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Real Answers

November 13, 1994

Q: I hear that the Multiple Listing Service is going public. Does that mean I can get access to listings on the MLS or put a listing on the MLS without dealing with a real estate agent?

A: Not necessarily.

The push to open up the MLS to the public has been moving very slowly. Owned by members of the local association of realtors, the Multiple Listing Service is a closely guarded information tool of the real estate industry.

However, there are changes being made. For example, the regional MLS in San Diego offers limited public information on its Home Select kiosks scattered around the county. Through a high-tech touch screen, home buyers can get information such as price, location and home features on specific listings. But to see the home, buyers must contact the real estate agent listed.

In Los Angeles, only licensed real estate agents can access and list property on the Combined L.A./ Westside (CLAW) MLS Inc., according to Sandy Regan, administrator of CLAW.

For sellers who want to sell their homes themselves an alternative is an "open listing," which requires paying a real estate agent a fee to list their homes on the MLS. "The (service) is geared to sophisticated sellers who want to sell their homes themselves," said real estate agent Norman Litter of the Real Estate Clearing House, Los Angeles.

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