How Does MLS Software for Real Estate Professionals Work?


Quick Answer

Multiple listing service software works by providing a shared database of properties that competing real estate brokers can draw from in order to sell their properties. When a real estate broker sells a competitor's property, the competitor pays her a commission on that sale, creating incentive for cooperation.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, more than 800 separate MLS software solutions exist, although the underlying concept of an MLS is not new. The National Association of Realtors considers the first regular meetings between competing real estate brokers, held in the late 19th century in order to consolidate sales, to be a rudimentary form of MLS. Modern MLS software shares enormous amounts of data between users, allowing real estate brokers to actively sell their competitors' properties as if they were their own.

Realtors divide MLS software data into two strict categories: public data and private data. Examples of private data include the contact information of homeowners and times when the home is vacant for showings. This kind of information could endanger homeowners if publicly posted, making strict data regulation necessary.

The National Association of Realtors estimates that more than half of home purchases made as of a 2007 report were made by customers using MLS websites. The organization also states that over two-thirds of its members display their listings on multiple websites.

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