What is the MLS and why should you care

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June 10, 2020
houses off the mls in nyc

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, you may have come across the MLS. So what is it and how does it affect your home selling and buying?

The MLS is short for “Multiple Listing Service” and is a technology used to share information about properties to brokers. This service allows brokers to share information about a property they are trying to sell and get help selling their inventory from other brokers for compensation.

Currently there are about 600-700 MLS systems in the United States that represent various areas. This number constantly changes as new MLS forms or multiple MLS merges to form a new, larger system.

So who owns the MLS and why is this tool so important to real estate? Of the hundreds of MLS systems in the U.S., the majority are owned by an Association of Realtors and a smaller amount are owned by an association of larger brokers. These services are important to real estate  because it helps to balance out the playing field between smaller broker firms and larger one.

This is because both firms, no matter the size, have equal access to the pool of listings on the MLS and have equal opportunity to serve buyers and sellers. Sellers and buyers also benefit from the MLS because for sellers, it increases the exposure to their available property and for buyers, they are able to get information about all MLS-listed properties by working with a single broker.

what is the mls in real estate
890 West End Avenue, #7A Upper West Side, New York

Who has access to the MLS?

Since MLS is a great resource for those wanting to buy or sell property, who has access to it and it is readily available for the public? While real estate information and available properties can be easily found and searched for on the internet through individual broker’s websites, the MLS are made of private databases. This means access to the database requires you to have a real estate license and a paying membership. The membership price varies depending on the MLS and can range from $20-$50 a month. 

While the MLS isn’t available for the public, there are a few public MLS sites that publish listings openly. However, the data provided does not include all the information on the MLS, but a great starting point if you’re researching property. Additionally, there are many individual broker websites and other real estate companies that republish listings directly from MLS.

If you’re not looking to access the MLS, but to sell a property, you may be wondering if there’s a feel to list on their database. The short answer is yes, you do have to pay a fee for a MLS listing. However, the fee can vary depending on if you choose to sell your house yourself or hire a real estate agent to do it for you. If you choose to sell on your own, you would pay a broker a “flat fee” MLS listing where they just list your property for you. If you want to hire a real estate agent to handle the sale of your property, you would pay a “full service” listing. 

What does the MLS stand for?
58 Metropolitan Avenue, #PHD Williamsburg, New York

MLS for real estate

If access to the MLS requires a membership and working with a broker, you may be wondering why you should use the MLS. Those who are apartment hunting in NYC know how expensive it can be just to purchase property. Hiring a broker and paying a broker’s fee is an added expense some can’t afford or would prefer to avoid. So is it possible to buy a house without a broker in NYC without using MLS? 

Since there are websites, such as Localize, that republish active MLS listings, it is definitely possible to find a house without directly going onto MLS. If you don’t mind looking through online listings yourself, you’ll still be able to have access to all the available listings in your area even without using a broker.

What Is the Multiple Listing Service
635 West 42 Street, #41E Hell’s Kitchen, New York

Localize vs the MLS

Localize is one website that gets listings directly from the MLS. Although we republish listings directly from them, you may still be wondering if we have the same information as the MLS and which is the better resource for buyers. Listings on the MLS contain information like the address, age, square footage, number of bedrooms, number of baths, upgrades, and school districts. It also provides photos of the home itself along with a link for a virtual tour if it’s available.

Despite many believing data available to the public from these MLS listings are inaccurate, Localize not only provides buyers with all the information MLS does for their listings, but even more. We don’t just provide the specifics on the home and school districts, but also have more in-depth insights for all NYC listings. This includes information on the building such as violations, complaints, and elevator issues. We also have data on the neighborhood which includes crime rate, nearby entertainment, dining, and outdoor establishments, available transportation near the listing, and construction sites nearby.

What would make your next home perfect?
Find it now on Localize ✨

Localize also provides data such as the amount of sunlight an apartment gets, if there is any potential noise from airplanes, clubs, or railroads, and reviews from current tenants of the building. With all these available insights to every listing in New York City on our site, buyers are able to get all the information they need just by clicking on a single listing, without having to do intensive research themselves.

Here are just a few available homes for sale that are found on both the MLS and Localize:

If you’re currently looking to purchase property in NYC, Localize is a great resource for you to easily search through all listings in New York City without having to pay a broker. We do the intensive research for you so you can easily apartment hunt right from the comforts of your own home!

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