What Is The MLS and How Does It Help?

Blog Cover Image What Is The MLS?

If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you’ve probably heard your real estate agent talk about it, but what is the MLS? MLS is an acronym that stands for ‘Multiple Listing Service’. Basically, it is a digital platform where real estate professionals share and access information about properties for sale in a particular region. Although you may think it is just a simple database of listings, it’s actually far more than that. The MLS is an integral part of the home search process and plays a crucial role in the entire real estate industry.

How Does The MLS Work?

When thinking about what is the MLS you should know that the MLS is essentially a massive digital catalog where real estate agents share and access different types of information about properties that are for sale within a specific region. These regions are called MLS areas. This database isn’t just a simple list of addresses and whether or not they are for sale; it contains all the details about each property. These property details include everything from price and location, to specifics like tax information, square footage, number of rooms, and even photographs. Furthermore, the MLS maintains a historical record of all home sales so you can look at property values over time. This is invaluable for comparative market analyses that real estate agents use to estimate the current market value of your property.

Who Can Access The MLS?

As of today the only people who can access the MLS are licensed real estate agents and brokers. These people not only need to be licensed to practice real estate in the state the MLS is located in, but must also join the board of realtors that govern each individual MLS within the state. This includes paying dues, completing continuing education courses, and maintaining an active license/membership status. Once you gain access to the MLS you are free to input property information, do property research, and access the other tools that are provided in conjunction with the actual MLS database. These tools include things like document creation platforms, property tax information searching, and showing/tour management platforms to name a few. These tools combined with access to the MLS give real estate agents a powerful leg up on for sale by owner sellers who simply struggle to compete and often fail to sell their home.

Connecting People With Properties

One of the most powerful technological advancements that has shifted power away from the realtor and toward the average home buyer and seller is home search sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, Trulia, and more. All of these listing websites actually source their information directly from the MLS. This is how detailed property information, that has historically been exclusive to real estate agents and brokers, is now accessible to home buyers and sellers casually browsing online. By syndicating this information on these various home search sites, buyers and sellers no longer need a real estate agent to know what is currently for sale in their area, or to do comparative market analysis for them. This empowers consumers to have more independence in the market and make more informed decisions.

How The MLS Helps Sellers

For homeowners that are trying to sell their property, the MLS provides unparalleled exposure to buyers searching online. With a single entry of property information, that listing will be visible to an unlimited number of potential buyers no matter where they may be searching online. This extensive reach makes sellers on the MLS far more likely to reach the right buyer resulting in quicker sales and more competitive offers. Compare that to traditional for sale by owner (FSBO) sellers that spend hours inputing information in to one or two sites online leading them to only reach a small fraction of the overall market. This is a big factor as to why only 11% of for sale by owner sellers succeed in selling their property. The vast majority either (1) end up using a real estate agent anyway or (2) spend months waiting to ultimately sell their property for far less than what they could have.

How To Get Your Property On The MLS

It’s just a fact that in order to get your property listed on the MLS you have to partner with a real estate agent or broker. However, there is another option that challenges the tradition real estate agent approach that has been gaining popularity. Many modern sellers are choosing to create a flat fee MLS listing. This alternative allows sellers to pay a predetermined fee that is typically less than the standard 5-6% they would pay realtors to list their property on the MLS, irrespective of the selling price. The flat fee MLS listing cost is often tied to the level of service the real estate agent or broker provides on top of putting your listing details into the MLS for you. Some brokerages will charge a very small fee and leave you on your own for the rest. Falaya, for example, offers flat fee MLS listings that also provide sellers with custom real estate technology tools, a mobile application, a dedicated transaction coordinator, and on-demand support in exchange for the small flat fee.

Final Thoughts

The multiple listing service is more than a real estate industry buzzword—it’s a powerful tool that simplifies and optimizes the process of buying or selling homes. Its ability to consolidate property information and connect buyers, sellers, and agents makes it indispensable. Whether you’re an agent, a prospective buyer, or a seller, understanding and leveraging the MLS can lead to a smoother and more successful real estate journey. So, the next time you hear the term MLS, you’ll know it’s not just real estate jargon. It’s a powerful tool that brings together buyers, sellers, and agents in the ever-evolving world of real estate.

Leave a Reply

Ready to get Started?

Plans Start at $500, list your property today!


Property Search

Find your next home today


Relevant Info For Buyers and Sellers


Answers To Common Questions

Legal Documents

Downloadable Real Estate Documents


Learn More By Watching

Sellers Guide

The Home Selling Process Explained

Why Falaya?


The Tools at your Disposal


Why We’re The Best Option


Hear From Our Past Sellers

Falaya Mobile App

Manage Your Listing From Anywhere

Transaction Management

By Your Side From List To Close

Our Team

The People Behind The Scenes

Real Estate Redefined.

Sell your house for a low fixed cost.
Don’t have an account?

Sign In Now

Sign In
Forgot your password? Click here

Real Estate Redefined.

Sell your house for a low fixed cost.
Already have an account?

Sign Up Now

Sign Up

The correct email is vital for communication during your real estate transaction. Please confirm to continue the sign up process.

The correct phone number is vital for communication during your real estate transaction. Please confirm to continue the sign up process.

By clicking “Continue” I agree to Falaya’s Terms of Services and Privacy Policy