Ginger Chao

Seller's Guide » A Consumer's Guide to the Multiple Listing Service®

Anyone who's had a passing brush with the real estate market has seen or heard the term 'MLS®.' But few consumers know exactly what the MLS® is, or understand the important role it plays in the real estate industry.

The MLS® (Multiple Listing Service®) is a complex information-sharing network created by Realtors several decades ago to help the public buy and sell homes. When a REALTOR®lists a property for sale, he or she completes a detailed data sheet describing the home and submits the information to Real Estate Boards which manage the MLS®. Board staff enter the information into a central MLS® computer databank, accessible only to other Realtors.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), operates the MLS® locally, most of the eleven other Boards around B.C. operate their own regional MLS® systems. Although managed separately, the systems are linked via computer so Realtors can access listings in most other areas.

MLS® makes the real estate industry unique by allowing and encouraging a high degree of cooperation among salespeople - much more so than in any other industry. For example, if you're shopping for a car and you visit a local dealership, the salesperson's goal is to sell you a car from his lot. He won't provide you with information on cars available at other competing dealerships; you would have to visit those on your own.

In the real estate industry, the opposite is true. MLS® allows for cooperation between all Realtors, no matter which real estate company they work for. Using the computerized MLS® system, your REALTOR®will enter the criteria you want in a home and generate a list of all the homes that meet your needs. These homes might be listed by agents from five, ten, or twenty other companies - to your Realtor, it doesn't matter. Only properties not listed with a REALTOR®('For Sale by Owner') are not accessible on MLS®.

Before the computer era, the MLS® system was managed manually through an immense amount of paperwork. Real Estate Boards printed daily 'listing sheets.' While these catalogues still exist, they have largely been replaced by a high-speed computer program that allows Realtors to check up-to-the-minute information on every current listing.

This program provides Lower Mainland Realtors with access to much more detailed information, such as room-by-room measurements and specifics on the property condition, renovations, appliances, property zoning and rental rates. Realtors can access the sales history of a home in order to see how many times it has changed hands and at what prices.

Some MLS® information is available to the public on through RealtyLink - the official, most complete and up-to-date source for real estate listings, statistics and community information for homebuyers and sellers. Available in two conveniently organized, consumer friendly formats, RealtyLink - In Print and RealtyLink - On Line.

Using the detailed profile available for every MLS® listing, supplemented by their own in-depth knowledge of the neighbourhood and current market conditions, your REALTOR®can help you make a wise purchasing decision. And when it comes time to sell your home, the MLS® is your Realtor's indispensable tool.


Ginger Chao - Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty
5489 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 2G1
Business: 604-437-1123 Fax: 604-437-9077

This site provides real estate information, listings and tools servicing the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley Areas of British Columbia (BC) Canada. Areas serviced include Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Surrey, Whiterock, Delta, Tsawwassen, Ladner, North Delta, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission. As some of these areas are outside of my core service area, We provide a free referal service so that consumers can have confidence that they will be working with a trusted and competent REALTOR®in the area they are selling or buying in.

We can assist repeat home buyers & sellers, first time buyers, investors looking for single or multiple unit investment properties, building lots, and new construction project purchases.