7 Flat Fee MLS Companies in Iowa

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If you’re thinking about selling your Iowa home without a real estate agent, using a flat-fee MLS listing service could be the tool you need. A flat-fee MLS company allows for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) sellers to list their properties in the local multiple listing service (MLS) without needing an agent. These services can give sellers access to a broader audience of potential buyers, increasing your chances of a successful sale.

However, selling FSBO, with or without flat fee MLS service, isn’t for everyone. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons to help you determine if it’s the right choice for you. We’ll also highlight various companies in Iowa that offer these services, their fees, and other essential details about selling your home FSBO.

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Disclaimer: This post is meant to be used for educational purposes. Links and mentions of Iowa flat fee MLS companies in this post do not constitute an endorsement.

What is a flat fee MLS listing service in Iowa?

A flat fee MLS service in Iowa is designed for for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) sellers, allowing them to list their property on the multiple listing service without using a traditional real estate agent.

The MLS is a database that includes homes currently on the market. Buyer agents use the MLS to find properties that meet their client’s needs, giving them detailed access to homes for sale in their market.

Typically, only licensed real estate professionals can post listings on the MLS. However, flat-fee MLS services provide FSBO sellers with a way to list their homes directly on the MLS. This can increase your property’s exposure to potential buyers while letting you skip out on the costs of hiring a traditional real estate agent.

How much does a flat fee MLS service cost in Iowa?

Flat-fee MLS services can range greatly in cost. Basic packages, which typically offer only a listing on the MLS, usually start around $100, sometimes less.

More expensive plans, which can cost hundreds of dollars and even thousands, will include additional services, such as enhanced marketing tools, professional photography, and listing syndication.

Some plans will even include a comparative market analysis, which helps you price your home competitively by comparing it to similar properties in your area.

Flat fee MLS listing companies in Iowa

Disclaimer: Individual program details can change — please visit a provider’s website for the most current information on rate packages, fees, service areas, and more. HomeLight always recommends doing your own research to determine which selling option is best for your situation.

Prometro Realty

Prometro Realty, based in central Iowa, prides itself on a focus on transparency and trust, they offer comprehensive agency representation for homeowners and buyers. Their flat-fee listings provide cost-effective options leveraging the MLS to reach a broad audience.

Service areas: Central Iowa

Unreal Estate

Unreal Estate gives sellers the opportunity to reach millions of buyers by listing on the MLS, Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow without working with a real estate agent. The company, formerly USRealty, offers a variety of plans and pricing options, including a free starter plan where homeowners only pay if they sell their home.

Service areas: Serves 49 states (all except South Dakota) and Washington D.C.

Nectr Realty

Nectr Realty offers flat-rate pricing and MLS access, giving sellers broad exposure to potential buyers. Their unified platform streamlines the process, providing easy communication and access to market data. Nectr Realty aims to simplify home selling, empowering sellers with confidence and control.

Service areas: Johnston, Windsor Heights, Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale, Waukee, and West Des Moines.

Ruby Realty

Ruby Realty Group has experienced brokers who provide transparent communication, strategic listings, and adept negotiation skills. They offer renovation assistance and other resources under a flat fee structure.

Service areas: Throughout Des Moines, Iowa.

Next Generation Realty

Next Generation Realty, a family-owned agency since 1994, prides itself on being Iowa’s sole true flat-fee real estate firm. They offer comprehensive assistance starting at $3990. Their extensive experience and network ensure maximum exposure for listings, with free marketing materials and unlimited open houses.

Service areas: Throughout Iowa.


Byowner.com offers MLS listing services nationwide, claiming it provides the greatest property exposure without the traditional 6% commission. Listing options start at $499 and scale to a professional representation listing package for $1,995.

Service areas: Serves 50 states, including Iowa.


ISoldMyHouse.com is another well-known site built to help FSBO sellers. Founded in 1997, they specialize in helping sellers complete the entire sale online.

Service areas: All 50 states, including Iowa.

How would an Iowa seller benefit from a flat fee MLS service?

Using a flat fee MLS service can be a great move for FSBO sellers in Iowa.

By selling FSBO, you can save significantly on real estate commission, which typically ranges from 5% to 6%. Instead, you’ll pay a flat fee, potentially saving thousands. This can be a good fit if you have a home in a competitive or hot real estate market, as your overall days on the market might be shorter.

It should be noted, however, that on March 15, 2024, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced a landmark lawsuit settlement that will change the way real estate agent commissions are handled in the future. These changes will “decouple” seller and buyer agent compensation. Industry experts predict that this decoupling will likely lower agent fees and give buyers the ability to negotiate commission amounts directly. Learn more.

Flat-fee MLS services are ideal if you want to be very involved in your FSBO sale and need as many tools as possible. You’ll have control over the process without relying on a licensed agent. However, be prepared to invest time and energy in the home-selling process.

