Say What?? "Selling by Owner" is not really Selling by Owner? You make no sense!

Posted by Brian Knight on Monday, February 9th, 2015 at 6:45pm.

Selling your home for sale by owner (FSBO) in Michigan? Well let’s go over a few things!!

Ahh yes….”Selling your home by owner” can save you a lot of money in commissions! And can help you with that – Well, sort of! - Kind of we guess! But getting your home on the MLS in Michigan is another story all together and one that most people wanting to “Sell by Owner”, just don’t understand well. 

At we can help you get the exposure you need by placing your home on the local MLS here in Michigan. There are a lot of companies out there that will sell you packages for a flat fee to get your listed on the MLS but they fail to go over everything that's involved.  One of the biggest things is that, it’s technically NOT “For Sale by Owner” anymore once it’s listed on the MLS with a real estate company. UMMM - What? The other big thing is that, most of these companies people sign up with, can’t even place your home on the MLS in Michigan!!! Crazy isn't it! They outsource this (to us)…And once you sign up, they send your information over to ListTrue. We then call you, get all the information we need, and place your home on one of the many MLS systems in Michigan. So it's just easier to deal with ListTrue directly...and you’ll save all upfront costs to get your home listed on the MLS in the first place.

A few of the things we hear from people thinking they're “Selling by Owner”?

Wait a minute!!! We don’t want anything to do with a REALTOR you say – We just want to get our home on the MLS and sell it on our own! Well, we get it. We totally understand wanting to go that route…But it’s impossible to “sell by owner” on the MLS. Once listed on the MLS it’s being sold by the Real Estate Broker. It’s simply impossible otherwise. Oh, a few other things you probably don't want to hear but can't do either: Create marketing/advertising material with prior approval of the brokerage firm. Placing a "For Sale by Owner" sign in your yard. Placing your home on Craigslist under "For Sale by Owner"..and the list goes on and on. BUT PLEASE: DO NOT SHOOT THE MESSENGER...ListTrue doesn't make up the rules here. Each MLS has their own rules and it doesn't matter what website you signed up on either. The MLS listing has to follow the MLS rules. And one more thing....Please make sure you watch what you say about your home or neighborhood. That could get you into a lot of trouble! OH - and YES! We are sorry - but you MUST offer a comission for a buyer's way around this one. We know, we know! What the heck! - Nobody told us that when we signed up with the mls flat fee listing company!

But here is the cool thing about it….A small fee paid to the listing agent to get your home on the MLS can pretty much cut your commission cost by 50% or more in Michigan!

You could sell your home “For Sale by Owner” all day long without a real estate agent…but there is no way to get your home on the MLS without a real estate agent. The MLS is for Real Estate Agents only, and as such…A listing on the MLS has to offer commission to a buyer agent as well. And your home will be sold by the brokerage firm – Even though you are doing most of the work and handling the transaction…Technically it’s “For Sale by Brokerage” - not by owner.

With, we can place your home on the MLS in Michigan for no upfront fee and just $399 due at closing with the appropriate buyer’s agent commission if a REALTOR brings in a buyer for your home. So, this is not selling by owner as people are used to thinking. But it is saving you a lot of money in the end. And guess what? If you bring in a buyer on your own….That listing fee is the only cost to you besides normal closing costs.  BONUS!

Are there some negatives with trying to go this route? Yes…There are! The bad news is that it’s considered a LIMITED SERVICE LISTING in most MLS’s and that notifies agents as to what type of listing this is. A “Sell by Owner” type of listing is where a home owner provides all the MLS data needed, sets up their own showings and negotiates with the buyer (be it a REALTOR or someone without representation).  

Most homes in Michigan are sold by Real Estate Agents so expect to pay that buyer’s agent fee unless for some reason your one of the lucky few that brings in a buyer with one. Another issues is that without the help and negotiation skills of an experienced agent….Statistics show that you will sell your home for a lot less…actually costing you more at the end of the day. FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2013. Selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $174,900, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $215,000, a difference of $40,100.

And since you are kinda on your own once a deal comes together…Please make sure you know that most buyers today work with a buyers’ agent to represent their interests. If you choose to sell your home “on your own”, you’ll be negotiating with a professional and relying on your own skill to finalize a contract. Not only could you end up selling your home for less money, you could leave yourself open to potential legal problems unless you have the contract vetted by an experienced real estate attorney.

Here's what people said their biggest issues where when trying to sell on their own:

Understanding and performing paperwork: 18%
Getting the right price: 13%
Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 12%
Helping buyer obtain financing: 3%
Attracting potential buyers: 3%
Selling within the planned length of time: 7%
Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 6%

So this is just a little information to clear up a few misconceptions of “Selling by Owner” on the MLS in Michigan. allows you to sell the way you want to (Well, within reason – you still can’t “Sell by Owner: on the MLS) – But you get the idea.

So if this is your cup of tea …Try it. You can sign up on to get listed on the MLS and see how it goes. But don’t worry…We are here for you at any point in time you need our expert help. Most people starting out this way end up needing more help and you can change plans anytime.

So – If you’re ready to take the plunge and try it more or less on your own – Let us help you get started!
We cover the following areas in Michigan! Oh- And if you start this way and decide your need more help – we can do that too!

Board Associations

Southwestern Michigan MLS (SWMRIC) services the following association(s):
  • Battle Creek Area Association of Realtors
  • Branch County Association of Realtors
  • Grand Rapids Association of Realtors
  • Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors
  • Hillsdale County Board of Realtors
  • Mason Oceana Manistee Board of Realtors
  • Montcalm County Association of Realtors
  • St. Joseph County Association of Realtors
  • Southwest Michigan Association of Realtors
  • West Central Association of Realtors
  • West Michigan Lakeshore Association of Realtors

Available Cities

Southwestern Michigan MLS (SWMRIC) IDX has Offered Coverage for the following cities (additional cities may be available):


Board Associations

Greater Lansing (GLMLS) services the following association(s):
  • Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS®

You ALWAYS want to find a local brokerage like in Michigan.

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