What Is MLS?

Anyone interested in the real estate market has heard the term MLS®. But few know exactly what MLS® is, or understand the important role it plays in the real estate industry.

Today, the Multiple Listing Service® or MLS® is a computer based network created by REALTORS® that allows rapid exchange of listing information. It is a 100% based member service and is paid for by the members of local real estate Boards across the Country. MLS® is a trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association and symbolizes cooperation among REALTORS®

The MLS® service used by real estate boards across the Country encourage co-operation between REALTORS®. When a listing is provided to the REALTORS® local real estate board it must meet certain standards that allows for quality information to be distributed quickly and efficiently. Every single  REALTOR® member of the Board or Association has access to the listing information and is able to sell it.

Benefits to Sellers

If you're a seller, listing with a REALTOR® who uses the MLS® services in your local area will mean that you'll get maximum exposure to REALTORS® representing Buyers who are actively looking for homes in your area. Thanks to the local MLS® network, properties listed in the local MLS® system do receive the maximum amount of exposure to REALTORS® and the clients they represent who are actively looking for properties in your area. The local Associations/Boards, being members of the Canadian Real Estate Association, forward their MLS® data to CREA for distribution on the CREA national consumer site "realtor.ca" It is possible for you to be listed on CREA's consumer MLS® website yet be completely unseen by the local REALTORS® selling homes in your area. Real Estate Brokerages that are not located in your area may post your listing with their Association/Board as an "out of town" listing and are not obligated to list it on the Board that represents your area, thus, it doesn't appear when local REALTORS® search the local Board/Associations database for properties.

Benefits to Buyers

The Real Estate Association in your area provides their members with a searchable data base of MLS® properties processed through that particular Association. The member REALTOR® enters specific criteria to find properties to fill specific clients needs. When listings are entered into this MLS® system, it immediately becomes available, not only to the Member, but to any Client that a Member may have set up on the system for automatic alerts.

Canadian Real Estate Association MLS® pool also known as "realtor.ca" and Local MLS®

Even though both systems contain the word "MLS®" , they are two completely different systems and serve two entirely different purposes.

For the most part, the local MLS® system provides local REALTORS® with all of the information necessary to list and sell real estate in their geographical area. All listings in a particular area are well served by being listed on the local MLS® system that serves that area. If the REALTOR® who has taken the listing doesn't happen to be a member of the local Association, access agreements between Boards allow them to submit the listing to the local Board for distribution to their REALTOR® members. It will then be included in all search results local REALTORS® may be performing. It is not general practice for REALTORS® to search CREA's www.realtor.ca for local listing information.

www.realtor.ca is Canada's most popular public real estate website. With over 2 million unique visitors a month, www.realtor.ca is the "go to" place for all things real estate coast to coast.

realtor.ca does not display the same data that the local MLS® systems provide to their REALTOR® members, however, it serves as a great advertising vehicle that assists REALTORS® in marketing the homes they have for sale. New and updated listing information is uploaded by local Boards and Associations to CREA on a daily basis.