What Is Multi Listing?

YNM Real Estate
18 December 2021

A multiple-listing (MLS) agreement is an agreement where you sign with a single agent, but that agent shares the listing with other agents who are members of a multiple-listing network. You are locked into this agreement for the specified time as you would be with an exclusive agency agreement. This method then gives other agents in your area, who are members of the multi-list system, automatic access to your property. All the agents who have access to your listing will market your home to buyers registered in their buyer databases, and the listing agent and the selling agent will share the commission.

An obvious advantage is that your home is marketed to a wider audience of buyers. However, the reality is that often agents are less motivated to focus on properties that are multi-listed, as they have to share the commission.

Another disadvantage is that buyers could use the multi-listing to offer a lower price – they will shop around with the other agents to see who is offering the lowest price, and then make an offer via that agent. Because the agent knows that all the other agents in the area also have access to the multilisted property they feel they need to "lure" the buyer to use them. And to do so, may suggest to the buyer that they can secure the property for a certain figure. Obviously, suggesting a lower selling price may result in the buyer using them to inspect the property.

The advantages of multi-listing had more relevance in past decades, where online property listing was not as prevalent as it is today. In light of the possible disadvantages of multi-listing, you could be better off by locating an estate agent who will market your property effectively and extensively online, using professional photographs and good descriptions to attract buyers researching online.

Make sure that the agent is licensed in your state – you can contact your relevant state government department to check whether an agent is licensed – and interview more than one agent – three should enable you to make the right choice.

Consider the market appraisals provided by the agents that you are considering, against the research that you have conducted. Going with an agent that provides an estimated selling price above or below the norm for your area could be a mistake.

Consider the prospective agents’ personalities, experience, sales record (evidence of success in your area) and professionalism.

Ask the agents to outline their proposed marketing plan – this will give you a good idea of their approach to achieving your sale and the likelihood of early success.

Discuss with the agents your requirement to have regular updates and reports on progress.

Discuss and agree the commissions payable – all commissions and fees are negotiable. You should expect to pay a fee commensurate with the service that you receive.

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