Updated 2/4/18; Originally published 9/1/15
What is the MLS?
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a marketplace available to professional real estate agents, brokers, and other affiliate members like appraisers. It was born out of a need for cooperation between agents. I may have a home listed, but some other agent has a buyer. The MLS is where I can advertise my listing to buyer’s agents with the promise of some sort of compensation for bringing a buyer, usually a percentage split of the commission.
Before the Internet, the MLS was often a catalog published weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Agents would scrub through copies of their brokers’ books looking for homes. Without the Internet, real estate agents were really the only good option buyers had for finding homes.
Prior to 2017, Fort Hood had its own MLS, comprising mostly properties in the Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, and Nolanville area. As of 2017, Fort Hood joined forces with four other Realtor associations to create the Central Texas MLS (Temple/Belton, Williamson County, Four Rivers (New Braunfels, Sequin, and San Marcos), and Victoria. Other associations in the Central Texas area have considered joining and might in the future, including Waco, Bryan College Station, and Highland Lakes (Kingsland). There are many reasons for MLS consolidation, foremost among which is to better serve buyers and sellers by having better and more complete information.
If you are a buyer or seller in the Fort Hood area, the bottom line is that you want to be working with an agent who is a member of the CTXMLS. This is the MLS that will get your home the most exposure in this area, and will have the most homes for sale available to view.
How to Search the MLS
With the Internet has come the democratization of information, and now MLS information is more available to the general public on websites like mine, though the information is still limited versus what agents have access to. Agents now serve more as advisers, local experts, and use MLS data not available to buyers like previous sales history to make home value estimates called CMAs (Comparative Market Analyses).
MLS information is often automatically syndicated to sites like Zillow or Trulia (although individual brokers in the CTXMLS can elect to not share listed properties with Zillow and the other major consumer search sites). Also, Texas is a non-disclosure State, meaning the prices that homes sell for is not public information, and cannot be made generally available to the public. Therefore sites like Zillow and Trulia are usually very shoddy tools for estimating home values (the “Zestimate” can be especially misleading).
The best way to get connected to active homes on the MLS is to search through your agent’s website. Most agents will have a website that populates directly from the MLS with an IDX feed that you can search for homes, set up criteria so that you alerted when homes come on the market meeting your needs, and save the homes you are most interested in.
That’s not the actual MLS!
Access to non-members is strictly prohibited because it contains secure information like home alarm codes and security showing information. Allowing access to a non-member results in the most severe fine and can result in losing MLS access for that agent or broker.
Who is FHAAR?
The Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors® is the local association in Killeen, TX. They are one of the owners of the CTXMLS, but their primary responsibility includes providing education for local agents, selling lock boxes, managing Realtor and MLS membership, conducts broker meetings, and attends to other responsibilities of the professional organization. They are located at
306 W Mary Jane Dr.
Killeen, TX 76541