What is the MLS?

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a suite of approximately 700 regional databases. It is an online, searchable database of property listings used by real estate agents. Each regional MLS has it’s own listings and requires separate agent membership. A licensed REALTOR®, or appraiser, must be a subscribing member to each regional MLS to access or post properties for sale. Most agents typically subscribe to one regional MLS. The NorthstarMLS supports over 15,000 REALTORS® in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

The NorthstarMLS is owned and operated by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc. (RMLS) and the RMLS, owned by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR) and the Saint Paul Association of REALTORS® (SPAAR), provides services and support to the Western Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, St. Cloud Area Association of REALTORS® and the Greater Lakes Association of REALTORS®.

Don’t be misled by businesses that use “MLS” in their website URLs or business name. This practice is deceptive and misleading to consumers and is prohibited by the National Association of Realtors.

Consumers DO NOT have access to the MLS database. Listings on the MLS include private information such as phone numbers and information on how to access properties; it is not searchable by the public.

The listing data stored in an MLS database is the proprietary information of the listing agent, who obtained the listing agreement from the seller of the property, and the data, in it’s entirety, is not publicly shared.


REALTORS® that subscribe to an MLS are able to subscribe to an Internet Data Exchange (IDX) feed that syndicates real estate listings directly from the MLS database into their own websites. It can sometimes take 24 – 48 hours for listings and updates to get syndicated. Unfortunately, there are also websites that aggregate and scrape listings from multiple, non-MLS sources, and the information on these sites are usually inaccurate and out-of-date. Too often, a buyer gets excited about a property that they see “for sale” on a website only to find out that it sold months ago.

How can you access accurate listing information?

The Client Portal on the NorthstarMLS is your single access point for MLS listing information provided by your REALTOR®, Ryan Bretzel.

The Client Portal is a personalized web space on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that will help you, the buyer, keep track of listings/homes that match your criteria. When you receive listings from the Client Portal on the MLS, you can be confident that:

  • You are seeing ALL of the available homes/properties for sale, on the MLS, that meet the criteria/requirements that you have chosen.
  • You are seeing all new listings immediately (within minutes), not after they have have sold.
  • The listing information, such as number of bedrooms, baths, features, and improvements, is up-to-date and accurate. The information on each listing comes from the seller, the listing agent, and updated property records, unlike many aggregate sites that aren’t maintained/updated.
Client Portal – Learn More       Client Portal – Seller Benefits

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: