MA Entry Only MLS Listing FAQ
FSBO questions we get most often about our best-in-class Massachusetts entry only MLS listing service.
Flat Fee MLS Entry Only Listing Fees & Commissions
There are none. There are no hidden fees at Entry Only New England. Our flat fee MLS listing packages include unlimited listing changes and open house announcements for free. You pay only for the services outlined in the listing documents you electronically sign on our website. You pay a one-time flat fee when you list, and we do not charge you anything more during the listing period, once you sell, or after. Should you want to cancel your entry only MLS listing, you’re welcome to do so with no penalty, fee, or ongoing obligation whatsoever.
No. In a scenario where you find your own buyer or renter that is not represented by an agent, there would be no obligation for you to pay any real estate agent commission fees whatsoever.
Flat Fee MLS Entry Only Listing Basics
Simply, an entry only MLS listing, paid for with a one-time flat fee, is an ideal way to get your property listed for sale or rent in the official Massachusetts MLS system, drive exposure for your property, and do it all by owner without an agent so you can save thousands in real estate agent commission. For sale by owner (FSBO) sellers leverage this flat fee MLS model to list on the MLS without an agent, and by doing so, they avoid paying a commission to both a listing brokerage and a Buyer’s Agent.
Yes. If we were to enter your listing into the MLS, it would eventually overwrite your existing claimed listing on Zillow and/or Trulia. While we, of course, do not have control over third-party websites like Zillow and/or Trulia, much of the syndication process from MLS PIN to third-party websites is near real-time and typically completes in “hours”.
Historically, we advised FSBOs to not claim their listing on Zillow ahead of using an entry only MLS listing because it seemed to cause delays in the syndication process, however, it does appear Zillow’s January 2021 business model change in becoming a real estate brokerage and the resulting change in how they technically integrate with, and get their listing data from, MLS systems across the country eliminated syndication errors, blocks, and/or delays in syndication to Zillow.
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database directly accessible only by licensed real estate professionals to list property for sale or rent. The MLS is not a “website”, however, it is used ubiquitously by licensed real estate brokers and agents, and serves as the ultimate system of record or source for a property’s information, and its information is syndicated to thousands of third-party websites (Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.). Entry Only New England exclusively uses MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN), New England’s largest multiple listing service. MLS systems are directly accessible only by licensed real estate agents and brokers, yet data within MLS systems are in part shared and/or syndicated with thousands of third-party real estate websites.
A seller can engage the services of a real estate agent to sell his/her property (called the listing agent) and the real estate agent is then the agent for the seller who becomes the agent’s client. This means that the real estate agent represents the seller. The agent owes the seller undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality and accountability, provided, however, that the agent must disclose known material defects in the real estate. The agent must put the seller’s interests first and negotiate for the best price and terms for their client, the seller. (The seller may authorize sub-agents to represent him/her in marketing its property to buyers, however, the seller should be aware that wrongful action by the real estate agent or sub-agents may subject the seller to legal liability for those wrongful actions).
A buyer can engage the services of a licensed real estate agent to purchase property and the real estate agent is then the agent for the buyer who becomes the agent’s client. This means that the real estate agent represents the buyer. The agent owes the buyer undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality and accountability, provided, however, that the agent must disclose known material defects in the real estate. The agent must put the buyer’s interests first and negotiate for the best price and terms for their client, the buyer. (The buyer may also authorize sub-agents to represent him/her in purchasing property, however, the buyer should be aware that wrongful action by the real estate agent or sub-agents may subject the buyer to legal liability for those wrongful actions).
Yes, your entry only MLS listing will be shown by Buyer’s Agents.
You may be concerned that, because you’re not using a traditional real estate brokerage that charges a full commission, your property is not going to be shown by licensed real estate brokers and agents to their clients.
