Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


Posted in MLS FAQs by Jeff Dowler on October 2, 2006

While most people have heard of the Multiple Listing Service, more commonly known as the MLS, some have not. Since it is a critical source of information on homes that are available to consumers, a few words about what it is seems appropriate.


  1. What does MLS mean? MLS is an acronym for Multiple Listing Service. There are hundreds of individual MLS’s throughout the country. Some cover a city or a county while others are more widespread in scope.
  2. What is the MLS? The MLS is a computer database of all the properties that are listed with licensed real estate brokers in a specific geographic region; it may be a county, a large city, or some other region. By law, all listings with brokers must be included on the MLS unless a request to be excluded is signed by the seller. The MLS for San Diego County is commonly known as SANDICOR. SANDICOR is actually a corporation owned by the 5 Realtor organizations in San Diego County. The application that stores and manages the data, creates the reports, and is used to search the database is called TEMPO. This application also is used by many other MLS services in the US. Licensed agents and brokers must join the MLS and pay an annual fee in order to list properties and access the database. Each user is assigned a unique ID and password.
  3. What kinds of listings are in the MLS?The MLS lists many different kinds of properties. These include single family homes and condominiums (either can be attached or detached), land, multiunit dwellings (2 or more units), business opportunities, motels, mobile and manufactured homes, time shares, and rentals.
  4. Why should I use the MLS?The MLS is critical to any homebuyer as it provides current data on all properties that are listed with brokers, i.e., the majority of the listings. In San Diego
    County alone there are well over 15,000 listings of attached and detached homes. Access to the MLS, either through a brokerage website, an agent website, or other sites such as, is essential is order to learn about properties that are on the market. It is rare for a property that is for sale to not be on the MLS, and since many are not listed in the newspaper, the MLS is the best source of information, along with your agent.
  5. How does information get into the MLS? Typically the listing agent, or some other designee in the office, will enter the data regarding the listing into the MLS. There are established codes that must be used for many of the datafields; some fields are required and others are optional. Thus, depending on who inputs the data, there may be less information on some listings than on others. This includes the REMARKS and SUPPLEMENTS fields. 
  6. How accurate are the data in an MLS listing? Accuracy depends to some extent on the information that is provided by the seller and public records, and even on human error in data entry. While the data in a listing are believed to be reliable, they are NOT guaranteed. Every buyer should do their due diligence to verify the information on a given listing during the purchase process. This can be accomplished by visual inspection, examining public records, and reviewing all disclosures. Any discrepancies should be addressed in the offer to purchase, as the MLS listing should not to be taken as fact.  
  7. Why do some listings not have photos? Agents can input the photos (up to 12 per listing in the
    San Diego MLS) when they set up the MLS listing, although the system does not require a photo in order to activate the listing. Sometimes agents do not have the photos readily accessible when they input the listing, or may not have taken the photos yet. Sadly, some agents do not bother taking photos, or may only take one, and quality control of the photos is sometimes lacking.

To start using the MLS in your search for a home you can visit my website. And if you are relocating to the San Diego area, there is some helpful infomration on my other blog, Relocation from A to Z.



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