Real Estate Insider Secret #1
“The Multiple Listing Service: Not just One, But MANY”
By CJ Holmes, California Real Estate Broker
The belief that there is only one Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is one of this country’s biggest real estate myths. There are actually 83 MLSs in California and dozens more in every state. Very few people outside the industry know this and most agents don’t want their clients to know about it. Why? Because then they would lose their clients to another agent who won’t keep the secret because of commitment to providing better representation. Such representation (or its lack) underscores how ethical and successful an agent is.
The “Multiple Listing Service” is a computerized database of properties listed for sale to which only agents and brokers have access. It is designed to allow them to see all the properties for sale so they may help their buyers purchase any property, no matter who listed it.
The idea of an MLS sounds great, doesn’t it? But here’s the catch: no single MLS in the state has all the listings. The MLS’ are typically by county or region within a county. And each MLS has its own monthly fees for agent access.
Imagine what it would cost an agent to belong to all 83 MLSs or the dozens of MLSs in any state. The total access fees would be thousands of dollars a month, in addition to paying each of the MLS’s a one-time non-refundable initiation fee.
So here’s how this secret hurts Sellers:
- The Seller walks into a local real estate office and says, “I’d like to list my property for sale.” The agent says, “No problem. I’ll put it on the MLS” (implying there is only one MLS). Then the agent lists the property in the MLS the agent belongs to – NOT necessarily the MLS where the property exists. So now agents local to the property can’t see the listing and don’t even know it’s for sale. That leaves the Seller wondering where all the buyers are.
Real estate agents who understand this join multiple MLS’s, and then double or triple enter Seller listings in the MLSs that make sense for that particular property. This definitely gives the Seller an advantage over an agent that doesn’t do this. However, the time and expense of representing Sellers this way simply prohibits many agents from providing this service, no matter how much they may want to.
Here’s how this secret hurts Buyers:
- Buyers think that all the property they are interested in will be on the local MLS. But it’s not. And unless the Buyer’s agent belongs to and searches many MLS’s, those properties won’t be found. (See the above mentioned Secret Hurts Sellers). Those local properties become invisible to Buyers whose agents don’t realize that there are many MLS, don’t invest in multiple MLS’s, don’t dedicate the time it takes to search several MLSs, aren’t concerned enough to try to provide their Buyers with better representation, or simply don’t have enough resources to do so.
Real Estate agents who can afford to care as much about completing a quality transaction as the Sellers do, understand this, and dedicate the resources, time and energy to enter listings multiple times. Failing to provide Clients with as much as exposure as possible, because it may be too much effort or expense for the agent, definitely leads to poor sales results and lower net proceeds, particularly for the Sellers.
CJ’s expertise helps buyers lock in profits, maximizes sellers’ net proceeds. She works extensively with real estate investors. Her wise guidance literally means more money for her clients, and comes from years of personal investing experience, and hundreds of transactions.