It’s important to understand that, to the general buying public, your flat fee MLS listing looks no different than any other listing entered by a traditional real estate brokerage charging a full commission. In the MLS itself, directly accessible by licensed agents and brokers only, entry only MLS listings are required to have an entry only flag and oftentimes carry details in a Special Showing Instructions field (neither of which is visible to the general buying public).
Our flat fee entry only MLS listing option gets your property on MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN), the largest MLS system in New England, and the very same official MLS used by licensed real estate brokers and agents.
Further, Buyer’s Agents carry a fiduciary duty to their clients as a licensed professional, and it is in the best interest of their clients, to show all properties on the market that meet their client’s search criteria – if your property matches the search criteria of a buyer represented by a Buyer’s Agent, it’s the fiduciary duty of a Buyer’s Agent to show your property to their client.
All listing packages we offer come with a MLS listing period duration of twelve (12) months, which means your property will be active on the MLS for 12 months following your signing of the Massachusetts Mandatory Licensee Consumer Relationship Disclosure and Listing Advertisement Agreement. You’re welcome to utilize a Temporarily Withdrawn status during your listing period, cancel at anytime should you choose, and, if after 12 months your property has not sold, it will be your choice whether you allow your listing to expire or renew for an additional listing period for a fee (we do not automatically renew listings).
Up to forty two (42). 42 is the maximum number of photos the MLS system itself allows. Entry Only New England uses MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN), New England’s largest multiple listing service. For additional guidance on entry only MLS listing photos, see the FAQ called Can I get more information on property photos for my Massachusetts MLS listing?
In the state of Massachusetts, we help for sale by owners (FSBO) list Single Family, Condominium/Co-op, Multi-Family, Land, and Residential Rental properties in MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN) for sale or rent.
We list property for sale and rent exclusively in Massachusetts using the largest MLS system in New England, MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN). MLS PIN gives us the ability to list property for sale or rent across every city in the state of Massachusetts. Further, once your property is listed in MLS PIN, which is directly accessible only by licensed real estate agents and brokers, it will be syndicated to popular third party real estate websites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, and literally hundreds of others, at no additional charge to you and without any action needed on your part.
While it’s certainly possible for you to sell your property without hiring a real estate attorney, we strongly suggest that you, as a FSBO, hire a real estate attorney. The Offer to Purchase and Purchase & Sale Agreement are legally binding contracts which outline the rights and responsibilities of both the buyer and seller. These documents should be reviewed, and in the case of the Purchase & Sale Agreement, prepared by a licensed attorney. Moreover, in Massachusetts it is the obligation of the seller, or their representative, to prepare the first draft of the Purchase & Sale Agreement. FSBOs are advised to retain a licensed real estate attorney for the preparation of all legal documents and to serve as escrow agent. Lastly, the buyer and/or the buyer’s creditor (i.e. lender) will most certainly be represented by counsel. The peace of mind that a licensed real estate attorney provides throughout the FSBO selling process will far outweigh the cost. So should you hire a real estate attorney? Yes, limit your liability and exposure and hire a real estate attorney.
Working with Your Flat Fee MLS Listing
We strive to publish new listings and make updates to existing listings in the official Massachusetts multiple listing service (MLS), called MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN), by the next business day, oftentimes sooner, after you sign up and make your one-time flat fee payment. Syndication of your listing to third-party websites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Realtor.com, etc. will take place in the coming hours after your listing is published in the MLS.
Yes, absolutely. Once your property is listed in the MLS, which is the ultimate system of record that we have control over, it will be syndicated to popular real estate websites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, and hundreds of others to increase the exposure of your property. You will not have to do any work, signup for a separate account, pay any additional fees, or otherwise take action to get your listing syndicated to third-party websites.
While syndication to third-party websites is oftentimes largely complete 24 hours following your listing being published on the MLS, syndication from the MLS to third-party websites takes place on different schedules, not in real-time (yet for many real estate websites it has become closer to real-time over the years), and Entry Only New England does not have direct control over these schedules.
