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A Multiple Listing System (MLS) is a membership organization that allows dues paying Realtors to input data about current listings into a local computerized system. That data is then made available to participating real estate agents in the area. Most MLS systems today are quite sophisticated, containing the information about the majority of listings in a given market area.
Due to the fact that the MLS systems are facing increasing pressure to make their data available to the general public, it is impossible to generalize about what a MLS will offer to the public in any given community. In some areas, the data is already available for public inspection. In others, the only way to access the information is through a Realtor member. And in a few locales, the MLS systems have not kept up with technology and is still in the format of printed books.
So how can putting your listing in the MLS help you to sell your house? The key value to the MLS is that real estate agents with buyer clients rely heavily upon it as they search for suitable properties. There was a time not too long ago when the MLS was the only vehicle that offered a nearly complete database of local listing inventory. Most home buyers located their properties by searching with a Realtor through the MLS records. In many major and minor markets, this is still the case. It is likely that the MLS continues to be a major force in your local marketplace and that you should make every effort to insure that your home is represented in the database.
As each day passes, the Internet is offering the public new ways of searching for information that is important to them. Listing information is flooding the Internet, which is giving the public an alternative source for listing data. Many MLS systems are adjusting to this change by putting their real estate records directly onto the Internet.Take the time to research your local market and learn just how the MLS is structured and how it is reacting to the influence of the Internet. Your aim is to get maximum exposure for your property. An MLS system that will promote your listing to local Realtors while also placing your listing on the Internet for broader public exposure is doing just that.