What is an MLS? Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) are independent databases that enable real estate professionals to learn about and share local property listings and data for the benefit of their clients and customers.

"REALTORS® have access to a cost-effective and efficient marketplace for sharing real estate data as well as a mechanism to offer compensation to other participants by facilitating cooperative transactions." , states, Pat Fell, 2022 President of the Silver City Regional Multiple Listing Service.

MLS databases collect listing information in a secure system that is governed by local agreed-upon regulations and reliable data. This creates unprecedented competition among brokers, offering a choice of service and pricing options for consumers, and levels the playing field among brokerages, allowing small firms to compete with large ones. MLS data is also used by brokerages to display properties for sale on their websites and to fuel the tools they provide to their brokers.

For sellers, the MLS allows them to market their property in the most comprehensive way possible, resulting in the highest and best price possible. Their broker also utilizes it to compare similar homes on the market, and recently sold properties, to theirs in order to provide data-driven advice on when and how much to list the property for sale.

The MLS provides buyers with access to the most comprehensive source of housing data available. It is used by their broker to locate and share properties with them, as well as to develop market evaluations based on previous data.

Cities and communities use current and past housing data from Multiple Listing Services to inform city planning and economic forecasting. Third-party aggregators such as realtor.com and others syndicate listings through agreements with MLSs unless the owner withholds consent.

The so-called "pocket listings" are a part of an ongoing battle to retain equitable access to listing data for all consumers and a level playing field for small business brokerages. These listings allow properties to be sold to a small group of buyers before being made available to the public. Addressing private listings is key for preserving a fair marketplace and important consumer protection, especially in hot markets where properties sell quickly. The NAR's Clear Cooperation Policy, which requires listings to be filed to the MLS within one business day after public marketing, went into effect in late 2019. This is critical for fostering a transparent, consumer-friendly market that benefits both clients and customers. If the CCP safeguards were not in place, consumers would be harmed because brokers might refuse to provide competitors, and their clients access to certain listings.

When it comes to the offer prices for properties and closing fees, a cooperative marketplace makes the transaction more affordable. Many first-time homebuyers and low- and middle-income Americans are better able to afford both a down payment and professional representation because of the Multiple Listing Service's commitment to cooperation, in which the listing broker compensates the buyer broker.

Kim Clark, Association Executive of the Silver City Regional Association of REALTORS® states, "The market determines commission rates, and commissions are always negotiable. Consumers have the option of choosing who they want to pay and how they want to pay. Real estate brokers are competing like never before thanks to the pro-consumer local MLS marketplace model, especially when it comes to customer service and commission options."

The Multiple Listing Service benefits everyone, including REALTORS®, their clients, and the communities they represent.

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