At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.
If you’re getting ready to sell your North Carolina home, you may be thinking about whether to use a real estate agent or go the FSBO (for sale by owner) route and use a North Carolina flat fee MLS company.
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the top resource used by sellers to list their homes, most commonly through working with a real estate agent. Alternatively, if a homeowner chooses to sell without an agent, they can pay a flat fee to list their home on the MLS — however, there are differences in the level of service provided.
Read on to learn more about these companies — and whether working with one of them makes sense for your FSBO North Carolina home sale.
Disclaimer: This post is meant to be used for educational purposes. Links and mentions of North Carolina flat fee MLS companies in this post do not constitute an endorsement.
What is a flat fee MLS listing service?
The MLS is a private database created and maintained by real estate professionals (agents and brokers) to help their clients buy and sell property. The “listing” refers to “a home for sale” in industry terms.
North Carolina has multiple MLS throughout the state, each with its own rules and regulations, Kim Pappalardo, who works with 70% more single-family homes than the average Raleigh, North Carolina, agent reports.
Although normally only licensed real estate agents can access and post listings on a local MLS, there are a number of different services in North Carolina that provide MLS services for a flat fee. These flat fee MLS companies enable FSBO sellers to bypass the traditional agent and get their home listed on the MLS.
How much does a flat fee MLS service cost in North Carolina?
If you choose a flat fee MLS service, you’ll pay a set fee, ranging from $69 to $500 in North Carolina, to list your property on the MLS. This will save you the fee charged by a seller’s agent, but it means you’ll be responsible for most of the support they’d typically provide.
Choose from local, regional, and national companies, or make your decision based on the level of assistance you require.
Let’s take a look at some examples of flat fee MLS listing companies in North Carolina:
Flat fee MLS listing companies in North Carolina
Flat fee MLS companies are not created equal. There are different levels of service to consider. As you weigh your options, you should evaluate the different services and fees against the possible benefits and drawbacks.
Note: 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.
Carolina Listing Express
Carolina Listing Express – soon to be renamed Express MLS Listing – is part of Select Premium Properties, Inc., a local North Carolina real estate company owned and operated by Stephanie Smith, the principal broker. The company has been in business for more than 20 years. The entire listing process is performed on their website. Free support is available by phone or email.
Service areas: Major metropolitan areas in North Carolina and parts of South Carolina
The basic package costs $195 for six months. It includes six photos. Extra photos, lock boxes, and marketing materials, such as signage, are an additional cost. Contract reviews are also an option at an additional cost.
Additional service notes:
- Provides MLS listing for six months.
- Forwards all leads.
- Supplies free forms and contract templates.
- Offers free customer support via phone or email.
- Offers rental listings.
Principal broker Stephanie Smith has 4.8 out of 5 stars from 84 reviews on Zillow. Reviewers were pleased with her attentiveness and quick responses.
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.
Cost of service: $0-$249
Additional service notes:
- MLS listing time: 6 months.
- Minimum of 5 listing photos (depending on package).
- Deluxe and premium packages include yard sign.
Unreal estate received an average of 4.2 out of five stars on Trustpilot. Reviewers mentioned how fast and affordable the service is, with one reviewer reporting that they “saved a ton.”
Flat Fee Multiple Listing Access (FFMLA)
Founded in 1991 by North Carolina real estate agent Steve Toop, FFMLA (United Brokers LTD) offers a variety of packages from the basic MLS listing to full-service packages. All forms and brochures are provided on the website, making it easy to gather all necessary information and sign up.
Service areas: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
Basic bundle – $125: Includes a listing period of three months and six MLS photos. Includes phone and email support. Cancel any time without penalty.
Standard bundle – $195: Includes a listing period of six months and 16 MLS photos. Includes phone and email support, as well as scheduling and showing feedback. Cancel any time without penalty.
Enhanced bundle – $295: Includes a listing period of 12 months and up to 35 MLS photos and a virtual tour on MLS. Includes phone and email support, as well as scheduling and showing feedback. No charge for initial editing or price change. Sample purchase forms and contracts, and transaction management tools. Cancel any time without penalty.
Full service bundle – $875: Includes a listing period of 12 months and the maximum number of photos allowed by the MLS. Also includes all the features of the Enhanced bundle plus negotiations, contracts, and closing bundle.
Additional service notes:
- Discounts for package add-ons and renewals.
- A-la-carte pricing for signs, photo swaps and resizing, additional MLS listings.
- Provides showings for additional fee.
Google customer reviews give FFMLA’s parent company, United Brokers LTD, 4.9 out of 5 stars. Reviewers praised the company’s prompt and accurate service, professionalism, and seamless process.
