Multiple Listing Real Estate

If you've heard the term ‘multiple listing real estate’ but you’re not sure what it means, read on! We've put together a brief guide to the Multiple Listing Service that’s used by real estate agents in Canada, explaining what it is, what it does, and why it’s so important for the buying and selling of real estate here in Oakville.

The Multiple Listing Service

Often known by its initials, MLS, the Multiple Listing Service is used in both the United States and Canada as a way of sharing information about homes, land, and commercial properties that are listed for sale. The idea is that every realtor across Canada has access to listing information and they can use that to serve their clients in buying and selling homes.

The first MLS system was reportedly developed in the late 1880s in the US. According to the US National Association of Realtors, agents would often gather together to share information about the properties they were trying to sell. They agreed that, should another agent help them sell a home, they would compensate them with some of their commission. And this is essentially how it still works today: agents help each other in selling homes and they get a cut of the commission.

When a home is listed on MLS the listing agent or broker will advertise the rate of commission that they have agreed on with their client, the seller. It will also describe how the commission will be split with a buyer’s agent. So, if you’re looking to buy a home and you have a buyer’s agent working for you they can check through the multiple listing real estate database for properties that meet your criteria. Among all the other very detailed information that the agent has access to on MLS, it will tell them the commission rate they would get should they bring a buyer who purchases the home.

How Does Multiple Listing Real Estate Help You?

So it sounds as though the MLS is great for realtors to check what they’ll earn from a sale, but how does it help buyers and sellers? Well, obviously each buyer’s agent and seller’s agent has an incentive to either find you a home, or sell your home, and the commission they receive is payment for their time and the professional services they provide.

If you’re trying to sell a home then the best place for it to be listed is on the multiple listing real estate database, and, by the way, only licensed real estate agents i.e. those who are members of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), are allowed to list your property on MLS. So be sure that you are working with a CREA member when you’re buying or selling a home. There are some 98,000 CREA members across Canada so that’s a lot of agents who have access to the details of your home.

Then there are all the home buyers across the country, and even around the world, who may not be specifically working with an agent but they can still see multiple listing real estate on the publicly accessible MLS website, The public can see limited details of each property and can the contact the listing agent, or choose a buyer’s agent they would like to work with for more information.

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