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If you’ve ever purchased or sold a house, the chances are that you’re familiar with the term ‘Multiple Listing Service (MLS).’ Since 64% of NAR members say that MLSs are their most valuable technological tool, it’s essential for both buyers and sellers to understand precisely what it is and why it’s important.
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What Is An MLS?
An MLS is essentially a database that’s created by cooperating real estate agents and brokers to share data about listed properties. MLSs allow brokers to see each other’s property listings with the goal of connecting buyers with sellers. This arrangement is beneficial for both the selling and listing broker, as it allows them to consolidate data and share information and commissions.

Generally, MLSs comprise electronic databases that consist of all the properties listed by affiliated brokers, who update them regularly. Only members of the service have access to this database.

It’s important to keep in mind that only licensed real estate brokers and agents can register on an MLS, and they typically have to pay a membership fee for access.

Currently, there are hundreds of MLSs in the United States, and while each may have its own procedures, they generally follow the rules established by the NAR.

Why Are MLSs Needed?
n today’s digital age, homebuyers can browse through hundreds of listings on countless brokerage and real estate websites in just minutes. But despite this enhanced exposure, the need for multiple listing services persists.

If a homebuyer works with an agent who has access to an MLS, the agent can search for all of the properties listed by participating brokers. In many cases, listings on MLSs also contain details about showing times and private contact information.

If there were no MLSs, the agent would have to browse each individual broker's website to find available houses in the area.

The Benefits of MLSs
MLSs provide more exposure to the selling agent while providing more options to the agent representing the homebuyer. In return, both agents receive a share of the sales commission. Moreover, by allowing large and small brokerage to compete with each other, multiple listing services also level the playing field in a sense.

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