The Cheap and Easy Way to List Your Home in the Phoenix MLS

4149529614_ba06fa56efHere’s a recent theme on Trulia’s Q&A section, Trulia Voices:

I won’t pay someone else after I do all the work. Do I have to pay a buyers agent for this?

All the work, meaning paying for the marketing (whatever it may entail), providing photographs, running the open houses, etc.

If you can do it, by all means go for it. You’ll just be doing it without the MLS … unless you “list” your home with a flat-rate company, which will charge you a – guess what – flat rate to place your home on the local MLS.

Except there’s fine print attached to that. To be in the MLS, there needs to be an offer of cooperative compensation to the agent who brings the buyer. So that flat rate of X really turns out to be X plus X percent. Which, in other words, means you’re paying the buyer to be represented in negotiations and escrow while you go it alone.

Now, the person who asked the question on Trulia in this case lives in an attorney state – real estate agents can’t write the contracts, only offers of intent. Once that’s agreed upon, the attorneys jump in and complete the sale.

Arizona, by contrast, is a non-attorney state courtesy of Article 26 of the Arizona State constitution. Sure, a buyer or seller can get an attorney involved in the process and pay whatever fee the attorney happens to charge; thanks to Article 26, however, attorneys are not necessary. And the Arizona Association of REALTORS’ own legal team has helped create the templates for the real estate purchase contract, among a couple dozen other forms.

(You can tell attorneys were involved – the damn thing runs 9 pages without addenda and gets longer with every new version.)

Since, in attorney states, it’s the lawyers who handle the details once the offer is done then maybe it’s not quite as crazy to go it alone. In a non-attorney state? It’s a little more dicey, unless you happen to have been through the process enough to know the pitfalls that can come along.

For instance …

You’re selling a property and two burners on the stove don’t work. Buyer asks for repairs and also indicates the stove is a non-working warranted item. You as the seller say you’re not going to make any repairs. Buyer agrees. Then the final walkthrough comes and the buyer is threatening to cancel because the burners aren’t working.

Didn’t you and the buyer agree no repairs needed to be made?

Yes. And no. Repair requests are separate from notice of non-working warranted items. The former is negotiable. The latter, not so much. In fact, the AAR Residential Resale Purchase Contract says the seller warrants a number of different items – including built-in appliances like an oven – will be in working order. The seller has no choice in the matter, short of striking the paragraph. And wouldn’t a buyer think it odd a seller wants to strike that paragraph?

That’s one example. And it goes to the larger point.

If you want a cheap and easy way to list your home in the Phoenix MLS, go ahead and go the flat-rate route. Just know, you’re paying a buyer smart enough to get their own representation to take you on as an unrepresented seller.

Not a great position to be in, honestly.

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I can’t guarantee the dishwasher’s working in all of these; I can tell you Camino A Lago is one of my favorite newer communities here in Peoria, close to all the retail between Deer Valley and Happy Valley roads along the Lake Pleasant Parkway. Buy here and your minutes from the cool water of Lake Pleasant.

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Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at