Two major websites, MLS.com and Realtor.com, contain nationwide databases for properties on the multiple listing service. More than 800 MLS systems exist throughout the United States to serve real estate professionals, sellers and buyers who search for properties.
As of 2015, users search MLS.com by inputting city, state, ZIP code or county information. Individuals can view listings in an individual state and geographical area by clicking in a map on the MLS.com home page. The service describes itself as a free search to find properties for sale from realtors and via local multiple listing services.
Realtor.com updates its website every 15 minutes, and the search reflects homes for sale, recently sold or not for sale. Individuals search by address, city, ZIP code, neighborhood or MLS number. Search limiters include price ranges, number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms. Realtor.com states that its search engine examines more than 800 MLS systems in America.
A multiple listing service represents a collaborative effort among real estate agents and large companies to share data regarding properties for sale, explains the National Association of Realtors. Most brokers provide publicly available information on MLS properties free of charge to give easier access to buying agents, selling agents and consumers.
MLS traces its origins to the late 1800s when real estate brokers met at offices of their local associations to discuss properties for sale, according to the National Association of Realtors. Brokers who helped another with a sale received compensation for their assistance.