The 7 Best Flat Fee MLS Companies in Illinois Based on Price, Reviews, and Features

By Lindsay Stefan

Posted on September 21st, 2022

7 Best Flat Fee MLS Companies in Illinois | How to Get On an Illinois MLS Without a Realtor | Alternatives to Flat Fee MLS in Illinois

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In Illinois, where the average home value is $267,079, the typical seller pays about $8,012 (or 3%) of their sale profits to a listing agent.

By working with an Illinois flat fee MLS company, you can eliminate almost the entire listing commission and save thousands of dollars.

A flat fee MLS company is exactly what it sounds like: for a flat fee (usually a few hundred dollars), the company will list your home on the MLS, the main directory for active listings, usually only accessible to real estate agents. From there, your listing will show up on real estate websites like Realtor.com, Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia.

It sounds simple, easy, and smart on your wallet. But there’s more to consider.

While flat fee MLS companies get your listing in front of more buyers, that’s pretty much it. You’ll be on your own when it comes to pricing your home, taking photos, scheduling showings, and managing all legal paperwork, just to name a few.

So, is using a flat fee MLS company worth it? It depends.

How savvy are you with selling? Can you handle the work of the transaction on your own, which could include everything from pricing your home to navigating the stacks of closing paperwork? If done right, there can be some significant benefits to using a flat fee MLS – but it’s a lot of work.

If you’re considering the flat fee MLS model, check out our guide on how to list on the MLS and save, then see our rankings for the 7 best flat fee MLS companies in Illinois.

If you want to save but aren’t confident you’ll have the time or know-how to sell your home yourself, our friends at Clever Real Estate offer a compromise: a full-service agent for a pre-negotiated 1% listing fee. The average seller who lists with Clever saves $9,000!

Learn how much you can save with Clever today!

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7 Best Flat Fee MLS Companies in Illinois

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1. Prello Realty

Best For: Value

Prello has been around for over two decades, and its owner is an Illinoisan. The company offers both flat fee services and a full-service agent experience. Prello seems to do most of its business in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, but they do list in outlying areas of the state.

Prello Realty Costs

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✍️ Editor’s Take

Prello’s least expensive package is $295, which is relatively expensive. However, it offers pretty good value — a 6-month listing, plenty of photos, and remote broker assistance.

The middle-tier package includes professional real estate photography, which typically costs hundreds of dollars. Prellos’ Pro package offers even better value, with a practically full-service experience for $795, which could save a seller thousands compared to a conventional, percentage-based commission.

Most of Prello’s reviews online are positive, stating that Prello is a good, responsive company, though most of the reviews come from people who seem to be pretty experienced sellers.

Best of all, Prello offers a money-back guarantee if you decide to change course.

2. Metro Realty

Best For: Agent Support

Metro Realty is a well-established local business, and its owner and operator is an experienced local agent who’s been in the real estate business since 2005. Headquartered in Plainfield, Illinois, Metro operates in both Illinois and Florida.

The company does offer refunds if customers fail to sell using the flat fee service and end up signing with a conventional agent instead.

Metro Realty Costs

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✍️ Editor’s Take

Metro’s cheapest package is affordable at $99, but it only comes with a 3-month listing and a single photo, which won’t work for the vast majority of sellers because buyers will want to see more than one photo of a property before they’re interested.

That means that, on a practical level, Metro’s entry-level package is $250, with a 6-month listing and 25 photos — much more reasonable. Still, that price point is on the high end compared to other companies on this list.

Metro has excellent reviews, with many reviewers mentioning that the owner is very hands-on and responsive, and all packages include broker support, which is not typical.

Because Metro is based near Chicago, sellers in the Chicago area should definitely give this company a long look, as its staff is likely very knowledgeable about the extended Chicago market.

3. Houzeo

Houzeo is a large, national flat fee MLS company, founded in 2017 and currently headquartered in New York. One of Houzeo’s main draws is its tech-heavy approach to flat fee MLS, as seen in its listing management platform “Intellilist.” If you’re a tech-savvy seller and the idea of a company with national scale and reach appeals to you, Houzeo is worth a look.

But keep in mind that Houzeo offers the most expensive packages on this list, with an entry price of $299. And even at those premium prices, Houzeo still adds on a lot of fees for services that are typically free.

Houzeo Costs

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✍️ Editor’s Take

Houzeo has national reach and prestige, a great online management platform, and a ton of positive reviews. For sellers who are comfortable with tech and are looking to work with a big, proven brand, Houzeo is a great choice.

But if you’re going the flat fee MLS route to save money, know that Houzeo’s plans aren’t cheap, especially at the low end!

There are also a lot of nickel and dime fees — for example, even if you buy the second-most expensive package, you still have to pay extra for a yard sign. Since the gap between the bronze and gold packages is less than $200, you’d likely get the best value from the gold package.

