What is a Multiple Listing Services (MLS)?

What is a Multiple Listing Services (MLS)?

Multiple Listing Services

What is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and how does it benefit home buyers and sellers?

The MLS started when Realtors realized that if they put their information together, everyone would be more successful, so some of them put together a database of homes for sale in their area. Since this procedure took time and money, Multiple Listing Services formed associations which local real estate agents (not all are Realtors) were required to join and pay annual dues for the privilege of using this pooled and regularly updated information. Before computers, MLS staffers sent out one sheet of paper for each property (each agent had to keep their "book" up) after many years then a printed book was sent out every two weeks or so.

The information included in the MLS is vital statistics about the homes for sale are listed on the MLS: asking price, age of the house, square footage, number of rooms, number of bathrooms, special features such as central air conditioning, hardwood floors, and swimming pools, etc., as well as neighborhood information such as school districts and parks and rec information. A photo is usually included as well as a short description of what makes the house special. MLS listings include single family existing homes, townhomes, condos, duplexes, single family homes to be built and lots. Now most if not all Multiple Listing Services have computerized their databases and the information is more timely and convenient, not to mention easier to compile and distribute.

In every community, there is a local MLS. There is no national MLS. But just the local MLS alone is a powerful tool for home buyers, sellers, real estate agents and Realtors. Basically, the MLS multiplies your “sales force” by the number of member agents in your area, which can run into the thousands depending on the size of your community. Agents search the database for houses that fit the criteria set forth by their clients.

According to a recent study, 86 percent of serious home buyers use a realtor, who in turn uses the MLS to find houses for those buyers. The MLS is the primary tool used by realtors to find homes for sale for their clients.

Studies show that half of all properties that sell are listed in an MLS and that they sell for significantly higher prices than those not listed. The next most effective home-selling tool is the yard sign, and these are only one-third as effective as MLS. This is a the great secret of realtors.

While most home sellers believe it’s the yard signs and open houses that bring in the buyers, listing agents actually do those things for three reasons.

1 because the owners expect them to.

2 because it shows other sellers how much they do to market a home, and it gets more listings.

3 because it brings in clients who want to buy "some" house - though it probably will not be yours.

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