While we do not advise FSBOs to “claim” their listing on websites like Zillow and/or Trulia, because it can sometimes cause delays in the syndication process, an entry only MLS listing eventually overwrites an existing claimed listing on Zillow and/or Trulia.
Within 24 hours of accepting an offer, you must change the status of your property. This is a rule and regulation of the MLS. To change the status of your property, simply submit a Listing Update Request form.
What property status should you choose after accepting an offer?
The overwhelming majority of FSBOs change their property status to Under Agreement following the mutual acceptance of an offer. Under Agreement is the most common status to utilize after an offer is signed, that’s true for both flat fee entry only MLS listings as well as listings from Realtors that charge a full commission.
There are some FSBOs who want to utilize a Contingent status (see all MLS property status types), signifying the property will continue to be shown, open houses conducted, and backup offers accepted. If a property is placed in Contingent status, one of the following contingencies must exist: Inspection, Attorney Review, Appraisal, Financing, Third-Party Approval, or Pending P&S. Once that contingency is met, the property will be moved into an Under Agreement status.
Because Contingent status is not terribly common, and the MLS does not want the status type misused, if a FSBO wants to use Contingent status, in addition to submitting a Listing Update Request form to change a property’s status, to utilize the Contingent property status type, FSBOs must also fill out and sign an official MLS form called a Contingent Status Request Form and include it in their update request.
For convenience, during the actual signup process itself, you’ll be given the ability to immediately add up to two (2) new open houses to your listing as it’s published to the MLS. You will also, of course, be able to add more open houses to your listing after it has been published on the MLS via our Listing Update Request Form.
If you would like to add supporting documents to your listing directly in the MLS system, such as a Seller’s Statement of Property Condition or a Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification, you can do so by submitting a Listing Update Request of type “Other” where “Document Upload” is available to you should you wish to attach documents to your listing in MLS PIN.
Neither a Seller’s Statement of Property Condition or a Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification is required to be attached to your listing in the MLS system and it is not terribly common they are.
Along with deciding the list price of your own home, property photos for an MLS listing are clearly important.
Here are the facts when it comes to MLS listing photos in Massachusetts:
- This is a simple step that helps so many of our FSBOs – to avoid confusion and to clearly articulate to us the order in which you want your photos to appear on your listing, we recommend naming your photo files in the order you’d like them to appear (1.jpg, 2.jpg, 3.jpg, etc.). Avoid adding any additional letters or numbers to the file names. Please use “1.jpg” for your first photo and increment up from there and we’ll be sure to get them in the right order for you
- Signage and contact information in photos is not allowed – the rules and regulations of MLS PIN state that you cannot include signage or contact information of any kind in a property photo – while a short room label or description on a photo is fine (yet rarely used), don’t waste your time submitting property photos that have signs or any contact information visible whatsoever, even if the objects are at a distance
- Ideal dimensions of MLS listing property photos – according to MLS PIN staff, the optimum base dimensions (in pixels) for property photos in the MLS is 512 (width) x 400 (height). You do not need massively sized photos multiple MBs in size for your photos to look good on the MLS
- Easiest and most efficient way to manipulate property photos – when you begin a new listing on our website and are given the opportunity to upload your photos, you’ll be able to upload up to 42 photos at one time, and we limit the size of each photo to 1 MB – we like using the free online tool called BeFunky to edit, resize, rename, and save photos to a computer so they’re ready for uploading to your listing. When working with your photo files, do not attempt to change a photo’s resolution, simply reduce its dimensions, which will significantly reduce file size while at the same time not compromise image quality (or resolution) whatsoever. You do not need massively sized photos, be that dimensions or physical file size – the largest standard photo dimensions of a third party website is probably at Realtor.com where they use approximately 960 x 400
- Maximum number of photos allowed – MLS PIN, the MLS system we use and the largest in New England, allows up to forty two (42) property photos per listing – regardless of whether the listing is an entry only MLS listing or not
A real estate virtual tour is a simulation of an existing property, typically composed of a sequence of videos and/or still images.
