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What Is The Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?

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By : AJ Cibok    99 or more times read
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a system that enables real estate brokers to communicate property listings. The concept dates back to the late nineteenth century when brokers gathered informally at local association offices and shared details about properties they were hopeful to sell. Commissions were provided as incentives for help in finalizing certain sales. The unspoken code of the real estate market soon became a product of that old saying about "one hand washing the other" (even though in this instance, the hand refers to property).

Collaborating agents list a "unilateral offer of compensation" through MLS as a means of ensuring that a rate of commission is public knowledge and an unalterable truth. A commission rate can still be negotiated between the listing agent and the buyer's agent regardless that the rate of commission is considered to be a contractual duty.

For agents participating in MLS services, there are various amenities. The system ingeniously patrols itself, as it is in everyone's best interests for all information to be correct and up to date. MLS information regarding available homes for sale is freely obtained by any and all subscribing agents. Public real estate websites are limited in that they only display limited details about homes for sale, unlike MLS whose data fields are replete with data relating to all listed homes.

The main criticism of MLS systems is with the restricted membership, however it is becoming more accessible since Internet sites have allowed homebuyers the capability to view portions of MLS listings. It is still not open access by every stretch of the word, as only those real estate agents who are compensated proportionately to the value of the sale have open access to the MLS catalog.

There are many aspects to the argument on both sides about freely accessible real estate listings and their weight in guaranteeing a stable market based on supply and demand. Public web forums have a point in their protest, as the majority of them are fairly restrictive in their ability to assess similar properties, past sales processes and monthly supply figures.
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