I once heard a story from a famous REALTOR® about the MLS. He said he had gone to a listing appointment and felt like it went very well. He was elated at how well he had clicked with the homeowners and thought for sure they would choose him to list their home.
After the appointment, a couple days went by and he had not heard from them. Thinking they must have just had a delay, he called to see where they were at in their listing process. To his surprise, they shared that they had chosen to list their home with another agent.
When he asked why, they told him that they really liked him, but the other agent was going to put their home in something called the MLS, and they thought that sounded like a great way to market their property. Of course both agents would put the home in the MLS, but thinking that was common knowledge, he had not mentioned it to them. So, what is the MLS and how is it used?
MLS stands from Multiple Listing Service, and it is a huge database, or list, of all properties in an area available for sale or for lease. When a property is on the market it is active in the database, and when it is sold, it is archived in the database. Since the MLS is such a huge list, it has had the effect of making agents and consumers more knowledgeable about home inventory and real estate data in general.
How it has changed
Since the MLS serves an entire real estate community, but is not free, groups of agents join a board or association upon becoming licensed in order to be able to use the MLS. Different associations are usually broken down by geography. The dues that members pay for their membership are then used to maintain the database.
Years ago, the MLS was distributed to agent offices in the form of a large book that was updated once per week. From there, agents were then able to connect to MLS via a modem and the data was updated more often than once per week. Now, of course, we have leapfrogged into the information age and all the MLS data is available on the internet for agents and consumers alike. Updates are done as quickly as the agent can do them and reflected immediately.
How does MLS help home sellers?
Like the homeowners above realized, the MLS is a huge factor in marketing a property. Selling a home is all about mass marketing, i.e. how can a home be exposed to as many buyers as possible, and MLS is the driver of this. Imagine placing an ad in your local newspaper about your home. Do you think that would find it’s way to as many buyers as having your home listed in MLS and then blasted all over the internet? Not a chance! This also highlights a major downfall of doing ‘For Sale by Owner’. Without that MLS boost, far fewer consumers will know about the property, making it that much tougher to sell.
How does MLS help home buyers?
When MLS was made public via websites, many REALTORS® feared that consumers would no longer call on agents to help with their home purchases. However, having the ability to look at homes on-line does not take the place of actually viewing them with an agent, negotiating a contract, finding comparable sales data, etc.
Having access to the MLS has streamlined the home search process for buyers and agents alike. With as much data is available, consumers are able to narrow the list of properties they would like to view prior to driving around and seeing all of them in person. It is a win-win!
So, if you are meeting with a licensed REALTOR® to list or to buy real estate, the MLS is undoubtedly going to be part of the process. It is a very impactful tool that we are thrilled to use!
About The Author: Kimberley Kelly has been a Palm Desert Real Estate agent in Southern California for 11 years. She helps many home buyers and sellers deal with their Palm Springs real estate needs. Please visit Kimberley’s La Quinta homes for sale website for more information.