Approximately 18% of single family home listings in MLS Property Information Network (the largest MLS system in New England and the exclusive MLS system partner of Entry Only New England) have some sort of virtual tour associated with them.
For sale by owners (FSBOs) are welcome to submit a virtual tour with their flat fee MLS entry only listing, to be posted to the MLS, yet the virtual tour must be in compliance with MLS Property Information Network Rules & Regulations 1.0(e).
Essentially, 1.0(e) establishes that, similar to property photos, virtual tours cannot contain identifying contact information.
Every virtual tour submitted with a listing is reviewed by MLS Property Information Network front office personnel (not Entry Only New England) before being posted to the MLS. If a tour is not acceptable an email will be sent explaining why the tour was rejected so it can be remedied and resubmitted.
During the flat fee MLS entry only listing process, if a FSBO has a virtual tour, the URL at which the tour is hosted can be provided and will be submitted to MLS Property Information Network front office personnel for approval once the listing is published in the MLS (there’s no ability to submit a virtual tour for a “pre-approval” to MLS front office personnel).
The MLS does not accept virtual tours hosted on YouTube because it makes it possible for consumers to contact the listing agent directly and because YouTube sometimes contains questionable content under related media.
That being said if the virtual tour is hosted where there are no additional unrelated videos, there’s no ability to leave comments or contact information, the MLS could accept it. Dropbox, Box, or similar video hosting sites are appropriate so long as comments are disabled for the shared file.
There is no limit to the title of the video providing it does not include agent or office information. The property address can be displayed on virtual tours. Providing information about the property itself including open house data is allowed on the tours.
To add a virtual tour to your entry only MLS listing, simply submit a listing update request and select “Add Virtual Tour” as the “Update Request Type”.
Similarly, we introduced the ability for a FSBO to provide a property related website (URL) when listing or updating an entry only MLS listing for sale or rent. Providing a URL is optional, yet it can be any URL associated with a property, a website, a YouTube video, a sales landing page, etc. – this is different than a virtual tour as described above but can be a virtual tour. The MLS system does not publish or syndicate property related URLs, so this URL will be published here alongside the other contact information we make available in the process / system we’ve put in place to facilitate direct communication between FSBOs and interested parties. FSBOs can add a website (URL) to their listing during signup, or add/update the URL throughout the duration of a listing via our Listing Update Request Form – not every FSBO has a website or content online for their property, yet we encourage all FSBOs to take advantage of this feature as the URL is not subject to the same stringent requirements as, for instance, adding a virtual tour to your MLS listing, where no contact information, no YouTube videos, etc. are allowed. This website (URL) feature provides FSBOs a lot of flexibility to share their direct contact information and use the platforms of their choice to host their content however much or little there is.
To instantly add a website (URL) to your MLS listing today, submit a Listing Update Request Form of type “Website (URL)”.
With any real estate transaction, there’s paperwork, offers to negotiate, contracts, escrow accounts for earnest money deposits, showings, open houses, etc., and with an entry only MLS listing, the property owner, or a licensed real estate attorney you decide to hire, is responsible for such activities. You are advised to retain a licensed real estate attorney for the preparation of all legal documents and to serve as escrow agent.
Professionally designed real estate flyers for both open houses and private showings help FSBOs command top dollar for their property. In several of our listing packages, we provide clients with free real estate flyer templates for Word and Mac that are both highly professional in design and easy to edit.
Lock boxes may be common in your local market, it’s entirely your choice whether you decide to leverage one or not, however, there’s no requirement to do so.
Should you use a lock box to safeguard access to your property, you will directly provide the necessary code to Buyer’s Agents or buyers upon qualifying the inquiry and setting up a showing.
We do not rent or otherwise provision lock boxes in any capacity.