If you are trying to sell or buy a property, chances are you’ve heard of the Multiple Listing Service, also known as MLS listings. The MLS is one of the largest databases used by real estate agents when selling or renting a home.
Table of Contents
- What Are MLS Listings?
- How Do MLS Listings Work?
- How to Search MLS Listings
- What Are the Benefits of MLS Listings?
- How Can Mashvisor Help Investors Access MLS Listings?
- Utilizing MLS Listing Information With Mashvisor
- The Bottom Line
While known as a tool favored by agents, many investors find it difficult to access the MLS by themselves. However, though it may take a few extra steps, there are ways to access the MLS database without the help of an agent. Keep reading to learn how to access MLS listings without an agent.
What Are MLS Listings?
As previously mentioned MLS listings are essentially a database wherein properties for sale are compiled for convenience. For agents, the tool allows them to see the different listings offered by other real estate companies and agents. Each agent will list their property on the MLS and, in return, can access the listings of another agent within their area. It makes it easier for agents to match property sellers with potential buyers.
Even if the property isn’t originally listed for sale, any agent can check out the MLS listings and suggest it to their client. In the event that the client chooses the other agents’ property, agents will simply share commissions. Overall, the MLS database allows agents to show clients the best properties suited to their exact specifications. In turn, agents are more likely to make a sale and earn commissions through the MLS.
While MLS listings are more often used by agents, they are still quite useful to any real estate investor. The information available on the MLS database is crucial for any real estate investment. Whether it be the initial purchase of a lucrative property or ensuring that you get the best return on investment, the MLS is an essential tool for anyone looking to buy or invest in a property.
Related: Why Real Estate Investors Don’t Need MLS Access
How Do MLS Listings Work?
While MLS is a general term used by many agents, there isn’t just one centralized MLS. To better filter out the properties and listings, each region maintains its own MLS database. For anyone to access the MLS online listings, they will often need a broker’s license, as well as pay a membership fee. Once an agent gains access to MLS listings, they will be able to gather information like sale price, rental price, neighborhood, size, etc., on properties in the area.
With an MLS membership, agents from that area are somewhat in agreement that all properties on the MLS can be sold by other agents. If a property is sold by someone other than the agent who listed the property, the commissions will simply be shared. It allows agents to make a faster sale or property turnover when it comes to MLS sale listings and MLS rental listings.
How to Search MLS Listings
Now that you know how MLS listings work, you may be wondering how to see MLS listings as an investor. For the most part, only real estate agents or someone with a broker’s license can access the MLS. However, while it’s not the easiest thing to gain access to, investors can search and view MLS listings in a couple of different ways. Here are some of the most common and convenient ways to access MLS listings:
1. Get a Broker’s License or Partner With an Agent
The most commonly known way to access the MLS is to either get a broker’s license or partner with someone with one. While most people would like to avoid hiring an agent, their readily available access to the MLS is definitely something you need to consider. When working with an agent, they will give you a client login account to access the MLS. With the agent’s help, you can easily send them listings you’d like to see and are considering as an investment.
You can also get your own brokers to license if you plan to buy investment properties quite often. It will allow you to buy your own MLS membership as a licensed real estate broker. While a broker’s license will incur additional costs, some investors see it as a viable alternative to hiring an agent for MLS access.
2. Pay the MLS Membership Flat Fee
If you do not want to go through the hassle of acquiring a broker’s license in your area, some regions allow you to pay a flat fee for membership. The rules and fees will differ per region, depending on the MLS guidelines for the area. However, if your area does allow non-licensed investors to purchase an MLS membership, it would be the best way to go.
3. Use the Public MLS
Like the non-licensed MLS membership, public access to MLS data varies per region. If your area offers a public MLS like Bright MLS, which covers Pennsylvania and neighboring states, it would be great for doing basic research. However, even with public MLS listings, not all information is released to the public.
Information like showing schedules, commission rates, and agent notes won’t be included in public listings. While some of the information isn’t essential to an investor, the public listings tend to also exclude investment stats like cap rate, rental price estimate, and appreciation value. While public MLS listings are an excellent starting point, gaining access to the full MLS database is essential for any savvy real estate investor.
4. Find a Site With MLS Listings
If none of the options mentioned above seem suitable to you as an investor, you can try finding a site that pulls its listing information from an MLS database. While some information may be missing, it will include more information than a public MLS listing.
With websites taking their listings from the MLS, you will be able to access the database information even if your region doesn’t allow flat-fare memberships from non-licensed brokers. You are also able to enjoy the convenience of using their site without the hassle of getting a broker’s license.
For easy access to MLS listings information, sign up for Mashvisor’s 7-day free trial and view listings gathered directly from the MLS database.
What Are the Benefits of MLS Listings?
With multiple listings sites like Zillow and Realtor, you may be wondering if the MLS is still beneficial today. As an investor, the MLS database is more than just a beneficial way to find investment properties and list your properties in any given area. Getting access to the MLS offers three main benefits:
1. Finding the Best Investment Property
The first benefit of accessing the MLS is that you will be able to find a variety of listings. With almost every real estate agent and home seller listing on the MLS, finding a property that suits all your investment goals should be no issue at all. From a duplex for sale to vacation rental investments, the MLS is sure to offer all the best deals.