Carolina Realty Solutions
Founded in 2003, this Charlotte-based brokerage is a popular option for hard-to-sell homes. It offers three packages. The website walks sellers through the steps to get their home listed, based on which state they live in. The company doesn’t cover all areas of the Carolinas, so double check their coverage.
Service areas: Some areas in North Carolina and South Carolina
Flat fee MLS – $399: Includes a listing period of six months and the maximum number of MLS photos, a lock box, and yard sign, as well as access to ShowingTime software for appointment scheduling with MLS-registered licensed agents.
Full Service 1 – $549 + 1% at closing: Includes everything in the MLS package plus a comparative market analysis and assistance with paperwork, offers, and negotiations, as well as transaction guidance from contract to close.
Full Service 2 – Nothing upfront; 2% at closing: Includes everything in Full Service 1.
Additional service notes:
- Full-service option.
- No hidden fees.
3.7 out of 5 stars on Yelp (3 reviews). Reviewers appreciate the budget prices and personalized service. Carolina Realty Solutions has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2006 and holds an A+ BBB rating.
Phone: 704-343-0931 (Charlotte)
Founded in 2017, Houzeo is a large national flat fee MLS company with headquarters in New York. Known for its technology, it can be a little more expensive than other companies. It’s a good choice if you’re a techie and don’t mind paying a little more for broad exposure.
Service areas: Multiple counties
Bronze package – $299: Includes a listing period of three months and six MLS photos. The package allows unlimited listing changes and cancellations at any time without penalty.
Silver package – $349: Includes a listing period of six months and 24 MLS photos. The package allows unlimited listing changes and cancellations at any time without penalty.
Gold package – $399: Includes a listing period of six months and unlimited MLS photos. The package allows unlimited listing changes, Houzeo showings, use of the Houzeo offers platform, and cancellation at any time without penalty.
Platinum package – $499 + 0.75% at closing: Includes a listing period of 12 months and unlimited MLS photos. The package allows unlimited listing changes, Houzeo showings, use of the Houzeo offers platform, and cancellation at any time without penalty. It also offers a free yard sign and virtual agent assistance.
Additional service notes:
- 100% online.
- 5-star customer support.
- Advanced technology.
- Maximum exposure on Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, and other sites.
- Houzeo Concierge rush listing option lists your property within a business day.
- Mobile app offers most functions of the web platform, including Offers and Showings.
Houzeo has 4.9 out of 5 stars (1,284 total reviews) on Google. Reviewers praise the company’s ease of use, response time, and technology – for which Houzeo is known.
Clickit Realty Inc.
This Georgia-based company was founded in 2000 by Christopher Ballard, broker, and Richard Williams, broker/owner. They offer a selection of packages up to full service. Unlike some flat fee companies, Clickit Realty provides a comparative market analysis (CMA) with all its packages.
Service areas: Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, and Connecticut
Silver package – $299: Includes a listing period of six months and three photos, a yard sign. Free listing changes, a CMA, color flyer, and broker consultation are part of the package.
Gold package – $399: Includes a listing period of six months and 25 MLS photos. Everything in the Silver package is included, with the addition of a virtual tour.
Platinum package – $599: Includes everything in the Gold package plus a lock box, a brochure box, an open house, and access to DocuSign for documents.
Full-service package – $995: Includes everything in the Platinum package for 12 months, plus contract and offer support, negotiating assistance, and contract presentation.
Additional service notes:
- Provides Comparative Market Analysis to sellers.
- Provides pricing support in all packages.
- Provides documents and paperwork for seller disclosures.
- House showings available at low prices in basic package.
Clickit has 4.1 out of 5 stars (68 total reviews) on Google. Reviewers praised the company’s responsiveness when sellers had questions, Clickit’s professionalism, and affordable packages.
List with Freedom
Since 2005, List with Freedom has provided flat fee real estate listings through an easy-to-use online platform. The company offers several choices of service levels, but no full-service option. Although they do offer customer support, this company is a better choice for experienced FSBO sellers.
Service areas: Serves most states
Silver package – $89: Includes a listing period of six months and just one photo. It allows unlimited free listing changes, but most other services are a la carte, with an additional fee. There’s no cancellation fee.
Gold package – $149: Includes a listing period of six months and six photos. It allows unlimited free listing changes, but most other services are a la carte, with an additional fee. There’s no cancellation fee.
Platinum package – $195: Includes a listing period of six months and 25 photos. It allows unlimited free listing changes, but most other services are a la carte, with an additional fee. There’s no cancellation fee.
Platinum+ package – $295: Includes a listing period of 12 months and max photos. It allows unlimited free listing changes, and includes an online showing scheduler, posting of a virtual tour, and unlimited open houses. There’s no cancellation fee.
Additional service notes:
- No cancellation fee.
- Additional fees may be applicable, based on location.
- Only one photo allowed in basic package listing.
