If you’re planning to sell your home “For Sale By Owner” (best known as “FSBO”) in Southern Maryland this fall season, it will be vital that you give some serious thought to the MLS. “MLS” (Multiple Listing Service) is the database used and updated by real estate professionals and trade associations. It’s used to organize and publicize available listings for everyone interested in buying a house. Access to any MLS system is restricted to agents and brokers, since they are licensed, insured, and have been trained in correct use of the technically-complex system.
In today’s digital age, FSBO sellers who chose to just put up a lawn sign and advertise in Southern Maryland newspapers put themselves at a daunting disadvantage. Yet if you try to sell your house yourself as an Southern Maryland FSBO, there are ways you can get your property included in the Multiple Listing Service.
One way to get a listing in MLS systems is by registering on one of the FSBO websites, like ForSalebyOwner.com (which includes a “Find a Pro” tab on its home page!). Such sites usually sell several different packages, including various uses of MLS, with up-charges for things like additional photos or unlimited listing times.
When preparing your listing, you’ll want attractive, professional-quality photos; a clear, concise selling description; and accurate metrics including your address, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square feet, lot size, etc. Accuracy here is vital – lawsuits have been successfully pursued against sellers who provide inaccurate square footage or other metrics. (Stymied already? Your tax records usually contain the needed information). You will also need all the lawfully required disclosures – and, of course – an asking price supportable by recent and accurate comps.
In case that sounds like a lot — just to deal with the listing, much less the whole selling process — you’re not alone. If you’d rather worry less about getting your home sold and focus more on finding your next one, finding a Southern Maryland real estate agent is always an option. If you’re preparing to sell your home in Southern Maryland this fall – FSBO or not – I welcome your questions anytime!