How Long Does it Take To Add a New Listing to Austin MLS?

I just finished adding one of our new listings to the Austin MLS. Years ago, this took about 15 minutes. There was far less data included and only 8 photos with no comment space for photos, no pdf attachments, and far less space to type the general description of the property.Today, a nearly overwhelming amount of data, photos and attachments must be included with a properly entered MLS listing, and it takes a while to enter it all in.

How long do you suppose it takes today to enter a real estate sales listing into the Austin MLS, from start to finish, sitting down at the computer with photos, files and info all ready to go? This includes 25 photos to upload and type in comments for, several pdf attachments, 512 characters of description (both agent-only and another 512 for the public sites), and (I haven’t actually counted) what must be well over 100 fields and data-points, including driving instructions to find the property right down to trivial data such as whether the 2-car garage has one door or two and which compass direction the property faces.

The one I just completed took me about 70 minutes. I started at 7:42AM and completed it at 8:50. It’s best to do it late night or early morning to reduce interruptions. Sometimes it can take as much as 2 hours, or longer if interruptions occur, or sometimes we have to save as “incomplete” and finish later before posting live.

But it’s important to get it done, start to finish because not all of the listing feeds update properly. This means that if I add a half dozen photos to start with and decide to finish the rest later, the initial data feed that sends listings to the vast array of public facing websites will send out an incomplete set of photos.

Some photos will update later, but others will not, and those sites will retain only the initial set of pics. So, in the case of adding a new listing, first impressions are literally the only impression in many instances. So it’s important that your listing agent knows how to gather everything needed ahead of time, including all 25 of the best photos to be used, virtual tour links, and all of the data points needed so that every photo and every field on your listing is correct right out of the gate.

An impatient seller might ask, “what’s the big deal. Can’t we hurry up and get the listing in this weekend and add the better photos later?

Not a good idea. Remember that many buyers also have “search portals” set up by their agents which notify them daily, or sometime instantly, of new listings that match their auto-search. When the buyer clicks that listing link from inside her email inbox, you want the buyer to see ALL the photos, not a temporary shot of the front of the house with a car in the driveway and a trashcan sitting at the curb. This might be the one and only look they have of the home, at which time they dismiss it as not interesting enough.

Sad but true. Buyers are often ADD with short attention spans, and they give undeserved weight to the initial perceptions created by the photos. Your listing better capture their attention immediate if you want them to look further and call their agent to schedule a showing instead of getting back on Facebook or sending their next tweet.

So how long does it take, all tasks included, to actually list a home, including appointments, phone calls, CMA time, staging, scheduling virtual tours, downloading via ftp the photos and tour, gathering the data and making sure it’s right, chasing down the seller for loose ends, namely missing disclosures, the survey, survey affidavit, HOA info, utility company info, drives to the property, walk-throughs, etc?

I’m just guessing since I’ve never actually tracked it, but I’d say by the time a listing goes live in the Austin MLS, we probably have 8-12 hours of time invested, and about $500 in professional photos and staging, for a typical home.

I once spent about 5 months helping a seller prep the home, including hauling multiple loads in my truck to Good Will, scheduling repair vendors, landscapers, etc. Other listings are fairly easy and quick and are almost ready to go as-is, just because the seller takes great care of the home, keeps it clean, and has nice furniture. Those are nice but rare. In the end it all averages out.

5 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take To Add a New Listing to Austin MLS?”

  1. 8-12 hours for tens of thousands of dollars in commission – where do I sign up. Honestly, I would expect 12 hours a day 7 days a week for 6% on a few thousand dollar home. In our experience we got about 10 minutes a week if that, one realtor that was recommended even had me bang my own sign in the ground – and we tried several realtors. Fired them all as they were just fishing and doing nothing we couldn’t do better and ended up selling by ourselves for more money than the agents recommended to list for. Was very easy, the title agent did most of the organizing work. Cost a couple hundred dollars in fees.

  2. Yes Ray, I encourage you to become a realtor. It’s so easy, you just get your license and magically people start appearing out of nowhere begging you to put in 5-10 hours of work for a huge commission. They all are respectful of your time, and call you only when they’re ready to list or write a contract on a house they found themselves.

    It’s a great business to be in, no marketing expenses, no self-employment tax, and every year dozens of people show up at your door ready to not waste a single minute of your time.

  3. Hi Ray,

    Thanks for your comment. Glad you had a successful effort! Part of the commission/image problem for Realtors is all the hidden effort required, stuff that isn’t really seen. Plus all the uncompensated effort for buyers and sellers that never pan out.

    I think it might be the most interesting careers out there because so many simply can’t make it, or barely scrape by, and eventually wash out, but all are deemed to be over-compensated by the general public.


  4. My home has been listed for a year, with 2 different agents. The first didn’t have any showings, and the second has had maybe 6. We’ve dropped our price significantly and still have few lookers. Since our contract is about to expire, how do I go about finding an agent who will sell our house. I never imagined that it would take this long to sell. I honestly believed it would sell within the first 6 months it was on the market.

  5. Hi Mary,

    I know it’s tough out there – big business has messed with our nation in an unacceptable way to create this mess, but we are coming out of it and Austin has fared very well compared to any other US cities. The media regularly prints utter garbage about the market – they are for sale to vulcher investors. Have faith that the ice is melting. The fact is that the Austin market is not bad, prices didn’t fall much at all and have been edging up and will not drop. Compared to most western nations and US cities Austin is an outright bargain. We really did sell our approx $400K house ourselves at the beginning of this year and it was quite easy, that is after we fired the realtors. I also sold a house FSBO in the 1990s with no issues. We realized that none of the realtors to whom we gave a chance were doing even as much as we could do ourselves to market the property despite flashy folios and pitches about aggressive marketing – they were all just fishing like us but with much less commitment. One recommended agent even asked me to plant the for sale sign myself with her name on it! We have seen no evidence that they have any magic, just a desire for the easy commission from one of their ‘fish hooks’. We were also appalled by their monkey like pricing calculations that totally ignored drastic differences in comps and major errors in square footage claims (even with tax office). We received a much higher net than we would have with any of them. Bottom line it is about finding that one buyer that wants your house so identify what your positive differentiators are and emphasis them. Be realistic about price but don’t cave to the vulchers preying on you – it is not necessary. Due to the realtor monopoly you will have to buy a listing on the MLS via a discount broker. That will cost you several hundred dollars. You may then find that you may have to meet realtor monopoly half way by agreeing to pay buyer agent commission as agents clearly expect many thousands for driving someone around for a few hours. You will also encounter your house being used as padding for extending some realtor tours. I would not waste time with an open house. Expect to pay several hundred dollars to a title company for handling the closing process. Best of luck!


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