We get this question a lot. Agents of ours are active with a valid real estate license, but we are not members of the Realtor or MLS associations. Since we are not members, you are not required to pay their membership fees which cost on average $1,500+ a year. By not being a member, it is just about impossible for you to work a residential real estate transaction. Below are a few of the reasons:
1. You will not have access to the MLS
By being a MLS member, you have great benefits, one of them being access to all properties in your local market that are available that are active. If you are not a member, you will not have access to what is available. If you think you can borrow another agent's username and passcode, think again, as they can track their active accounts through the IP address.
2. Non-representative fees on the MLS
Within the MLS, the Realtor has a choice as to what the commission is to be paid to an agent that is a “non-rep”. Typically, they will put down 0%. If you do happen to write an offer and you are not a MLS member, the Realtor can then revert back to this non-rep fee and pay you nothing once the transaction closes.
3. The Realtor association owns the copyrights to their contracts
If you have reviewed a real estate contract, it was probably made by an attorney through the Realtor association. If you try and write an offer on a property with one of these contracts and you are not a Realtor member, you could be setting yourself up for a potential lawsuit. If you do find another contract that is not owned by the Realtor association, then the agent you do send it to will not recognize it.
4. Realtors get a special electronic key to access homes
The majority of homes that are active on the MLS nowadays have an electronic lockbox to access the home. This lockbox is great for the homeowners as it provides security to who can access the home, what times they come in, which agent was inside the home, and for how long. The problem is it can only be accessed through an electronic key in which only Realtor members have access.
If you are wanting to sell real estate in your local market, then joining your local board of Realtors and MLS is your best option. If you do not want to pay their annual fees and are interested in referring out your business to a top agent worldwide, while a Realtor does all the work for you, take a look at Park Place’s website.