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What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know About Multiple Listing Services

In the world of real estate, the most common and effective tool used is a multiple listing service (MLS). An MLS is a database that allows real estate brokers to share data on properties for sale, making the buying and selling process more efficient. While the MLS program varies from state-to-state and even city-to-city, their effectiveness remains the same. Across the country, there are more than 650 MLS organizations. Basically, the MLS organization is a tool to allow Realtors to find and sell properties that they do not personally have listed. But for the buyer and seller, what is the benefit of an MLS program in their real estate transaction? In one word: exposure.

house being placed on multiple listing servicehouse being placed on multiple listing service

How An MLS Benefits Sellers

Across the country, this year has seen an intense seller’s market. A seller’s market often brings numerous showings, multiple offers, and bidding wars. But for a seller to experience bidding wars and multiple offers, they need exposure. By using a Realtor who is a member of a local MLS, sellers’ homes are advertised to thousands of other Realtors. Essentially, “MLSs are private databases that are created, maintained and paid for by real estate professionals to help their clients buy and sell property. In most cases, access to information from MLS listings is provided to the public free-of-charge by participating brokers.”

Read: 5 Reasons Why Fall May Be a Good Time to Sell

Typically at no additional cost, listing a home with an MLS access professional means not only will it be advertised to thousands of Realtors, but also to sites like Homes.com. This digital presence amplifies a homeowner’s exposure exponentially more than just a FSBO sign in the yard. In fact, more than half of buyers report using MLS websites in their home search.

How An MLS Benefits Buyers

In a seller’s market, it is crucial for buyers to have near-instant access to new listings. This is accomplished by multiple listing service organizations. Almost instantaneously, as new listings are added to the MLS, participating Realtors are notified of the listings. In addition, those listings trickle to third party sites, like Homes.com, quickly after hitting the MLS. The beauty of looking to buy your next home on Homes.com is the increased access to up-to-date listing information. Know before you find a home you love if it’s under contract, sold, or still available for you to walkthrough – either virtually or in person.

Read: A Quick Guide to Virtual Tours

The benefit of working with a buyer’s agent is that typically their services are paid for by the seller—not the buyer. A buyer benefits by having free professional representation with immediate exposure to new listings.

meeting with real estate agent on the multiple listing servicemeeting with real estate agent on the multiple listing service

Read: How to Make an Offer Stand Out in a Seller’s Market

Things To Know About MLS Organizations

  • Not all real estate agents have MLS access. The MLS is a membership that must be paid for by the real estate agent. Before choosing to work with a real estate agent, it is important to make sure they have MLS access.
  • Real estate agents can be a member of more than one MLS organizations. If listing your home with a Realtor, it is important to ask if your home will be advertised on more than one MLS organizations.
  • Most MLS systems allow real estate agents to create buyer portals. As agents enter criteria for a buyer, these portals create immediate emails notifying buyers of properties that match their criteria. Each buyer should ask their real estate agent about this benefit.
  • Third party sites are fed by MLS systems across the US. When searching for properties on Homes.com, the properties a buyer views are present because of local MLS organizations. The MLS membership is paid for by the real estate agent and is one of the numerous benefits of working with a real estate professional.
  • All information seen on third party sites are taken directly from the agent-entered information on the MLS listing. It is crucial that the information is accurate, effective, and includes high quality photographs.

The days of simply putting a for sale sign in the yard and expecting a house to sell are gone. In this digital age, especially since COVID-19, the value of an MLS system is priceless to buyers and sellers. To begin your home search and to enjoy the benefits of the MLS, visit Homes.com to see listings in your area.

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Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She’s passionate about the power of real estate. She’s also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.

Source: homes.com