What is the MLS?

By
Real Estate Agent with CENTURY 21 Anne Arnold

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) (also Multiple Listing System or Multiple Listings Service) is a
database which allows real estate brokers representing sellers under a listing contract to widely
share information about properties with real estate brokers who may represent potential buyers
or wish to cooperate with a seller's real estate broker in finding a buyer for the property.

The purpose of the MLS is to enable the efficient distribution of information so that, when a real
estate agent is introduced to a potential home buyer, he/she may search the MLS system and
retrieve information about all homes for sale in a given area or price range, whether under a
listing contract by that agent's brokerage or by all participating brokers. The MLS combines the
listings of all available properties that are represented by brokers who are both members of that
MLS system and of NAR or CREA, (the National Association of Realtors in the US or the
Canadian Real Estate Association).

The MLS systems are governed by private entities, and the rules are set by those entities with no
state or federal oversight, beyond any individual state rules regarding real estate. MLS systems
set their own rules for membership, access, and sharing of information, and are subject to
nationwide rules laid down by NAR or CREA. An MLS may be owned and operated by a real
estate company, a county or regional real estate Board of REALTORS or Association of
REALTORS, or by a trade association. Membership to the MLS is generally considered to be
essential to the practice of real estate brokerage.

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Jabin Norris

Centurion 08null, Broker/Realtor, ABR, SRS, e-Pro
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