The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database used by licensed real estate professionals to list property for sale or rent. It is used ubiquitously by licensed real estate brokers and agents, and is the de facto standard for advertising property for sale or rent in the residential real estate industry.
Agents new to Stuart St James seeking access to the MLS:
- Transfer your existing membership: simply fill out the Subscriber’s Personal Information and Type of Change sections of the Subscriber Information Form but do not sign this form.
Return the document(s) to our office via email, we will sign the Subscriber Information Form, and submit the package to MLS PIN on your behalf. If transferring offices, MLS PIN will make the change within 24-48 hours yet oftentimes much sooner, and if starting a new membership ($126 per quarter) MLS PIN will contact you directly with a prorated invoice to initiate your subscription with their service under the affiliation of Stuart St James.
In Massachusetts, there are currently four (4) MLS systems that serve the state with varying levels of coverage. Stuart St James exclusively uses MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN), New England’s largest multiple listing service and the only Massachusetts MLS system which provides complete coverage of the entire state of Massachusetts.
- MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN)
- Cape Cod & Islands MLS (CCIMLS)
- Listing Information Network, Inc. (LINK)
- Berkshire REALTORS And Multiple Listing Service, Inc.
The Internet, and its underlying transparency of information, has fundamentally altered real estate. The utility of a MLS is its distribution capability. So long as the MLS syndicates to third-party websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia (you know Zillow acquired Trulia, right, and Zillow became a brokerage in an effort to guarantee syndication of all properties listed for sale to its website, and Zillow launched a separate for-fee rental platform that does not automatically syndicate rental listings from the MLS), where nearly all Buyers are, frankly, it doesn’t matter what MLS system is used.
What’s subtle yet powerful with MLS PIN is it’s a separate for-profit entity not directly tied to or owned by a real estate board, which means agents who want to access MLS PIN do not need to become a member of a real estate board, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), effectively saving agents $600+ annually. Said differently, being a member of a real estate board and having Realtor status is not a prerequisite to obtaining access to MLS PIN.
The Cape Cod & Islands MLS is owned and operated by a local real estate board, so an agent must become a member of that board, MAR, and NAR to access the niche Cape Cod & Islands MLS. The same goes for the Berkshire REALTORS And Multiple Listing Service. LINK has been inconsequential since the phasing out of the print newspaper Boston Homes – in the early 2000s the print newspaper was delivered weekly and was the place to have your open house advertised in Boston and you had to be a paying member of LINK to get your open houses listed in the newspaper – times have changed!
The Cape Cod & Islands MLS states they are “one of the largest 100 MLSs in the country” with “around 2,700 members”. and also states it is “the only locally based Multiple Listing Service in the region” which is false. MLS PIN has nearly 20x the subscribers the Cape Cod & Islands MLS has and is based in Massachusetts.
MLS systems are directly accessible only by licensed real estate agents and brokers, yet the data within MLS systems are in part shared and/or syndicated to thousands of third-party real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia, proprietary brokerage websites, and the websites of individual agents that carry a feed (oftentimes referred to as Internet Data Exchange (IDX)) of searchable properties – the MLS system is the ultimate system of record for all of these.