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MLS Listings

MLS listings can accommodate those looking for homes in different locations or price ranges.

First-time home buyers often use MLS listings in their searches. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
First-time home buyers often use MLS listings in their searches.

MLS Listings

MLS listings are active, local Multiple Listing Service databases of homes for sale. The listings are created by brokers and real estate agents who put available property in their area on the market. The MLS databases hold basic information such as property location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and price. They also list class, such as single-family, multiple family, condominium, mobile home, foreclosed property, or just empty lots; lot size in square feet or acres; and building square footage.

Potential homebuyers can search MLS listings for free. According to Flat Fee Listing more than 90 percent of properties sold in the United States come from MLS listings, which are used by local realtors to match buyers with property. Moreover, MLS listed properties sell more quickly and for more money than non-MLS properties. For sale by owner properties can also be listed on MLS. Consult the National Association of Realtors for MLS listings.

MLS ID Number

MLS listings carry an MLS ID number, which is a unique six or seven digit number or alphanumeric number given to properties on the market and used by real estate professionals. Even homes listed in the newspaper or magazines have MLS IDs. The number identifies which local real estate database the house is listed under so it can be found by home buyers and agents.

MLS databases allow the homebuyer to search through hundreds of properties either by location, description, or MLS ID. Once the homebuyer has selected a house or houses that appeal to him, he can contact a local realtor for more information and set up a meeting to visit the property. Many open houses on new properties are also listed in the MLS.

Listings are typically updated every 15 minutes with new listings, sold or pending notifications on already listed homes, and property that is no longer active or removed from the market for various reasons.

Demographics

Most large cities and communities have their own MLS listing for their region. Online searches can be performed for an MLS listing in any state or city. When a person types in a city he or she is interested in searching, the site will offer nearby cities of possible interest also. At some online sites, such as MLS Online.com and MLS.com people can search for nationally listed property anywhere in the United States. Be aware that some MLS online databases will require users to register and provide personal information that may be shared with third-party merchants.

MLS listings also contain demographics of the regions they cover. Information includes median age of the residents, average per capita income, total population, percentage of children, percentage of seniors, housing value price range, house classes, dates houses were built, percentage of education levels attained and percent of population working.

MLS listings include information on new construction, bank-owned homes, foreclosed homes, homes for sale by owner and median home prices. They may also offer real estate news, frequently asked questions, glossary of real estate terms, mortgage information and a mortgage calculator.

Listing a House on MLS

People who want to sell their home must have a licensed real estate broker or realtor who belongs to the MLS list the house for them. The broker pays dues and fees to be able to list the property. The seller's cost to have the property listed on MLS is typically six percent of the property's selling price which is paid back to the broker or realtor who listed it. All meetings to view the house and sell it are done through the agent. Sellers can shop around online and find Web sites that offer a smaller percentage of the homes selling price or a flat listing fee of $300 or more.

According to Free MLS Listing, it is rare for the agent who listed a seller's house to actually bring in a buyer using the MLS listing. This is because many other agents and realtors are browsing the MLS listings looking for houses for their clients. Or the seller may sell his house to a friend, neighbor, or relative he negotiated with himself without the use of an agent. Sellers who do sell through a buyer's agent may also have to pay the agent two to three percent of the selling price, on top of the six percent it cost to list the house on MLS. Sellers should do all the necessary mathematical calculations before preparing to sell their house.

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