Real estate practitioners know those three letters stand for Multiple Listing Service. MLS's were originally intended to help real estate professionals find buyers for clients who wanted to sell their homes. Participants of an MLS are members who pay fees to have access to the information gathered by other members on properties that are offered for sale in a given area.
Here's where it gets a little complicated if you are a home buyer looking for a home in our area, some homes are listed in only one of the MLS's. If you work with an real estate agent that belongs to one MLS, you might not ever see homes listed in one of the other two MLS's. Some homes are listed in all three MLS's. So it may seem like 2500 listings is a high number, but how many of those 2500 are duplicates? How often is the same home listed in all three multiple listing services?
When you look at multiple listing services in larger markets, for example Houston or Orlando, those MLS's have up to ten times the listings Southeast Texas has but yet one only MLS to cover the whole area.
Three MLS's: Is it a good thing or bad thing?
Unfortunately, there no simple answer. If you are a home seller, you will want to find out from your listing agent - the agent you sign a contract with to sell your home- which of the MLS's your home will be in. If you want the most exposure to buyers looking for homes you will want to be in all three services. If you are a home buyer, you will want to make sure you are seeing all the homes that match your needs. Not just the homes that match your needs from one of the MLS's.
Outlying areas are more affected than those in the town centers.
If your home is in Beaumont west or in a popular Beaumont neighborhood such as Barrington Heights or Brentwood Club, you probably don't need to be in the Orange MLS. The agents showing buyers in Beaumont will find you. However, if your home is in Nederland do you want Beaumont real estate agents to know about it? If you do, then it needs to be in the Beaumont MLS.
If you have a custom home in Mauriceville on acreage, where should you list it? Most buyers coming to the area from other areas know about Beaumont. They probably don't know about the smaller towns. If your home is listed in only one MLS then some buyers may never see it.
One MLS would simplify the process of buying and selling homes in Southeast Texas. But there are old traditions and people are protective of their turf. It doesn't seem like there is much support for a united Southeast Texas or Golden Triangle MLS. Personally, I think its too bad we can't combine the multiple listing services. There are clear benefits for buyers and sellers in a united multiple listing service.
Until some of the old turf battle lines are relinquished the tale of the three MLS's will continue.