The real estate industry is unique in its focus on cooperation and compensation. Brokers and agents are not entirely on their own when it comes to selling properties and representing clients. They often get assistance from other brokers and agents.
Their cooperative efforts are joined in an organized database known as a multiple listing service, or MLS. An MLS also benefits buyers and sellers and streamlines the overall buying and selling process for brokers, agents and real estate clients alike.
What is an MLS?
A multiple listing service, or MLS, is a property search database that lists all of the MLS listings in a certain geographical area. It most commonly exists online today and serves as a virtual property finder for people who want to buy or list real estate for sale.
People who want to find a piece of property to buy can use the MLS search function to look for homes of all types that are located within a particular zip code, neighborhood, county or state. Likewise, people want to sell their homes can list their property online and attract a wider array of interested and qualified buyers using an MLS service.
Further, an MLS allows brokers and REALTORS to work together to sell an MLS listing. It facilitates easier cooperation among parties who are involved with marketing and selling MLS listings. The overall focus of a multiple listing service involves brokers and agents helping each other sell properties in exchange for assisting other agents and brokers sell theirs.
While the typical MLS today exists to sell property online, the history of this property search database actually originates back in the late 1800s. Back then, real estate agents and brokers would regularly meet to discuss what properties that they had for sale.
They would agree to help each other sell available listings in exchange for fair compensation. These meetings would lead to the creation of the first multiple listing service and a way for brokers and agents to make available MLS listing properties to buyers throughout a particular geographical area.
Today, there are more than 800 of these property finder databases in operation throughout the country. They allow buyers to use an MLS search to find available properties in any part of the area to which they want to move. They provide greater exposure for sellers’ MLS listings and allow both buyers and sellers to work with one broker to close on sales quickly and conveniently.
Where to Find Multiple Listing Services
People who want to buy or sell real estate can most often find and use an MLS online. In fact, a multiple listing service can be readily found on websites like Arizonan.com.
This property search database is easy to use and allows people to search for MLS listings based on a number of categories. A basic MLS search, for example, allows people to look for properties within a certain city or county.
However, people also have the option of conducting an advanced property search on the MLS, which allows them to look for an MLS listing based on:
- Minimum and maximum price
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Property or home type (condominium, single family home, townhouse etc)
- Square feet of living space
- Parking or garage options
- Community features
- School district
- Stories or levels
- HOA fees and amenities
- New financing options
The multiple listing service allows buyers to tailor their property search based on their lifestyle needs, budget and other options.
Why Use an MLS?
A number of compelling reasons exist to convince people to use a multiple listing service to buy or sell real estate. To start, an MLS is typically free to use and is made available at no charge to people who want to know what properties are listed in a particular city, county or state. They can conduct as many basic or advanced searches as needed to find the ideal property on which to make an offer.
Further, these databases are updated regularly and show properties of all types. People can find single family homes, condos, townhouses, vacant lots, manufactured homes and other types of MLS listings for sale.
Moreover, the multiple listing service will show the status of an MLS listing. People will know if the listing is still active, if it is under contract or if it is UCB.
For buyers, an MLS can also benefit them because it allows their listing to get maximum exposure. Their property for sale can reach not only people where they live but also potential buyers in other cities and counties in the state, as well as buyers who plan on moving from out-of-state to the area.
Finally, the multiple listing service allows buyers to work with one broker or agent. Even if they find a listing on the website of one real estate company, they do not have to switch to another broker or agent who initially listed the property for sale.
They can use their current broker and buy the property. The initial broker or agent will still get compensation for the sale.
A multiple listing service facilitates easier buying and selling of properties. It allows buyers to find properties for sale anywhere to which they want to move. Sellers likewise get maximum exposure for their listings while brokers and agents benefit from their mutual cooperation in listing and selling available properties.