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What is the MLS?

Posted by Gloria Singer on Wednesday, May 25th, 2016 at 3:06pm.

Multiple Listing ServiceMost consumers and many Real estate agents do not understand what an MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is.

Purpose of MLS
The primary purpose of the MLS is to provide a platform for listing agents (representing the seller) to provide an offer of compensation to co-operating brokers who are representing the buyer. The commission rate that the listing broker is offering to the buyer's broker is published in the MLS. Multiple Listing Services date to the late 1800’s, and are based upon the principle of cooperation: You help me sell my listings, and I will help you sell your listings. In this way, sellers benefit by increased exposure to a larger pool of potential buyers, and buyers benefit because they can work with only one broker who has information on all MLS-listed properties. Real estate brokers pay a fee to access and participate in the database provided by the MLS. In Palm Beach County, our Multiple Listing Service is BeachesMLS and is a member benefit of our local real estate association (Realtors® Association of the Palm Beaches). Additionally, the MLS has strict accuracy and information standards, to ensure the integrity of the listing information.

MLS vs. Portals
There is a difference between the MLS and Portals (Zillow,, etc). The Portals are advertising platforms used by Realtors® to advertise properties for sale. They do not provide an offer of compensation to buyer’s agents. Whereas all of the property information is available in the MLS to member brokers, only limited information is available on the portals and on brokerage websites through a data exchange.

On brokerage websites like ours here at Boca Expert Realty, you can “search the MLS” to see all the latest listings and receive updates. However, please understand that you are not searching the actual MLS, just the IDX (Internet Data Exchange) feed that our MLS provides to brokerage websites. All listings are included unless the property owner has requested that the listing should not be syndicated to third party websites. If you want the full and complete story of a particular listing, or want to search comparable sales, be sure to consult with your Realtor® who can access all of the MLS information.




Gloria Singer is the Broker of Boca Expert Realty, a boutique Boca Raton real estate company with a focus on professional service and an unparalleled customer experience. Our select agents are amongst the top performing professionals in the field. Visit for information on Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Highland Beach real estate and to connect with an expert in the local market. 

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