6 Best California Flat-Fee MLS Companies in 2021

By 

Trevor Wallis

Updated 

January 22nd, 2021

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The best MLS services | FAQ | Alternatives

Whether you're selling a duplex in Irvine or a villa in the Sierra Nevadas, paying 6% in realtor fees is a lot.

That’s why some sellers use a flat-fee MLS company to list their home on the MLS — the main place where realtors find homes to show their clients — in exchange for a small one-time fee.

What’s the catch?

  • Less support: You manage your own sale — without a full-service agent to handle pricing, photography, paperwork, and negotiations.
  • You still pay a buyer’s agent fee: 88% of buyers work with an agent — who still needs to get paid. In California, you’re on the hook for 2.29%-2.68% of the final sale price.

If you want to save on fees but aren’t ready for a “Do-It-Yourself” experience, Clever can match you with full-service agents who work for a low flat fee or 1%. Find a low fee agent near you.

If you’re still interested in finding flat-fee MLS listing options in California, read on! We’ve reviewed the best (and worst!) services in the The Golden State.

The 6 best California flat-fee MLS companies*


Congress Realty
MLS Town
HomeListers.house
Flat Fee Guru
Yager Realty
Houzeo

Price range

$299

$95-895

$1,295

$395-995

$299-999

$199-399

Money-back guarantee

❌ 

❌ 

✅ 

❌ 

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Unlimited listing updates

💰 

✅ 

✅ 

✅ 

💰 

Downloadable forms

✅ 

✅ 

💰 

💰 

✅ 

For sale sign

💰

❌ 

❌ 

💰 

💰 

💰 

Lockbox

💰 

❌ 

❌ 

💰 

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* 💰 indicates extra fee or premium purchase required

Congress Realty

Congress Realty

Best For

Sellers who want a lot of a-la-carte options

Price Range

$299

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Congress Realty has a phone system that forwards any phone calls about your listing directly to you.
  • You can request a free Comparative Marketing Analysis if you want a better idea of what homes in your area have sold for recently.

Cons:

  • Congress Realty costs a lot more than competitors with similar MLS packages.
  • You have to pay an extra $50 if you want more than four photos in your listing.
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MLS Town

MLS Town

Best For

Budget-conscious sellers who only need a basic listing

Price Range

$95-895

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • You can add on listing support and offer negotiation for an hourly fee.
  • The basic listing comes with eight photos. Many listing packages under $100 include less than five photos.

Cons:

  • The basic listing is only a three-month listing term. If you need more time, you have to upgrade to the Annual plan for a 12-month listing.
  • You can't make changes to your listing or add open houses with the basic plan.
  • This broker is currently only available in Northern California.
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HomeListers.House

HomeListers.House

Best For

Sellers who don't mind paying for extra guidance from the listing broker.

Price Range

$1,295

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • You don't have to pay upfront. Instead, you'll pay the flat fee when at closing.
  • You'll get help preparing offers, counter-offers, and disclosures from the broker.

Cons:

  • There's only one listing option and it's fairly expensive — although you do get a lot of broker support. This isn't a great option for sellers on a tight budget.
  • HomeListers.House is currently only available in 10 Southern California markets.
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Flat Fee Guru

Flat Fee Guru

Best For

Sellers who want to post a lot of photos

Price Range

$395-995

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • The base package includes up to 20 photos. A lot of other companies limit you to fewer than 10.
  • If you decide to list with a full-service Realtor, you'll get double your listing fee back if you sell with an agent referred to you by Flat Fee Guru.

Cons:

  • You have to pay extra if your home is over 3,000 sq. ft.
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Yager Realty

Yager Realty

Best For

Budget-conscious sellers who need a simple, affordable listing

Price Range

$299-999

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • The basic listing comes with 15 photos.
  • If you go with the Silver Plan ($399), you'll get a for sale sign and property flyers as part of the package.

Cons:

  • The basic plan doesn't come with contracts, forms, and disclosure documents.
  • If you cancel the basic plan within 60 days, you have to pay a $125 cancellation fee.
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Houzeo

Houzeo

Best For

Sellers looking for a lot of a-la-carte options

Price Range

$199-399

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • You can fill out, sign, and submit all your seller's paperwork on the Houzeo app.
  • When you enter your address, Houzeo auto-fills publicly available data about your property.
  • Houzeo lets you buy additional services like contract reviews, agent showings, and professional showings a la carte.

Cons:

  • You have to pay extra for pricing assistance — several local competitors offer this for free.
  • You're limited to 10 free changes for price, status, and description in their two most popular packages. Most competitors offer unlimited free changes.
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Flat-Fee MLS Companies in California by City

In California, you'll also find some smaller flat-fee MLS companies that specialize in particular cities. These uber-local companies are more likely to offer flexible service packages and to bring more area expertise than the big guys.

Every California flat-fee MLS service is different. Always make sure to read the fine print when evaluating offerings to make sure you're getting a fair deal.

Flat-fee MLS companies in Los Angeles

We found several options for flat-fee MLS companies in Los Angeles, from local brokers to national listing companies. You'll find a lot of choices for both price and services. We found basic listings for as low as $150 and complete listing packages for nearly $1,000.

» EXPLORE: The Best Los Angeles Flat-Fee MLS Companies

Flat-fee MLS companies in Fresno

Fresno has a lot of affordable options for flat-fee MLS listings. You can pay as little as $100 for a basic six-month listing or pay up to $1,000 for a lot of hands-on assistance from the listing broker.

