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Understanding MLS and How It Works in Real Estate

You may have come along the term “MLS” many times if you are seeking to buy or sell a home. MLS is a vital tool in the process of selling or purchasing houses, which is why you should take the time to understand it.

The meaning of MLS is multiple listing service. It is an extensive, private database of home listings that facilitates real estate agents and brokers to connect with clients who need to sell their homes and prospective buyers. This service was invented in the late 1800s, whereby real estate agents and brokers gathered at meetings or offices to share information about properties available for sale. It was noticed that the cooperation between real estate agents and brokers was highly effective for their clients, and it has kept on evolving until today. MLS is now a fully searchable online system that provides for real estate agents to search for homes by features, price, and neighborhood.

The MLS is comprised of about 800 regional databases. The MLS is accessible to authorized real estate agents and brokers who pay membership fees. A real estate agent can become a member of more than a single MLS, which gives them access to multiple areas. The access to the database allows agents to gather substantial amounts of detailed data to pass on to clients. Some of the information that such agents need include photos, square footage, HOA regulations, seller disclosures, number of bedrooms, contact details of the seller, and details of when the home is available for showings. The information is kept from the public because it could threaten the privacy or security 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. This mainly happens when one wants to avoid paying commissions to real estate agents. However, the local MLS listing is the most substantial and accurate database compared to the for sale by owner sites.

You can list your home on the MLS without having to hire a full-service realtor. You can a state licensed real estate broker to list your home on the database and make any changes for you when need be. 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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