What Is the MLS and How Can It Benefit You?

If you have ever bought or sold a home, or have an interest in real estate, you have probably heard the term: MLS. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS), is a huge database formed by the cooperation of real estate brokers to allow for sharing information about properties for sale. If you plan to sell your house, you will want to list on MLS.

Multiple Listing Service

The old days of putting up a “For Sale” sign in your yard to sell your home are over (for the most part). Perhaps an ad in the newspaper went a long way in selling your home, as long as your customer base was local. More often than not, you would need the help of a licensed real estate agent so that your home could be listed on the internet database named MLS. 

While there are still situations where someone looking for a home is able to snag it before it is even listed, most homes are sold by agents by utilizing the MLS. It is a highly cooperative database which can be shared locally, nationally, even globally. In addition to an endless customer base, there are several benefits to the MLS for both seller, and buyer alike – not to mention the real estate brokers themselves. 

Real estate agents receive commission from the sales of properties that they list on MLS, as well as any they sell on behalf of the buyer. This is in addition to commissions on the home sales themselves. So, while the MLS itself is a valuable resource for all buyers and sellers, it is completely broker controlled and often results in heavy fees for both parties. While the majority of data may still be highly managed, access to the internet and social media have given some workaround power to the non-broker to eliminate the middle-man.

MLS Benefits Sellers

If you don’t mind paying the fees via your real estate agent, your home will not only list on the MLS, but will instantly appear on widely used consumer sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. This instantly widens your customer base to buyers all around the country! 

The MLS is also very useful in helping determine the value of your home. If you’re not a real estate expert, it is extremely unlikely you would be able to realistically know how to price your home. The MLS can retrieve data that shows the comparative market analysis (CMA), or sale price of similar homes in your area, to determine the market value for your home. These are more commonly referred to as “comps.” This information is not available without access to the MLS. 

Using the MLS, either via a licensed agent or a third party broker, is critical to selling your home. MLS allows you to showcase, highlight attributes, and successfully market your home to a large potential buying audience. It is a reputable and proven method to successfully sell real estate.

MLS Benefits Buyers

It is possible to shop for and purchase a home without a broker – in fact it is easier for a buyer to find a home without MLS than it would be for a seller to finalize a sale without it. As a buyer however, the only way to get access to every available home for sale is to use the MLS. If they aren’t listed there, chances are they won’t be on Zilllow or any other site a non-broker buyer is using for the search. 

In addition to benefiting sellers, the MLS “comps” information, (which can be shared with you via an agent), benefits you as well. You can see how similar homes in your desired neighborhood are priced to be sure you’re making the right decision for you. Your real estate agent will probably tell you, it is best to show within your budget, so that you don’t let emotion over a potential new home cloud your judgment. Comparing properties will give you all the necessary information you need to make a decision. 

The MLS is also the best way to window shop a house or location before wasting everyone’s valuable time (especially your own). Anyone searching for a new home to buy can look at pictures, features, and much more information about the neighborhood on the MLS. 

Don’t expect the MLS or some of the old-school real estate methods to completely go away. Modern real estate brokers know that they need to adapt and combine customer knowledge through internet access, the MLS, and their own services in order to stay competitive and non-obsolete.  

Buyers and sellers of real estate properties are discovering alternative methods to access and utilize the MLS. This is important as it continues to be the most important resource in real estate today. 

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