Here are key tasks you’ll need to handle without the help of an agent:

  1. Set the correct price
  2. Write a compelling listing description
  3. Take professional photos
  4. Market and advertise your home
  5. Make required disclosures
  6. Coordinate showings and open houses
  7. Review offers and negotiate
  8. Understand contract terms
  9. Calculate closing costs and net proceeds
  10. Navigate issues with appraisal or inspection
  11. Handle local real estate transfer taxes
  12. Gather all required documentation

Pros and cons of using a flat fee MLS listing service


  • Eliminate the listing agent commission (typically 2.5% to 3%).
  • Represent yourself in your home sale.
  • Control all aspects of the sale from start to finish.
  • Pay known costs for the listing service upfront.
  • Get your home listed on the MLS and third-party websites.
  • Helps expand your exposure to traditional buyers and their agents.


  • You’re still required to offer a commission to the buyer’s agent.
  • You’ll be responsible for handling any issues that may delay or kill the deal.
  • It’s a self-serve process that you’ll navigate without the guidance of a local expert.
  • You may be exposing yourself to liability claims and other legal risks.
  • Your house will likely sell for less than it would with a traditional real estate professional.

How do I list my home with a flat fee MLS service?

Once you’ve decided to list your home with a flat fee listing service, here are the steps you should take:

Step 1: Vet the flat fee MLS service
Research the local service you want, including its packages and rates. Look up Google reviews and check out the company on the Better Business Bureau. Before you proceed, be sure you know how many photos you can post, what forms are free of charge, and what add-ons come at an additional charge.

Step 2: Register and select a plan
Register on the flat fee MLS company website, select the package you want, and pay the upfront fee online.

Step 3: Enter your property information
Describe your property and upload photos. If your service offers it, fill out the disclosure form.

Step 4: Read and sign your listing agreement
Sign the listing agreement. Read it thoroughly and verify that you can cancel without penalty or won’t owe a listing commission.

Step 5: Review your live listing
Once you complete your listing, the company will publish it to the local MLS, making it visible to buyers’ agents. It will likely be posted on real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. Verify that your listing information is complete and accurate.

Are flat fee MLS listings effective in Iowa?

Flat-fee MLS listings are highly effective in Iowa because nearly all homebuyers use the Internet to search for homes. These online tools rely on local MLS databases for the most up-to-date listings. Additionally, buyers’ agents depend on MLS data, making it one of the most powerful marketing tools for sellers.

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Alternatives to flat fee MLS services in Iowa:

If you’re not sure a flat fee MLS service will fit your selling situation, here are some other options worth exploring:

Option 1: Flat fee agent
A flat fee real estate agent lists and sells your home for a flat rate rather than a percentage of the sale. The average flat fee ranges from $3,000 to $5,000, but additional charges for extra services may still apply.

This is best suited for homeowners who want a greater level of control over their property sale but still need professional guidance. Read your listing contract carefully to understand the provided services and any additional fees.

Option 2: Discount brokers
Consider using a discount real estate broker. These brokers charge a reduced commission and offer some basic services and support. They are typically more expensive than flat-fee MLS services but cost less than full-commission agents. You will still need to pay the buyer’s agent commission. Learn about the pros and cons of low commission brokers before deciding.

Option 3: Full-service, experienced real estate agent
A top-performing local real estate agent will provide several services. An experienced agent understands local market trends, has connections with contractors and sales contacts, and possesses the skills to sell a home faster and for the best price.

Will I save money with a flat fee MLS listing service?

Though you will save on commission fees, you may lose out in the long run. National Association of Realtors research shows that FSBO homes sold for around 23% less than homes sold by an agent. The median selling price for an FSBO was just over $300,000, while the median sale price of homes sold by an agent was just over $400,000.

While a flat fee MLS can be an effective tool, it’s important to remember that selling your home FSBO could result in less overall profit once it is said and done.

What if I need to sell my Iowa home fast?

If you need to sell your home quickly, you have options. Consider working with a We Buy Houses company or an iBuyer. These companies will purchase your home in almost any condition, often within days. Be prepared to receive less than if you sold your home on the open market. However, when time is of the essence, these can be a good option.

HomeLight also offers Simple Sale, which can expedite the process or connect you with a local agent to provide more options. Simple Sale offers a fast and efficient way to sell your home, ensuring you get the best possible outcome even when selling quickly.

What else should I know about selling a house in Iowa?

FSBO sellers must always comply with local disclosure laws. Although not mandatory, hiring a real estate attorney is advisable for FSBO sellers to manage the complexities of disclosures and contracts and avoid any costly legal issues post-sale.

Key points to remember:

  • Flat fee services are paid upfront, regardless of whether the house sells, unlike traditional agents whose fees are contingent on the sale.
  • Some services may change names frequently, complicating the tracking of their success rate.
  • Often, these services include the seller’s contact info directly in the listing, shifting more communication responsibilities to the seller.
  • Unlike traditional agents, there may not be a dedicated individual to assist sellers through the listing service.
  • While flat fee services charge a fixed rate, traditional agent fees can be negotiated.

Ready to sell your Iowa home?

  • Selling a house can feel like a full-time job.
  • FSBO sellers handle responsibilities typically managed by an agent.
  • Flat fee MLS listing services can help, offering different support levels.
  • You’ll still need to cover the buyer’s agent commission and MLS service fees.
  • Homes sold through FSBO often sell for less than traditional agents.
  • Consider whether the cost savings on commission are worth the extra effort and potentially lower sale price.
  • HomeLight can connect you with a local agent to make the process smoother and potentially more profitable.

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