For most individuals, purchasing a home is the largest financial transaction they will make in their lifetime. It is crucial homebuyers work with the right real estate professional and have access to all the necessary information throughout the decision-making process.
The multiple listing service (MLS) plays an essential role in helping real estate brokers and agents provide clients with a quality experience that makes homeownership a reality.
In the United States, the MLS is a broker cooperative that gives consumers an efficient experience while ensuring a competitive and orderly marketplace among brokers.
Metro MLS in Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s largest MLS, serving more than 9,000 real estate professionals. It provides valuable resources and information that positively impact brokers, agents and consumers.
“The MLS starts at the local level,” Metro MLS CEO Chris Carrillo said. “It is those local MLSs that make up the MLS system and maintain an orderly marketplace. The MLS is truly an asset and positive in our real estate industry, and it ultimately benefits consumers.”
The MLS, in one form or another, started in the nineteenth century. In the late 1800s, real estate brokers gathered at local association offices to share information on properties they were trying to sell. According to the National Association of Realtors, they agreed to compensate one another if they helped sell those properties.
These events started what we now know as the MLS. Today, the MLS ensures cooperation and compensation in the marketplace. It creates transparency and efficiency in the market and promotes fair housing, competition and a pro-consumer model for buyers and sellers.
The MLS also forms a single-entry point for real estate agents to share listing information with competitors and consumers. This creates a unified marketplace with accurate data while providing maximum visibility for listings, as the MLS is the largest database of available homes.
Public records, including information on neighborhoods and school districts, also are available through the MLS. The data is consistently updated, allowing agents to present clients with accurate information to make informed decisions.
The U.S. is unique with its MLS model. In countries that do not have a similar system, there are typically just a few large brokerages, creating less competition in the marketplace. A non-MLS model eliminates small business brokerages, gives buyers fewer housing options and limits a house’s exposure for sellers.
“Without the MLS, available properties would not have the publicity they do,” Carrillo said. “Third-party websites, like Realtor.com, would likely not exist, and consumers would not have the number of housing options they do right now.”
Metro MLS, which started in 1962, offers the most property listings in Wisconsin. Members have access to accurate data, industry-leading services and cost-effective resources that help them succeed in the Wisconsin real estate industry.
Metro MLS establishes fairness and an equal opportunity for all consumers while setting rules for brokers and agents to ensure they compete in a unified fashion. It also supports various brokerage and commission models, giving consumers options when selecting a real estate professional.
The resources, services and rules directly impact consumers. Buyers receive better access to homeownership while a seller’s property receives higher visibility that translates to more potential buyers.
“Metro MLS takes pride in ensuring transparency in the marketplace,” Carrillo said. “It leads to competition and fairness among agents and consumers. It also allows consumers to have options and make the most informed decisions throughout the buying and selling process.”