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Short for multiple listing service. A service whereby real estate brokers agree to make information about their listed properties available to each other and to split a commission with any other broker who provides the buyer. Most local boards require an exclusive listing agreement with a broker as a prerequisite for placement in the multiple listing service.

• At one time, this exclusive access to information about properties currently on the mar- ket, and historical information regarding selling prices of former properties, gave real estate brokers tremendous advantages over nonmembers and over consumers trying to sell property without the assistance of a broker. Today, with easy access to information on the Internet, including limited MLS information at the Web site of the National Association of REALTORS® (, consumers are able to negotiate more competitively.

• The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice has been scrutinizing MLS agreements that exclude brokers who are not members of the local board of REALTORS® (associated with the National Association of REALTORS®) or brokers who accept limited-services agreements.

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.