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Details on MLS and How It Works in Real Estate

You most likely have come along the term “MLS” many times over if you are learning about selling or buying a house. 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 full definition of MLS is a 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. The origin of the multiple listing service goes back to the 1800s, whereby real estate agents and brokers would gather at conferences and offices to share details about 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.

Instead of being a single national system, the MLS is comprised of about 800 local databases. The people who get to access the database are licensed real estate brokers and agents who pay memberships. 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 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.

Some people opt for listing their homes on for sale by owner sites. 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. Such listings will provide your name and contact details as the point of contact for offers and showings. You can also choose discount brokers who do not provide personalized services as full-service real estate agents do, but they take fewer commissions.

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