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Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Details

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the main way that agents input real estate properties onto the market for sale, and in many cases, for rent. There are different MLS around the country. Some states have only 1, while states like VA have more than 1. Sometimes multiple MLS will intersect to a high degree, with no 1 MLS having more than 50% of the properties in a given city/county (i.e. Williamsburg/James City County), while in other cities/counties, 1 MLS will cover >99.5% of the listings (i.e. Norfolk). Realtors and real estate firms need to pay for access to each MLS. Even when an agent has access to more than 1 MLS, they won't always put their listings in each MLS that they have access to due to the time-consuming nature of MLS entry and paperwork. From the MLS, especially when accompanied by paid programs that companies like Garrett Realty Partners use, the listing auto-populates to 100's of websites where buyers can search for listings.


Here is an MLS map of the US:

Image courtesy National Association of Realtors




MLS in SE Virginia

Here is a close-up of the MLS in Virginia:


Image courtesy National Association of Realtors


Among those MLS, here are the 5 ones that I have access to:

Image courtesy National Association of Realtors


While it's unusual for a real estate agent to have access to 5 MLS, I find it very helpful since I cover a large territory , since I am close in proximity to so many MLS, & want to provide the best services that I can to the buyers and sellers I represent. If I only helped buyers and sellers within the confines of Washington DC, on the other hand, I might only have 1 MLS (BRIGHT), since it's so distant from other MLS on all sides (>80 miles).

Within SE VA, excluding the Eastern Shore, here is a breakdown of the most dominant MLS by city/county according to my research:

Real Estate Information Network (REIN) MLS based out of Virginia Beach:




(still working on this next one as of 11/29/22)

Central Virginia Regional (CVR) MLS based out of Richmond & Chesapeake Bay & Rivers Association of REALTORS® (CBRAR) MLS:

I group CVR & CBRAR together because, unlike other MLS in SE VA, they have a co-op. The co-op means that any agent with access to 1 can pay an additional amount per year which allows for a single listing data input form to be used instead of 2 (saving tremendous time) & allows for a single search for buyers to cover both MLS.


Northern Neck Association of Realtors/MLS (N Neck):

(still working on this next one as of 11/29/22)

How to Find Out Which MLS are Used Most

Why Important for Sellers

Why Important for Buyers