4. Beycome

Best For: Affordable Full-Service

Beycome is a flat fee MLS in Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, California, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, and Connecticut. Although the company isn’t fully national, it’s in several U.S. regional markets. With the many positive reviews, customers should feel pretty confident about the quality of Beycome’s services.

Beycome Costs

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✍️ Editor’s Take

Beycome offers three basic packages, which run from a fairly comprehensive and affordable basic package to an almost full-service package.

The Basic package gives you unlimited photos and an active listing until you sell — a much better deal than any other entry-level package on this list.

If Beycome has a weakness, it’s that the Enhanced package is a little underwhelming. It’s relatively expensive and doesn’t offer much value for your dollar. We also don't recommend the Concierge package. For a 1% closing fee, you should have full support, not partial. Go with a low commission brokerage instead and get more for your money.

5. Circle One Realty

Best For: Suburban Sellers

The headquarters of Circle One is in Yorkville, Illinois. It’s owned and operated by Ryan Cherney, an experienced agent in the Chicago area, with a special focus on the surrounding suburbs.

Circle One offers several flat fee packages that range from $145 (for vacant land only) to two separate $495 packages. For sellers who like to mix and match their services, the service also offers a menu of add-ons that range from a yard sign ($25) to an electronic lockbox ($200).

Circle One Realty Costs

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✍️ Editor’s Take

Circle One has very good reviews, as does the agent who owns the service. But navigating its service packages is a bit puzzling.

The least expensive package applies only to vacant land, which rules it out for most sellers. And the Basic $295 package offers decent value, but any add-ons will quickly raise the price to right around the cost of the $495 Classic package, so sellers looking to get the most bang for their buck will probably want to opt for that package instead.

The Elite package is the same price as the Classic package but has more services, which is confusing. It seems only logical to take the free upgrade. It’s unclear whether Circle One designed the packages like this, to encourage upsells, or if they were just poorly planned out — but either way, it raises some questions.

In the end, Circle One is probably best for suburban sellers who know exactly what services they do and don’t want.

6. Flat Fee Realty

Best For: Simplicity

Flat Fee Realty is a national company that offers services in many counties in Illinois — you can check the company’s website for a complete list of service areas to see if it operates near you. The company has a single package of services with an option for an upgrade.

Flat Fee Realty Costs

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Flat Fee Realty doesn’t offer great value compared to the other options on this list. The Basic MLS Package only includes 6 photos, which is not likely to be enough for potential buyers to really see what your home has to offer.

That means that a functional plan would cost $249 + 0.5% at closing, the same as many other packages from competitors on this list that include many more features for the same price.

The company’s services are also not available in every part of the state.

But the biggest concern we have is the lack of publicly available reviews. Without those reviews, the seller will be taking a lot of risk on themselves if they choose to use this service.

7. Mentor Listing

Mentor Listing was founded in 2006 and serves Illinois and Indiana. The company offers three tiers of service along with a long menu of add-on options that sellers can mix and match, such as a regular yard sign ($45), a premium sign ($75), an electronic lock box ($250), and full-service upgrade ($499).

Also, Mentor Listing includes broker assistance in every package the company offers, which is a great, rare benefit for a flat fee MLS company.

Mentor Listing Costs

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✍️ Editor’s Take

A closer look at Mentor’s packages reveals that, of the three, only the Premium package at $399 offers decent value. The two lower-priced packages only include one and six photos, respectively, which severely limits their usefulness.

So sellers are really choosing between the $399 Premium package (possibly with a few add-ons) or the full-service package at $898. Both packages are overpriced, compared to similar offerings from their competitors, but a full-service agent experience for under $900 is far below what a conventional agent charges.

Mentor also has good reviews, and its staff has real estate experience in two different states.

Start by looking at company reviews. Websites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Trustpilot will give you a window into the experiences of real sellers. If you find recurring complaints about issues like hidden fees, unresponsive communication, or poor quality services, this should be a big red flag!

» READ MORE: Are Flat Fee MLS Companies Legit? Learn the Costs, Risks, and Best Alternatives

On the other hand, if most users had a positive experience, that should give you a little reassurance that you’re on the right track.

You’ll also want to make sure the company actually operates in the area where you’re selling; Illinois has over 10 statewide and regional MLSs, so double check your company’s coverage.

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Step 2: Choose Your Package

Most companies offer a base package that includes an MLS listing and very few other services, which will leave most of the responsibilities of the sale on your shoulders.

Are you up to it? Do you have any experience in marketing, real estate, or contract negotiation?

If the answer is no, you might want to consider a package that offers more services, like help with negotiation, advice on pricing, and guided showings and open houses.

