What is MLS?
MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. It is a site online where licensed realtors can post or search listings for sale. Think of it as the largest data base of properties available or sold. To post a home on the MLS you have to be a licensed realtor and a member of a local realtor board. Most MLS systems now share their listings to other 3rdparty sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, etc for extra marketing exposure. So while anyone can post a house to say craigslist or Zillow, those listings won’t make it to the MLS without an agent.
If you have an agent, you will be on MLS.
If a licensed realtor is advertising a home it has to be updated to MLS. This is a rule! If a realtor or broker puts a sign in a yard, they have a short period of time before it has to be on the MLS visible to all agents and syndicated out to all other sites. There are thousand of agents in each local market that update information on properties or put up new listings. These rules keep the site accurate and up to date.
Why is MLS important?
It’s important not just for marketing a home, but it can determine a property value. To get a good comparison, you have to look at pending and sold data. Several states including TX are non-disclosure states. What this means is that 3rd party sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, etc cannot show actual sold values. The MLS, being owned by realtors can. When listing a home it is important to know sold values, not just listed values. This is a major benefit from MLS that other 3rd party sites such as Zillow can’t do.
MLS is better than Zillow.
When agents look for new homes for clients they go to MLS, not to Zillow or other sites. Meaning if you are a seller, your listing needs to be where the buyers agents go. Example, think If you were selling a car. Would you want to just park it on the street with a sign to catch people driving by? Or, would you want it to be placed in front of every person looking for a car including dealerships. There are also hundreds of lawsuits against Zillow for inaccurate information and values. Another reason why realtors us the multiple listing service and avoid these sites. Just about anyone can upload or post online, so don’t always assume the information you find is accurate.
Other ways to get on MLS.