MLS real estate listings are an essential part of buying or selling a real estate property. What are these listings and how helpful are they?
Table of Contents
- No Realtor? No Problem! 8 Best Websites for MLS Real Estate Listings
- 8 of the Best Websites for MLS Real Estate Listings Without the Need for a Realtor
- The Bottom Line
In this article, we will talk about MLS real estate listings, how important they are, who can access them, and how you can access them. Let’s go.
No Realtor? No Problem! 8 Best Websites for MLS Real Estate Listings
Any person who’s been involved in buying or selling real estate property knows that access to real estate MLS listings is very important. However, though the MLS is a crucial part of purchasing traditional properties or even income properties for sale, it is often an overlooked part of the home buying and investing process.
Perhaps, the main reason for such oversight is that not all home buyers and investors hold a real estate license that is required to access the real estate listings MLS. It limits the number of excellent deals buyers are exposed to because there are lots of fantastic deals available on the MLS, especially if you know where to look.
That being said, investors are looking for possible ways of gaining access to the MLS to find better deals on properties with high income-generating potential.
What Are MLS Real Estate Listings?
Before we go any further, let’s discuss the basics of MLS listings first. What is an MLS real estate listing?
MLS stands for multiple listing services. It is a regional and private database used by real estate brokerages to advertise properties being sold by their agents. To date, there are over 800 MLS listings in the US alone, with more than 91% of sellers listing their homes on their respective local MLS.
As a real estate tool, it helps industry professionals connect with buyers to sell their properties.
Why Do They Matter to the Real Estate Industry?
MLS real estate listings are very important to the real estate industry because of the opportunities they open for both buyers and sellers. Finding a house or investment property to buy will be a lot more challenging (and more time-consuming) if not for the listings.
Most properties that are up for sale are listed on regional and private MLS. They are kept private because of the information type associated with the listings. Generally, the information attached to property listings includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Property features and characteristics
- Property price
- Property taxes
- Directions to the property
Because of the available information’s sensitive nature, the MLS is not as easily accessible to everyone.
Who Can Access MLS Listings?
As we’ve already mentioned, the type of information that can be accessed on MLS online listings can be quite sensitive and must therefore be protected. For this reason, not everyone can easily access the MLS.
The rule of thumb here is that real estate brokerages and licensed real estate professionals are the only ones who can access MLS listings real estate. They pay annual fees to access the MLS, which helps them do their job more efficiently. Because of the sensitive information available on the MLS, access is limited only to industry professionals.
However, it doesn’t mean that properties listed on the MLS are completely hands-off to buyers.
Is It Possible to List a Property on the MLS Without a Real Estate Agent?
As mentioned earlier, if you’re in the market to buy investment properties, you will need the help of a realtor to gain easy access to the MLS. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. You may not have direct access to the MLS on your own but if you partner with an experienced, credible, and licensed real estate agent right off the bat, they can unlock it for you.
In most cases, agents give their clients personalized portals that allow them to go over MLS listings online. The portals include something like an “MLS listings near me” search function that lets buyers access listed properties in a specific market.
Now you may be wondering, what about if you’re the seller? Is it allowed to list properties on the MLS without a realtor on board?
The answer is “yes, it is.” Sellers, technically, can list their properties on the MLS apart from a realtor. Although you may not list directly on the MLS, some brokerages offer flat-fee MLS listing services to allow sellers without licenses to get their properties listed.
Let’s say you’re a property owner who wants to sell your house. You can use the said flat-fee MLS listing services to post your home for a few hundred dollars. The flat-fee service is a budget-friendly way to advertise your property as a “for sale by owner” or FSBO which can attract the attention of interested buyers.
The only downside to it is that going DIY with a property sale can be too time-consuming and exhausting. If you’re up to the challenge, go for it. But if you want to save yourself some time and money along the way, it would be best to work with a low-commission agent.
8 of the Best Websites for MLS Real Estate Listings Without a Realtor
Now that we’ve discussed the basics of MLS real estate listings, the next question is are they enough to make smart investing decisions?
While the MLS has been such a boon to industry professionals, sellers, and homebuyers, the short answer to the question is no. The data found on the MLS may be accurate and some of them may not be found anywhere else; however, other external factors need to be considered to make well-informed investing decisions. The MLS can help you narrow down your search for the ideal investment property but it cannot provide other factors that have nothing to do with the property itself but can highly affect its profitability.
This is where real estate websites come in.
What Is a Real Estate Website?
Just like MLS real estate listings, real estate websites make the process of buying and selling a house more convenient for all the parties involved. Such websites offer users access to important property information, as well as crucial market information. The latter gives investors better insight into the particular markets they’re considering to see whether investing in a property is worth it or not.
