A lot of agents feel the key to getting a property sold is to have the property listed on the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. In fact - many agents use the MLS as their main marketing tool.
I believe the MLS is a great tool for selling property, and I continue to incorporate the use of the MLS in the majority of my listings.
On the other hand, when you are trying to sell your property in a competitive market, or you are a buyer looking for a specific type of property or special financing such as a contract for deed, perhaps one of the questions you should ask your prospective Realtor is "how many properties do you sell each year without being listed on the MLS?"
". . .perhaps one of the questions you should ask your prospective Realtor is "how many properties do you sell each year without being listed on the MLS?"
Why? In a market where there are a lot of properties to choose from, the agent who is selling homes before they go on market or without ever going on market is really demonstrating a talent for networking.
For example, I have a buyer who is looking for foreclosed apartment buildings in a specific area. By the time these properties go on market, they are typically in multiple offers. So I tracked down two buildings for them through banking connections (one connection I've had for several years, one I made looking for the building) and both of these transactions would probably not have occurred without my networking as neither were on the MLS.
I have several buyers looking for specific types of commercial property in a specific areas. I've got 3 non-MLS deals going right now for these buyers, none of which are published on the MLS. One of the buyers I acquired because I found the lead on the building, the other two buyers told me their needs and I went out and found the properties through agents and other contacts I've built up over the years.
In another example, I obtained a listing on a bank-owned, commercial office building in South Minneapolis. I networked it with agents in my office and got a showing with a fairly serious buyer before it even went on market. The fact it wasn't on the MLS actually made the property more interesting to the buyer - knowing they were getting a "first look" created a sense of urgency with the potential buyer.
When selling residential real estate, it can be harder to match buyers and sellers as a home is a very personal purchase. Using One Time Showing Agreements has been a great way to connect potential buyers to sellers, and reinforce my abilities as an agent who is worth considering for a listing. I've also used the One Time Showing Agreement contract to get sellers to consider buyers who may need special financing or consideration, such as a longer contingency or temporary Contract for Deed financing.
In the last 6 months, 6 of my deals (4 sold, 1 under contract, 1 with a Letter of Intent) are non-MLS transactions. Networking still has a role in today's real estate market, and the better your agent is at it, the better you will be served.