In North Carolina, where the average home value is $322,986, the typical seller pays about $9,690 (or 3%) of their sale profits to a listing agent.
By working with a 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 seven best flat fee MLS companies in North Carolina.
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 1.5% listing fee. The average seller who lists with Clever saves $7,000!
|Why You Should Trust Us
This article draws on 12 hours of research on seven flat fee MLS companies. Our research process consisted of:
7 Best Flat Fee MLS Companies in North Carolina
Best For: Fully-Digital Management
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.
That said, Houzeo is on the more expensive side, with an entry price of $299 and a premium package that costs $449 plus a percentage-based commission. Even at those premium prices, Houzeo still adds on a lot of small service fees.
|Platinum||$449 plus 0.75% due at closing||
✍️ 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.
2. Flat Fee Multiple Listing Access
Best For: Local Expertise
Flat Fee Multiple Listing Access (FFMLA) was founded by Steve Toop, a North Carolina real estate agent with 28 years of experience. Toop, who’s also licensed in Virginia and South Carolina, is well-reviewed and founded his brokerage in 1991. FFMLA offers a wide spectrum of packages, from a very basic $99 flat fee MLS listing, to two different full-service packages.
Flat Fee Multiple Listing Access Costs
|Enhanced||$295||Standard plan services, plus:
|Full Service||$875||Enhanced plan, plus:
|Full Service (Pay Later)||$295 upfront, plus $1,300 out of sale proceeds||Same as full service package|
✍️ Editor’s Take
FFMLA’s basic $99 option offers a 3-month listing and 6 photos, which could be just enough in a hot seller’s market. It has an edge over competitors who offer just 1-3 photos in their basic packages. And at $99, it’s one of the most affordable options out there.
The full-service packages — one priced at $875, the other at $1,595 (with only $295 due upfront) — offer pretty good value, too. If you’re able, we’d recommend paying the $875 upfront to save more than $700 and still get great value from an agent with 28 years of experience. The $1,595 option offers convenience for sellers who can’t or won’t shell out $875 upfront, but in the end, that’s a pretty hefty price tag.
Best For: Easy-to-Understand Pricing Model
This California-based company offers North Carolina FSBO sellers a high-tech online interface and a single, low-priced flat fee MLS package.
It’s not quite as inexpensive as it might initially seem, though, since sellers have to pay extra for necessary add-ons.
Still, Homecoin’s simple, easy-to-understand pricing model has significant appeal to sellers, and its execution is pretty good, too; Homecoin has perfect 5-star reviews.
✍️ Editor’s Take
At $95, Homecoin’s basic package is extremely affordable. But most sellers will want to purchase additional services, and those can add up quickly. Homecoin’s add-ons can seem a little nickel-and-dime-ish; for example, Homecoin customers get a free sign, but they have to rent a signpost for $95. (And yes, it’s a rental — meaning you have to return it after the sale.) The same applies for the lockbox rental ($125), and help with paperwork (cost varies).
Still, selling with Homecoin probably won’t run too much more than several hundred dollars, and its online listing management platform is reputable. With stellar reviews, this flat fee MLS realtor deserves a long look from tech-friendly sellers.
4. Clickit Realty, Inc.
Best For: Wide Range of Service Levels
Georgia-based Clickit Realty, Inc. offers an impressive spectrum of flat fee MLS packages, from a barebones $299 package, up to a full-service $995 package. Clickit was founded in 2000, so it’s weathered a few economic storms and is still going strong. This should give prospective sellers some confidence; so should the company’s reviews, which amount to a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Clickit Realty Costs
|Gold||$399||Silver plan, plus:
|Platinum||$599||Gold plan, plus:
|Full service||$995||Platinum plan, plus:
✍️ Editor’s Take
Clickit Realty’s lowest-priced package, the $299 Silver package, only comes with 3 photos, which basically makes it a non-starter.
The next step up, the $399 Gold plan, is a bit pricey for a basic package, but does offer decent value. It comes with a comparative market analysis (CMA), an invaluable tool for setting your listing price, as well as a virtual tour – a must-have in the post-pandemic market.
Clickit’s high-end full-service package is $995 – thousands less than the average 3% listing commission. However, because Clickit is based out of state, it’s questionable whether or not your Clickit agent will have a deep knowledge of North Carolina markets.
5. Carolina Realty Solutions
Best For: All-Inclusive Packages
This Charlotte-based real estate brokerage offers a basic flat fee MLS package, plus two identical full-service packages that only differ in how you pay for them. Carolina Realty Solutions’ flat fee package is fairly standard, if a bit pricey at $399, but sellers won’t have to worry about paying extra for services like yard signs, more photos, or lock boxes.
While Carolina Realty Solutions specializes in North and South Carolina, they don’t offer complete coverage of North Carolina— see the company’s website to make sure your county is covered.
