Can You Live Without the MLS?

by Amber Statler-Matthews


The short answer to the question posed in our headline: no.

All agents must be a member of the MLS in order to have access, and its membership is pricey. However, most agents believe it’s worth it, because we’re not quite at the point where agents can do sufficient business based only on syndication sites and other marketing measures.

“Despite the fact that some homes are selling for over asking price in a very brief period of time, this does not apply to every listing and every location,” says Kathleen Malone, an agent with Related Realty. “The MLS is both a great tool for marketing and finding properties, but also a tremendous resource for market data, which is essential and hugely beneficial to my business.”

If the MLS were to have less participation at this point, agents would lose accuracy in broker metric tools, comparative analysis tools and other statistical and informative tools that would help them read the market data and help them in their businesses.

“The MLS provides an unbelievable amount of research that we provide to our clients,” explains Kati Spaniak, a broker with @properties. “Without the MLS, the real estate industry and the consumer would suffer, because there would not be one central location to find the research about homes. We wouldn’t be able to advise our clients the way we do now about the market.”

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  • Nancy Taylor says:

    The mls puts the rest of the sites to shame. It has correct current data and that is what we need to determine pricing in today’s market. None of the ancillary sites compaire.

  • Jay Thompson says:

    Hi Amber, Jay T from Zillow here. I wanted to point out that the Zestimate is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. Your readers can find more information here as well as view the accuracy for their area: http://www.zillow.com/wikipages/What-is-a-Zestimate/.


    Agents and appraisal work need the M L S it is a major barometer for the Real Estate market .A key tool with off the press current data.
    like Market Stats, sold comps, active etc…..

  • Jim Lee says:

    The MLS is a tool created by Realtors to help us do business. Another question to consider is: “Can the MLS live without Realtors?”. The obvious answer is “No”.
    Happily, neither could Zillow, Trulia, and the other ton of online folks that make a living repackaging our listing to sell back to us in the form of leads and ads to others.
    I can certainly practice real estate without the MLS but the MLS is pretty worthless without me and my listing to populate it.

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