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The MLS System: How it Works

mls system

Most Illinois real estate agents are members of an MLS system, or “Multiple Listing Service.” Updated daily, this system is used exclusively by agents to look up properties for sale, pending, sold, expired, or withdrawn and to post the properties that they may have for sale. They then subscribe to that data, and send feeds to their website or access it through a personalized portal.

It is estimated that over 80% of listed homes are sold through agents using the MLS system.  When a seller lists their property for sale, they typically agree to a standard brokerage fee to expound their resources to sell the property.  The agent who lists the property for sale and puts the sign in the front yard is called the “listing agent”. This agent typically offers a “fee” to any agent that brings them a buyer.

Normally, another real estate agent, who usually works for an entirely different company finds the property for their buyer via the MLS system.  The agent that has the buyers and sells the property is generally referred to as the “selling agent.”  Even though these two agents work for different companies, they can both use the MLS to the advantage of their esteemed clients.

Typically, if there are two agents, a listing agent and a selling agent, each agent will respectively represent their individual client.  On the other hand, there are certain situations where a listing agent is also the selling agent. This simply means that the person who listed the property for sale is also the person who found the buyer(s) for it.   

You need only one agent for MLS system listings

It may seem obvious, but the biggest reason why you need just one agent is that if your agent is doing the job for you, they will have almost exactly the same information that all of the other agents have because of the MLS system.  It is, therefore, not necessary to call every agent on every sign on every house that is of interest to you, as you drive through all of the neighborhoods in your city. 

Just jot down the address, give it to your agent and he or she will be able to get you all of the information that you need and arrange for you to personally view the inside of the home.  You will soon find that calling just one number is much better than trying to get in touch with several different, busy, on the go agents.

At this point, it is worth addressing the possibility of your finding a property that is not in the MLS system.  A little known fact in this business is that your agent can assist you even if you happen to find a property that is for sale by owner.

For further consideration

To get the most from your relationship, let your agent know that you understand how the system works and let them know that you will be using them exclusively as your resource.  If you don’t feel the comfort level to do this, you may be working with the wrong person.

By understanding the tools that your agent has, you’ll be better positioned to realize the full benefits of what your agent can do for you.  When you use just one agent, you’ll most likely do yourself a great favor and have a smoother time looking for and completing your desired transaction.         

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