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November 24, 2019
Your Guide to Understanding MLS and How It Functions in Real Estate
The term “MLS” cannot be new to you if you are in the pursuit of purchasing or selling a home. You need to take the time to understand this term because it is an essential tool in the process of buying or selling homes.
The term MLS stands for multiple listing services. MLS is a vast, private database of home listings that provides for real estate brokers and agents to connect clients with houses for sale and potential buyers. The multiple listing service was invented in the late 1800s, and it began as a platform where real estate brokers and agents would gather at offices or conferences to share information about various properties for sale. The collaboration was working for them, and it is what has evolved to what it is now. The current MLS is an online and fully searchable system that allows agents to search for homes by price, features, and neighborhood.
As opposed to being a single national system, the MLS is composed of approximately 800 regional databases. The access to MLS is limited to licensed real estate brokers and agents who pay membership fees. As a real estate agent, you can become a member of more than one MLS, and this will provide you with access to different regions. MLS databases provide agents with detailed data that they can pass on to their clients. The information can include details such as pictures, seller disclosures, number of bedrooms, HOA regulations, square footage, the contacts of the seller, and the availability of the home for work on showings. The reason why this information is not available to the public is that it can include information that could endanger the safety or privacy of the seller. High-profile sellers who need to avoid publicity go for pocket listings, which makes their homes available for purchase only by people that the real estate agent works with directly.
Different people prefer to list their houses on for sale by owner platforms. The main reason for this is when people want to avoid paying commissions to real estate agents. However, the local MLS listing is the most reliable and largest database compared to the various for sale by owner sites.
It is possible to list your home on the MLS without having to get a full-service realtor. You can pay a flat listing fee to a state licensed real estate broker to list your home on the database for you and make adjustments when needed. The listings will display your name and contact information for offers and showings. You can also opt for discount brokers who charge lower commissions but do not offer the personal service that full-service real estate agents provide.
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