» EXPLORE: The Best Fresno Flat-Fee MLS Companies

Flat-fee MLS companies in San Diego

The flat-fee MLS options in San Diego are pretty limited. We just didn't find the options for both listing packages and add ons that you might find in other regions of California. Still, you can find some affordable prices. We found basic listings for $50 and comprehensive packages for $1,000.

» EXPLORE: The Best San Diego Flat-Fee MLS Companies

Flat-fee MLS companies in Sacramento

We found typical rates for flat-fee MLS companies in Sacramento from $50 to $500 with a lot of options for a la carte services and comprehensive listing packages.

» EXPLORE: The Best Sacramento Flat-Fee MLS Companies

Flat-fee MLS companies in San Francisco

San Francisco may be the most expensive city in the United States, but you can still find incredibly affordable flat-fee MLS listings. We've seen basic packages for $100 and comprehensive listings for up to $1,000.

» EXPLORE: The Best San Francisco Flat-Fee MLS Companies

Flat-fee MLS companies to avoid

Some companies claim to offer flat-rate MLS services but charge "hidden" fees at closing. These predatory practices could cost you thousands of dollars when you expect to pay only a few hundred.

Always make sure to read the fine print for any service. Look out for "closing fees" or "closing costs" that you'll owe the broker in addition to an up-front flat fee.

We've even seen some companies that claim to offer a "free" MLS listing only to charge you a percentage of the sale price.

Paying a percentage of the sale price kills any benefits of using a flat-fee MLS company. At that cost, you'll be better off using a flat-fee broker like Clever for more service and transparent pricing.

Frequently asked questions

How much do flat-fee MLS services cost in California?

Typically, you should expect to pay about $200-400 for a flat-fee MLS listing in California. However, we've seen basic plans for as low as $100 and more comprehensive services that charge as much as $1,300.

Some flat-fee MLS companies offer services such as photography, paperwork help, and signage a la carte. However, watch out. These add-on services can add up! At that point, you might be better off using a full-service agent who charges a flat or discounted fee to handle everything for you.

» FIND: Full-service agents who don't charge an arm and a leg

Do I still need to pay the buyer's agent commission?

Although you'll save some money by not having to pay commission to a listing agent (typically 2.33%-2.72% of the sale price), we strongly recommend offering a commission to the buyer's agent. This will incentivize agents to bring their clients to your home.

How much to offer a buyer's agent is up to you, but most selling agent commissions in California range from 2.29%-2.68%.

» READ: Average Real Estate Commission in California

How do I sell by owner in California?

California real estate laws require sellers to disclose all important information about their property, including:

  • Building and safety information
  • Utilities
  • Environmental information (like erosion, noise pollution, and whether it's in a flood plain)
  • Sewer and wastewater treatment

You'll share all of this information in the California Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement. Your listing broker will provide this document for you to fill out.

» READ: How to Sell a House for Sale by Owner in California

What are the alternatives to using a flat-fee MLS service in California?

Discount and flat-fee real estate agents

Discount real estate brokers will list your property for as little as 1% — keeping in mind that you usually still have to pay a 2.6–3% buyer’s agent fee.

We’ve reviewed seven national and regional discount brokers that operate in California.

Clever offers the lowest rates, with an added advantage: Clever lets you compare multiple agents from major brands like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX. However, if you’re selling a particularly pricey home, the flat fees charged by Homie and Trelora could offer significant savings.

Your Clever Agent will handle everything for you, from helping you accurately price your home to high-quality photography to negotiating with prospective buyers and filling out the paperwork. You'll pay only a little more than you'd pay a flat-fee MLS service but save hours of effort by not having to do it all yourself.

Sign up here.

Discount Broker
Listing Fee
Review

Clever

1% or $3,000

Assist-2-Sell

Varies

Help-U-Sell

Varies

Home Bay

$2,000-6,000

Reali

1% or $5,000

Redfin

1.5% (minimum varies)

REX Real Estate

2%

Clever is a referral service that can match you with a pre-vetted full-service agent for a flat fee of only $3,000 (or 1% if your home is priced above $350,000), plus the typical buyer's agent commission.

Your full-service agent will handle everything for you, from helping you accurately price your home to high-quality photography to negotiating with prospective buyers and filling out the paperwork. You'll pay only a little more than you'd pay a flat-fee MLS service but save hours of effort by not having to do it all yourself.

Ready to start saving?

Learn more and match with top agents. It's free with no obligation!

Selling without an MLS listing

It's always possible to try selling your house by owner without listing on the MLS. But this makes sense only if you already have a potential buyer lined up.

That's because not listing on your local MLS means not getting the most effective exposure for your property. MLS listings are posted to every major real estate website. Plus, real estate agents access MLS listings to find properties for their clients.

If you don't secure an MLS listing, you'll be limited to sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace and relying on a yard sign.

iBuyers

iBuyers are companies that buy homes for cash outright at what they claim are market prices. When you sell to an iBuyer, you could have a preliminary offer in as little as 24 hours.

The major downside of selling to an iBuyer is that these companies make money by charging steep service fees — typically 5-14% of the purchase price. So they're a good alternative only for sellers more concerned with convenience and speed than costs.

There are currently three iBuyers operating in certain California markets. Click below to learn more.

iBuyer
California Markets
Fees
Review

RedfinNow

Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Orange County, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego

6-12%

Opendoor

Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento

5%

Zillow Offers

Los Angeles, Riverside-Inland Empire, Sacramento, San Diego

7-7.5%