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What is the MLS – Multiple Listing Service?

What is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Whether buying or selling a home, you’ve probably come across the term Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In many ways, this service feels like the lifeblood of the real estate industry. But have you ever wondered what MLS means?

The Invention of MLS

Though it feels like a digital age invention, the National Association of Realtors indicates that the system came to life in the late 1800s. During that time, realtors would come together in their local organization and trade information about properties they were trying to sell. The aim was to work out compensation deals if another realtor brought you a buyer.

Come 1909, the National Association of Realtors, then known as National Association of Real Estate Exchanges, supported the use of the system by all realtors. Over the years, the Multiple Listing Service initiatives have evolved into the modern system you see today. The internet has made the system easier to use, allowing you to search property by price, neighborhood, and home features.

How Multiple Listing Service Works

Today’s MLS is an online information-sharing software whereby real estate professionals share comprehensive information about a property they’re selling. To bring in the right buyer, the listing broker must list all specifics about a home including;

  • Age of the property
  • It’s location
  • Square footage
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Any renovations
  • School districts
  • Photographs of the property

Additionally, the listing broker should indicate the type of financing the seller prefers. These specifics help other brokers in finding the right buyer. The listing broker shares commission with the broker who brings in a buyer.

If you’re a homebuyer, you may assume that you’ll get all this information from online access feeds. Although you may find some data through the online feed, this information is not always enough, and sometimes it can be out-dated and inaccurate.


Example: Minneapolis Homes On The MLS

  • List View
  • Map View
  • Grid View

See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 8/7/2020)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.



Benefits of Using The Multiple Listing Service

The digital age allows you to access countless real estate websites when searching for a property. Despite this exposure, there’s still a lot of information that you can’t access through these sites. This calls for the need to use a qualified real estate broker.

Working with a broker who’s a part of a Multiple Listing Service offers you the following benefits;

  1. Narrows listing to your most preferred- searching blindly through real estate and brokerage websites provides you with random information about available properties. A listing agent, on the other hand, searches for your specific preferences on the Multiple Listing Service site and emails you a list of properties matching those preferences. This way, you access up-to-date property information that you can’t get anywhere else.
  2. Gives you a more customized report- with this service, you can request to have your report customized by radius search, specific ZIP code, or within particular boundaries.
  3. Speeds up the buying or selling process- since the service uses listings from multiple realtors belonging to the MLS, the search process becomes easy. If you are a buyer, you spend less time finding a home that matches your preference. If you are a seller, then your property spends less time in the market.
  4. Accessibility of more property- the service rules spells that once you refer a buyer to the listing broker, you get an agreed commission. By using the service, you get access to several properties. Getting buyers for these properties helps you generate more commission.

What Makes MLS Unique?

The Multiple Listing Service is unique in that it brings several competitors together, to work in harmony for their benefit and that of the buyers.

The service is governed by rules that ensure their real estate database is the most accurate than you can find anywhere else on the internet. Each member must enter listing within a specific time frame, failure to which one attracts a fine.

Get More Listings & Leads Using The Multiple Listing Service

Whether you’re a property buyer or seller, you should consider working with a real estate agent who has access to MLS. This ensures you have sufficient information than could be provided by the traditional real estate websites.

About Transition Realty

Farmington Real Estate Agent Steve Lehmeyer Transition Realty owner Steve Lehmeyer specializes in helping people manage real estate transactions in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. His experience in the Minnesota real estate market spans 20 years. Steve and his team work with clients to buy & sell single family homes, townhouses, condos, lake homes, and investment property.  Download a free home search app for your smartphone or search the MLS at