Related: 5 Ways to Find Investment Property for Sale Near Me
2. High Traffic on Listings
Aside from offering you the convenience of finding MLS listings near me, the MLS is useful for selling or renting one’s property. When it comes to selling or renting your investment property, it is important to get as much traction and traffic on your listing. It will help it sell or rent out faster and possibly even help you get a better deal on your property. With hundreds and thousands of MLS users, your property is bound to have high traffic whether it be for sale or for rent.
3. Reliable and Accurate Data
Lastly, the MLS is known for providing the most accurate and reliable data when it comes to real estate. With its database coming from licensed real estate brokers and a handful of investors themselves, users can expect up-to-date and dependable data all year round.
While other sites can offer similar listing services, the MLS remains one of the most efficient and effective ways to find and conduct real estate deals. As a matter of fact, the most reliable sites are directly connected to the MLS and gather information from its database for their own listings. Though other site listings may suffice for some purchases, experienced investors know that they need more than just basic listings. Being able to access MLS will allow investors to get the best deal for their next real estate venture.
How Can Mashvisor Help Investors Access MLS Listings?
When it comes to using a platform that gathers access directly from the MLS database, Mashvisor is one of the most reliable sites. Not only does it provide you with up-to-date listings from MLS listings in your area, but it also works as a real estate deal analyzer, thanks to its various tools. Here are some of the ways that Mashvisor can help you access the MLS database as a real estate investor:
1. Mashvisor as a Database Company
While many people may see Mashvisor as a basic real estate listing site, it is first and foremost a real estate data analytics company. All the data found on the site are either sourced directly from the MLS listings of a particular region or from the Airbnb website, depending on which data points you are looking for. From the median price to the potential rental price calculations, all information is based on the MLS database. When users sign up, they are automatically given access to MLS listings through Mashvisor.
2. Taking Property Searches to the Next Level
Like most real estate websites, Mashvisor comes with a property listing feature that is available to all its users. Derived from the MLS listings database, you are sure to get the most recent and accurate information on properties for sale and rent around your area. However, what makes the platform’s property search features special is its heatmap.
Mashvisor’s Heatmap is a feature that color codes the neighborhoods in your city to show you real estate hotspots in your area. Based on your search filters, the heatmap tool can show you which areas offer the most lucrative deals. They can be places with the highest rental value or places with the lowest investment price in the city.
Overall, Mashvisor is able to take the information provided by the MLS, as well as offer its users refined information when it comes to the initial steps of their real estate investment.
Utilizing MLS Listing Information With Mashvisor
With the information from the MLS, Mashvisor provides several tools to utilize the information. While the MLS comes with many vital raw data points, Mashvisor can help refine your computations. Taking the information from the MLS and the Airbnb site, the platform can help investors calculate the potential performance of any property with any real estate strategy. Here are some of the main ways Mashvisor utilizes the information from MLS listings:
1. Real Estate Comparisons
A key feature of Mashvisor is its real estate comps analysis. With access to Mashvisor’s real estate comps, users can easily see how lucrative a deal is as compared to other listings. The tool provides an analysis based on several data points, such as:
- Property Location
- Sale Price
- Number of Rooms and Amenities
- Sale Time Frame
- Potential Rental Income By Strategy
- Walk Score
With the said information on each property, any investor can easily see how one property would perform compared to the other. Unlike other sites, Mashvisor pulls information from the Airbnb site. It will show you a comparison of the performance of a property as a traditional rental listing from the MLS and as a short-term rental from Airbnb. Overall, not only will Mashvisor offer you access to the MLS but it can also help you compare the different listings on the site.
Related: Real Estate Comp Analysis in 4 Steps
2. Rental Property Calculator
Similar to the real estate comps rental estimate, Mashvisor also provides a tool that can help you calculate how much rent you should charge for an investment property. By taking several listings from the MLS and seeing the rental price of similar properties, Mashvisor can estimate how much you can charge for rent. Additionally, the platform will take your mortgage estimates, HOA dues, taxes, and repair costs, to give you an even more accurate rental price estimate.
Overall, as a rental property calculator, Mashvisor first gathers information from the MLS, using the average rental prices of the area. Afterward, it will take into account the investor’s expenses and further refine its calculations.
The Bottom Line
Gaining access to MLS listings as an investor is essential to anyone looking to make the best real estate deals. However, the process of accessing the MLS is not easy without a real estate agent or broker. The good thing is that websites like Mashvisor allow their users to gain access without jumping through extra hoops to get a broker’s license.
Mashvisor not only grants access to MLS listings information but also provides additional tools to further help real estate investors. With information from the MLS database and real estate investment calculator tools, Mashvisor is the one-stop shop for real estate investor needs from finding a property to renting it out. For access to MLS listings, sign up for a 7-day free trial today.