What is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for Real Estate?

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You may have heard about the MLS at times if you have been in around real estate. Think of the MLS as a database of all the homes that have been bought or sold or those which are currently listed for sale. MLS databases are there for real estate agents to share information about properties and are typically for a given geographic area or region. There are multiple MLS databases across the country that service real estate brokers and their agents.

MLS is not a public database and only access is given to brokers and agents who have a real estate license. When an agent lists a home, it is placed out on the MLS for other agents to see for their prospective buyers. Again, this is for a region so if a real estate agent covers a large geography they may have to join multiple MLS databases. There are more than 600 MLS databases across the country.

The MLS listing basically contains the same information you would find on public records regarding the property and would include property descriptions and pictures as well. Understand the MLS is a communication pathway between real estate agents, but your information will be posted on real estate aggregating sites such as Zillow, Redfin and the like to gain even more exposure.

While you cannot access the MLS without a real estate license you can work with an agent who can send over listings which meet your search standards as they are listed. You can also do the same with those real estate aggregating sites mentioned above.

So, now you know more about what the MLS is and what it is about. The best next step for you if you are thinking about buying or selling your home is to find a trusted real estate agent and mortgage professional to get the process moving forward.