BAM Key Details: 

  • A Bright MLS study shows homes marketed on the MLS sold for an average 18% more than off-MLS homes in 2022—up from a 13% premium in 2020. That 18% difference amounts to an extra $53,890 on the typical U.S. home. 
  • The study highlights the benefits to both buyers and sellers of an open, equally accessible, and competitive marketplace for homes. 

Say your neighbor, who’s “heard things” about real estate agents, decides to sell their home on their own. And while they have no qualms about telling you what they’re planning, you can’t help asking a few questions. 

One of them could be, “Are you putting your home on the MLS?” 

Because while you may or may not have the data ready to show them, you know that homes on the MLS get more exposure than off-MLS homes. More eyes on the home means more offers. 

And though you know you could help this neighbor sell their home for more than they’re asking, you put that aside for a moment. Because this is about them and their house. So, you stick to the facts. 

Well, thanks to a new study by Bright MLS, we’ve got some shiny new facts to share, which we encourage you to pass on to your FSBO neighbors and any other homeowners in your area who are keen to sell but not so keen to work with an agent. 

It’s not personal. Look at this as a chance to show these homeowners what it means to be the kind of agent any buyer or seller would want to work with. Start by giving them something they can use to get closer to the best possible outcome. 

Read on for the latest data points you need to share with FSBOs. 

The BrightMLS study

As the largest of its kind—made in collaboration with Dr. Kevin Gillen, Senior Research Fellow for the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University—the Bright MLS study used their own property listing information and public records to analyze over one million home sales. 

Their findings are based on transactions in the five-state Mid-Atlantic region and the District of Columbia between January 2019 and the first quarter of 2023. 

Their analysis took into account several factors that impact home prices, including—- 

  • Construction type and year
  • Square footage
  • Property features
  • Distance to the region’s central business district
  • Neighborhood characteristics

The research underscores the clear value of an open, clear and competitive marketplace for sellers. The housing market may be settling into a ‘new normal’ around low inventory coupled with higher mortgage rates. What hasn’t changed—and has only increased—is the benefit to buyers and sellers of promoting a home on the open marketplace.

Dr. Lisa Sturtevant

Bright MLS Chief Economist

Biggest takeaways from the Bright MLS report

In 2022, the final sale price of a typical home sold through the MLS exceeded that of a typical off-MLS home by 18.3%, amounting to an additional $53,890 for the seller. 

On average, MLS-listed homes in the largest Mid-Atlantic metros sold at the following premiums: 

  • Philadelphia, PA — 15.1% more than similar off-MLS homes
  • Baltimore, MD — 18.4% more
  • Washington, D.C. — 19.7% more

According to the analysis, the vast majority of homes sold in those Mid-Atlantic markets were sold through the MLS—with the on-MLS share reaching 85.5% in 2022. That share has been increasing in all major metros in the Bright MLS footprint:

  • 82% in the Baltimore area
  • 87% in Philadelphia
  • Almost 90% in Washington, D.C.

Source: Bright MLS

Between 2019 and Q1 2023, 84.0% of all homes that sold were listed on the MLS. Because most sellers out there recognize (or learn very quickly from their agents) that there are distinct advantages to on-MLS home sales:

  1. More buyers see on-MLS homes compared to off-MLS homes
  2. More visibility means offers come in sooner
  3. More buyers also means more competition—and higher offers 

Source: Bright MLS

Buyers benefit, too—simply because when more sellers list their homes on the MLS, they have more homes to choose from. And in a market like this one, where inventory is still historically low, buyers need all the options they can get. 

Any buyer can access the open MLS marketplace to view available properties. And since most sellers want to get as many eyes as possible on their listing, marketing through the MLS makes the most sense. 

Bright MLS recognizes, though, that not all homeowners are aware of the advantages of listing their homes on the MLS, which is why they even created marketing kits for agents to share the key takeaways from the On-MLS study with their clients and with FSBOs. 

Read the full report for more information, including charts and methodology. 

Takeaways for real estate agents

Just a couple years ago, quite a few sellers went off-market because they didn’t want crowds of people coming into their homes during a pandemic. And while we still won’t stand in the way of pocket or off-market listing, it’s our responsibility as agents to share data like this with sellers when we gt a chance—including those who’ve chosen not to work with an agent. 

Homeowners who go the FSBO route aren’t a problem you need to fix. You know as well as any BAM regular that if you want something done right, hiring a skilled professional is a much better way to go. 

But the best way to demonstrate that is by delivering value without expecting a reward. 

So, share this information with homeowners in your area, especially FSBOs, since they don’t have an agent to help them make the most of their advantages in this market.