Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
You will probably hear the three letters “MLS” a lot as you go about your home search. Created and managed by real estate professionals, the MLS is a proprietary database that serves as a gathering point for all property listings in a certain geographic region.
Each home ‘listing’ includes extensive information – not always available to the general public – on a website like details about the home, the property and its surroundings.
To gain access to the MLS you must be a member of the local Board or Realtors which means the service is most available to real estate agents. Because of this the MLS also covers issues like how commissions are to be spilt and other information regarding the relations between brokers and agents.
The MLS is more of an issue for home sellers and less of one for the buyers. For example, without a listing in the MLS, a home does not get the kind of exposure that it needs to sell within a desirable time frame and at the right price.
There are exceptions to the rule of course. Someone once put out an FSBO yard sign and sold their home within an hour to a neighbor, but most real estate agents will tell you that they probably “left money on the table” by doing so.