A multiple listing service (MLS, also multiple listing system or multiple listings service) is a suite of services that enables real estate brokers to establish contractual offers of compensation (among brokers), facilitates cooperation with other broker participants, accumulates and disseminates information to enable appraisals, and is a facility for the orderly correlation and dissemination of listing information to better serve broker’s clients, customers and the public. A multiple listing service’s database and software is used by real estate brokers in real estate industries, representing sellers under a listing contract to widely share information about properties with other brokers who may represent potential buyers or wish to cooperate with a seller’s broker in finding a buyer for the property or asset. The listing data stored in a multiple listing service’s database is the proprietary information of the broker who has obtained a listing agreement with a property’s seller.
For Sale By Owner listings’ exposure to potential buyers is limited. Your choices for advertising are generally confined to: yard signs, newspaper ads, for sale by owner and classified websites, open houses, and word of mouth. This is often not enough to attract buyers, most of whom are working with agents. Real estate agents consider the MLS as the inventory of homes to sell and use it to locate properties for their clients.
Real estate agents rarely use newspaper ads or other advertising to locate available properties, even though they may use them for their own advertising. Having your property listed in the MLS will provide needed exposure and will increase the chances that a real estate agent will find a buyer for your home. Real estate agents are motivated to sell properties listed in the MLS because the seller has already agreed to pay a commission.