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What Is The MLS?

  • The MLS is NOT one big database of all properties.
  • Each MLS covers a specific geographic area. Some MLS databases overlap areas.
  • Some REALTOR® boards share data or "reciprocate" with each other.
  • Sellers need to be listed in an appropriate local board where MLS data will be seen by the local REALTORS® in that area. For example, it would do a seller in Miami little good to be listed in the Jacksonville area MLS.
  • Realtor.com, unlike the MLS, is one big database of properties—not only for a particular state or region, but for the entire US. Data on Realtor.com comes directly from all of the MLS databases. It is not as extensive as what the REALTORS® see but it does give buyers a way to view limited MLS data.

The MLS is a proprietary electronic database that contains every residential home, vacant land and commercial property listed by REALTORS® for sale or lease within a geographical area.

Created by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the MLS is the most widely used source of properties for sale by REALTORS® in the United States. The MLS combines all REALTOR®-listed properties in one database within a large geographic area. For example, there are dozens of different MLS systems throughout Florida. REALTORS® are members of a local Board and pay an annual fee which allows them to access their local MLS.

The MLS contains detailed information on the properties it lists, records of all recent closed sales and their sales prices as well as property tax information. With this information, REALTORS® are able to generate comparable analyses of properties and custom searches by any criteria. The MLS also provides a platform for REALTORS® to state the listed properties' commission participation to other REALTORS®. This is why you do not typically see For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) properties listed in the MLS .

Additionally, many REALTORS® do not approach FSBOs because there is no stated commission agreement. Our flat fee listing programs bridge that gap between REALTORS® and FSBOs by offering a way for sellers to list in the MLS and still maintain control. Sellers gain the same exposure that REALTOR® listed properties enjoy without having to pay a Full Service listing commission. Instead, sellers pay a low flat fee up front to list in the MLS and then offer buyers' agents a commission to bring a buyer. (This commission is determined by the seller).