Because of the said websites, the need for MLS access has decreased among both buyers and sellers. According to the 2020 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, people who found a home on the internet made up 51% of the total number of buyers, while 28% found theirs through a realtor and 7% from yard signs.
Real estate websites have caught the attention of investors for their value and convenience. They have allowed sellers to list FSBO homes and buyers to discover great deals without the need for any realtor.
Here are a few notable real estate websites where one can find the best place to buy rental property without a realtor’s assistance. The following websites have MLS listings distributed and made available to them and their users:
Mashvisor is an online real estate marketplace that’s helped thousands of real estate investors find the most profitable investment properties online. It maintains a massive and highly-accurate database that pretty much covers almost all real estate markets in all 50 states. It also offers very impressive real estate investing tools that make the process of research and analysis simple and speedy.
A few of its noteworthy features are:
- Property Marketplace. Mashvisor’s Property Marketplace not only gives investors access to most MLS listings but also off-market properties, including foreclosed properties, bank-owned homes, short sales, and auctions.
- Property Finder. The site’s Property Finder feature allows users to find properties that match their investment criteria and goals, as well as perform data analysis to see how profitable a specific property is.
- Investment Property Search. The Property Search feature uses predictive analytics to locate the most lucrative traditional and Airbnb properties in a fraction of the time.
- Investment Property Calculator. Mashvisor’s Investment Property Calculator makes crunching the numbers a fairly easy task. It allows users to perform neighborhood analysis and investment property analysis using up-to-date real estate data and rental comps in the area.
Zillow is one of the more popular real estate websites used by industry professionals, sellers, and buyers. Launched in 2006, it offers a robust suite of tools to real estate professionals, sellers, buyers, and investors. In fact, it is one of the most downloaded apps on both iOS and Android platforms.
It allows users to conduct searches, get their homes listed whether as an FSBO or a rental, and connect with real estate agents and lenders.
Realtor.com is another real estate website popular among industry professionals, investors, and enthusiasts. The website is affiliated with the National Association of Realtors and is connected to nearly 600 multiple listing services throughout the country. It is considered by many as one of the most up-to-date and accurate real estate websites as far as MLS data is concerned.
The site in itself is a very powerful investing tool. However, its downside is that it lacks an option for buyers to search for FSBO listings, and sellers cannot list their properties for sale on the platform.
From its name alone, you already know that it allows users to gain access to foreclosed properties that aren’t made publicly available on the MLS. The good thing about the website―and its whole concept, in general―is that there are many excellent deals on foreclosed properties, especially for real estate investors. It is a great one-stop-shop for individuals looking to buy homes that are in the foreclosure process.
One thing that might turn off interested users is that its free trial period requires a credit card sign-up, unlike Mashvisor.
Renters who would like to know more about apartment choices and the neighborhoods they’re in will find Apartments.com helpful. Other than apartment listings, the website also lets renters search for condos, townhouses, and houses.
In addition, it also offers a mobile app that can be downloaded on both iOS and Android devices to make apartment hunting easier.
Any seller who wants to DIY their home sale will find FSBO.com one of the best things to ever happen to them. The website allows home sellers to save up on seller commissions by allowing them to get their properties listed at a more affordable cost.
One of its packages includes the option to list on the MLS and syndicated real estate websites.
Countless users can attest to Trulia’s user-friendliness, especially when it comes to mobile devices. It is a powerful and simple tool that allows users to search for properties to buy or rent with relative ease.
One of the tool’s most appealing features, especially for novice users, is the tutorials that guide them to maximize their app experience.
8. Homes for Heroes
As a special salute to our modern-day American heroes, Home for Heroes allows qualified individuals to buy, sell, refinance a property, and earn rewards at discounted prices.
It is different from all the other real estate websites on this list. The very first step involves filling out an online form for one of the website’s specialists to know how to serve you best. Additionally, every transaction made earns contributions to a non-profit organization that supports local heroes.
If you’re a veteran, in active military service, a police officer, a firefighter, an EMS professional, a teacher, or a healthcare professional, you are considered a modern-day hero and are qualified for the different benefits the website offers.
The Bottom Line
Despite the abundance of numerous real estate websites, MLS real estate listings are still a valuable tool for real estate transactions. While websites provide easier access and more efficient solutions to real estate market concerns, many people still depend on them to find the best real estate deals in their respective markets.
While the future of MLS real estate listings is still up in the air, given the vast online choices available today, it is too early to rule them out of the game just yet. However, a seller or buyer without any license can choose to take their business to a real estate website like Mashvisor to make the process faster and easier.
To get access to our real estate investment tools, click here to sign up for a 7-day free trial of Mashvisor today, followed by 15% off for life.