What is the MLS?

Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2007 at 2:57pm.

What is the MLS?
The MLS, or officially the Multiple Listing Service, is an agreement among cooperating REALTORS® to share their agency’s listing information for the benefit of their clients. REALTORS® do this using a professionally run database of information about homes for sale within the area that their Board serves. For instance, Austin and surrounding area properties are served by the MLS system managed by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. Because the MLS system is run by a local REALTOR® organization with permissions and rules regarding its use, the accuracy of information in an MLS system is far greater than a open community database could ever achieve. Funds to maintain the MLS system come from REALTORS® in the form of dues paid throughout the year.
How It Works
REALTORS® hired by home sellers to represent them, list the clients’ property in the MLS. The REALTOR® includes all types of information that a buyer would need to evaluate a property including price, square feet, location, bedrooms and more. Other REALTORS®, representing people who wish purchase property, search the MLS for properties that meet the needs of their clients.

How can I list my home on the MLS?
Hire a REALTOR® to represent you, the property seller. A REALTOR® who is member of the board where you wish to list your home is the only person who can access the MLS.

When I am using AustinHomeListings.com, am I searching the MLS?
No. A subset of the listing data entered in the actual MLS is made available to other REALTORS® for use on their websites. This subset of data comes in the form of a data feed called the IDX exchange usually once a day in the middle of the night. This data refreshes sites such as http://www.austinhomelistings.com/. Savvy Real estate professionals have learned to build websites that allow online users to search area homes for sale but the online users are NOT searching the actual MLS. Again, they are searching a subset of the data. In fact, the actual MLS system will always have more up to date information because the REALTOR® websites and sites such as REALTOR.com, have to wait for information via the IDX data feed. Once the IDX data feed comes in, it still doesn’t contain all the valuable data, such as days on market, how to access the home, when was it last sold. Only a REALTOR® will have access to all the information that will help you find the best home and negotiate the best price by accessing all the data in the MLS.

Will my home achieve a higher valuation if its listed on the MLS?
Research says yes. Sellers that work with a REALTOR® with the home listed in MLS, typically achieve a 20 percent higher valuation than those that do not. This information was provided by the Austin Board of REALTORS.
I want to sell my home on my own, but want it listed on the MLS, too. Can I do that?
Yes and no. In Texas, real estate agents are required to provide a minimum level of service to clients. If a REALTOR® lists your home on the MLS, at a minimum they must also help you evaluate and negotiate offers you receive from buyers. However, when you use a REALTOR®, their time and experience are working for you as well. In addition to selling your home for a higher price than you’ll likely achieve on your own, REALTORS® save you time and will protect your interests.

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