What is the purpose of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?
The database, which is a makeup of several regional databases, is typically misunderstood and is actually an integral component of the entire selling process. It is the platform where real estate agents place their listings to provide the seller with the most visibility. Through a series of rules and guidelines, the MLS is able to provide the most accurate information about a listing. Popular sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com and others then take that trusted, verified data and repackage it for the consumer.
The MLS is also the place where all private showing remarks by real estate professionals are stored for reference purposes. Specific instructions on when a property can be shown or limitations on the areas that can be accessed can be found in the MLS. For example, a seller may only want their property shown after 2 p.m. or may want to restrict backyard access because of a pet. Also, in the private remarks, the offer of compensation is detailed for the cooperating agent representing the buyer. All this information is confidential and restricted from public access.
Despite all the value that an MLS provides in the marketplace, there may be times when an agent may recommend their seller keep their listing off the MLS. In some instances, a seller may have privacy concerns or perhaps they have underlying health issues and believe the exposure may negatively impact them.
However, the decision for a seller to forgo listing on the MLS usually comes at a cost.
“If you want to sell your home, you need to be found by the right people,” said Dave Wetzel, CEO and president at MLSListings, Inc. “There’s no better way to accomplish this than by listing your property with the MLS, which is accessible only by licensed agents and brokers and contains real-time, trusted, accurate data about all for-sale properties, including yours.”
Wetzel also shares the MLS is more than just a highly detailed database.
“It is the ideal marketplace connecting real estate professionals with properties to sell and those with clients looking to buy them,” he said. “The MLS arms real estate professionals with innovative marketing tools to promote their listing to other real estate professionals with clients ready to buy, which typically results in a higher selling price.”
A recent study from Bright MLS, one of the largest Multiple Listing Service databases in the nation, revealed homes sold on the MLS commanded a 13% higher price than those sold off-MLS from 2019 through the first quarter of 2022.
The MLS marketplace we have in the United States is the envy of the world. I have hosted several international delegations that were intensely interested in creating a similar marketplace in their respective countries.
Besides being the most efficient way to sell your house, it also provides the most equitable access to buyers of all socioeconomic classes.
“The MLS helps me to better serve my clients by exposing their listing to the broadest audience of buyers and real estate professionals,” says Lisa Faria, 2022 president of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors.
The benefits are plenty, and sellers receive wider exposure by having their property listed on the MLS.
San José Spotlight columnist Neil Collins is CEO of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, a trade association representing more than 6,000 real estate professionals in Santa Clara County and surrounding areas. His column appears every fourth Thursday of the month. Contact Neil at [email protected] or follow @neilvcollins on Twitter.