An efficient MLS listings search can help you find the best investment property. Read this guide to learn how it works and how to use it.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is MLS?
  2. How to Search MLS Listings
  3. Mashvisor: The Best Place For MLS Listings Search
  4. Subscribe to Mashvisor and Access MLS Listings Without a License

Nowadays, real estate agents still work together even if they don’t belong in the same brokerage or agency. However, instead of doing an in-person sharing of listings, agents, investors, and buyers alike can now utilize a tool called MLS, or Multiple Listing Service.

Below, we will talk about how you can conduct an MLS listings search to find properties that best fit your real estate investment criteria.

What Is MLS?

Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is a centralized database that stores real estate listings for a specific market. Real estate professionals maintain the database to enable streamlined property sales. The listings include properties for sale from several agencies, including competitor real estate companies.

MLS allows real estate agents to share information about their for-sale properties. Through the MLS database, brokers can see each others’ inventory so they can help one another connect homebuyers and investors to the sellers.

MLS aims to consolidate the available properties within a particular market to make it easy for homebuyers, agents, and sellers to access the for-sale inventories. It’s important to note that there isn’t just one MLS. In fact, there are currently more than 800 listed MLS available. Each regional real estate market maintains its own MLS, so one can do an MLS listings search based on a specific market.

Why Is MLS Important?

Being able to access the MLS online listings is important because it makes it easier for real estate agents to help buyers find the right property to purchase. Keep in mind that brokers and agents can see each others’ listing information through MLS. If you’re a real estate professional, using an MLS database can provide a wider reach for your listings. Both the listing and selling agents will benefit from the said setup because not only do they consolidate and share inventory, but they also share commissions once a property is sold.

Additionally, using MLS can also be advantageous to both sellers and buyers. Sellers can gain from the centralized database because their property will get increased exposure. Similarly, buyers can enjoy the convenience of working with only one agent while getting a wide selection of options from all MLS-listed properties.

In general, MLS allows real estate professionals to sell all available properties across many agencies and brokerage firms. As a real estate investor, being able to access a wide range of MLS real estate listings is essential if you want to find the perfect investment property. Without using the MLS database, the for-sale properties that you can access are only limited to the ones listed by your chosen agent.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Multiple Listing Services (MLS) 

How Does an MLS Work?

When homebuyers are looking for a property to buy, they usually turn to real estate agents for help. Real estate agents will then offer their listings to prospective buyers. However, most of the time, the listings are not sufficient. That is why real estate agents share their listings with each other. The practice allows real estate agents to work with other agents and help each other find buyers for their properties. The idea is to encourage agents to help one another sell their inventory.

Usually, only licensed real estate agents and brokers can access most MLS listings in the US. You should be a real estate professional so you can do an MLS listings search or post a property for sale. If you are just a homebuyer or real estate investor, you typically won’t be allowed to access the local MLS database unless you work with a professional real estate agent.

Only the MLS-affiliated real estate brokers and agents are able to post, update, and access the listings on a particular MLS database. Usually, a real estate professional needs to pay to become a member of a certain MLS. It’s possible for a real estate agent to be a member of multiple MLS databases.

Being a member of MLS may be an added cost for agents and brokers; however, it allows them to perform their business more efficiently and effectively. Members of an MLS database can access information on the properties in a specific area, including photos and details like the square footage and amenities. MLS follows the standards set by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

How to Search MLS Listings

Buyers and real estate investors can typically access MLS listings search if they work with a professional realtor. On the other hand, sellers can post a listing on the MLS without hiring a realtor. There are brokerages known as flat-fee MLS listing services that will list a property for sale for a fee.

If you’re a real estate investor, it’s essential to obtain access to MLS listings if you want to find the most profitable investment property available. Fortunately, there are ways you can gain access to such a wide selection of inventory. The following are a few methods you can use so you can do an MLS listings search:

1. Hire a Real Estate Professional

The most challenging method for accessing the MLS database without getting your own real estate license is to find a licensed agent to work with. It’s important to look for an investor-friendly real estate agent who can provide you with MLS access specifically for the type of properties that you need. Keep in mind that being clear about what you’re looking for is essential when talking to your agent.

Similarly, you also need to negotiate clearly about what you are offering the agent in exchange for your access to the database. Usually, investors offer a flat fee or a percentage on closed property deals as a finder’s fee. Some offer a combination of flat fees and percentage-based finder’s fees.

You can find investor-friendly agents from online sources such as LinkedIn, Facebook groups, CraigsList, and agent forums. You can also check your local real estate network for referrals. Once you find the right agent, it will be easier to find the right investment property. It can be rewarding in the long run.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Working With a Licensed Agent?

