Wondering what the deal is with the Georgia MLS? Wonder no more.
MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. The Georgia MLS (GAMLS to its friends) is a way that Georgia real estate agents can share listings and increase their reach.
MLS entries not only contain listing information about properties, but they also show how much compensation a broker is offering to a cooperating broker bringing in a client.
How the Georgia MLS Works
Essentially, the Georgia MLS is a searchable database that stores listing information for brokers and sales agents.
When a real estate agent and a seller client agree that they’d like to work together, the client signs a listing agreement that spells out all kinds of things about how the agent and the client will work together, including a clause allowing the agent to list the property on the MLS.
The agent then writes up a tantalizing listing, takes some gorgeous photos, and submits the listing to the MLS. The listing will include the property’s size, age, address, asking price, tax information, and other basic info.
It will also explain to any agents representing buyers what their split of the commission will be.
Who Uses the Georgia MLS?
If a real estate agent is representing a client looking to buy a home, they can search the Georgia MLS for listings that fit their clients’ needs. That is one way that buyer agents find properties to show their clients.
This benefits the buyers, sellers, and their agents — it connects interested, qualified buyers to sellers ready to make a deal.
It’s Not Just Georgia
Thought the Georgia MLS provides these services to real estate agents in Georgia, there are MLSs around the country and the world offering similar services to other locales — there are 640 MLSs in the U.S. alone!
These databases are not centralized or related to each other, however, there is a data standard that is being deployed across North American MLS. Maybe someday there will just be one big database for everyone.
Who Can Join the Georgia MLS?
To join the Georgia MLS, you must be a licensed broker, sales agent, or appraiser. While many MLS listings are shared in part on popular real estate listing websites for buyers to search directly, the information about commission splits and other agent-only notes will not appear to the public.
Only other MLS members can access the full listings.
How to Join the Georgia MLS (and What It Costs)
Georgia real estate agents who want to join the MLS can fill out an application online and either mail or fax the completed application to the MLS.
The Georgia MLS charges a monthly flat fee to brokers and sales agents that use its service. There is no additional per-listing fee. What’s it going to set you back? The initiation fee is $500. It then costs $100 a month per brokerage office, plus an additional $20 a month per agent.
Appraisers who use the MLS pay a $50 initiation fee, then a $44 monthly fee per appraiser member.
Other Bells and Whistles
Though listings are the main attraction of the Georgia MLS, they offer other services and digital features, including:
Paragon, an advanced search, stats, and client management portal
A mobile app
Remine, a real estate intelligence service that provides advanced analytics
State-approved continuing education, post-licensing education, and professional development courses
Other digital tools that help agents create beautiful listings with less work
Additionally, the MLS safeguards the market information they store and enforces rules that govern market participation to create a safe environment for agents and clients.