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What is the Austin TX MLS and How Can It Help Improve my Home Search?

If you’re on the hunt for a new home to buy, you’ve likely heard the acronym MLS, which stands for Multiple Listing Service. Brokers in a specific market area join an MLS to share listing information with other brokers about the properties they represent. It’s the go-to way for brokers to alert other brokers about their listing in the hopes of attracting potential buyers. In a nutshell: Help me sell my inventory and I’ll help you sell yours. While the MLS is a private database, accessible only by licensed real estate agents who belong to the National Association of REALTORS®, most of the information is available to browsing buyers, through “portals” we design for you. Keep reading to learn our top tips for using the Austin TX MLS.

Things to Consider When Searching for Your Next Home Online

One of the first things people do when they’re thinking about buying a home is to start searching online. Many websites, such as and, showcase available properties that are listed on the MLS; however, they don’t provide the comprehensive up to date data found in the MLS. Unlike these websites, the Austin TX MLS lets REALTORS® search for specific information such as all listed houses that are vacant, master bedrooms on main floor, homeowner’s association fees, property tax rates, a search for “motivated” sellers and much more. They also allow agents to access real-time data about home listings.

How Can Working with a Broker Help Improve Your Search on the Austin TX MLS?

What better way to gain access to MLS information than working with a broker who has direct access? While MLS information is technically only available to participating brokers. There are many types of reports a buyer can receive. An agent can set it up so that you receive automatic emails of new listings based on your search criteria, so you’ll receive up-to-the-minute information. This is a “must” in a competitive market like Austin, where properties are in high demand and selling fast due to the rapidly growing population.

The Austin MLS Benefits Sellers, Too

In addition to buyers, the MLS can provide sellers with a number of advantages that can make the process of selling their home much easier and faster. MLS systems are used by every real estate sales agent in the region. That means your property will have greater exposure and you’ll have a much wider market as far as buyers. Agents who want a wider and broader reach for their clients can sometimes become members of more than one multiple listing service.

Searching the MLS for Foreclosure Properties

If you’re in the market for a foreclosure, the MLS also lists these properties. It includes information not easily found such as the current state of the homes, including whether they are in foreclosure, pre-foreclosure or scheduled for auction. However, because Austin and surrounding areas have appreciated, these opportunities are few.

The Integrity of the MLS

There’s a reason why the MLS has been the tool REALTORS® rely on the most: each MLS has its own rules and procedures, but they’re generally patterned on regulations published by the National Association of REALTORS®. That means using rigid data criteria, and providing rules for the offer of compensation to other brokers. Members who don’t adhere to the structure and content rules can be fined.

Did You Know?

  • Before the Internet and online resources became available, MLS listings were published in books that were put out monthly and updated weekly.
  • The practice of sharing listings with brokers dates as far back as the late 1800s. On certain appointed days, members of “Real Estate Exchanges” gathered and exchanged information about their listings. Shortly after the end of the nineteenth century, the term “multiple listing” was in use.

Whether you’re an interested buyer or seller, utilizing the Austin TX MLS is an effective tool. The best way to get the most out of this comprehensive database is to contact one of our agents who have access to the latest MLS real estate listings.