MLS and RNS – what do they mean?

Property Sales

Once you start looking at property, buying or selling, the terminology used in the industry can start getting overwhelming. The prospective home buyer or seller, though, wants to know what is happening, the mandates, processes, and stakeholders involved. Today, we want to shed some light on MLS and RNS so you know exactly what you are dealing with.


Definitions first:

The MLS (Multi listing service) is a type of mandate by which a property is sold. As the name states, it is a service where multiple listings can be viewed. Estate agents list their properties on this service so other estate agents can also see it and then they can get the property sold.

The RNS (Residential Network System) is, in their own words: “an independent property marketing system providing a customer service by which Real Estate Agencies co-operate and combine their resources to offer a selection of properties to buyers and sellers.”

If they sound pretty much the same – they are. The RNS is a version of the multi-listing service in which multiple properties can be listed.


So, what makes an MLS different from other mandates?

The sale of a house can happen via an open mandate, an MLS, or a sole mandate. With an open mandate, multiple agents market your house and whoever brings the buyer will get the commission for the sale.  On the opposite end of the mandate spectrum, if you sign a sole mandate with an estate agent, that individual market your property and he/she alone gets the commission. If the agent does call in the help of additional agents to market and sell the house and one of the other agents brings in the buyer, there might be an agreement whereby the other agents gets a percentage of the commission, but that is of no concern to the homeowner and is negotiated by the agents.


An MLS can be seen as something in between the open and sole mandate. The homeowner will usually sign an MLS with a listing agent who will then send the details of the property to other member agencies in the multi-listing group. With the property on this group, the member agencies can also sell the property and contact the homeowner directly if they have an interested buyer that would like to view the property. If one of these member agents find the buyer, the commission will usually be shared with the listing agent.


An MLS can sometimes also be referred to as a “letter of authorisation” – it is basically a shared sole mandate by which you allow that agent to sell your property on the multi-listing with its partnered agencies. It’s important to note that just because your home is on an MLS  does not mean that every agency will be able to market and sell your home, just the ones affiliated with the MLS will have that privilege.


As with any mandate, there are some things to be aware of before deciding if this is the right one for your home sale.

  • The commission that can be made on the sale of the home is usually agreed to from the start and it cannot be reduced. You also need to be wary of whom you are liable to pay commission to. If two different agencies can claim that they brought in the buyer (because different agencies can show the same house to the same buyer), you might be expected to pay double commission. Be sure the final contract indemnifies you against any claim for commission by the other party.
  • Your home will receive more exposure with an MLS but there can also be less accountability and a potential loss of control. Your listing agent may not get the full picture of what is happening when there are multiple agents with potential buyers looking at your property.
  • With an MLS you do run the risk of having an agent that is not as committed to your property as they would have been with a sole mandate. If you work with a reputable agent, however, this should not be the case.
  • Receiving requests from different agents for potential buyers to view the house can also become a schlep as you have to arrange keys, access, alarm codes and more every time.


Where does the RNS come in?

The Residential Network System is one MLS that various agencies, like Karis, can belong to. An agent can list a property on the RNS that other member agencies can view and we can also view listing from other agents. The seller signs an exclusive shared sole mandate (MLS) and their property is introduced by way of an Open Hour. Participating RNS members have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the property to be listed as well as its marketability. RNS agents have various monitoring tools with which to ensure the property is receiving wide exposure to all potential buyers.


You should always contact a reputable estate agency, like Karis, that will truly have your best interests at heart and will provide you with the best advice about possible mandates and listing sites.