What is MLS?

You hear us mention the MLS almost everyday on this blog. But what is MLS, and what can they do for you, the Boston downtown real estate buyer or seller?

MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. Every region across the US has one, but MLSPIN is specific to Boston, Massachusetts.

Why Was MLS Created?

Multiple listing services were created so that real estate agents could quickly look up properties for sale. Before Zillow and even the internet,  MLS was the original source for accurate information on listed homes for sale. Before MLS , this information was only available through individual brokerages, and there was nowhere to go for a complete directory of all the Boston homes for sale.

The Book

Then came “The Book”, which replaced word-of-mouth and newspaper ads as the primary way that Boston real estate buyers and sellers heard about homes for sale. It listed every home being sold in the state of Massachusetts. In the 1990s, these books came out twice a week – that’s a lot of paper!

Today, the MLS™ database is all digital. It archives over millions of listings – users  have access to the MLS, and the information listed there through the MLS website as well as agent-developed tools such as sales data ect.. This data is what is given exclusively to Boston brokers by home seller, and it is not necessarily available through Zillow, Trulia, or other real estate search tools. The data starts here, starts with MLS, before someone sees a home for sale on any number of third party real estate websites.

All Information is Available

MLS used to be-only Boston brokers, but it’s getting more and more geared toward the general public. In my opinion, the more informed about the market you are, the better. That’s why I write about the MLS’ monthly Market  Report every  on this blog. The report talks about everything from how many months of housing inventory we have to what the average sales prices was for homes in various downtown Boston neighborhoods.

For those who want to dig a little deeper, the MLS publishes weekly data which is an interesting way to keep tabs on the market. Please contact me if you’d like information on a particular neighborhood, street or a specific building at realtyford@yahoo.com. You can also call or text at 617-595-3712.


Don’t forget to talk to someone with real-world expertise and insight that gets beyond the data – contact your Downtown Boston Real Estate Agent today (and consider yourself lucky that “The Book” will not be making an appearance