Since the early 1900’s, real estate agents met regularly to trade information about homes they were selling. In 1908, the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges (the National Association of Realtors) endorsed this system by all agents, creating the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

If you are a licensed agent or an assistant to a licensed real estate agent, then having access to the MLS in real estate can make a world of difference for your active listings. This private database will grant your listings more exposure than any other platform due to the large number of other brokers utilizing the network and inputting data.

What is an MLS?

A Multiple Listing Service or MLS is “a tool to help listing brokers find cooperative brokers working with buyers to help sell their clients' homes”. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains “without the collaborative incentive of the existing MLS, brokers would create their own separate systems of cooperation, fragmenting rather than consolidating property information”.

An MLS is essentially a way to create a cohesive interaction between competing brokers, giving agents -- like yourself -- access to essential resources.

Much like benefits brokers will come together under a coalition to create bulk buying power, the MLS gives agents a chance to pour together their resources. The only catch? You will ultimately have to split your sale commission with any other agent you work with through the MLS arrangement.

As for getting your hands on the valuable data within an MLS network, NAR notes “MLSs are private databases that are created, maintained and paid for by real estate professionals to help their clients buy and sell property. In most cases, access to information from MLS listings is provided to the public free-of-charge by participating brokers. Data that is not publicly accessible includes information that would endanger sellers' privacy or safety, such as seller contact information and times the home is vacant for showings”.

With that said, an MLS is available only to licensed real estate agents and their assistants, but many of the listings do end up on public websites, such as Zillow. However, many listings on sites like Zillow will be under contracts. The best way to get access to the data is to be part of the MLS yourself.

How Can the MLS Boost Your Marketing Efforts?

Having access to the MLS in real estate can provide your marketing professionals with valuable, targeted date for your marketing campaigns. Not only can you see the active listings of your competitors, but you can provide your marketing agency with the background they need to build an online portfolio worth your while.

The MLS in real estate provides a direct line to the real estate community as a whole, making you more valuable as an agent. For example, if you have a potential buyer for one of your listings, but you don’t have access to a certain vendor in the community, then you can bring another broker into the deal that does. The MLS’s database gives you a certain awareness that allows for better targeting of prospects.

Through better targeting, your marketing team can generate leads more efficiently, giving your career the boost it needs online. So, while you may have originally thought that the MLS was nothing but a bunch of overwhelming data, it is actually something that can propel your career to the next level. In 2020 and beyond, analyzing data should be your best friend, and the MLS gives you a direct opportunity to do so.

Need access to the MLS immediately? Try this website. Have access to the MLS but don’t have a strategy to use it for your marketing efforts? Give us a call today to discuss your options and the best practices involved.