FAQ: What does MLS stand for?

MLS, in the real estate world, stands for Multiple Listing Service. See, way back when, in the time of the dinosaurs…okay, not really the dinosaurs, just before computers and databases…homes were recorded by individual brokers on sheets of paper, and literally kept in books in the office. And so agents looked through the books and decided which properties they would show their clients. Yes, seriously.

Brokers came together and created a ‘listing service’ which advertised their listings across all brokers, along with an offer of compensation if another agent brought a buyer to their listing. Hence, the ‘multiple listing service.’ The MLS provides any descriptive information provided by the listing broker, along with some information on each property such as the tax record and maps. Brokers must agree to participate in the MLS and abide by its rules, including making all homes available to show (via lockbox or other means) to each participating agent. MLS is a generic term for systems like this across the country.

Our local MLS is operated by the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS), and it is the largest MLS in the country. Often you’ll hear agents refer to “checking the MRIS listing” by which they mean they’re going to check the MLS.

Flash forward to today, when the MRIS allows its data feed to be shared by brokers, and then brokers post the feed onto their websites, making the data available to the public (though not every field.) And so that’s how agents like me are able to show you all the homes listed in the MLS, and everything in the MLS is included in the search tool on my site here.

Talk about a technology shift that changed an industry! Can you imagine going back to the days when brokers owned the data and wouldn’t let buyers or sellers see it??

Today’s successful agents realize that it’s not ownership of the data that makes a trusted advisor–it’s the skills to interpret that data, and the ability to educate their clients about both the market and the process so that buyers and sellers can make their own decisions.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, and looking for a consultative approach, please call us. We’d love to talk to you about how we do business.

More resources:

Click here to search for a home in the MLS

Find the value of your home

Attend a free first time home buyer seminar

Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottkinmartin/ / CC BY 2.0