Before the internet, buying a home was complicated. Just like every other search, home buying took a lot more work. Buyers would have to find listings in newspapers or contact a real estate agents to see houses that were available for sale. The MLS existed, but it was a booklet that had to be continuously updated and was available at grocery stores and other local businesses. Now with the internet, home buying is much more comfortable. People continue to use the MLS as a tool for find homes. What is the MLS and how can it help you in your search?

What is the MLS?

The MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. It is a service that provides a number for every home available for sale. While most people can get access to the listing information on real estate websites like Zillow and, real estate professionals have access to the official website information on homes. The database contains all the information about a home such as square feet, the age of the home, number of bedrooms and baths, school district and photographs of the house. There may even be a virtual of the tour of the house depending on the homeowner. While some of the information is on other websites, it isn’t always accurate, and may not be as timely. Also, it doesn’t have the amount of data contained on the official MLS.

For Sale By Owner Information

The MLS can contain information for FSBO’s, but they usually get there by having a discount real estate broker enter the information on the MLS.

Who Owns the MLS?

This question depends on the region where you live. MLS’s can be privately owned and run by an individual or run by a board of local realtors. They are usually subject to the National Association of Realtor, which is a governing board that sets forth the rules and regulation for realtors nationally. Often, local MLS owners will merge with other local areas and create a regional MLS.

Finding MLS Listings

As mentioned previously, many people have access to information from the MLS on third-party websites, but all the data on the house is only available through a real estate professional. An agent will be able to give you an up to date information sheet about a specific house. They will also be able to give you any new listings as soon as they are available.

MLS Searches

As a buyer, you can ask your real estate agent for a customized set of listings for anything from price to zip code, streets, the number of bedrooms, three car garages, even master bedrooms on the main level. These can save you the time of looking through multiple listings that aren’t in your price range, or that have enough of what you want in a house.

The MLS is a valuable tool to help you in your home search. Make sure you talk to your agent about the MLS and how the data will assist you in finding the home of your dreams.