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The Basics

Let’s start with what a Multiple Listing Service, or M.L.S. is. The MLS is a powerful tool in a real estate agents tool box that helps the agent’s and brokers that list your home find other agents/brokers that want to purchase a home like yours. It is a way that agents communicate pictures and details of your home to buyer’s agents. It is also a way that many public portals get much of their home info. Public real estate portals can be filled with inaccurate information, and agents need accurate information that can be relied on.

The multiple listing service also helps level the playing field for smaller brokerages to compete with larger ones. They all get the same exposure with their membership as a larger brokerage. In the past agents receive a printed book with all of the listings but today it is a database, sometimes a massive database, with detailed information about not only homes on the market, but also homes that sold, have an accepted offer, or that perhaps expired without selling.

In the United States as of December of 2020 there were 556 active Multiple Listing Services (Real Estate Almanac). The largest 20 or 3.6% of the MLS) serve over 50% of agents, and that percentage is growing as M.L.S. consolidate. Personally I think that is a good thing. I currently am a member of the largest M.L.S. in Ohio, MLS Now, which is growing rapidly with currently over 13,300 members. In the past a small system was helpful because the technology we have in place today wasn’t available. I also am in a small MLS because the approximately 500 to 550 agents in that MLS cover part of my market area.

I would love to take the money I spend on a smaller MLS membership, thousands of dollars over the years, and use it to promote my valued clients listings. For that reason I support the creation of a state wide M.L.S. I think serving my clients should be a top priority. Why do many agents vote to maintain small, expensive local systems? – no idea.

Ohio Multiple Listing Services in the Top 350 (out of 556) in the U.S. as of December 2020

  • At 33rd MLS Now – 13,323 Members
  • At 42nd Columbus and Central Ohio – 9,133 Members
  • At 54th Cincinnati, Ohio – 7,022 Members
  • At 84th Dayton Realtors – 4,021 Members
  • At 126th Northwest Ohio Real Estate Info Systems – 2,025 Members
  • At 155th Western Regional Info. System and Tech – 1,400 Members
  • At 256th Firelands Assoc. of Realtors – 537 Members
  • At 269th West Central Assoc. of Realtors – 502 Members
  • At 328th Mansfield Assoc. of Realtors – 338 Members
  • At 340 Lancaster Board of Realtors – 300 Members

Note – agents can be a member of a local board to support your community and it’s residents, and still be a member of a regional or state M.L.S. There are state boards already that help support all agents in the state and work for residents in their state. Real estate agents can be found volunteering in their communities perhaps more than any other profession. From fund raisers, to lobby efforts for home owners, to volunteering at neighborhood groups – it’s hard not to fall in love with the community you serve in such a personal way.

Largest M.L.S. in the United States as of December 2020? California Regional MLS with 104,414 members.

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