If you have ever bought or sold a home before, you have more than likely heard your real estate agent talking about the Ventura County MLS. Or if you hang around with real estate investors, you have probably heard more than one of them talk about MLS access. For those who may not have heard this term, MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. While in theory a MLS can be used in any industry, the most common use of the term is in the real estate world. In this post, we will briefly describe the origins of the MLS and what that means to Ventura County residents who do not work directly in the real estate industry.
History of the MLS
As found on the National Association of Realtors website, the MLS was born in the late 1800s. During this time, there were no computers or websites (obviously), so information could not be shared as easily as it can be today. Instead, real estate brokers would gather in common locations to share information with other brokers about the properties that they were trying to sell. The thinking was that it would be easier to sell properties if other brokers knew about the listings and that they could compensate each other for helping the properties get sold. Although the process was not as refined as it is today, the idea behind it was solid and the MLS grew into what it is today.
The Ventura County MLS
The Ventura County MLS is used by real estate agents and brokers in this county to list and share information on the properties that they have under a listing agreement. Since this information can be seen by all of the agents and brokers that have access to the Ventura County MLS, it allows cooperation between two brokerages to easily help their clients view, buy, and sell homes. This is indeed a win-win situation because it allows homeowners who are selling their home the chance to have every broker in the county know that the home they are listing is for sale. It also benefits potential home buyers by having a single repository where most homes for sale throughout Ventura County can be found. This allows them to work with the real estate agent of their choice and still be able to view homes that are under contract with another broker. There are over 800 MLS’s throughout the country that are created and maintained by professional real estate organizations within the various cities and counties. For example, the Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors maintains the MLS for Ventura, Camarillo, Oxnard and other cities nearby, whereas the Ojai Valley Board of Realtors maintains the Ojai MLS.
With the advent of websites like Redfin and Zillow, it has become easier for the general public to gain access to most of the information that is contained in the Ventura County MLS. If you pay enough attention to the different sites, you will see that they often contain different (and sometimes conflicting) information about the same property. This is because some of these sites pull their information from different data sources and it may not come directly from the Ventura County MLS. However, Redfin for example, is also a real estate broker which means that their website has direct access to the Ventura County MLS and that the listings you find on their site should match what can be found on the Ventura County MLS. There are exceptions to the data that Redfin can provide to the general public such as contact information of the homeowner, when the home will be vacant, as well as any other notes that the listing agent feels should not be disclosed to people other than licensed real estate agents.
If you are not a real estate agent and do not want to use the 3rd party websites like Redfin and Zillow, you can also have a real estate agent set you up with Ventura County MLS searches. This is a way in which you can have homes that are listed on the MLS sent to you on a regular basis based off of the criteria that you are looking for. For example, you can have a real estate agent set up a MLS search for you on homes located only in Oxnard, between 2000 and 2500 Sq. Ft, containing 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, priced under $400,000. Once your real estate agent enables this search, every time a home comes on the market that meets this criteria, an email will automatically be sent to you giving you the details of the home. Obviously this does not give you all of the data that can be found in the MLS, but most people who are looking for a home do not need all of the data that is contained.