The Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
What is the MLS, and how does it work for you? The MLS is a database of properties currently on the market in the area. Brokers participating in the MLS (which includes virtually all Brokers in the area) list all the homes they have for sale and agree to share in the sales commission of the properties. This means that if you list your property on the MLS for you, but another agent finds a buyer for your house, that other broker or agent is entitled to part of the commission. This broker is called the cooperating or selling broker. The big advantage to you, as the seller, is that every single broker and agent participating in the MLS has an incentive to sell your home. This effectively puts every agent in the area to work selling your home! The first place a buyer's agent looks is always the MLS. There is simply no better way to gain instant and widespread exposure for your home than listing it on the MLS.
MLS placement automatically puts your home on the nation's largest and most popular web site for home searching, Realtor.com and on AOL, Boston.com, Yahoo, Wall Street Journal, Earthlink, Netscape, MonsterMoving, Homes.com, Realestate.com, and more. Let your local Realtors know your home is for sale.
Although a property needs to be listed in the MLS to be on Realtor.com they are two separate real estate portals. Consumers tend to search on Realtor.com and in which case the buyer would then be put directly in touch with your listing agent or directly with you if you have an "entry only" listing. Feel free to call us for more information.
Your listing on MLS will drive traffic to real estate agents who have buyers for your property.
MLS Listing Commissions
One of the many myths in real estate is that fees are set by local boards of Realtors or the large real estate firms. Just the opposite is true.... fees are negotiable and we can expect to see many more fee-based services in the future as part of alternative real estate service options such as ListForLess.com.
'Co-broke' is the term used to describe a very common practice in the business where two agents share credit and commissions in the sale of a home. It is estimated that between 75-80% of homes sold today are done by 'co-brokes'.
Homes are placed in the MLS by "listing agents", some of whom specialize in just listing and depend on the other agents to find the buyers for their homes, cooperating with those agents for the benefit of the seller. The agents who sell the listings are known as 'buyer's agents' or 'sub-agents', or sometimes they are simply non-agents or facilitators because they do not represent either the buyer or seller in the transaction.
When a listing is placed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) a cooperating fee (co-broke fee) is offered to buyer's agents and/or sub-agents and/or non-agents. The listing agent and the selling agent generally have to split their fee with the agency so it is not uncommon for the total brokerage fees to be split four ways. The main exception to this model is the so-called 100% firms, like RE/MAX, Keller Williams and Realty Executives. These companies generally charge their agents desk fees instead of splitting commissions.
The basic office structure of the majority of practitioners in the industry is as follows:
Licensed real estate agents and brokers, members of the trade organization the National Association of REALTORS and members of Multiple Listing Services (MLS), work as independent contractors in an agency. They subscribe to a Code of Ethics and work in a cooperative fashion to promote home sales and help buyers find new homes.
The agency is headed by a broker, licensed by the state to conduct business. Sales associates can be agents or brokers. Although brokers can open their own office, many choose to work as agents under another broker's license.
Make sure your home is easy to show!
To get your home sold quickly, it’s important that real estate agents in the area show it to as many potential buyers as possible. That's why it's smart to get it in the MLS.
The first thing a good agent will do when working with buyers is talk to the buyer and learn what kind of home they are looking for. Then the agent will search all the available homes for those most closely matching what the buyer wants. Next, the agent puts together a list of the best matches to go show to the buyer. When a busy agent is compiling a list of homes to show a buyer, the agent will naturally tend to show those houses that are easiest to gain access to first.
Many homes on the market have “lock boxes” on them. The lock box is a device which holds a key to the home, that only qualified local agents can access. Homes with lock boxes will get shown more often by real estate agents than other homes. If at all possible, you should put a lock box on your home for easier showing for real estate agents. Obviously, you don't want to give out lock box information to a buyer who is not accompanied by a Realtor.