Everything You Need To Know About MLS Listings

MLS Listings

Published on May 4th, 2022

Stepping into the world of real estate can be a major reality check. Whether you’re buying or selling, prepare to encounter a lot of new rules, laws, practices, and terms.

Entire courses are dedicated to learning the ropes of real estate, but we’re focusing on a key term in today’s article: the MLS. This is a concept you’ll encounter early and often in your real estate journey, especially if you’re looking to sell your home.

Let’s learn all there is to know about MLS listings so that you can enter the marketplace with confidence – and avoid some of the common traps that cause sellers to lose precious time and money.

What Does MLS Mean?

MLS is an acronym that stands for Multiple Listing Service, which refers to a database of information about properties for sale in a particular region or category.

These databases can be small or large, broad in scope, or highly specific based on the needs and preferences of a buyer or seller. With nearly 1,000 separate MLS systems in the United States alone, there is a lot of ground to cover when selling your home in the digital age.

The idea of the MLS began long before the internet, however. The first paper-based MLS systems were established in the late 1800s when regional brokers would aggregate data about properties for sale and streamline the selling process for clients.

Now, these systems are highly organised and specialised, with all the 21st-century conveniences and quality-of-life upgrades you’d expect from the latest database tech.

MLS Advantages And Drawbacks

The benefits of an MLS system should be apparent to anyone who understands the complexities of the real estate field. The time and effort saved by posting to an MLS – rather than dozens or even hundreds of individual boards – cannot be overlooked.

After all, real estate is resource-heavy and requires a smart allocation of time and energy. If you and your team are able to accelerate or simplify the listing process in any way, that’s a win.

Other parties (brokers and buyers) benefit from the use of MLS services as well. They are able to more easily sort through properties based on targeted terms and parameters that would otherwise require manual sorting and scrolling for days.

In short, MLS systems make things faster, easier, and minimize stress for everyone involved. When homebuyers and sellers are connected through the power of tech, everything happens more smoothly.

There are some drawbacks to these MLS networks, however. They are reserved specifically for licensed agents and brokers, making them more difficult to access for everyday individuals looking to buy or sell.

Here’s the good news: this issue can be solved by using a dedicated listing service that gives independent sellers an advantage in the marketplace. Check out these HomeLister reviews to see what’s possible.

What’s Included In An MLS Listing?

A lot of details are packed into a small space on a typical MLS listing. The following components can be found on most MLS pages, so have these on hand when preparing your post with an agent or service.

Info On Properties

Brokers and agents want all the key details about a property from the jump. This will include location, square footage, number of beds and baths, HVAC info, and anything else that allows for sorting in the context of a huge MLS database.

Think of this info as the “baseline stats” for a property, as they are the required minimum for admission onto most MLS networks. With this information in place, the MLS will create a unique serial number for a property and distribute it accordingly.


An MLS is not a marketing-heavy system like many modern real estate sites. However, sellers will want to include a small description showcasing standout features of a home that will attract agents passing by.

These are features that may not be successfully communicated through the basic data points. If a home has a garden, a pool, or entertainment features, these are certainly worth a mention in the description.


Most MLS networks allow photos to be uploaded but don’t offer the extensive or intuitive galleries that homebuyers might expect.

Again, the point of an MLS is high-level searches and not on-the-ground details. Professional photos should always be readily available upon request from sellers, in any case.

Documents For Brokers

Real estate professionals are often interested in viewing documents like seller’s disclosures that give them more insight into the properties and the details that surround them.

MLS listings often contain links to these documents, or at least offer a way to get in touch with the agents or brokers who have the relevant data on hand. As a seller, these documents may not be easy to organize, track, or maintain, which is why extra assistance is always welcome in this process.

Ways To Use An MLS System

As mentioned, an MLS is not available for direct access and use by the public.

This means that sellers need to use a proxy to reap the benefits of an MLS. Here are the two main ways to do it.

Work With A Broker

Teaming up with a licensed broker is how people have been selling their homes for centuries, and these professionals have access and knowledge within the MLS landscape.

The downside here is cost, however, since brokers are often demanding with their fees and will tend to take a significant chunk of your home’s equity upon completion of the sale.

Home Listing Services

If working with a broker sounds like an uneven deal, consider using a home listing service that keeps the power in your hands as a seller. This way, you pay only for the services you want, with flat fees, and know exactly what the bill will be.

With everything happening online, the need for a traditional broker simply isn’t as strong.

Get More Out Of Your MLS Listing

You can see how powerful an MLS listing can be, particularly in the early stages of the selling process. Use these MLS networks to your advantage and keep more of your money with services that handle the heavy lifting.

Image Source: Flickr colleen-lane