If you want to sell something for top dollar, you need to have a product that people want and need. And you need to let the masses of those potential buyers know that it is available to be seen and purchased.

As a licensed REALTOR® going on 35 years now I have known and understood the importance of how our Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has brought home sellers more dollars in the sale of their home. It is the reason why when we take a listing we have to have the sellers initial and acknowledge the importance of MLS and if they “opt out” of MLS they need to do it while releasing liability to the listing agent if they choose to not go on MLS.

Why release the liability? Because if a seller sells a home off MLS and later on they feel like they did not get top dollar, releasing the liability on the agent means you know and understand the risks of not going on MLS.

In a hot market like we have today, which in the Scotts Valley area I do not know that I have seen a hotter one then the one we are experiencing, you need to expose your home to the masses. There are a tremendous amount of home buyers looking through MLS sites, Zillow, REALTOR.com, Redfin and many other home sites. The fact that I get responses and inquiries within minutes when I list a home from someone who saw the property on Zillow is because they have alerts set that let them know the moment a home that fits their criteria comes up.

So why wouldn’t a seller not want to go on MLS?

There are reasons which I think are very viable why a home seller prefers an off-market sale. For example; I have listed and sold homes of professional athletes, Police Chiefs and high ranking members of law enforcement. I have also listed and sold homes of politicians and many other “public figures” that need their privacy. I get it, and I understand the need for them to stay private without having their personal lives out for the world to see including the fact that they need to maintain privacy for security reasons.

There are also, many times, homes that are in the millions of dollars and cater to a very select clientele because of the price point and home sellers don’t want the home being used as a museum. Working with a good local agent that has connections could to the trick, but I still think it should go on MLS even if being shown by appointment only with buyers submitting financials prior to viewing.

And sometimes people would rather not have their home on the market because they do not want to be bothered with showings and they received an offer that they found acceptable and are completely happy with their decisions. And that is their right.

But they they get top dollar?

The definition of value is what a willing buyer and willing seller agree to with neither party being under duress. Only through giving your home full exposure via MLS will you be able to find out what that home is worth because if you show it to one or two people that both love it, what do you think would happen if 10,000 people knew your home was up for sale.

Many times people fix up their homes, get it ready and take pictures and then don’t go on the open market and accept an offer from the first buyer. Why do that? You already did most of the work to get it ready. Let people see it, you will be glad you did most of the time.

MLS recently put up a “coming soon” category that let’s agents know a home is coming on the market except that the category does not allow it to go on the open market. I think it does more harm then good by not exposing it on the PUBLIC MLS but rather only to a few select agents who once in a while will browse that section. Yes, it is open to all agents who have access to MLS, but not to the general public and masses of home buyers.

Also, many times a seller will think they are saving on commissions by not going out on the market via MLS but like a wise man once told me, “Don’t step over dollars to chase pennies.”

There are a lot of buyers looking for homes right now, even during the holiday season as I just listed another home in Scotts Valley that has a line out the door of people that want to see the home. If you want top dollar, let them see it. If not, you will never know if you really got top dollar. Who could you?

At the end of the day it is up to the seller to make that decision of whether they want to go on the open market, as long as they understand and know the risks of not doing so.