Over 100 years ago real estate brokers in Spokane formed an Association designed to encourage cooperation among brokers. There are similar Associations throughout the country that have one thing in common, they own and operate a Multiple Listing Service, which in essence is a pooling of information and an agreement to cooperate to sell properties.
These brokerages subscribe to a database and agree to play by a set of rules that are constantly scrutinized by a Steering Committee made up of Designated Brokers from various companies. Such delegates are nominated from multiple categories, (designated by company size), in order to assure fair representation. That means the little companies have the same voice as the big franchised companies.
One of the major innovations that revolutionized the MLS is the advent of the internet. At its inception many brokers feared their value would be diminished simply because they could no longer control the information. That archaic line of thinking still surfaces, but time has proven this innovation to be an absolute boon for the consumer. It also has served as a significant equalizer in terms of smaller companies competing with large companies.
The IDX (Internet Data exchange) system of the MLS allows every company, large or small, to download every single listing directly to their own company website as if it were their own inventory. This effectively squelches the argument that a larger franchised company is better equip to sell property than a small independently owned company. Even the smallest company’s listings are published across the MLS and the internet on every other company’s website! Even though the MLS was not intended as a marketing tool, it inadvertently facilitates that function since listings are directly syndicated to internet based marketing companies such as Realtor.com, Zillow, (and many others).
There are still a few in our industry who undervalue the importance of the MLS since they would rather hide inventory from other brokers so they can double-end a deal. These Brokers either opt out of participation in the MLS altogether or they play the game of hide-the-inventory by making showings difficult or by delaying entry into the MLS database. This practice is detrimental to the consumer! Sellers deserve to have their listing information free flowing to the buying public with as few barriers as possible. The MLS is designed to facilitate that flow!