First, let's clarify what the MLS is. The MLS is amultiple listing service (MLS) used by a group of real estate brokers. They band together to create an MLS that allows each of them to see one another's listings of properties for sale. So why is it important to have your home listed in this service? Here are a few very important reasons:
Exposure - On the internet, we have so many ways we can list that our home is for sale with just a few clicks, a picture or two and boom. You can take the time to list in every media outlet possible on your own--or--if you are working with a Realtor, the listing he/she creates in the MLS will automatically show up in every form of public service there is out there. A good Realtor also shares his listings on Social Media. But, even more specifically, your home will be listed on a service that caters to agents all over your area that have clients that are looking for a home just like yours to buy! Exposure is only as good as the need is out there and on the MLS, you certainly get more bang for your buck.
Specific Details - In the MLS, there are certain regulations an agent needs to follow when they enter a listing. On a national website, there aren't any such regulations and therefore the information can be very outdated and even wrong. Also, the MLS must state if a home is active or pending or sold, whereas a national service might have a home on their site that sold months ago. Nothing like getting your hopes up to see a certain house only to find it's not even for sale!
Experts Only - The MLS is used and run by local real estate experts so they are the people who maintain the listings and share the listings. If you are an expert, and work with sellers and buyers every day, you will know the things that they are looking for when they are searching for a home, or what details they want shared about their home online. There is always a cost when you use an expert, but just as you wouldn't ask your neighbor to give you a physical exam, you want someone who knows what they are doing handling your biggest investment. What a person may save on the front end listing their property online themselves, they may lose in dollars in their pocket when they don't know what details buyers are looking for, what may turn some buyers off in a picture of your home or what price is the best they list their home for and have it sell in as little time as possible. Also, even if you get lucky and have an offer right away, when you have the MLS involved, an agent will help you with the necessary and legal paperwork that goes with selling your home. He/She will fight for you when something goes crazy and you will be given expert advice every step of the way. Realtors are not lawyers, but, all of their documents have been prepared by lawyers specific to contract and real estate law. Unless you are an expert in that area, you may need some help with all those details as the transaction progresses.
Using a Realtor gives you and your home access to the MLS and all the behind the scene features that go with that as well as all the other details that will protect you and your biggest investment. Make sure you find a Realtor that is right for you, so you can maximize the exposure you need to have your home sold or so that you can find your dream home as well! --Jen Lush