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Tuesday, July 19, 2005 posted by Tommi Crow

The MLS is a VERY powerful tool for bringing buyers and sellers together. MLS is an easy to use/easy to search collection of all home listings in the country. MLS access delivers gains to all who use it.

The MLS is the engine that drives the residential real estate industry and is responsible for 90% of all housing sales. We have this great tool for creating efficiency. Why block the customer paying for the service from the benefits of access to it??

The MLS collects all home listings for a given region in one place. Having the information in one place, significantly reduces the time buyers, sellers—and their brokers—have to spend gathering crucial, decision-making information. It seems elementary to us that everyone should have and benefit from such a time saving tool. Sadly, brokers view listings as their property, as opposed to seller’s, and believe they should have control over who gets to utilize them.

One break for consumers is forming in the MLS bottleneck, the generation of the flat fee MLS listing broker. Companies such as, with their network of licensed real estate agents, offer to place a sellers listing information on the MLS for under $500. This service offers the potential of large savings for home seller’s willing to do some of the work, such as marketing, showing, negotiation, etc. themselves.

Flat fee access to the MLS is a win-win for everyone. Sellers win because they buy the MLS access crucial to the sale of their home and save money by doing the work. Buyer’s win because the MLS offers more inventory and choices in homes, and less selling fee’s may mean a cheaper price. A buyer’s broker wins because the MLS listing states the seller will pay their commission. The listing broker wins because he is well compensated for simply uploading information to the MLS database. The listing broker also receives the added bonus of developing a relationship with a seller he would not otherwise know.

Win-Win situations in business are rare. Why then are the traditional, big brokerages so adamant that new services such as flat fee listings cease and desist? Do they not believe there is a 6% value in the service they offer? Do they need a reassurance course in Basic Economics 101, which teaches that broader consumer choices lead to increased revenues for those who are forward thinking?

Brokers, you are selling yourselves and your services short. You worth is far more to consumers than your ability to restrict the exchange of beneficial, public information. My advise to you is to relax. It’s only the “change” word that is scary. Most home sellers will never attempt to sell a home by themselves, MLS access or not. And, in the end, if its good for everyone, everyone wins, anyway.