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  • Writer's pictureKira Witherwax

Multiple Listing Service

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

What is an MLS? MLS is an acronym that many people use, but few understand completely. It stands for Multiple Listing Service and there are many throughout the country and across the state, but typically, we refer to "The MLS" because it is the local one to our market. The Multiple Listing Services were created as a comprehensive, equitable, and transparent home information source for real estate professionals and the public.

Originally, a place to find information, now in the age of information overload, it's the place for reliable and vetted information. Realtors® enter the data about the properties their sellers want to sell into existing, consistent fields. By having the same facts about all properties offered for sale through Realtors®, data easily be accessed and compared. Currently, the information in the MLS is then fed out to numerous websites, including Zillow,,, etc. This is where those websites get most of their data from.

A Simple Tool Often Taken For Granted

The MLS has existed long before the internet was available in the palm of your hand. Originally, it was a book, each member office had their own identical book that was updated weekly with any new listings, photos, price changes, etc. Can you imagine being a buyer in today's market and waiting not minutes, but days to see what new properties were available? But it worked because all consumers had access to the same data in the same time frame. It gave consumers a place to compare apples to apples; and with technology and the internet, it now allows for an incredible amount of information. All entered in such a way that allow agents and consumers to search and compare properties in countless ways.

Honestly, we now take it for granted most of the time; but I'm quickly reminded of its value when I have someone asking about finding an apartment. If you've looked for an apartment to rent in the North Country recently, you know that it becomes quite the frustrating endeavor almost immediately. There is no central place to find what is available, when it's available, how many bedrooms there are, how much the rent is, what is included, what the rules are, can the landlord legally even do that? Etc. So consumers are left trying to search Facvebook, Craigslist, the newspaper and asking their unqualified second cousin. Can you imagine how much less stressful this process would be if you had access to clear, transparent information and agent representing your interests, guiding you through the proce4ss (not just going from landlord to landlord). The beauty of having a buyers' agent when you are searching for a home is that you have representation and they have a fiduciary responsibility to put your needs first. They have navigated the process of home buying many times and can help you with where to start, what to expect, what questions to ask (and of whom), how to avoid pitfalls, etc.

If you're a seller and your neighbor sold in 2021 with six total offers all above asking price, don't take their advice and apply it to your situation today. Ask your listing agent, what is selling currently, what's pending and what else is out their available that you'll be competing against. If you get multiple offers, listen to the council of your agent. Depending on your property, the market and how good the offers are, the wise choice may be to negotiate or accept the best offer you have. I've seen multiple times where buyers backed out all together when they were told they were in competition and the sellers were asking for their best and final offers, leaving the seller with zero offers.

A Foothold of Information Clarity

Through the clear cooperation of the MLS, buyers can have representation in one of the most complex and consequential financial transactions of their lives and often without having to pay upfront for these services. Without this, many buyers would not be able to afford to hire their own representation and would certainly be at a disadvantage.

While it's obviously incredibly useful for buyers and their agents to get accurate and up to date information about what is available, it is also fantastic for sellers. When their house gets listed in the local MLS, hundreds to thousands of buyers and their agents immediately know it's for sale and have access to all of the data it has to offer. This creates good competition for your property. Having the most possible buyers know that your home is for sale with a clear way for them to view and make an offer, is the best way for to get the highest price and the best terms for a seller. What an incredible service to have all in the palm of our hands

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