What is the MLS?

Real Estate Agent with Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales 3090099

Frequently Asked Question: What is the MLS?

Matrix MLS

The MLS is the abbreviation for Multiple Listing Service.  This is the database and tool that almost all Realtors use for listing and finding real estate to assist their clients.

Each local Realtor association runs their own MLS or belongs to a regional group of associations that jointly run an MLS system.  Most of these systems are stand-alone and are run by a third party contractor.  Members of one MLS typically do not have access to the system of other associations except in those cases where an interchange agreement is in place.

These MLS systems are where more than 95% of all property listings are posted.  It is from these systems that third party real estate portals such as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and various brokerage and individual agent websites get their listing data.  Not all MLS systems share data with all of these sites, and occasionally there is a lag to the data as well as older and incorrect listings.  Typically, the best and most up to date information will be in the MLS.

Flex MLS

Unlike the majority of third party sites and search portals the MLS systems have a great number of fields and Realtors are trained on using them to great advantage in order to be able to search for properties with very specific details and features. 

If you are working with a Realtor, it is important to select one who is a member of the association that is in your area of interest, otherwise, your Realtor may not be able to access the most up-to-date and correct property information.  You can specify the criteria and price range for your home search and your realtor will be able to set up an automatic search to send you all properties that come on the market that may be of interest.  This is a much more efficient way to search for properties than just browsing a third party site.


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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I also get this question and wonder how many people don't know and never ask.

Jun 19, 2017 03:03 PM #1
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Gabe this is a very good explanation of what the MLS is.  Borrowers often misunderstand the use and function of the MLS.

Jun 19, 2017 03:15 PM #2
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Gabe, it's easy to forget that everyone doesn't know what the MLS is. Like William Feela, I now wonder how many people don't ask. This is a good FAQ to get out to your clients and prospects.

Jun 19, 2017 03:16 PM #3
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Gabe

This is a great answer to a question I hear from time to time, but perhaps more often DON'T hear. We assume buyers know but they may not really understand especially since they are so used to getting their listings from a wide range of brokerage, agent and portal sites.


Jun 19, 2017 03:47 PM #4
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Gabe Sanders ,

Great question! How many times do we get this asked. Great explanation as borrowers often misunderstand the use and function of the MLS.

Jun 19, 2017 04:38 PM #5
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Gabe, what a great question and we take so many things for granted, I tend to explain everything to my potential clients and seldom use abbreviations., Endre

Jun 19, 2017 11:15 PM #6
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

Part of me wants to say...don't get me started....it should be, in our opinion, a help rather than directive to real estate agents..

Jun 20, 2017 02:34 AM #7
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I love the post. I hope consumers will read it and learn from it 

Jun 20, 2017 03:33 AM #8
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

This is good information to share.

Have a great Tuesday and an outstanding week.

Jun 20, 2017 06:41 AM #9
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Gabe - I am sure the question still comes up.  I remember when the agents tore pages out of the book when you visited their office 

Jun 20, 2017 08:28 AM #10
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise, Meridian, Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Great q&a. We throw terms around and take for granted that everyone knows what they are. And they don't always! This is one we assume everyone knows and understands but it is certainly not a given. Even if they know what it is they may not know what MLS stands for. -Kasey

Jun 20, 2017 09:19 AM #11
Debbie Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty, Your Clarksville Real Estate Professional - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

We assume the consumers know our jargon and they don't. They do not know how all this works.

Jun 20, 2017 06:48 PM #12
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Gabe Sanders

Stuart Florida Real Estate
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