Realtor MLS

You might have heard the term multiple listing service or MLS. Whether you're a buyer or a seller, you'll have no doubt encountered the term MLS. That's because it's very much the lifeblood of the real estate business. But what exactly is the multiple listing service?

In its simplest form, the MLS as just a giant database of homes for sale. Each regional or local area has and maintains their own MLS system. Often each database is being fed into platforms like Zillow,,Trulia and even, but you, as a consumer, can also tap directly into each MLS to get the most relevant and up-to-date data. There have been many efforts over the last few years to create a shared MLS database. And we're seeing some of those efforts here in my real estate market in Utah, with everyone getting together to only have 1 central MLS for the state which would be However, it's still far from perfect.

So how does the MLS exactly work? Because home sellers aren't able to post their homes for sale directly into the database. In fact, they need a real estate agent to do that. Access to the MLS is only given to those who are licensed real estate agents or a broker, and they pay a membership fee. Buyers can't typically get access to the database unless given a portal or account access from a real estate agent.

While many sites try to aggregate the data from the different MLSs, the only real way to get accurate and up-to-date information in your local market is to plug into your local and regional MLS. In order to do that, you're going to need to contact a real estate agent.

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