What Is MLS Data?: Essential Real Estate Tips

Whether you’re buying or selling a house, you’ve probably worked enough with a realtor to know that they use some pretty interesting lingo.

From CMA to FSBO, you may have a hard time juggling some of the popular real estate acronyms.

But arguably one of the most popular—and the most useful to know—is “MLS.” You might hear your real estate agent talking about MLS data as you work through the moving process, so it pays to know more about this helpful system. Keep reading to learn what the MLS system is, and why it matters.

What Is MLS Data?

MLS stands for “multiple listing service,” meaning that this data captures information about property listings throughout an area.

Importantly, these property listings appear in the MLS system regardless of the broker, meaning that any real estate agent can see listings throughout the region for all agents and brokers. The MLS system allows these brokers and realtors to cooperate during transactions in order to find the best available homes for the people they represent.

There can be multiple MLS databases within a single region or marketplace, depending on local needs. Remember that these databases form via local brokerages, not geography, and so some databases will overlap with others.

Who Can Access an MLS?

Real estate agents and brokers within a local marketplace form an MLS, with real estate agents listed as “subscribers” and brokers listed as “participants.” A lone real estate agent can’t access the local MLS unless their broker has done so first.

Homeowners don’t have access to the MLS, so it’s only by working with a real estate agent associated with a participating broker that you can list your property on the MLS.

Note that popular housing websites like Zillow do get some of their listing data from regional MLS databases, but they don’t capture the full picture that the MLS systems provide.

How Useful Is the MLS?

As far as technology goes, the MLS is consistently ranked as one of the most valuable tech tools (excluding email and cell phones) that real estate agents use. MLS not only allows real estate agents to list properties to be searched by other agents, but it also lets them find new leads in interested buyers and sellers.

Furthermore, real estate agents can supplement their MLS system with additional apps and plugins like IDX Broker, which lets them customize searches and find better leads. Check out this IDX Broker review to learn more.

Work With Your Realtor for MLS Access

MLS data is a powerful tool that can help both buyers and sellers, but only if you’re working with a qualified real estate agent! To make the most of what your MLS database has to offer, find a local agent to harness your region’s cooperative partnership.

Want more guides to the tips and tricks you need in real estate and beyond? Check out our other posts!