The MLS, also known as Multiple Listing Service, acts as the core information resource for real estate buyers, sellers, and professional Realtors. This database represents the existing inventory of properties currently listed for sale in a specified area.
The database establishes a virtual marketplace where real estate brokers and agents can instantly view each other’s listings of properties for sale to connect home buyers to sellers. Also, real estate websites can display MLS properties for sale using IDX (Internet Data Exchange).
Maintained by real estate professionals, the MLS lists homes for sale at a given time and provides buyers and their real estate professionals in-depth information, including price, location, number of rooms, and other attributes that may guide them in their search.
How Does the MLS Work?
The MLS is an amalgamation of information created by professional Realtors working on behalf of their clients to present and describe properties for sale.
MLS listing includes details that may be important to any prospective buyer while highlighting unique and differentiating features.
The process begins when an interested seller contacts a real estate agent to sell the property. Next, the agent interviews the sellers to determine their expectations and discuss potential sales strategies.
Once the parties have agreed to proceed, the Realtor creates a detailed description of the property to submit the listing to be included in the area’s MLS. The depictions, usually accompanied by photographs, contain detailed information about:
- Listing price.
- Square footage of the home.
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Lot size.
- Heat/Air Conditioning systems.
- Age of the structure.
Photographs give potential buyers a clear idea of the condition and setting of the home and rooms, appliances, and fixtures.
Because the Boards of Realtors manage the MLS, only properties represented by licensed agents and brokers are included. Therefore, only Realtor-represented properties will show on the MLS listings.
Once the seller’s listing is live on the MLS, it becomes visible to the real estate agent and prospective home buyers.
How the MLS Began
Since the beginning of commerce, sellers have quickly realized that their products perform better when they reach more prospective buyers. Property sales are no different in this respect, so agents for sellers sought better ways to reach out to inform a more significant number of interested parties.
During the late 1880s, Realtors began sharing information about their properties for sale with other real estate agents. They understood that the best way to sell was to increase exposure for their listed properties by creating awareness among more prospective buyers.
At that time, members of each local Board of Realtors gathered on predetermined days to share information about the homes and properties they represent. These ongoing exchanges successfully linked home sellers to new prospective buyers. As a result of these early successes and the advent of the technology to create more real-time, detailed information plus instant communication, the MLS became the underlying resource for the entire industry.
How MLS Listings Benefit Homebuyers
Prospective homebuyers usually have a clear idea of what they are looking for, often with a detailed checklist that involves several key components.
For example, a family of four may be searching for a three-bedroom, two-bath home in a particular area listed at no more than $300,000. Their Realtor can access the MLS, enter the specific variables, and create a search for the available homes that match the criteria.
After reviewing the potential property candidates generated by the MLS database search, the hopeful buyers can request that their Realtor begin making appointments for showings of some or all available properties that match their search.
Once buyers find a property they like and meet their criteria, they submit an offer to the seller through their representative, and negotiations begin.
The process shortens the search time for buyers by providing ample information for each prospective property to eliminate “non-starters” and narrow the list of realistic options.
In many instances, MLS searches may uncover surprising opportunities that might even exceed the buyers’ initial expectations while remaining within their price range.
How MLS Listings Benefit Home Sellers
An effective MLS listing that presents a property well and is priced appropriately for the existing market conditions will attract the most prospective buyers. When buyer demand is high, more showings usually result in a shortened time on the market.
Besides lessening the time and hassles required to sell the home, an MLS Listing by a participating real estate broker or agent increases the likelihood of matching or beating the listing price. With relatively low supply and high demand, some sellers achieve higher sales prices than the original listed price.
Armed with well-designed MLS listings, an experienced professional Realtor can help any home buyer or seller achieve their objectives.
Marimark Realty, home to the top buyer’s agents in Tampa, Florida, focuses on providing a personalized experience for buyers and sellers of real estate. As a full-service real estate agency, we help clients with luxury homes, homes for first-time homebuyers, commercial property, and investment property.
To begin the journey of purchasing or selling your home, or purchasing commercial or investment properties, contact us at your earliest convenience.