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The Pros and Cons of a Multiple Listing Service in Real Estate

July 06 2018
by Leisl Bailey


The reasons people have for selling their house can be varied. Sometimes it is because the house can no longer accommodate the needs of a growing family. Other times, a family needs to move out of their home because of a better job offer in another city, state, or country. Whatever the reasons you have for selling your home, you want it to be done quickly and with the least amount of hassles.


Many homeowners have benefitted from listing on a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. While professional real estate agents have access to a variety of marketing tactics, the MLS is a valuable tool that offers many benefits that are just too good to pass up on.


What is an MLS Website

A Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is a private database of properties for sale. The sites are maintained by a network of real estate brokers who have agreed to share their listings. The online platform gives them a more extensive reach regarding looking for properties to buy or sell. Any real estate agent can compare and work with consumers to find the best price out of a broad pool. It also helps sellers find a more accurate marketplace. These brokers can earn through the commissions from the sale of a house or through a fee collected as the buyer’s representative.


Each MLS operates under its own set of rules and procedures. If the membership is all realtors, then the rules are patterned on regulations published by the National Association of Realtors. By using rigid data criteria and providing standards for the offer of compensation to the other brokers, the MLS has been the primary tool for the vast majority of real estate transactions over the years.


There isn’t an accurate count of MLS organizations, and they are continually emerging and breaking off.


The Accuracy of Multiple Listing Services

MLS databases are considered the most accurate as far as details on the Internet go. This is due to rules that are strictly enforced, which go as far as administering fines to members who do not actively follow the structure and content rules. Some of these include:

Timeliness: New listings must be entered within a specific length of time. Fines occur when a member doesn’t register the full listing by the deadline. This is typically twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the listing agreement is signed.

Accuracy: From square footage to direction and location, the MLS association wants to maintain a high level of skill in information entered.

Photos: Quality and number of photos are often mandated as well, though this can vary a bit.


Pros of a Multiple Listing Servicewhat pros cons Multiple Listing Service

As a seller, you can highly benefit from the MLS. Your scope of clients is much larger (with the help of the internet) and much easier. This means that you are not relying on just the service of a particular broker but also the service of brokers within the network to which your agent belongs. For buyers, MLS allows them to have access to listing with specific criteria, including price and location.


And it narrows the number of showings, which cuts out a huge chunk of time and stress on the sellers’ end. Imagine not having to storm through your space, cleaning and stashing away your personal items every time you show the house. With an MLS listing, showings are reserved for serious buyers only.


Also, think about the exposure! Realtors will bring qualified buyers to your home. Buyers may find your listing on many real estate portals and buy directly through you. If you sell through a realtor this way, you will save more money on commission.


Cons of a Multiple Listing Service

There aren’t many cons, except for the large real estate agents. The MLS is so efficient because it gives many, many people have access to market information. This is great for everybody, except for the large agents because their margin will go down significantly.


Although it isn’t a huge hiccup, some people consider the cost to post to the MLS to be one of the cons. Home sellers can’t post their home directly to the MLS, because access to this database is limited to licensed agents and brokers who pay for the membership. You will generally pay more for an MLS listing than if you sell the “for sale by owner” way. However, with an exclusive listing, you are narrowing down the number of real estate agencies that can showcase your property to prospective buyers.


Common Complaints and Disputes

People go to the Internet to search for home listings. That is the first step many independent house hunters take these says. While they may find a lot of information, the house hunter may call or email the listing agent to get a “quick question” about the property answered. This can cause problems if a different agent assists the buyer in the sale. Each local MLS has an ethics committee to hear complaints from members about the ethics of others. The committee understands both sides of the dispute and rules on the situation. Many of the problems have to do with who helped the client and who receives a cut of the commission.


Whether you’re looking to sell or buy a home, you will no doubt encounter the MLS. This is, in many ways, the core of the real estate business. You have to take a moment, step back, and weigh the pros and cons of each type of listing and decide which one will best meet your particular needs and circumstances.


Everyone should have access to the MLS, and it should be easy! That’s why we created Clever. Clever uses top local real estate agents to lighten your load and help you save money. Call us today at   1-833-2-CLEVER or fill out our online form to get started.

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