Inside the MLS: The Backbone of Real Estate Listings

Inside the MLS: The Backbone of Real Estate Listings

A Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is a database of all properties currently for sale in a particular geographic region. While it's usually referred to as the MLS, making it look like one large national database, the MLS is actually a network of local databases for areas around the country, meaning there isn't one single overreaching MLS.

Each MLS is created, maintained, and paid for by participating real estate professionals in their local area. It's where brokers and their agents share their listings, upload pictures and detailed. Information about each property and update them on a regular basis with the goal of connecting home buyers to sellers. Brokers and real estate agents pay dues or a membership fee for access to each MLS. If a broker wants to list or view homes in an area that isn't covered by the MLS that they're currently a part of, they'll need to join the MLS for that area as well. So it's possible and sometimes necessary for brokers to participate in multiple MLS databases.

Each MLS has its own prices, fee schedules, and rules.

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