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5 Things to Know About the Real Estate MLS

Real Estate MLS

When you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you want to get it done as quickly as possible without missing the perfect home or offer for you. The real estate MLS, or multiple listing service, is a private database for realtors to share information. It works behind the scenes to make home buying and selling an easier process for real estate agents and clients alike.

Keep reading to learn some of the most important facts about the MLS.

1. The Concept of the Real Estate MLS Is Not New

Although the MLS is currently housed on the internet, real estate professionals have been sharing information for a long time. The idea of multiple listings originates from meetings and conferences where realtors would share information about homes for sale in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In 1908 the National Association of Real Estate Exchange, which would eventually become today’s National Association of Realtors, officially endorsed “multiple listings” as a strategy for selling homes. The internet database is only the newest version of the MLS.

2. The MLS Is Not Just One Database

Although it is frequently referred to in the singular, the MLS actually consists of many separate regional databases. There are currently 580 MLSs certified by the Real Estate Standards Organization, and that number is in constant flux.

Each home is listed on only one MLS, so some realtors may join multiple databases. This option is relatively limited though, as most of these services require members to pay dues.

3. The MLS Has More Information Than Other Sites

Although other sites that are available to the public list homes for sale as well, the MLS has much more information included. Since only those with real estate licenses can join an MLS, more private or technical information is shared there. This can include official documents, an agent’s personal remarks, or sensitive information.

The MLS is also updated much more frequently than public listings. Other sites often pull from the MLS, so they can take several days or weeks to accurately reflect availability.

4. The MLS Can Be Used for Market Research

Real estate agents can use the MLS for more than just making sales. Since the information is so accurate and updated regularly, realtors may use it to determine how to price a new home on the market based on how similar homes have been selling.

5. Clients Can Be Given Access to the MLS

Although only realtors are allowed to join an MLS, they can share information from the MLS with their clients. Tools like IDX Broker allow realtors to share MLS information with clients. This can facilitate better communication and allow home buyers to peruse their options more fully.

Want to Learn More?

The real estate MLS is one of many useful tools for real estate buying and selling. Realtors connecting directly with each other and passing that information along to clients helps make for quicker buyer/seller matches.

If you want to learn more about real estate or other financial matters, check out our finance section for more articles like this one.