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Is Flat Fee MLS A Scam?

Are Flat Fee MLS Services really up front about what they do with your leads? In many cases, NO.

Most sellers who decide to list flat fee MLS do it because they want the exposure of the MLS, are willing to offer a commission to a real estate agent who brings them a buyer and want to still remain "FSBO" (For Sale By Owner) so that they have the chance to sell the home to an unrepresented buyer and avoid paying a commission at all. It makes good sense to list flat fee MLS, then, if the seller gets buyer leads that come off of the internet and other marketing that they get through the flat fee listing service.

But what if those leads don't go to the seller and are actually taken in by the flat fee MLS listing company for their own agents to work? Wouldn't this take away a major benefit of listing flat fee MLS in the first place? After researching many of the more well-known flat fee MLS companies, we have found that these companies are indeed taking those buyer leads for themselves. For example, a buyer sees a home listed on that was flat fee listed with "XYZ Realty" and calls XYZ's number (listed by default on most sources)...XYZ Realty does not refer that lead to the seller; they instead, try to work that lead and offer to show the flat fee listed seller's house to earn the offered commission.

An important question to ask any flat fee MLS listing company before signing up is: "How do you deal with leads from my property? Do they go to you, the flat fee MLS listing company or are they referred to me, the seller?" Unfortunately in many cases, the flat fee listing is a lure for the real estate company to get buyer leads to use in their full service real estate operations in an attempt to sell your home using your own leads.

What about those flat fee MLS websites offering FREE flat fee MLS listings? One must really consider why they would do that. Listing a property flat fee on the MLS is time consuming and takes resources. Maintaining listing changes for flat fee MLS sellers and fielding calls is a big job. That is, if the flat fee MLS service actually performs those tasks. Remarks broker, Keith R. Gordon, of ADDvantage® Real Estate Services - the Florida Broker for®, "The truth about flat fee MLS that few are aware of is that most flat fee companies don't exist to make small flat fee's the farming of the buyer leads that is good business."

A Withdrawal Penalty...For a "flat fee MLS listing?"

Did you know that some flat fee MLS services charge a $500 early withdrawal penalty? Flat fee MLS should mean that the seller pays, up front, a fee for the right to be in control of the flat fee MLS listing; not to be held hostage. It should mean that the seller has the right to cancel at will without paying a penalty. When you list flat fee MLS with®, sellers have full control and there is no cancellation penalty.

Authentic Flat Fee MLS Company or Lead Farmer?

Flat fee MLS companies are not necessarily legitimate flat fee MLS companies. They may actually be buyer lead "farmers". What these flat fee MLS companies are really doing is planting seeds for their own success. Your flat fee MLS listing can produce a valuable crop of fresh buyer leads from sources such as,, Zillow, Trulia and all the other IDX feeds that supply Realtor® websites throughout your area. Sure they'll list your flat fee MLS home for free when the leads are in such high demand...especially by mortgage brokers and full service agents. Some mortgage companies will even pose as a flat fee listing company, charging little to no money to list the property. They then try to capture the buyer leads as mortgage clients.

GetMoreOffers - The flat fee MLS company with integrity - protecting your buyer leads is our standard

Flat fee MLS sellers that list with® Broker receive all their buyer leads from all sources. We guarantee this because it's our business model. Unless a flat fee MLS seller opts into Agent Activate®, all the buyer leads that come in off of your flat fee MLS listing go directly to you, the flat fee MLS seller.® buyer lead capture system sends the interested buyer an email so they can see your flat fee MLS listing with ease and your contact phone numbers are clearly displayed. As well, you are notified by email that someone has inquired.

Ideal MLS listing defined

What is a true flat fee MLS listing? At®, flat fee MLS means the seller is a hybrid FSBO. They get listed on the MLS via an agent but pay no listing commission. Instead a flat fee with no strings attached gets their property in the MLS along with comprehensive internet marketing and access to helpful seller tools, contract forms and disclosures. As well, they retain the right to sell their property themselves and possibly avoid paying a buyer's agent commission. This means the flat fee MLS seller determines the cooperating commission to be advertised in the MLS so all Realtors® can bring buyers and work for the advertised buyer's agent commission.

In summary, many flat fee MLS services have different motives behind listing a property flat fee MLS. If a flat fee MLS seller errs and chooses the wrong flat fee MLS service, what often results is lost buyer leads, poor phone support or the use of your FSBO property as bait to attract buyer leads for the flat fee company's own gain.

ADDvantage's flat fee MLS listing agreement is clear and spells out what a seller can expect when listing flat fee MLS with us.® offers flat fee MLS sellers a true flat fee MLS listing with no strings attached or hidden fees...No cancellation fees and hidden referral commissions if you decide to switch to a full service Realtor® or withdraw your listing for any reason. A flat fee MLS company should not own you or your MLS listing. They do not use print ads or hold open houses. So be careful before you list flat fee MLS. Research the company thoroughly first; call and ask specific questions about how leads are managed and what happens if you want to cancel the listing. As the old saying goes, "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is"...Caveat Emptor!

Get behind a Flat Fee MLS listing service you can trust with your biggest investment:®. Read our testimonials and you'll hear first hand from our clients that we do indeed support our promise to deliver.