MLS is a term many first time home buyers are likely to run into. It stands for multiple listing service, which is a database that every home listed for sale by a real estate agent is entered into unless it is specifically exempt.
Only real estate agents and other professionals can access MLS directly, but there are ways for home buyers and sellers to get information as well, especially now that MLS is online.
To break it down, MLS is a comprehensive sharing of home information within the professional world of real estate. A listing broker enters data and photos about a home and offers to share the commission from the sale with another broker who successfully brings a buyer. The online database contains every detail of a home, including address, square footage, lot size, age, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, school districts, and types of loan accepted, plus much more. Many photos are usually included, with some listings even providing virtual tours.
There are many other services that provide online MLS feeds to the public, but this data is frequently outdated, inaccurate, or limited. To get truly accurate and up to date information, ask your real estate agent to set you up with an MLS home search. Be sure to get the comprehensive report--the customer copy is often just not enough information. Your search can be customized by a variety of factors, some of which could be zipcode, price range, number of rooms, or even whether the property has a pool or not. You can also include recent price reductions, local sales data, and property sale history in your results.
The MLS is a valuable tool for any potential home buyer, and can be an excellent way to research important information for your journey to find your perfect house. Knowing whether the price has been reduced or whether home sales in the area have been lagging can be a great advantage when deciding what to bid.
Didn't find the answer you wanted? Ask one of your own.