Basically, the MLS is like a virtual warehouse. I like to call it the “home depot” of homes. A MSL listing means property is available for sale, it goes on the MLS. When it is sold, it gets taken out of the MLS.
Since real estate cannot actually be stored in a warehouse, this means MLS only contains information. So the MLS is actually a database – an extremely convenient way to know what is available for sale at a given moment. That is why real estate agents developed the MLS.
Since developing and maintaining the MLS system wasn’t free, agents created local “MLS Associations,” required membership, and charged each other annual dues (plus additional fees) so that they could pay for the necessary staff and materials to make it work.
In the really olden days, an agent submitted listings to their local association and the MLS staff compiled the data on what was available for sale and what had been sold. Once a week MLS members received a book that showed all the current listings.
Then computers came along and made it easier to create the listing books. When modems came along the books were no longer necessary, though it took agents awhile to adjust.
Beginning in 1996, some property information from the MLS was placed on the web. It isn’t as current as dialing directly into the computer, and information on the web does not contain all the properties available in the MLS. Plus, there is no national MLS or database. Information you find on the web is compiled from local and regional MLS systems, not all of which participate on the web to the same extent.
How can you, as a seller, get access to the largest number of buyers? Placing an ad in a newspaper? Or putting your home information into a computer accessible by every MLS member who will show your property to their qualified buyers in your price range?
What a MLS listing means is when you place your home there, it expands your sales force, exposes your property to a larger pool of prospective home buyers, and creates more demand for your property. The higher the demand, the more pricing powerenjoyed by the homeowner – and the quicker a home will sell.