Residential real estate has become incredibly efficient because of the MLS system. The MLS is essentially a highly detailed, highly specific database for local real estate. And unlike a search engine like Google or Yahoo whereby a typical search yields so-so results, some good, some bad, many not relevant, the MLS system allows for extremely targeted searches with only relevant results. A real estate agent searching for Scottsdale, Arizona properties with 4 to 5 bedrooms, priced between $700,000 and $800,000, with a 3 car garage, less than 15 years old, with no pool, will be able to retrieve a list of all such properties within seconds of entering the search criteria. There is no driving around looking for signs, no looking up ownership information at the court house, no cold calling, no mailing, no thumbing through books of information, and no sorting through irrelevant or unfiltered results. The MLS system is remarkable and has made buying and selling properties extremely efficient, whether it is a large market like Los Angeles, California, or a smaller market like Las Cruces, New Mexico.
In today’s Internet age, some would compare not being on the MLS to running a web-based business that was invisible to the search engines. While you could promote your company with flyers or newspaper advertisements or even with a sign on the side of your office building, at the end of the day you would still miss out on the vast majority of online shoppers. As an added bonus to the actual MLS, all listed properties areflat fee MLS listing automatically fed into national websites such as Realtor.com as well as hundreds of other local and regional websites which pull a portion of the MLS data into their property search function. Again, it is an extremely powerful means of marketing a property that someone without an MLS listing would miss out on.
Many cost-conscious sellers realize the power of the MLS, but either do not want to pay or simply cannot afford to pay the steep commissions that are involved in listing with a traditional real estate company. Fortunately, these sellers now have an option due to the emergence of flat fee listing companies which list properties in the MLS for a small pre-paid fee with no commission charged at closing. While these firms charge nothing on the ‘back-end’ or at closing, they still offer sellers the option to offer a co-broke or co-op commission to a buyer’s agent that brings a client who ends up buying the property. That way, a buyer’s agent who is pulling home listings to show their buyer can confidently present them and show them a property knowing that they are protected when it comes to earning a commission. At the same time, buyers looking for themselves without an agent can still approach the seller directly