What Is The MLS?

Realtors have so much industry jargon in their heads that sometimes they forget to explain the meaning to their clients. One of those is the “MLS.” When you list a home for sale, one of the primary marketing channels for getting it sold is the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. But what exactly is the MLS?

The MLS is a database established by cooperating brokers to provide them with information about properties for sale. Real estate brokers can view each other’s listings with the goal of connecting buyers and sellers. Brokerage firms join the MLS in order to gain access to their data and brokers pay membership fees to belong to their local MLS as well.

The advantage of having an MLS for you is that a host of information is displayed just to Realtors® so they can determine if the home they are looking at on the MLS meets the preferences of their buyer. The information includes many details about the home including property description, number of rooms, lot size, construction type, year built, property taxes, owner, listing agent, homeowners’ association, and showing instructions.

After discussing your preferences about what kind of home you are looking for, your broker can use those preferences to search the MLS website for homes you may like. Then they will forward these listings to the buyer to see if they want to visit the property. By scheduling a “showing” (a tour of the home), Realtors® are bringing buyers and sellers together, which benefits both parties.

Listing information is normally shared by the MLS with various search engines such as Realtor.com, Zillow.com, or Trulia.com so that buyers can search homes online. The major search engines have empowered consumers with information which in turn, has sped up the buying and selling process.

Many years ago, listings were displayed in printed books that looked like large catalogues. Now all of the information is shown online. MLS organizations are regional and Starck Real Estate belongs to 4 MLS organizations. The largest MLS in Illinois is Midwest Real Estate Data, or MRED, which covers the entire Chicagoland area.