Getting Your House on the MLS

“MLS” is the most powerful acronym in real estate lingo.

“MLS” stands for ‘multiple listing service’ – the database owned by real estate agents and their regional trade associations.

MLS systems are the primary channel for publicizing listings among agents and brokerages. Every day, new listings enter the MLS database and flow to all subscribing agents and services.

Keywords and terms such as the address, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the age, square footage, and, of course, the price, enable agents and buyers to frame parameters for efficient searches.

Getting Listed on you Local MLS

In the past, MLS listings have been a ‘secret weapon’ because real estate agents had exclusive access to the data in the database they owned. Now, though, MLS listings can be found across numerous internet sites that often add additional valuable data, such as the most recent sale price for each home.

Some agents try to control access to MLS data by requiring that potential buyers enter their contact information before being allowed to see details about a property that interests them.

It is easy to circumvent this tactic by simply putting the address of the property into a search engine; almost inevitably, the identical MLS listing shows up on a syndicated site or another agent’s site.

ForSaleByOwner.com is a powerful and cost-effective point of entry to nearly every MLS system in the country. By choosing the “MLS” option for your ForSaleByOwner.com listing, you can even choose which MLS systems will include your house.

For instance, if your home is on the border of two metropolitan areas, you might want to include it in two adjacent MLS systems. After all, you know better than anyone – including any agent – how potential buyers are most likely to search for your home on any MLS.

Things to Know About the MLS

  • MLS results don’t add up to the national sales figures reported by the National Association of Realtors. The NAR uses a formula that projects sales based on a sampling of regional sales.
  • MLS systems must allow discount and ‘by owner’ listings entered by licensed agents. Numerous court decisions affirm the right of agents to operate their businesses as they see fit, even if that means that full-price agents are annoyed when ‘by owner’ listings are entered into the MLS by a discount-fee agent.
  • MLS sales reports are a good estimate of market activity, but are not the final word. Participating agents often postpone paperwork such as entering ‘sold’ listings into the MLS. County property and tax records are the most authoritative source for actual sales, though it takes time for the latest sales to show up in those systems.
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