You may have heard your RealtorⓇ disparage certain online real estate listings companies in favor of something called the “MLS.” But what, exactly, is an MLS? Is it truly better than free apps and online real estate sites, like Zillow or Redfin? The answer is a resounding “yes,” for a few key reasons we will examine.
What is a Multiple Listing Service?
A Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is a database of shared information regarding properties for sale. It is far more detailed than free online databases and is shared exclusively among real estate professionals. The goal of a multiple listing service is to help real estate agents connect buyers and sellers as efficiently as possible. It also levels the playing field between large firms and smaller brokerages, since members all have access to the same information.
The first MLS’s were established in the 1800s as simple, in-person gatherings where real estate agents from different local brokerages would share details about properties they were trying to sell. These gatherings proved to be mutually beneficial to both seller and buyer; as the cooperative network grew, members agreed to share commissions and pay dues for the privilege of having access to this information.
Today, multiple listing services exist as highly sophisticated electronic databases that are updated frequently by affiliated brokers. The refreshed listings are distributed to members virtually or in print, depending on the MLS.
MLSs are typically regional, with local brokerages working together to form their own cooperative database. Real estate professionals pay membership fees for each MLS that have access to.
Why is MLS Preferred by Brokers?
An MLS Has More Detailed Information
As we mentioned above, the information found in an MLS is far more detailed than other free databases. Unlike online real estate services, an MLS can contain hundreds of fields of information. For example, in addition to data like square footage, floor plan, and photos, the MLS will have private details about any past sales as well as upcoming listings not yet published.
MLSs Have Higher Standards
Most MLSs adhere to the code of conduct set forth by the National Association of Realtors, an institution famous for its rigid ethical standards. Only licensed real estate professionals can even access an MLS, which means the information contained within is valuable and technical.
Information supplied to a MLS is, therefore, expected to be highly accurate and updated in a timely fashion. Not only will you have more details about homes for sale, you can be sure the information is as correct and recent as possible.
An MLS Can Result in Faster Sales
Exposure via an MLS tends to result in faster sales. Real estate professionals looking to connect their buyers with appropriate listings can easily find what they are looking for by utilizing the MLS’s detailed search filters. This efficiency means less time spent looking, and more time spent closing.
Do I Really Need an MLS to Sell a Home?
You can certainly list your home yourself for free on any number of available sites and avoid paying the fees associated with posting to an MLS. In general, however, real estate professionals know that the cost of listing on an MLS is well worth it. Since homes are more efficiently matched between seller and buyer, they often sell faster and for a higher price.
Homes not listed on an MLS are not typically associated with a real estate professional and are known as “For Sale By Owner” homes (FSBO). A recent study by Collateral Analytics found that, on average, FSBO houses sold for 5.5 percent less than comparable homes listed by real estate professionals.
Some studies have found an even greater difference in sale price between homes listed by the owner and those sold by a Realtor. According to the National Association of Realtors, FSBO homes sold for an average of $260,000 in 2020. Similar homes listed by real estate professionals sold for $318,000 on average (22 percent more!).
Suffice to say, utilizing a real estate agent with access to an MLS will not only save you time and stress, it will likely make you more money on the sale of your home.
Sell Your Home in Colorado
Ready to list your Colorado home for sale? Contact Brenda Kellogg Myer. Brenda has years of experience as a licensed RealtorⓇ and works tirelessly to find the perfect buyer for her sellers. Call or go online today to get started.