Has the MLS Lost Relevance?
Many agents will often emphasize the necessity of being on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS was created 100 years ago to help homeowners market their homes for sale. Before the technological advances we have today, the MLS was the only way potential buyers could find homes for sale.
Enter the Internet and real estate websites like Zillow. People search for homes on their computers and phones regardless of being listed on the MLS.
We know what you're thinking. Why not be listed on the MLS? It's just another way for people to find your home, right? It's not that simple.
When you list on the MLS, you are agreeing to terms that nearly guarantee your buyer will be represented with a buyer's agent. And because the outdated MLS system requires the seller to pay for the buyer agent commissions, you are locking yourself into paying unnecessary costs that usually add up to thousands and thousands of dollars. This is a big problem because most homeowners are not fully made aware of how much the MLS actually costs them. In fact, in 2019, there were multiple class-action lawsuits filed against the MLS and many of the biggest real estate brokers in the country, and these lawsuits are still very much active today. The lawsuits claim that the MLS locks home sellers into paying unnecessary and costly buyer-side commissions in a way that does not act in the home seller's best interest.
Now, combine the cost of being associated with the outdated MLS with the more modern way that real estate is being done today. Buyers are using websites like Zillow and Trulia which have 36 million unique monthly visitors1, literally three times the number of unique visitors as Realtor.com. Is that additional MLS listing worth several thousands of dollars? No. To really drive the point home, think about your own buying habits for a second. How many homes have you personally looked at on Zillow prior to considering options for selling your home?
The MLS is an outdated system. It does not add value and is causing sellers to waste their money. It's like using the phonebook to find a business or going to Blockbuster to rent the latest movie release. Good business models at one time, but irrelevant today.