BEFORE You Sign a Contract or Agreement:

  • Verify that the Agent is actually a REALTOR® (not just a real estate salesperson)


  • Verify that the REALTOR® is a member of at least one Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

It's easy for consumers to believe that all real estate agents are REALTORS® without realizing that not every agent can legally use that title. A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who has taken the additional steps to become a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). REALTORS® must agree to conduct their business in a manner that adheres to the NAR™ Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

At CENTURY 21 Atwood of Fergus Falls ALL of Our Agents are REALTORS®.

REALTORS® are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate and, therefore, are required to take continuing education courses to retain their membership in NAR. The fact is that all REALTORS® are held to a higher standard and are held accountable for their actions.

Real estate transactions usually involve one of the largest financial investments most people will experience in their lifetime. Don't be tempted to trust your transaction to a mere agent or salesperson. This would be equivalent to choosing a bookkeeper over a CPA.

It's about Commitment, Knowledge and Professionalism.

What is an MLS?

An MLS is an organization that offers REALTORS® a membership. As a member, REALTORS® are required to post their listings in a timely manner and are given full access to all other MLS listings (non-member REALTORS® are not allowed this access, nor are they allowed to be given this valuable information from member REALTORS®). The MLS also has rules protecting payments to and from real estate brokerage firms (there is no law requiring brokers to cooperate with each other when one broker has the listing and another has the buyer). Most importantly, MLS rules are specifically designed to provide a fair and level playing field for all sellers and buyers. In any given area, there may be one or more applicable MLS organizations. CENTURY 21 Vista, Inc.  belongs to the Fergus Falls MLS (covering Fergus Falls and surrounding areas), the Alexandria MLS (covering Alexandria and surrounding areas) AND the North Dakota MLS (covering Wahpeton, ND, Breckenridge, MN, and the Fargo/Moorhead area). In addition, through a reciprocal agreement, CENTURY 21 Vista, Inc. is also allowed full access to the Detroit Lakes and Park Rapids MLS databases.

Why Would a REALTOR® Choose to NOT Belong to an MLS?

Some agents want to keep their listings from other agents so they will be in a better position to keep the entire commission by controlling both sides of the transaction (by representing both the buyer and seller). Basically, if a broker doesn't put his/her listings into the local MLS (because he/she is a non-MLS REALTOR®), he/she has no duty to cooperate with other REALTORS® on his/her listings. We at CENTURY 21® Atwood don't feel that this course of action is ever in the best interests of our clients and, in fact, may be a disservice. Without MLS membership, sellers properties aren't made available to a significant portion of the potential pool of buyers (meaning fewer competitive bids), and buyers end up having a much smaller selection of properties to consider and from which to make their eventual choice.

Why Buyers Should Insist on an MLS REALTOR® Like Those at CENTURY 21 Atwood

Studies show that most buyers choose to work with a REALTOR® because they are serious about finding a home and want to know about every property that meets their criteria. Shouldn't that REALTOR® be utilizing all of the tools available to assist them and their client in this search? If a REALTOR® isn't a member of an MLS, how are they able to find out about newly listed properties as soon as they hit the market? Since MLS rules require that all new listings be entered immediately, all buyers working with MLS REALTORS® have equal access to available properties as soon as they are listed. Should a buyer only be able to choose from the in-house listings of their non-MLS REALTOR®? Especially if that REALTOR® is employed by a small local brokerage firm? The clients and customers of CENTURY 21® Vista are even set up to receive instant emails informing them of newly listed properties.

Why Sellers Should Insist on an MLS REALTOR® Like Those at CENTURY 21 Atwood

The MLS displays and leads to the successful sale of more real estate than any other way of advertising real estate. In fact, a recent National Association of REALTORS® study showed that the MLS was three (3) times more effective than the next closest advertising method and that homes listed in an MLS sell for significantly higher prices than those not listed in an MLS. The 2005 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that 54% of buyers used REALTOR.com (the most popular source) to look at homes, followed by 50% who owed their success to an MLS. It is important to note that REALTOR.com pulls its listing information directly from the various MLS organizations. Listings should be available to the thousands of REALTORS® who look at the MLS every day for new properties for their buying clients. At CENTURY 21 Vista, Inc. we know that the more exposure we provide for our listings, the higher the price we obtain for our selling clients, because the best price is always secured when the most ready, willing and able buyers are made aware of an available property.

Meet Our Professional MLS REALTORS®!

Looking for more information about MN or ND real estate?

CENTURY 21 Atwood of Fergus Falls specializes in the Minnesota & North Dakota real estate markets. Contact us online or call us at 218.739.3281 today for a free consultation.