Article taken from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board
What is MLS®?
The Multiple Listing Service® is a co-operative marketing system that maximizes exposure of properties for sale. It is a central registry of properties used by REALTORS® to match buyers with properties for sale. Most homes sold in Canada are sold via the MLS® systems operated by real estate boards across the country.
The MLS® system includes a sophisticated computer database of properties indexed by price, location, type of home, number of bedrooms, amenities and so forth.
The VIREB MLS® maintains information on between 4800-7000 active listings of property for sale on the Island, and typically receives 77 new listings every day. Listings range from undeveloped lots to business opportunities or special properties. Listings are updated throughout the day.
Why does it work?
The strength of the MLS® system rests in the quality and accuracy of the information. Government, economists, financial institutions, appraisers and others all rely on MLS® data. This is because REALTORS® who submit the listing information, and MLS® staff at real estate boards who conduct quality control, are trained and educated in the complexities of real estate.
REALTORS® know how to describe a property accurately and what information must be disclosed in an MLS® listing. For instance, if there is a restriction on the use of a property, something called an easement, this information must appear in the MLS® listing.
Also, the MLS® connects buyers and sellers. If the MLS® system did not exist, sellers would have to choose an individual real estate brokerage to list their home and only that brokerage would have the information about it and the ability to show and sell it. If the MLS® system did not exist, buyers would have to go from REALTOR® to REALTOR® to view the listings of each individual brokerage.
Many alternate systems and services exist to buy and sell homes and they all compete for customers. The MLS® is the REALTOR® option.
How does MLS® benefit consumers?
A large part of the REALTORS® job lies in finding properties that meet a buyer's needs. Using the MLS®, a REALTOR® can search the database for homes that suit budgets, location preferences and family requirements, and quickly put together a short list of suitable homes. This way a buyer can decide what home they want to see, what their options are and what types of properties the market has to offer.
For sellers, the MLS®, matches your property with as many qualified, motivated buyers as possible. The MLS® exposes your property to people most likely to purchase it and makes sure you won't waste your time showing your home to those who are not truly interested. When you make the decision to sell ensure you ask your REALTOR® about an MLS® listing. The MLS® will ensure wide exposure of your home to a broad range of interested people.
What about REALTOR.ca?
The public website www.realtor.ca is not the MLS® system. Local MLS® systems are owned and operated by local real estate boards, for use by REALTORS®. Realtor.ca is an advertising vehicle that gives consumers direct access to information about MLS® listings. The website is provided by REALTORS® across Canada to help market properties on behalf of their clients. The home listing information on www.realtor.ca streams from the MLS® but does not contain the full collection of information on the system.