Multiple Listing Service (MLS): Definition, Benefits, and Fees

A Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database of properties for sale or rent access to real estate professionals. Local or regional real estate associations often manage these databases, providing a valuable resource for agents and brokers to list, market, and find properties for their clients. This article will discuss MLS’s definition, benefits, and fees.

MLS Definition

A Multiple Listing Service is a property database accessible to real estate professionals through a membership. The database includes information on properties such as price, location, size, and photos.

The MLS allows real estate agents and brokers to list their properties and search for properties on behalf of their clients. The MLS is a powerful tool for marketing and selling properties, providing a central location for buyers and sellers to find and connect.

MLS Benefits

The MLS provides many benefits for real estate experts. One of the main benefits is the ability to reach a larger audience and increase visibility for their listings.

The MLS also provides members access to a wide range of properties, making finding relevant listings for their clients easier. Additionally, the MLS offers various tools and resources to help members grow their businesses, such as marketing materials, training programs, and industry research.

For example, using tools like the MlsImport plugin, you can import the listings from the MLS database on your website. You can read this article and see how a realtor can do that.

Another critical aspect of the MLS is its commitment to compliance and ethics. The MLS has strict rules and regulations to ensure that transactions are conducted fairly and ethically. Members must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, and the MLS provides compliance.

What Fees Are Associated with the MLS?

Fees associated with the MLS will vary depending on the specific MLS and the membership type. However, here are a few types of costs that may be related to the MLS:

  1. Membership fee: This annual or monthly fee is required to become a member of the MLS.
  2. Listing fee: Some MLSs may charge a fee for each listing that an agent or broker submits to the database.
  3. Transaction fee: Some associations may set a price for each transaction resulting from a listing on the MLS.
  4. Technology fee: Some MLSs may charge a fee for access to specific technology tools, such as a mobile app or a property search engine.
  5. Training fee: They can charge a fee for training or educational opportunities for members.

It’s important to note that the fees associated with the MLS may vary depending on the specific MLS and the membership type. 

Therefore, it’s best to check directly with the association for the most current and accurate MLS access cost information. Additionally, the prices may change over time and depend on the level of service and access the member is looking for.

What is an MLS number?

An MLS number, also known as a property identifier or listing number, is a unique identification number assigned to a property by a multiple listing service (MLS).

The MLS code tracks and identifies properties listed for sale or rent on the MLS. It is typically a unique combination of letters and numbers and is assigned to a property when first listed on the MLS.

Real estate agents and brokers use the MLS number to search for properties, track their status, and access detailed information about the property, such as photos, descriptions, and pricing. It is also used to track the property’s history, such as when it was first listed, went under contract, or if the listing was sold.

This number is used in various forms of communication, such as advertisements, websites, and print materials. It helps an agent to identify the property among multiple listings and makes it easy for realtors, buyers, or sellers to reference it.

The MLS number is also used in the Real estate industry as a standard way to identify a property and track its history.

You can learn more about the MLS number and other fields from RESO standards on

What is an MLS broker?

An MLS broker is a licensed real estate broker member of a multiple listing service (MLS). MLS brokers are responsible for listing and selling properties on behalf of their clients, and they have access to the MLS’s database of properties.

A broker can list properties on the MLS and access other brokers’ listings, allowing them to find properties for their clients more efficiently and effectively.

They also have access to the tools and resources provided by the MLS, such as marketing materials, training programs, and industry research, which can help them grow their business. An MLS broker will also need to complete additional requirements, such as completing a background check, taking an ethics course, or completing continuing education.

MLS brokers are also responsible for following the rules and regulations set by the MLS, and they must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Is a Real Estate License required to access a Multiple Listing Service?

A real estate license is typically required to access a multiple listing service (MLS). To become a member of an MLS, you must be a licensed real estate professional.

This requirement exists because real estate agents and brokers primarily use the MLS to list and sell properties on behalf of their clients.

The MLS is considered a tool for professionals, and its access is restricted to licensed agents and brokers, as they are the ones who will be listing properties and have legal responsibility and accountability for the information they share on the MLS.

The MLS also has strict rules and regulations to ensure that transactions are performed fairly and ethically. But, again, having licensed agents and brokers provides that the rules are followed.

Do we need to use Multiple Listing Services?

Multiple listing services (MLSs) can be a valuable resource for real estate professionals and buyers and sellers. They provide a central location for properties to be listed, marketed, and found by a wide range of real estate professionals, which can increase visibility and reach a larger audience.

However, whether it is necessary to use an MLS will depend on the individual’s needs and preferences. For example, some real estate professionals may find that they can sell or find properties effectively without using an MLS, while others may find it an essential tool.

Not all states require an MLS, and some real estate professionals may list properties on other platforms, such as real estate websites or social media platforms.

However, using an MLS can provide access to a broader range of properties, tools, and resources and help increase visibility and reach a larger audience.

Ultimately, whether or not to use an MLS is a decision that should be made based on the individual’s specific needs, goals, and the real estate market in the area. Therefore, it’s worth researching and considering the options available to make the best decision.


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