You’ll hear Realtors talk about the MLS often. It’s probably one of the first things a Realtor mentions when talking about a marketing plan to sell your home or when they’re helping you to look for a home to purchase. So what is it?
The MLS or multiple listing service, is an online portal that allows agents to work together to share listings and sold data.
Listings include homes, lots and acreage, multi-family dwellings and commercial properties for sale. Having access to this information helps agents to know what is going on in the real estate market to serve their clients quickly and efficiently.
All Realtors agree, as part of their Realtor membership, to share their listings with other Realtors. This spirit of cooperation allows all agents to have access to sell the same listings (i.e. a buyer doesn’t need to seek out only the listing agent) and offer a portion of the commission contracted with a seller, to other agents.
The information entered into the MLS begins upon the initial listing of a property for sale. It is detailed with numerous required fields such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage, school district, address and legal description.
Once a sale occurs, that information is updated into the MLS for all agents to see. This information will include the sales price, date sold and how the property was sold (i.e. cash, conventional mortgage, land contract, etc.).
There are many websites that are available for the public to view listings on. These websites take the information that agents input into their local MLS and export the data through a “feed”. These feeds, while mostly accurate, do not always import information into the websites correctly. Because of this, it’s important to verify information with an agent.
What’s more is, these sites often give you the opportunity to view your home’s value. What their system is actually doing, is averaging a home sales price based on many home values that are not necessarily similar to your own. While a fun system to play with, it isn’t necessarily accurate, another reason to confirm pricing with a Realtor.
The MLS is one of the most valuable tools an agent has. Here at Coldwell Banker Fairbairn Realty, our agents belong to two Multiple Listing Services. We chose to do this so that our clients can have access to more information and exposure for their listings.
We’re one of the few area offices that do this and we really enjoy gathering the data to better educate our clients. We believe that this dual membership is invaluable as it allows our clients to have access to more accurate sales information when pricing their properties and allows buyers access to more homes available for sale.