How to List a Home on the MLS?

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To list a home on the MLS requires a licensed real estate agent in most cases. But there are a few other options for those working without an agent, such as listing with a flat-fee service, or a website that accepts for sale by owner listings.

MLSs are designed to help real estate professionals share information and services to reduce costs and add more value for clients. MLSs are also owned and operated by their member brokers.

As a result, MLSs are often reluctant to allow the public to list a home if they are not working with one of their members.

In this article, we will cover how to list on the MLS if you are working with an agent and your options if you are not. We’ll also cover how to list on a few websites that aren’t exactly MLS but can provide wide exposure for your listing.

How to List a Home on the MLS With a Real Estate Agent?

To list a home on the MLS with a real estate agent, you will need to find an agent, create a listing, and settle on terms. This is the most common way to list on the MLS, and it can ensure that your listing attracts interest from buyer agents in the area.  

Sellers want to get their listing on the MLS for marketing purposes. The more people that view the listing, the more likely the seller will find a buyer and the faster the sale will close. Listing on the MLS will make the listing available to other agents in the area. But the listing also will appear widely online because many IDX sites and syndication services pull listings from the MLS.

Steps to list a home on the MLS with a real estate agent:

  • Research similar homes for sale in your area
  • Decide how much money you want to make from the sale
  • Find an agent (from research and referrals)
  • Schedule a pre-listing appointment with agent
  • Agent will take photos and information for the listing
  • Decide on listing price with agent
  • Settle on commission with the agent
  • Decide on listing period with agent
  • Sign listing agreement
  • Agent will add listing to the MLS

How to List a Home on the MLS Without a Real Estate Agent?

To list a home on the MLS without a real estate agent is less common, but certainly possible. You will need to find a flat-fee service or à la carte firm, generate a listing with photos and home details, and complete the necessary paperwork.

Flat-fee and à la carte real estate firms are less popular because they require more from the homeowner. With some of these companies you will generate your own listing, as well as, show the home, and negotiate the sale.

But they are a viable, low-cost way to get a home listing on the MLS. A flat-fee service provides the sole service of listing your home on the MLS for a one-time payment.


With an à la carte firm you will be able to pick from the various services designed to simplify the selling process. For example, you may choose to have the firm list your home and oversee the settlement process, while you take on the showing and marketing.

How to List a Home on the MLS With a Flat-Fee Service?

To list a home on the MLS with a flat-fee service, you will need to collect the necessary information about your home and take pictures. Then you will complete the necessary forms for the listing, pay the fee, and the company will place your home on the MLS.

With the growth of the Internet in the real estate industry, buyers and sellers are more empowered than ever. This has led some to consider alternative selling arrangements. The thinking goes, “if I can market and negotiate my home sale myself, why do I need to pay a 6 percent commission?”

Sellers generally choose a flat-fee service when they are familiar with the home-selling process. It’s important to remember that a flat-fee service may not help the seller avoid all commissions. If the buyer is working with an agent, that agent will collect a commission on the sale.

Steps to list a home on the MLS with a fat-fee service:

  • Collect information about your home
  • Take pictures of the rooms and features
  • Find a flat-fee service (from research and referrals)
  • Register an account and complete listing online
  • Review the listings contract and pay fee
  • Complete MLS paperwork when it arrives in the mail
  • Company will add listing to the MLS

How to List a Home on the MLS if Selling By Owner?

To list a home on the MLS by owner requires a brokerage that offers à la carte services. You will create your listing then choose the package of services that fit your needs as the home seller.

Some sellers feel confident in their abilities to navigate the real estate industry. Some want to avoid paying commission. This leads them to take on a larger share of the responsibility during the home-selling process.

A number of brokerages offer à la carte services to cater to these clients. Under an à la carte arrangement a brokerage will list the home on the MLS and offer a package of services to the homeowner to assist in the selling process. These packages can include marketing, legal and regulatory advice, and supervision of the settlement process.

Steps to list a home on the MLS with an à la carte brokerage:

  • Collect information about your home
  • Take pictures of the rooms and features
  • Find brokerage that offers à la carte services (from research and referrals)
  • Decide package of services that fit your needs
  • Review the listing and service contracts
  • Complete the listing paperwork for the MLS
  • Broker will add listing to the MLS

How to List a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Home Online?

To list a for sale by owner home online, choose a website that accepts FSBO listings and create an account. Then, review the terms of use and generate your listing using the photos and descriptions you collect yourself. Finally, publish your listing and respond to buyer inquiries.

Of course, listing on the MLS is not the only way to bring exposure to your listing. Several website now function as nationwide real estate portals that mix MLS and non-MLS listings, including Zillow and Redfin.

Zillow is a website that publishes real estate listings from across the United States. The company pulls its listings from a variety of sources including, MLS, syndication companies, and user inputs. Zillow attracts homebuyers and sells ads to generate revenue.

Redfin is a real estate brokerage that operates a public website with listings in most major towns and cities in the United States. The company pulls receives its listings from MLS and FSBO sources. Unlike Zillow, it generates revenues from a 1 to 2 percent selling commission.

These services can help you market your home without using a real estate agent. However, like flat-fee and à la carte firms you will be responsible for more of the home-selling process.

How to List a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Home on Zillow?

To list a for sale by owner home on Zillow, you will need to create an account. Then, you will follow Zillow’s online from for generating a listing using the photos and descriptions you collect. Finally, you will review the terms of service and post the listing.

Zillow is one of the most popular websites in the United States—one of the top 50 by monthly pageviews. This potential exposure and the fact that listing a FSBO home is free, has made Zillow an attractive place to list homes for sale.  Anything on Zillow also is automatically pushed to Trulia, a similar property search website.

Like other FSBO services, listing on Zillow places a larger burden on the homeowner to do the marketing, negotiation, and legal requirements necessary to close a sale.

Steps to list a home on Zillow:

  • Collect information about your home
  • Take pictures of the rooms and features
  • Create a Zillow account
  • Generate listing using Zillow’s online form
  • Review the Zillow terms of service
  • Submit listing for verification
  • Within 72 hours the listing will post

How to List a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Home on Redfin?

To list a for sale by owner home on Redfin, you will first need to list your home on a dedicated FSBO site like This is because Redfin pulls its FSBO listings from third-party sources and does not allow owners to list directly.

Redfin is a brokerage. While it has a unique low-commission business model, in many ways it still operates like a traditional brokerage. It offers its own buyer and seller agents to serve clients during the home buying process.

While the company displays FSBO homes on its site—along with its own listings and those pulled from the MLS—it will not show or write offers on them.

For more, check out How the Multiple Listing Service Works and I’m not a licensed real estate agent, can I get an MLS feed?

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The opinions or information expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views, policy, or position of Realtyna. The information on Realtyna’s Website is general, for informational purposes only, and is not to be relied upon or interpreted as real estate, legal, accounting, or other professional advice or a substitute. Please discuss anything related to the certification process, professional advice or legal procedures with your MLS providers.

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