When listing FSBO on the MLS, the placement of your contact information so that interested parties can quickly contact you directly is paramount.
The gravity and importance of sound communication practices around FSBO contact information is not lost on us.
As you can imagine, there are a number of subtle intricacies involved in facilitating communication with FSBOs using flat fee MLS entry only listings. We’ve coupled an intimate familiarity with how real estate transactions are conducted along with advancements in technology that we are the first to use, and then layered on top of that a tremendous amount of listening to clients, their feedback, their suggestions, and have built a platform that has both integrity and transparently facilitates prompt communication to you as a FSBO.
This was done all while taking into consideration (1) the rules and regulations of the MLS specific to the use of your contact information (2) precisely what contact information is syndicated to popular third-party real estate websites and (3) the for-profit business models of those third-party websites (which lie outside our control of course), so that we do right by you as a FSBO wherever and whenever we’re given the chance.
Within the MLS itself (which is directly accessible only by licensed real estate agents and brokers), the special showing instructions field of your listing will contain your contact information and will instruct all licensed real estate agents and brokers to contact you directly.
Yes, your MLS listing has your contact information in it.
The special showing instructions field, which is limited in the number of characters it can support will read: For more information, showings, and offers, please contact owner Your First Name at Your Phone Number.
The MLS expressly does not allow contact information of any kind in any other field in a listing, be that a listing’s Public Remarks or Disclosures.
MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN), the largest MLS system in New England and the system we exclusively leverage, does not syndicate the special showing instructions field to third party websites (such as Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, etc.), and therefore, only the listing brokerage’s contact information is syndicated along with your listing information to third-party websites – how and where the listing brokerage’s contact information is shared on third party websites is up to that third party website, which is most often a for-profit business either selling advertising to agents who want buyer leads, or, a brokerage website that wants to promote their own agents and not the listing brokerage that provided the listing.
If we receive an inquiry directly via phone or email regarding your listing from any party (be that a buyer or renter, or, a licensed real estate salesperson or broker), we facilitate prompt and direct interaction between you and the interested party by explicitly directing them to stuartstjames.com/listings, a URL that resolves to a webpage on the Entry Only New England website which transparently provides access to your contact information (your property address, your first name, email address, phone number, and a website (URL) of your choice (optional)).
Keep in mind that third-party websites like Zillow and Trulia (which merged as of 2015 yet still maintain separate websites), and Realtor.com are for-profit businesses that have their own business models that absolutely include selling 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 in that zip code will be sent that inquiry directly, bypassing the listing brokerage altogether.
Historically, Zillow and Trulia facilitated interested buyers or renters to contact up to four (4) agents about a single property listing, only one (1) of those four (4) being the listing broker, and, when submitting a contact request form it did not default a buyer to contacting the listing broker. More recently, Zillow uses a single “contact agent” button and completely hides to whom a buyer’s contact request will be sent – undoubtedly, that contact request (which is a “hot lead” in the eyes of Zillow) is being sold to multiple real estate agents on the back-end of Zillow systems.
While Realtor.com denotes a property listing is presented and brokered by the listing brokerage, Realtor.com’s business model is to present a single option to get more information about a property, so an interested buyer or renter will use a form to request information from an unknown source – a broker or agent that pays Realtor.com for advertising, not the listing broker, will receive that inquiry every single time.
Similar to the MLS itself, third-party websites do not allow contact information of any kind in their public descriptions. Zillow goes so far as to have a long list of “stop words”, that if triggered, removes the public description provided by the MLS and defaults to a generic system-generated description.
With that said, we strive to maximize the use of both your contact information where it’s allowed to be placed, as well as that of the listing brokerage, and, have put together an automated system so that we can transparently and promptly facilitate you establishing direct contact with buyers and renters and/or their agents when they contact us directly, and eliminate creating a bottleneck with us as a communication middleman.
Many interested parties will contact us via email or phone about your listing, and taking the above into consideration, we’ve constructed a communication system that explicitly directs interested parties to stuartstjames.com/listings, which ultimately facilitates an interested party establishing direct contact with you. Said differently, instead of us emailing or calling you about an inquiry we receive on your listing, which is inherently slow and prone to human error, the automated system we built will give the interested party who contacts us the ability to obtain your contact information and quickly connect with you directly.
Given the business models of third-party websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and others, clearly not all inquiries originating from these sites will come to us as the listing brokerage, some inquiries will indeed go to Buyer’s Agents that pay for advertising with those third-party websites – while we do everything possible within the rules and regulations of the MLS to facilitate a connection with the FSBO, the reality is these third-party websites have an agenda more aligned with generating ad revenue than helping FSBOs eliminate Buyer’s Agents from transactions.
For more information on this topic, please see:
- Who’s Contact Information Is Listed on the MLS Listing?
- Test Communication Integrity after You List FSBO on the MLS
- Huge Advancement in FSBO and Buyer Communication for Flat Fee MLS Listings
Posted in: Working with Your Flat Fee MLS Listing