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How to List Your Home on the NYC MLS

So you’re a home owner ready to sell your NYC apartment yourself, and the next wise question you ask is how do I list on the NYC MLS (Multiple Listing Service)? Surely, NYC must have a MLS like every other district in the country?

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What Is the Multiple Listing Service?

Let’s first define what a MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, really is before we go into whether NYC technically has one or not.  A MLS is basically a database of shared listings (typically only “exclusive right to sell” listings) accessible only by member brokerages.  Typically there will only be one MLS per region which the vast majority of brokers are a part of.

The MLS is typically affiliated with the local Realtor association. Member brokerages share their exclusive listings with other members in the MLS so that brokers representing buyer clients can cooperate in the sale of the property.

Listing brokers typically have secured 6% in commission in an Exclusive Right to Sell arrangement; therefore, they usually offer to split half the commission with any broker who brings in a ready, willing and able buyer.

New York City does have a primary inter-brokerage database; however it’s not technically a MLS nor is it affiliated with NAR (National Association of Realtors).

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Does New York City Have Its Own MLS?

Although there is a Manhattan MLS1 operated by the Manhattan Association of Realtors (MANAR), it is not very popular and most of the larger brokerages have failed to join.  As a result, the primary inter-brokerage database is actually operated by a non-Realtor entity called the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) that seceded from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in 1994.

The database itself is called the REBNY RLS which has no external interface. Instead, member brokerages access and feed the data via several approved RLS vendors such as RealtyMX, Nestio, OLR (On-Line Residential), Perchwell and RealPlus.

Some brokerage houses have built their own internal systems to access and feed data to the RLS, such as Taxi and Limo.

Therefore, be very careful when searching for a way to list your home in the NYC MLS.  Many of the large, “national” For Sale By Owner companies will advertise that you’ll be listed in your local MLS, however when it comes to NYC where there is no MLS the advertising is deceptive. 

If you’re a NYC home owner looking for a flat fee MLS company in NYC, work with an established company like Hauseit which will make sure your home is listed in your relevant local inter-broker databases (our partner brokers use various RLS vendors such as RealtyMX, Nestio, OLR, RealPlus and Perchwell) as well as relevant local consumer search websites such as the New York Times, Brownstoner and StreetEasy.

1The Manhattan Associations of Realtors (MANAR) used to operate the Manhattan MLS. However, MANAR was absorbed by HGAR (Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors) in 2016. As a result, any former MANAR members are now HGAR members and use the HGMLS (Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service) instead.

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Is There a Flat Fee NYC MLS Listing Option?

Before Hauseit arrived in NYC in 2014, flat fee NYC MLS listings were rare primarily because the larger, “national” For Sale By Owner chains had not been able to get access to the RLS. However, it did exist on a smaller scale before the arrival of Hauseit.

Before Hauseit, there were a few smaller players here and there in NYC. However, sellers had to be extremely careful in choosing a discount broker that was both reputable and responsive.

Unfortunately, a lot of supposed NYC MLS flat fee listing brokerages are simply mom and pop shops with zero technology and dubious reputations. Worse still, many of these one man operations are blacklisted by the larger brokerages, and as a result sellers were stuck with the same marketing exposure as if they’d listed For Sale By Owner in NYC.

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Why Are Flat Fee NYC MLS Listings Uncommon?

We discuss this issue thoroughly in another article on why the typical agent won’t do a flat fee MLS listing in NYC.  The simple answer is that it’s simply too time consuming and not lucrative enough!  Think about it, operating costs are quite high (just imagine the office rent costs for a brokerage in Manhattan) and a flat fee of a few hundred dollars might as well be zero compared to the average NYC real estate commission check of over $100,000.

Moreover, most NYC home owners are relatively demanding, “Type A” personality people.  Therefore, a “flat fee” client who is extremely demanding and requires a lot of service is typically not only demeaning to the agent, but also highly uneconomical.

NYC Flat Fee MLS offered by Hauseit NYC.

Fortunately, with Hauseit home owners are able to receive the same marketing exposure and a high level of personal service as a result of our highly automated systems.

Listing updates and changes can be requested on our website and are typically reflected within 24 hours on all syndicated websites.  Phone support is available seven days a week during our extended business hours.

Flat fee MLS listings are simply not worth it in terms of time and money for most brokers in NYC.

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How Does the NYC MLS Restrict Competition?

Inter-brokerage databases have traditionally restricted discount brokers from competing by only allowing “exclusive right to sell” listings.

An “exclusive right to sell” listing is the most commonly used type of listing agreement. It gives the listing agent the exclusive right to earn a commission by representing the owner and bringing a buyer, either through another brokerage or directly. The owner pays both the listing and cooperating (or buyer) broker fees (typically 6%, which may be equally shared with a buyer’s agent).

The owner cannot sell the property herself without paying a commission, unless an exception is noted in the contract.  Keep in mind that a commission is owed when the listing broker has produced a ready, willing and able buyer at the seller’s terms.  If the seller wishes to back out after such a buyer has been found, the seller will still owe the listing broker the full commission.

Sometimes inter-brokerage databases also allow “exclusive agency” listings.

In an “exclusive agency” listing contract the owner appoints a real estate broker as his or exclusive agent for a designated period of time to sell the property, on the owner’s stated terms, for a commission. The owner reserves the right to sell without paying anyone a commission if he or she sells to a prospect that has not been introduced or claimed by the broker.

Essentially, this type of listing agreement allows the owner to not have to pay any commission if he or she finds a buyer directly.

More questions? Ask us anything in our Forum, where New York real estate professionals come together to discuss real estate.

Save 6% Percent When You Sell with an Agent Assisted FSBO

Have time to show your home yourself? Consider our self managed, For Sale By Owner listing option that gives your home the same marketing exposure as if you’d paid 6% commission to a traditional listing broker.

Disclosure: Hauseit and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, financial and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The services marketed on Hauseit.com are provided by licensed real estate brokers and other third party professional service providers. Hauseit LLC is not a licensed real estate broker nor a member of any multiple listing service (MLS).

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  • Fully market your home on your local MLS and dozens of popular websites with Hauseit’s Agent Assisted FSBO Listing Service. We offer the REBNY RLS which covers NYC, the HGMLS which covers the Hudson Valley, and the MLSLI which covers Long Island. An Agent Assisted FSBO is so much more than a flat fee MLS listing. That’s because your home is listed by one of our reputable, traditional partner brokers who never openly discount their services. As a result, not only will you receive the same marketing exposure as a full commission customer, your listing won’t be treated any differently by other brokers!