The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is proprietary software developed by realtors for realtors that facilitates the home buying experience. Realtors nationwide pay for access to the MLS system, which allows them to both list and view residential and commercial property listings.
A listing broker will contract with a homeowner to sell the property. The listing broker will first obtain pricing information from the seller. Then, the broker will take photographs, collect catalog information, and record details of the property, such as square footage and number of rooms. Finally, the listing broker will create an MLS listing using a template in the software system, and upload the listing to the Multiple Listing Service.
Once the listing is uploaded, buyers’ agents across the world will have access to it and can view the photos, read the descriptions, and contact the listing agent to schedule a showing. The buyers’ agent will then meet with the listing agent to view the home or will use a special key to open the lockbox of the home. The buyer will view the house and will review the specifications outlined in the MLS listing. If the buyer likes the house, they will coordinate with their agent to make an offer on the property. The majority of contact between the buyer and the seller will be done through the real estate agents themselves.
The Multiple Listing Service was created to make the electronic advertising of property much easier and smoother. With a click of a button, a realtor can simultaneously list and advertise a home for sale, and moments later, buyers’ agents may be calling frantically to schedule showings. However, the MLS is not without fault. Common MLS disputes include:
- Failure to list the correct price for the property
- Misrepresentation of certain aspects of the house, such as its location or features
- Failure to disclose defects
- Failure to properly coordinate showings by giving the seller advanced notice
- Illegal discrimination against prospective buyers
If you run into an issue with an MLS listing or agent, you may have already incurred irreparable damages, such as purchasing a defective home based on false promises in an MLS listing. For some conflicts, the Multiple Listing Service requires that the parties use arbitration. For instance, if a seller wishes to file a lawsuit against their own MLS agent, the contract for listing the property through the Multiple Listing Service will generally require arbitration before a neutral hearing administrator. Many of these hearing administrators are members of national arbitration organizations.
If you are a buyer who purchased a home based on the fraud of the MLS listing agent, you can file a lawsuit against the agent and the MLS. A real estate attorney can coach you through this process.
Hiring a real estate lawyer is imperative if you become a victim in a Multiple Listing Service dispute. A real estate attorney can advise you on how to protect your assets, successfully arbitrate or fight your wrongdoer in court, and seek justice.