I’m putting my home up for sale soon and would like to do most of the work myself. But I would still like to have it advertised on MLS. What do I need to know?

The service you are referring to is a limited services agreement, which is sometimes called a “mere posting.”  That’s when a brokerage arranges for the property to be posted on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but limits other services traditionally associated with working with a real estate brokerage.

Apart from the services you wish to receive from the brokerage, the other aspects of the sale, such as setting a sales price, handling appointments for prospective buyers, hosting open houses, negotiating with buyers, reviewing offers (including any conditions that may be involved) and dealing with the paperwork would likely, depending on your agreement with the brokerage, be handled directly by you.

Before making your decision, be sure to consider whether you have the time and expertise in these areas to navigate the sale of your home, or if you would prefer the brokerage to handle certain aspects of the transaction.

Remember, while you may save money by handling the sale yourself, consider what your time is worth and whether you may incur other expenses as a result. For example, if it takes longer to find a buyer, will you have to pay carrying costs on a property that is sitting empty?

If the brokerage just posts the listing on the MLS, they still have obligations. In the interest of fairness, honesty and integrity, the brokerage providing the mere posting service is required to ensure that the contents of the listing are accurate and are not misleading or deceptive. For example, you can expect the brokerage to confirm the seller’s claims about renovations, square footage or municipal taxes that appear on the MLS system. Of course, a prospective buyer should take steps to satisfy themselves that the information is accurate.

It’s also important to remember that working with a brokerage doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all approach. There’s a spectrum of services that may be available from a brokerage, ranging from very limited services, such as a mere posting, to a comprehensive level of service and everything in between.

The contents of a representation agreement, such as what services will be included and what you will pay for those services, can be discussed with the brokerage.

Consider meeting with several brokerages to discuss your needs and whether they are able to offer the services you need at a price that you find to be fair. Commissions and fees can vary between brokerages and for services provided, and may be a flat fee, a percentage of the sale price, or a combination of the two. And remember, as with most things, the cheapest deal isn’t necessarily the best.

Regardless of the level of service you decide to go with, be sure that your agreement with the brokerage sets out what services will be provided to you and at what cost. Make sure you read and understand the agreement before you sign it, and keep a copy for yourself.

Ultimately, it’s your decision to determine how your home will be sold, but as I always say, be sure it’s an informed decision.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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