Typically, Only Members of the National Association of Realtors Have Access to the Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS)
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Your Guide to Multiple Listing Services (MLS)
What is the MLS?
As explained by Investopedia, Multiple Listing Services (MLS) are services where local real estate professionals come together in an agreement to share listings and, potentially, commissions on properties. In the modern world, an MLS can come in two different forms: both a frequently updated computer database and a book that is updated and re-published on a regular basis.
In other words, your local MLS is essentially a service that allows many real estate agents who are active in the area to come together to share listings with each other. Even in the most competitive markets in the country, real estate professionals must still cooperate with each other to thrive. The MLS helps to facilitate that cooperation.
Why are Multiple Listings Services Valuable?
To be successful, real estate brokers and real estate salesperson need a wide variety of different skills. One of the most important skills is the ability to get exposure and information. This is where the local MLS offers tremendous benefits.
Through an MLS, a real estate agent who is selling a property can get their listing more exposure. At the same time, agents looking to purchase property can get a better view of everything that is available on the market.
Is the MLS a Single Database?
No — this is a common misconception about multiple listing services (MLS) access. There is no one governing body that creates and manages Multiple Listing Services. You cannot log onto a specific website and get access to every property that is listed in the country, regardless of what type of license that you have. Instead, the term ‘MLS’ is a generic one. It describes a service created and managed by real estate professionals within a local market. For reference, there are currently around 700 active MLS services in the United States.
WIll a Real Estate License Get You Automatic Access to the MLS?
No — a real estate license is not a guarantee of access. Getting access to your local MLS is more complicated than that. Beyond getting your real estate license, the steps you will need to take to get access to a local MLS will depend entirely on the rules and regulations that have been established in your target market or markets. Remember, Multiple Listing Services are privately operated. There are no real national standards.
As an example, in many states, real estate professionals will need to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and pay dues to a local board to get access to an MLS. In some areas, you may also need to join a state organization. However, there are exceptions. In some areas, you may be able to get access to the MLS without joining the NAR and paying dues to the local board. As a general rule, the most efficient way to get access to the MLS is to get your real estate license and get hired at a real estate brokerage firm that already has access to the service.
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