Carolina Realty Costs
|Flat Fee MLS||$399||
|Full Service 1||$549 + 1% at closing||Flat Fee MLS package, plus:
|Full Service 2||Nothing upfront, 2% at closing||Same as Full Service 1, but no money paid until after closing|
✍️ Editor’s Take
CRS’s flat fee package is incredibly straightforward since buyers won’t have to shell out more money for add-ons like extra photos or a lockbox. That kind of clarity can be hard to find in the world of flat fee MLS services, where the upsell is often where the money is made.
CRS’s full-service packages offer less certain value since they’re quite pricey.
One thing to remember is that no reputable full-service agent asks for any money upfront, so CRS’s Full Service 2 package isn’t that special— it’s just a conventional full-service agent package with a 1% discount. When it comes to traditional real estate agents, you can do better than a 2% commission.
In fact, our friends at Clever Real Estate can match you with top real estate agents in your area who offer full service for a pre-negotiated 1.5% commission — an even lower commission than what’s being offered here.
💰 Incredible savings, none of the DIY
6. List With Freedom
Best For: Experienced Sellers
List With Freedom is a 17-year-old company that offers a range of similar packages: three six-month MLS listing plans that only differ in the number of photos allowed, and one 12-month listing plan with unlimited photos.
The company doesn’t offer a full-service option, so sellers who need personal agent assistance (especially first-timer sellers) should look elsewhere.
List With Freedom Costs
|Gold||$149||Silver package, plus:
|Platinum||$195||Gold package, plus:
✍️ Editor’s Take
There’s very little variability between List With Freedom’s packages and no full-service option, which means more work on your part.
The company’s average rating of 4.3 stars from 1,700 reviews on Trustpilot should be reassuring to potential users, especially since some of the other companies on this list have few or no reviews.
But the entry-level plan for $89 only comes with one single photo, which is unlikely to be appealing to buyers. Also, the pricing for a basic plan with more photos is $149, which is pricey compared to competitors.
Some competitors have stated that List With Freedom takes out “hidden fees” at closing, deducting 0.25% from the buyer’s agent commission as a compliance fee. This could be a concern — especially if it’s enough to discourage some buyer’s agents from bringing their clients to List With Freedom listings.
7. Carolina Listing Express
Best For: Flexibility
Carolina Listing Express offers a list of a la carte options and lets customers mix and match to make their ideal package.
Once you purchase the basic $195 MLS listing, you have a long list of add-ons to choose from, ranging from additional photos to full-color “For Sale” signs, to open house announcements. While you’ll likely want to get more than the bare minimum (the $149 package only includes 6 photos), Carolina Listing Express is a solid choice for sellers who want certain services, and nothing more.
Carolina Listing Express Costs
|MLS listing only||$149||
|Various add-ons||$20-$489||Options include:
✍️ Editor’s Take
While some sellers will undoubtedly love the ability to put together an endless variety of packages, others may find the long list of add-ons overwhelming. And for customers who want lots of services, buying all of CLE’s add-ons adds up quickly. Users will likely get much better value buying an all-inclusive package from one of CLE’s competitors.
There are also concerns about hidden fees, such as the $175 “sale admin fee” tacked on at closing.
The company also has zero reviews online, so users won’t know exactly what they’re in for. However, for sellers who don’t mind a little risk and who know exactly what they want— and don’t want— CLE’s a la carte menu offers flexibility they won’t find anywhere else.
How to Get On a North Carolina MLS Without a Realtor
Step 1: Shop Around for a Flat Fee MLS Company
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!
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. North Carolina has a variety of local, regional, and statewide MLSs, so double-check your company’s coverage.
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.
- Help with paperwork. 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 North Carolina, 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
- Reviewing offers and drafting counteroffers
- 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 FSBO sellers hire a transaction coordinator or a real estate attorney to help navigate the sale process.
Alternatives to Flat Fee MLS in North Carolina
🥇 Best Option: Clever Real Estate
Clever Real Estate is a well-established, nationwide 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 1.5% 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, with high-quality assistance from an agent with a top-performing 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.
Meet trusted real estate agents with Clever 🤝
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:
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 their offer to be fair, an iBuyer deserves serious consideration.
iBuyers that offer to buy homes in North Carolina include:
Curious about how much an iBuyer would offer you? Our friends at Clever can help you compare offers from top cash buyers to offers from listing on the open market.Start weighing your options ⚖️
Frequently Asked Questions About North Carolina Flat Fee MLS Companies
What is the best flat fee MLS listing service?
Houzeo is a great national option for a flat fee MLS listing service, but there might be local flat fee MLS companies that would be a better fit. Check out our list of the best flat fee MLS companies in North Carolina.
How much is a flat fee MLS listing?
A flat fee MLS listings cost anywhere from $69 to over $1,000 depending on the area you live in and the type of service you need. Basic packages without full-service assistance are much cheaper. Check out our list of the best flat fee MLS companies in North Carolina.
How do I list on MLS For Sale By Owner?
To list on the MLS For Sale By Owner, you’ll need to either hire a flat fee MLS company to do it for you. A flat fee MLS company will put your house on the MLS for a flat fee, but most of the companies won’t do much else to help you sell your house, as opposed to a full-service real estate agent. Check out our list of the best flat fee MLS companies in North Carolina.