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What Is The MLS

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a suite of services that enables real estate professionals to share information between themselves and with the public.  Once a homeowner signs a contract (usually a Listing Agreement), the listing agent will input all of the property information and photos into the MLS database.

The listing information then gets distributed on many different channels to notify others that the property is for sale.  First, the listing shows up within the local MLS network, notifying all local agents and brokers that a new home is available.  This helps other agents who might have a buyer looking for a home, because the newly listed home might match the criteria that their buyer is looking for.  Only properties listed on the local MLS are able to get their listings syndicated to other local agents and brokers, so many national FSBO providers will NOT get you this exposure.

Second, the listing then syndicates out to local MLS "Sister Sites".  A Sister Site is a public real estate website sponsored by the local MLS, which allows buyers to search for homes.  These Sister Sites are usually promoted by the MLS and are the primary buyer resource in a local area.  Only members of the local MLS are able to get their listings syndicated to these Sister Sites, so many national FSBO providers will NOT get you this exposure.

Next, the listing gets syndicated at a national level to all participating websites.  This includes the big sites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, AOL Homes, etc.

It's important to note that information does not flow in reverse.  A listing that is input directly on Zillow does not syndicate back to the seller's local market.  It will only be found if buyers search for it on Zillow.com.

You can read more about the Multiple Listing Service on Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_listing_service


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