The role of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)
What is the MLS, and how does it work for me?
The MLS is a database of properties currently on the market in the our mountain areas of Watauga County, Avery County, and Ashe County, North Carolina, as well as adjoining counties in Tennessee.
Brokers participating in the MLS – which includes most brokers in our area – will list all the properties on this data-sharing service which they have for sale, thereby agreeing to share in the sales commission of the properties with other agents.
Property details are offered in standardized formats which are familiar to all agents participating in our local MLS.
How and when are listings posted in MLS?
Most agents upload information about their listings or download new listings every day. Property information sheets can be e-mailed to buyers at any time.
Agents can also choose to pay for an integration service called IDX, which places some data about all listings in our local MLS onto an agent's or company's website. All listings also go to a national REALTOR-affiliated website; the general public can also search through property databases that way.
Do buyers really use MLS to find houses these days?
Yes, they do!
The internet gives local property national exposure. MLS provides comprehensive data that websites such as Zillow or Trulia might not even have or feature on listing pages. Even if an agent does not have their own website, if they post property on the MLS, those properties have a chance to be seen by anyone with a smartphone or computer 24/7. I have even seen funny or MLS listings from other parts of the country go "viral" just for the sake of entertainment.
On the business side, I have also gotten calls from California and Michigan the day after my new listings came out in our local MLS.
No matter where they are, buyers are online looking for property in their chosen locations. When a property comes out in MLS locally, it goes national.
What happens when you list my property on MLS?
The first place a buyer's agent looks is always the MLS database. When they are searching for a home to meet the needs of a buyer, they will base their search on the buyer's criteria for price range and features.
As your agent, the first thing I do is put a comprehensive data sheet together about your property. This is what gets listed on MLS.
I will enter all the important information about your home, such as its size, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, detailed specifications, and any special features. My ad copy will be creative and original as I describe the good features about your property. This is where I get to put my former career as a newspaper photographer to work!
I will show your home in its best lighting. Other agents and buyers want to see good pictures and truthful descriptions.
If I list your property on the MLS for you, but another agent in our MLS finds a buyer for your house, that other broker or agent is entitled to part of the commission.
Overall, there is simply no better way to gain instant and widespread exposure for your home than listing it on the MLS.