Buying a house without a realtor might seem like an enticing bargain. After all, who wouldn’t want to save thousands of dollars in agent fees? Having said that, it is important to note that the process of buying an investment property without the help of a real estate agent isn’t as simple as it seems. In fact, you will face several hurdles along the way, chief among them is accessing the MLS without a valid real estate license. But is MLS access your only option when it comes to finding income properties? Is making money in real estate with no license feasible? And what are some of the alternatives that are available to real estate investors?
In this article, we will discuss the difficulties that real estate investors face when trying to access MLS listings and explore a more convenient alternative that eliminates the need for it.
Related: Do You Need to Find a Real Estate Agent to Buy Investment Property?
Getting MLS Access Without a Real Estate Agent: An Arduous Process
MLS is short for multiple listing services. This is a collaborative database that hosts listings from real estate brokers across the country. Thanks to the MLS database, buying and selling agents have access to valuable data that makes their job more efficient. This real estate database is updated on a regular basis and all affiliated brokers gain access to the listings online or via a distributed book. Here are some of the advantages of using this service:
- All the information is consolidated in one place rather than on multiple platforms
- It offers buying agents more options and gives selling agents nationwide exposure
- It allows small brokers to operate on the same level as their larger competitors
Now that you have a basic understanding of what the MLS is, let’s delve into the obstacles that you will face if you try to obtain MLS access without the help of a real estate agent.
1- You will need to get a real estate license
The first thing you need in order to obtain MLS access is a real estate license. In fact, direct access is only granted to licensed members. While getting a real estate license might be ideal for someone trying to pursue a career as a broker, it does not make much sense for a real estate investor. This is due to the fact that becoming a licensed real estate professional requires a considerable degree of commitment. You are also expected to complete pre-license education and pass a state exam.
Related: Do I Need a License to Be a Real Estate Investor?
2- Getting non-agent MLS access might take years
Getting a real estate license is not the only option that is available to you. You can actually obtain MLS access as a non-agent. However, this status is very difficult to get. In order to qualify, you will need to have a long working relationship with the MLS. Moreover, you will have to present a coherent business plan that showcases the value that you will add. Needless to say, this amount of work and time frame are not ideal if you are planning on investing in real estate in the short term.
3- Finding a sponsor is not a guaranteed strategy
Getting sponsored by an affiliate is another way to get MLS access. However, finding a sponsor is often reliant on building long-standing working relationships with several MLS brokers. With some luck, you might be able to strike a quick sponsorship deal with a member, but this is not a strategy you should bank on. Unless you have a network of contacts in the industry, your chances of obtaining MLS access through sponsorship are very slim.
As you can see, obtaining MLS access without working with a real estate agent is fairly difficult. The resources that you need to put toward gaining access simply exceed what the average real estate investor can afford. But fortunately, there are several alternative sources that eliminate the need for accessing the MLS. One such alternative is the focus of our next section.
An Effective Alternative to the MLS: Mashvisor
The emergence of a wide range of real estate investment tools has provided a practical alternative to MLS access. A perfect example of this is the Mashvisor platform. On top of having MLS data, this all-in-one real estate tool provides you with effective software solutions for every step of the real estate investing process. Below is an in-depth look at how Mashisor tools can help you find houses for sale, obtain rental comps, and carry out thorough investment property analysis with a click of a button.
1- Get a detailed look at each neighborhood thanks to the real estate heatmap
Analyzing every aspect of a neighborhood is an integral part of real estate market analysis. Thanks to the real estate heatmap, neighborhood analysis has never been easier. This tool displays all the relevant data in visual form. This allows you to get an overview of how profitable a particular area is and enables you to locate the best-performing income properties on a map.
2- Zero-in on the ideal investment with the rental property finder
By employing the latest AI technology and machine learning algorithms, the rental property finder is able to find the top-performing investment properties in a matter of minutes. Real estate investors can use a set of simple filters to limit the scope of the investment property search down to specific features such as property type, rental strategy, and listing price.
3- Perform investment property analysis with the real estate investment calculator
The real estate investment calculator is the perfect tool for carrying out a quick and effective investment property analysis. This real estate analytics platform collects all the traditional and Airbnb data that pertains to the neighborhood and the rental property for sale of your choice and provides you with an accurate analysis of the real estate investment’s viability. Here is what you can do with the calculator:
- Calculate the cap rate and cash on cash return
- Obtain real estate comps in any area and perform comparative market analysis
- Choose the optimal rental strategy based on traditional and Airbnb analytics
4- Check the Mashvisor Property Marketplace to find off market real estate deals
One more reason to forgo MLS access is the abundance of profitable off market real estate deals. In fact, off market properties offer you the best chance of landing undervalued investments. Checking the Mashvisor Property Marketplace gives you access to thousands of short sales, foreclosures, bank owned homes, and distressed properties. You will also get access to the real estate investment calculator to be able to perform rental property analysis on any off market listing.
Related: How Do You Find Off Market Properties?
The Bottom Line
Given the wealth of features that Mashvisor offers you, it is quite evident that MLS access is not needed. Using this platform as your one-stop shop for all your real estate investing needs will save you time and effort and allow you to focus all your resources on growing your rental property business.
To start your 14-day free trial with Mashvisor and subscribe to our services with a 20% discount after, click here.