Portland Real Estate and the RMLS
You hear us mention the RMLS every other month on this blog, when we cover the Portland Market Action report. But what is RMLS, and what can they do for you, the Portland area real estate buyer or seller?
RMLS stands for Regional Multiple Listing Service. Every region across the US has one, but RMLS is specific to Oregon and Southern Washington – and it’s the largest REALTOR®-owned multiple listing service in the Pacific Northwest.
Multiple listing services were created so that real estate agents could quickly look up properties for sale in their area. Before Zillow, Craigslist and even the internet, the MLS was the original source for accurate information on listed homes. Before RMLS in Portland, this information was only available through individual brokerages, and there was nowhere to go for a complete directory of all the homes on the Portland market.
Then came “The Book”, which replaced word-of-mouth and newspaper ads as the primary way that real estate buyers and sellers heard about homes for sale. It listed every home being sold in the state of Oregon and Southern Washington. In the 1990s, these books came out twice a week – that’s a lot of paper!
Today, the RMLS™ database is all digital. It archives over 1.4 million listings – around 26,000 of which are active listings. 10,200 REALTORs have access to the RMLS, and most of the information listed there is also available to the public through the RMLS website as well as agent-developed tools such as PortlandRealEstateMapSearch.com. This data is what is given exclusively to REALTORs by home sellers and appraisers, and it is not necessarily available through Zillow, Trulia, or other real estate search tools. The data starts here, starts with RMLS, before someone sees a home for sale on any number of third party real estate websites.
RMLS used to be a REALTOR-only service, but it’s getting more and more geared toward the DIY-homebuyer or seller. In my opinion, the more informed about the market you are, the better. That’s why I write about the RMLS’ monthly Market Action Report every other month on this blog. The report talks about everything from how many months of housing inventory we have to what the average sales prices was for homes in various Portland neighborhoods.
For those who want to dig a little deeper, the RMLS publishes weekly data on lockbox activity, which is an interesting way to keep tabs on the market. Lockboxes are the little devices Portland real estate agents use to access homes without a key. Every time one is unlocked, it means the home was shown to a potential buyer. You can watch lockbox activity fluctuate with the seasons on the RMLS blog.
Don’t forget to talk to someone with real-world expertise and insight that gets beyond the data – contact your Portland Real Estate Agent today (and consider yourself lucky that “The Book” will not be making an appearance).September 29, 2014