Exactly what is the MLS, and how can it help you buy or sell a home? Misconceptions are common among even the savviest of real estate clients.
Let’s take a look at what the MLS is, how it works, and why it’s the key to buying and selling real estate successfully.
How the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS) Came to Be
Back in the dark days, Realtors® had to physically gather to share info with each other about their current listings. To help move their inventory, they all agreed to compensate each other for bringing a buyer.
As technology evolved, agents began assembling these details and publishing weekly listing books. As recently as the 1980s, agents had to dutifully show up at the office every Friday afternoon and cart away a two-foot high stack of listing books.
To help a client find a home, hours of poring over the books was the only way.
When computer technology emerged, Realtors® figured out that they could centralize their listing data in an online database that was accessible to all and updated in real time.
Unless you had your own computer, however, you still had to show up at the office to peruse the MLS.
The Legality of Multiple Listing Services
A popular misconception is that agents all use a single-source MLS. In fact, each regional Realtor® association has its own, which is available only to that association’s members. To participate, an agent must be a member in good standing of the National Association of Realtors®.
The MLS is simply a private network. The members all have entered into an agreement to compensate the others for cooperating in the sale of their listings. This network ensures that every broker and agent has equal access to the potential buyer base.
How the MLS Can Benefit You
If you’re a home seller, listing your home in the MLS ensures that every buyer represented by an agent will see it. In today’s market, especially in Southern California, buyers rarely attempt to buy a house without Realtor® representation. It’s free for the buyer and it protects your interest better than any other approach.
If you plan to buy a home, the multiple listing service provides a one-stop-shop for exploring your options. This is also the information your appraiser will use to determine the value of your potential new home, based on recent comparative property sales.
Finally, you have the peace of mind that every property listed in the MLS is represented by a licensed Realtor®. This ensures you of fair and honest dealings and that all agents involved will follow a strict set of ethical guidelines.
We here on the Edie Israel Team know the MLS is one of the most valuable tools we have for assisting our clients. We have decades of experience using this and other exclusive tools to help both buyers and sellers achieve their goals. Contact us today and let us tell you all about it.
Once you trust the Edie Israel Team for your transaction, you’ll never again have to ask, “What is the MLS, anyway?”