- No pricing support.
List with Freedom has 4.1 out of 5 stars (1,801 total reviews) on Trustpilot. Reviewers like the company’s professionalism, customer support, and communication, but many found the process confusing and the technology challenging.
What North Carolina sellers might benefit from a flat fee MLS service?
If you’re selling a home in North Carolina, you may be wondering, “Is a flat fee MLS listing service the right choice for me?” The answer is: it depends. Here are some indications a flat fee MLS service might be right for you:
- You’re determined to save on real estate commission.
- You have the time and energy to spend on the home sale process.
- You’re comfortable or even passionate about selling a house on your own.
- You have real estate experience or understand the home sale process well.
- You feel that no one else can understand all the features of your unique home.
Here are the type of sellers who typically aren’t a good fit for a flat fee listing service or FSBO selling:
- Sellers who aren’t willing to put significant time and energy into the sale.
- Sellers who are strapped for time and need a prompt sale.
- Sellers who aren’t familiar with selling homes or property.
- Sellers who haven’t considered all of the costs that go into selling a home alone.
- Sellers who don’t understand the laws, documents, and responsibilities surrounding North Carolina home sales.
It’s important to understand that sellers using a flat fee company must be willing to take on a variety of tasks normally handled by a real estate agent, such as:
- Determining the right selling price for your home.
- Writing an enticing listing description.
- Taking photos of your property, inside and out.
- Marketing your home.
- Coordinating showings and open houses.
- Handling negotiations and counteroffers.
- Understanding the terms of your contract.
- Navigating any issues that may come up with the appraisal or inspection.
- Getting the required documentation together.
- Providing appropriate disclosures.
Pappalardo points out that a real estate agent will alert a seller to excise tax charged by North Carolina, prorated property tax, and the fact that an attorney must oversee closing.
Pros and cons of using a flat fee MLS listing service
It’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of a decision. Some of those for a flat fee MLS listing service include:
- Eliminate the listing agent commission (typically 2.5% to 3%).
- Control of all aspects of the sale from start to finish.
- Known costs are paid upfront for selling the property.
- Get your home listed on the MLS and third-party websites.
- Flat fee + possible commission to buyer’s agent (2.5% to 3%).
- Responsibility for addressing any issues that arise to protect the sale.
- Mostly a self-service process that involves lots of time and energy.
- No buffer between seller and buyer.
- You may be exposing yourself to liability claims and other legal risks.
- FSBO homes typically sell for less.
Pappalardo says, “FSBO sellers are looking to net more money, but statistics show that most are netting less.”
Even as a FSBO seller, most likely, you’ll still be responsible for the buyer’s agent commission, which typically will cost 2.5% to 3% of the home’s sale price, along with the usual closing costs and FSBO fees that an agent typically covers.
How do I list my home with a flat fee MLS service in North Carolina?
If you have decided to list your home with a flat fee listing service, the next steps might look something like this:
Step 1: Research a few companies, comparing rates and service packages.
Step 2: Contact the service through their website or phone and provide information about your property. Many flat fee companies offer an online process to get started.
Step 3: The flat fee company will make your listing live on the MLS, which means it will be visible to buyer agents but also placed on other real estate websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com.
Step 4: Take calls and schedule showings.
Step 5: Field offers from the buyer agents or prospective buyers and negotiate a deal.
When you first place your home with a flat fee MLS service, it can take a couple of days or longer to populate. It’s a good idea to review how your listing is displaying on real estate sites to be certain it’s correct and complete.
Are flat fee MLS listings effective in North Carolina?
A flat fee MLS service can be effective. Because the local MLS is one of the best ways to market your home and get your home in front of buyers, it’s crucial to list your FSBO home on the local MLS.
However, the NAR reports that FSBO home sales are not a popular option — accounting for only 10% of home sales last year. Not only are FSBO homes a minority of those available, but also, nearly 90% of buyers purchase a house using a buyer’s agent, meaning FSBO sellers still likely have to pay the buyer’s agent commission. The same NAR data also shows that real estate agents are more effective when it comes to securing higher net proceeds.
Alternatives to a flat fee MLS service
There are a number of other ways to sell your house. Here are a few:
Option 1: Flat fee real estate agent
A flat fee real estate agent offers to list and sell your home for a flat rate rather than a percentage of the home sale. A flat fee agent might be a good option for a homeowner who wants to retain more control of their home sale, including pricing, marketing, and negotiations. Without the incentive of a full commission, however, there is a chance that your house may sell for less because a flat fee agent may not spend as much time and effort marketing and showing your property. In addition, everything else may be extra: lockboxes, signage, photos, etc. Read your listing contract carefully to find out exactly what services a flat fee agent provides and if there are any additional fees.