When looking at packages, the main factors to consider are:

  • Number of photos included: In general, the more photos included with the listing, the more interest you’ll get from buyers.
  • Listing length: While a yearlong or unlimited listing might sound like it offers great value, most homes sell quickly. If your home is still sitting on the market after a few months, it probably makes more sense to take it off the market and relist later than to just let it sit there indefinitely.
  • Open house and showing support: Conducting showings of your home can be stressful and time-consuming if you’re not used to hosting a crowd. For many sellers, tapping into a company’s expertise in this area is well worth the extra money.
  • Document support: Some MLS companies offer contract templates, disclosure forms, and other document support. This can be helpful if you’re worried about being able to find the right materials on your own. Keep in mind that if these documents aren’t completed and filed correctly, there could be serious legal consequences, so most sellers will want an agent’s or lawyer’s guidance here, just to be safe.

Step 3: Prepare to Handle a Lot of the Process Without Support

In Illinois, a flat fee MLS company will get your listing on the MLS, but it won’t do much else for you.

If you go the flat fee MLS route, you should be prepared to act as your own agent. That means handling tasks like:

  • Pricing your home
  • Marketing your home
  • Scheduling and conducting open houses
  • Negotiating contract points like contingencies
  • Handling closing paperwork

That’s a lot to take on — especially if you don’t have experience in real estate! For that reason, many sellers hire a transaction coordinator or a real estate attorney to help navigate the sale process.

Alternatives to Flat Fee MLS in Illinois

🥇 Best Option: Clever Real Estate

Clever Real Estate is a well-established, nationwide low-commission company that uses a licensed concierge to connect sellers with experienced local agents in their area. After learning about your goals and preferences, Clever matches you with 1-3 agents in your area to interview and select from. If none of them meet your expectations, Clever will send you more matches.

All Clever partner agents provide full service for only 1% in listing fees, which can save you thousands of dollars over the typical 3% listing fee.

Although Clever is slightly more expensive than most flat fee MLS plans, you’ll get what you pay for: High-quality assistance from a top-performing agent who comes from a respected brokerage, such as Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, and RE/MAX.

Most flat fee MLS companies will get your house on the MLS and leave you to do the rest, but a Clever partner agent can help you with:

  • Listing your house on the MLS
  • Pricing and marketing your house
  • Coordinating professional photography
  • Running showings and open houses
  • Negotiating with the buyer’s agent to get you the best price and terms
  • Guiding you through the closing process

Plus, Clever’s matching service is totally free, with no obligation to choose any of the agents you meet. You can request as many agent matches as you like until you find the best fit!

Meet trusted real estate agents with Clever 🤝

Looking for an agent? Clever Real Estate's licensed concierge team can introduce you to pre-vetted agents near you! You'll choose between top-rated agents from major brokerages like Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and more.

Best of all, you'll save thousands, thanks to Clever's affordable 1% listing fees. Buyers in 41 states and Washington D.C. can also receive 0.5% cash back after closing!

Discount Brokers

Typically, discount brokers offer a full-service agent experience (or close to it) for less than the typical 3% listing agent commission.

Discount brokers usually charge 1-2% commission, which is significantly more than you’d pay with a flat fee MLS company, but is potentially thousands less than a conventional 3% commission, and you’ll potentially get a lot more for your money.

The risk is that some discount real estate brokers cut corners or operate at a massive scale that limits their ability to provide adequate customer service. Make sure to read the fine print and understand what you’re truly paying for.

Some leading discount brokers you could explore are:

iBuyers

If you’re after a fast, streamlined sale without an agent, it might be worth considering an iBuyer. iBuyers use data analytics to assess the value of your home, and then they buy your home in cash for that amount.

The upside of an iBuyer sale is that it’s fast, simple, and can take as little as a week from start to finish. The downside is that, because you’re dealing with a tech company’s algorithm and not an agent, there’s typically no room for negotiation. It’s a “take it or leave it” offer.

That said, if you’re in a hurry or you find an offer to be fair, an iBuyer deserves serious consideration.

iBuyers that offer to buy homes in Illinois include:

  • Opendoor
  • Offerpad
  • Knock
  • Realsure
  • Keller Offers

Curious about how much an iBuyer would offer you? Our friends at Clever can help you compare offers from top cash buyers to listing on the open market. Start weighing your options ⚖️

Recommended Reading

Frequently Asked Questions About Flat Fee MLS Companies in Illinois

What is the best flat fee MLS listing service?

The best flat fee MLS listing service depends on which state you’re in and what you need out of the service, but Houzeo is a national company that’s a great choice for a tech-enhanced, highly rated listing service. Learn more about Houzeo and other flat fee MLS listing services in Illinois.

How much is a flat fee MLS listing?

A flat flee MLS listing typically ranges from about a hundred dollars for a basic package to over a thousand dollars for a full-service listing. Read more about the costs of flat fee MLS listings in Illinois.

How do I list on an MLS For Sale by Owner?

You can list your house For Sale by Owner (FSBO) on an MLS by choosing a flat fee MLS company available in your area, purchasing an MLS listing, uploading your home’s information and photos, filling out the paperwork, and then posting your listing. Check out our list of the top 7 flat fee MLS companies in Illinois.

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Posted in For Sale By Owner, How to Sell a House by Owner, Listing Your Home, Selling a House