Without the Hype: Why is the MLS truly Important
First, MLS stands for "Multiple Listing Service." Before the web, not everyone knew that.
Now, most people do.
Imagine you are selling your home by yourself, and that all you have to do is find a buyer. You don't have to figure out the price, or hope you get a fair offer, and there are no disclosures or paperwork and and you don't have to answer the phone or be there to show the property and you don't have to worry about getting sued and et cetera, ad infinitum...
Assume the actual sale is easy.
All you have is advertise in a way that gets someone to answer your ad.
And of course, they make an offer.
How long do you run the ad?
Let's say you run it for a month.
How many people are you going to reach with that ad?
The first weekend day, you reach a few. Some will call. About eight. Maybe. Since you described the property accurately, maybe a couple will come to see the house.
The second day, no one calls.
Nor on the third day.
This is a true typical example, believe it or not. After the third day, maybe a call trickles in every once in a while. Maybe not.
Because (pretty much) the same people are looking at the ads every weekend. They've already seen your ad.
That's how it works.
You need to run a new ad, and running ads starts to get expensive.
So why is the MLS different?
It's a multiplier.
All the companies, brokerages, teams and lots of their agents are running ads all the time. The ads are not for your house, but appear in the BIG newspapers, the small local newspapers, the Penny Saver, the magazines you pick up at the grocery store. They have ads on television, on the radio and on the Internet. The newspapers repeat the ads on the internet. Agents all over the web have ads on their web sites. They send cards out to houses by mail, they drop flyers off on doorsteps, and sometimes...
...people call or send emails. Maybe 8 people call on an ad, maybe not that many, but LOTS of people are calling LOTS of agents on LOTS of homes.
And sometimes they like the agent they talk to and they say, "Show me that property."
But hardly anyone buys the house in the ad.
Do the agents show them just that one house?
No. They don't.
The agents find out what the folks are looking for, and they show them those other properties, too.
Where do the agents find these other homes for sale? Not in ads. They find them in their computer. In the MLS.
And if the buyers don't find a property that first day, the agent looks in the MLS for more homes to show them next time.
The MLS puts an army of local agents all to work. They're all running ads for houses.
Not YOUR house, but...
Any one of them could sell your house to their buyers. In essence, all those agents are working for you.
That's the value of the MLS.