Depending on the quality and experience of your agent, you also may not receive guidance about disclosures or other aspects of the sale.
Option 2: Discount real estate brokers
You can seek out the services of a low-commission or discount real estate broker. These companies or agents are typically more expensive than flat fee MLS service, but they will accept a lower commission than most traditional agents — often 1%, 2%, or a negotiated flat fee. Most times, they still provide many of the basic services and support you might receive from a full-commission agent, with extra services sometimes available for an additional fee.
Keep in mind that you will probably still need to pay the full commission to the buyer’s agent.
The pool of discount brokers is limited, and you’re unlikely to get as much support from a limited services agent — although some state laws define the minimum service they must provide. But, you can save money if you’re willing to take on some of the duties of selling your home.
Option 3: Full-service, experienced real estate agent
A top real estate agent does a lot more than just getting your home listed on the MLS. An experienced agent who has sold homes in your area has the advantage of knowing current market trends, leveraging local connections with contractors and sales contacts, and will have the proven skills to sell a home faster with the best results.
Some of the top benefits of using a full-service, full-commission real estate agent or broker include:
- Accurate pricing to fit market conditions.
- Potential to sell your home at a higher price.
- Network of skilled professionals.
- Can help you prepare your home.
- Appraisal expertise for the best valuation.
- Can guide you through inspection pitfalls.
- Elevated marketing and broader visibility.
- Takes pressure and workload off the sellers.
- Contract savviness to avoid delays.
- Professional negotiation skills.
“FSBO sellers lack outreach,” Pappalardo says. She believes an agent’s networking capability makes the commission well-earned.
Our data shows that the top 5% of real estate agents across the U.S. sell homes for as much as 10% more than the average real estate agent. HomeLight can help you find the right agent to sell your North Carolina home. Our platform analyzes millions of transactions to find top agents who sell homes faster and for more money than average agents in your area.
Will I save money with a flat fee MLS listing service?
A common question sellers might ask is: Will my home sell for less if I use a flat fee MLS service, or will I really save money?
According to Pappalardo, a FSBO seller has to swap out either time, hassle, or money. In other words, it’s possible to save money with a flat fee MLS listing service, but only if you’re willing to put in extra time and effort.
You also forgo the expertise of a professional real estate agent who could save or earn you money by pricing your house right and negotiating with potential buyers.
A National Association of Realtors (NAR) report indicates that the median sale price for a FSBO home was $225,000, compared to $330,000 for properties represented by an agent.
What if I need to sell my North Carolina home fast?
Another option for selling your home is to seek a cash offer from a house-buying company, such as an iBuyer or a We Buy Houses investor group. Depending on your circumstances, a cash offer might be a good option.
One of the most convenient ways to sell a home fast is HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. You can skip repairs, showings, and commissions and receive a no-obligation cash offer in as little as a week. If you accept the offer, you can close in as few as 10 days.
What else should I know about selling a house in North Carolina?
North Carolina sellers of residential real estate are required to complete the Residential Property and Owners’ Association Disclosure Statement to divulge conditions and defects with the property.
In addition to listing defects, sellers must disclose HOA covenants and dues, natural hazards, oil and gas rights, planned community construction and pending litigation, and health and safety issues, including lead-based paint, radon, toxic mold, and asbestos.
North Carolina state law requires that a licensed attorney oversee the closing process, although this doesn’t have to be done in person.
FAQ about flat fee MLS services in North Carolina
Common questions about using flat fee MLS services in North Carolina:
Pappalardo says yes. Communication can be difficult. “Getting to the closing table is critical. You need a relationship with the buyer’s agent.” Without that relationship, negotiations may stall or the seller may not have all the documents needed at closing. Your results can vary depending on your selling situation and experience.
According to Pappalardo, “A buyer’s agent is less interested in showing FSBO listings because it can be a difficult transaction.”
Yes. It’s important to read the fine print and ask questions before you commit to a flat fee MLS company. The same holds true when considering any home-selling contract, even a full-service real estate agent’s listing agreement.
Ready to sell your North Carolina home?
There are pros and cons to selling your house by owner in North Carolina. If you choose to take on the duties of a listing agent, you’ll want to explore the option of flat fee MLS companies to get your property seen by a wide audience.
Each provides a different level of service for varying costs, so select the level of service that works best for you. Remember, Pappalardo advises, “Flat-fee services don’t guide and counsel you.”
Keep in mind that most FSBO houses sell for less than an agent-assisted home sale. And don’t forget that as the seller, you are responsible for all disclosures and other required paperwork.
If you do decide to sell your home yourself — with or without a flat fee MLS service — you’ll want to make sure you do your research first, so that you fully understand the logistical and legal obligations of selling property.
Header Image Source: (Zac Gudakov / Unsplash)