Can I list my home on an MLS® without an agent?
The short answer is no.
You cannot post a property on a Multiple Listing Service® database – more commonly known as MLS® – without the help of a real estate agent who has access to this system. However, you can decide how much or how little you want their involvement in the sale of your home. Let’s dive into this a bit more.
Known as “mere postings,” some agents post listings on MLS® under limited-service agreements. Although they can do so without providing extra services, or representing your interests, agents are still obligated to ensure that any information presented in the listings is accurate.
Typically costing a flat fee, a “mere posting” is usually a “for sale by owner (FSBO)” property, except it appears on an MLS® listing service.
Having said that, while selling a home privately is certainly your choice, I would like to flag that it is a substantial undertaking that requires significant time, effort and expertise. If you choose the FSBO route you will be responsible for everything, including setting the listing price, getting the property in “sell-ready” condition, advertising, managing showings, reviewing offers, negotiating terms and managing the paperwork once an agreement with a buyer has been reached. So, before you move forward, assess your circumstances and priorities to make sure you are comfortable with this approach.
If you change your mind and decide to have a full service arrangement with an agent, they are obligated to represent your interests. Agents offer a broad range of service options, including monitoring market trends, property staging and preparation, offering strategic advice, arranging showings, negotiating, and managing paperwork on your behalf.
All agents in Ontario have to be registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) to trade in real estate. Before applying for registration, they must complete a comprehensive education program and pass a series of exams, and they must comply with a code of ethics. Also, to better serve clients, they are required to take additional courses every two years to continue to update and hone their knowledge and skills.
Keep in mind that agents’ offerings vary in terms of knowledge, experience, fee structures, and services. So, it may be wise to assess a few agents before making your choice.
Whatever you decide, given that real estate agreements are legally binding contracts, I strongly encourage you to discuss the sale of your home with a lawyer who is insured to practice real estate law. They can provide counsel, review the documents, and take the necessary steps to complete the transaction successfully. Good luck.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.
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.