agreement.  As a result, you have total flexibility to price your property however you wish.  It is an extremely significant advantage to be able to slightly underprice your property versus comparable homes because you will attract more attention and invested time from potential buyers.

Because buyers and their agents have invested time in your listing versus dismissing other over-priced listings at first glance, they will be much more likely to make an offer.  As a result, this strategy is the most effective way to initiate a potential bidding war over your property.

Are professional photographs included with my NYC flat fee MLS listing?

No.  Remember your NYC flat fee listing is essentially free versus 6% in commissions.  However, professional photos are one of the simplest and smallest investments you can make in your home sale.  Professional photographs can be ordered a la carte on for a small flat fee.  Expect to pay only several hundred dollars for a sparkling first impression which will be leagues better than the grainy cell phone camera photos you were thinking on using!

List FSBO in NYC and Save 6%

Submit your listing online in 10 minutes or less. Get listed on the NYC MLS and benefit from full buyer exposure all while maintaining control over your sale and saving 6% in agent commissions.

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