A multiple listing service (MLS) is a collection of private databases used by real estate brokers who agree to share their listing agreements with one another to locate ready, willing and able buyers for properties more quickly than they could on their own.
So what advantages does a multiple listing service offer to you, the consumer? As a seller, you can expose your property to thousands of potential buyers you would otherwise never reach. As a buyer, you enjoy the benefit of instant access to listings that match specified criteria, beyond price range and location. Maybe you want to see homes with a big yard, a garage and a lake view, or homes in a certain school district or close to public transportation. Many multiple listing service sites can also tell you how much you should expect to pay in real estate taxes, mortgage payments, and utilities on a particular property. This service has saved everyone involved in real estate transactions — buyers, sellers and their agents — time and legwork in sorting through the millions of properties on the market.
For more than five decades, the broker-controlled MLS® system has been the primary marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of real estate in the United States.