When you list your property for sale by owner (FSBO) and leverage a flat fee MLS entry only listing service like Entry Only New England to get your property listed and advertised in the MLS, it’s important to understand how real estate agents and interested buyers or renters are going to contact you if they’re interested in seeing, renting, or buying your property.
As a FSBO, you’ll be coordinating showings and providing more information about your property that you’ve listed by owner to agents and interested buyers and renters alike, so, who’s contact information is listed on the MLS listing?
Seller Contact Information on the MLS Listing
Entry Only New England will place the seller’s contact information into the MLS under the “special showing instructions” field of the listing. This information is visible to licensed real estate professionals who have direct access to the MLS, and the information is placed in the special showing instructions field to help facilitate all real estate agents contacting a seller directly.
The majority of showing requests to see a property are generated via licensed real estate agents representing buyers and renters, those real estate agents have direct access to the MLS, and therefore, the special showing instructions field on the entry only MLS listing which instructs an agent to contact the seller directly for more information will be utilized in nearly all circumstances.
That said, a seller’s contact information is listed on the MLS listing so that they can be contacted directly about their property.
While a seller’s contact information is part of the MLS listing in the special showing instructions field, there are times when the listing brokerage will be contacted directly regarding a property. Keep in mind, under MLS rules and regulations, third party websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia are only allowed to display the contact information of licensed listing brokerages (rather than a FSBO seller’s contact information directly). While a seller’s contact information is indeed a part of the MLS listing in the special showing instructions field, that particular section of the listing is only visible to licensed real estate professionals and is not syndicated to third party MLS websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. In situations where the general public finds an entry only listing online at a website like Realtor.com and unilaterally requests more information about the listing (because they are not working with a real estate agent or want immediate information), then the listing brokerage must facilitate connecting that buyer and the seller directly.
Will that buyer always be contacting the listing brokerage via a third party website like Realtor.com, Zillow, or Trulia when they request more information about a particular home?
Keep in mind that third party websites like Zillow and Trulia (which merged as of 2015), and Realtor.com are for-profit businesses, and part of the business model of sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com is to sell advertising space to real estate agents so that when a buyer requests more information on a home in a particular zip code, the agent paying for advertising will be sent that inquiry directly, bypassing the listing brokerage altogether.
What often happens is that a potential buyer sees a listing on a website like Realtor.com, that buyer will contact their real estate agent to let them know they want to see the property, and the real estate agent in the process of setting up a showing for the property will access the MLS directly and will end up contacting the seller, rather than the listing brokerage, because of the notes in the special showing instructions field of the MLS listing.
Entry Only MLS Listings Look Just Like “Full Commission” Listings
AS a FSBO interested in listing your property for sale or rent for a flat fee, without paying a listing agent’s full commission, the way in which the contact information is setup is of benefit to you given that your entry only MLS listing will look no different to the public than any other “standard” MLS listing (because your personal FSBO contact information is not listed on websites like Realtor.com, the general public does not know the property is listed by owner). It’s only licensed real estate professionals who access the MLS directly who can see the seller’s personal contact information, and who are also bound by fiduciary duties to their client to show all property (including entry only MLS listings) that meet their client’s search criteria. It’s the combination of these items, among other things, that protect a FSBO and make a FSBO’s entry only MLS listing appear just the same as an MLS listing by a traditional real estate brokerage charging a “full commission”.