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What is MLS?

The Multiple Listing Service is a web service that real estate brokers use to establish contractual offers of compensation (among brokers). A multiple listing service’s database and software is used by real estate brokers and sales persons in real estate representing sellers under a listing contract to widely share information about properties with other brokers who may represent potential buyers or wish to work with a seller’s broker in finding a buyer for the property. In addition to sharing listings with agents, dozens of websites including,, and pull listings from the MLS system and publish on its sites using electronic feeds.

The primary purpose of the MLS is to provide a facility to publish a “unilateral offer of compensation” by a listing broker, to other broker participants in the MLS. In other words, the commission rate that is offered by the listing broker is published within the MLS to other cooperating brokers. This offer of compensation is considered a contractual obligation and due to the cooperating agent if he/she is the “procuring cause of sale”. Since the commission for a transaction as well as the property features are contained in the MLS system, it is in the best interests of the agents to maintain accurate and timely data.

The additional benefit of the MLS is that an MLS subscriber may search the MLS and retrieve information about all homes for sale by all participating brokers. The MLS is a powerful system and contains hundreds of fields of information about the features of a property. However, the MLS system restricts membership and access to real estate brokers (and their agents) who are appropriately licensed by the Commonwealth.  Free and open information is important for both the buying and selling parties to ensure fair prices are negotiated during closing, ultimately allowing a stable and less volatile market.

A person selling his/her own property – acting as a For sale by owner (or FSBO) seller – cannot place a listing for the home directly into an MLS. offers a solution to FSBO sellers by listing properties on the MLS as “Entry Only” for a small flat fee while maintain the integrity of the MLS system by offering compensation to buyer agents as requested and agreed to by the seller.

Michael J. Richards, the owner of, has been licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Real Estate as a Real Estate Broker since 1998 and has been a member of the MLS Property Information Network, Inc. (“MLS”) since 1999.

MLS Rules & Regs