Pros Cons
You’ll get access to the MLS database through your agent. You need to coordinate your time with the agent.
Hiring an agent would pay off in the long run, especially if you consistently invest in real estate. It can be costly, especially if the agent demands a high fee.

Did you know that Mashvisor offers a real estate agent directory where you can browse agents in a specific state or city? Visit Mashvisor and schedule a free trial.

Related: Selling a Home? How to Find a Real Estate Agent

2. Find a Free MLS Listing

Most local MLS listings accept membership only from licensed real estate professionals. Fortunately, there are public MLS listing sites that are open to both professional agents and investors who don’t hold a license. The said real estate listing sites provide real estate data sets that allow investors to view the properties for sale without actually using the MLS.

The following are real estate sites that provide access to different types of properties, such as a duplex for sale:

  • is a free service website that lets you browse the listed properties in your chosen location. It is a good site if you usually search “MLS listings near me.” While the site does not offer comprehensive information about the property details, it provides the contact information of the broker representing the seller of a particular property. It allows the investors to easily get in touch with the broker to ask for further details about the property.
  • Zillow is another platform that lets you perform an MLS listings search by sale and “recently sold” categories. It can be helpful when you need to draw neighborhood and real estate comps. Zillow also provides home value estimates through its Zestimate feature.
  • ZipRealty is a listing website that offers property information and key details, like whether a property is a real estate owned (REO) property or a short sale. ZipRealty also provides information about property pricing and lets you know if there is a significant price drop on a particular property.
  • Trulia is a free platform that homebuyers and investors of rental properties widely use. Trulia offers real estate market trends and neighborhood comparisons. The platform allows investors to search MLS rental listings, and browse for various categories, such as resale, foreclosures, for sale by owner (FSBO), and properties with reduced prices.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Free MLS Listings?

Pros Cons
You don’t need to get a license or work with a real estate agent to access the listings. The listings may not be updated regularly.
It can reduce your overall real estate investing cost because access to the listings is typically free. Some important details about the property may not be readily available.

3. Subscribe to a Real Estate Data Analytics Company to Get Analyze MLS Listings

One of the simplest solutions to access an MLS listings search is to use the resources provided by real estate data analytics companies. Such companies are typically online platforms that offer information on the properties for sale in a given area, as well as details of the property and how to contact the broker or seller.

Since there are many real estate companies that provide the above information, it’s crucial to choose one that offers up-to-date data and in-depth analysis to help you find the best investment property. Usually, a subscription to the services comes with a fee. To help you maximize your return on investment, make sure to subscribe to the best real estate data analytics company.

Related: How to Analyze MLS Listings Using Mashvisor

Mashvisor: The Best Place for MLS Listings Search

Mashvisor is a real estate data analytics platform that provides access to thousands of listings through its database. What makes Mashvisor unique is that its application programming interface (API) collects its data from several public sources. The best thing about Mashvisor’s platform is that it uses proprietary AI-powered investment analytics to ensure that it shows the best options available when you’re searching. The platform works like a one-stop-shop for investors—it provides industry-leading data without the need to check multiple sources.

Who Is Mashvisor Best For?

Mashvisor is an all-in-one platform that’s best for investors of all levels. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced investor, you will find the Mashvisor database and investing tools impressive and useful. Even seasoned investors and large real estate companies will benefit significantly from using Mashvisor.

Mashvisor is best for investors who seriously want to find the best and most profitable investment properties. The company’s database includes a wide selection of available inventory, making it easy for investors to find what they are looking for. The platform is also an excellent choice for those who are committed to creating a productive investment strategy.

What Tools Does Mashvisor Offer?

Another reason why Mashvisor is a leading real estate analytics company is that it provides several useful real estate tools. The tools are helpful in finding an investment property and analyzing whether such property will make a profitable investment for your preferred real estate strategy.

Here are some tools Mashvisor offers:

  • Rental Property Finder: Mashvisor’s Property Finder is a comprehensive database that merges MLS listings with listings from other sources. The tool makes MLS listings search easier.
  • Property Marketplace: Mashvisor’s Property Marketplace is the best place to find off-market properties in any US housing market.
  • Rental Property Calculator: The Property Calculator helps investors determine if a property is going to be a profitable investment. You can enter your own figures for your financing and expected expenses. You will see an overview of the relevant metrics, such as cap rate and cash on cash return. It can help you make an informed investing decision.
  • Real Estate Heatmap: The Heatmap tool provides information on specific areas or neighborhoods. It also gives an overview of the rental market analysis in a particular location, making it easy to decide which is the best place to buy rental property.
MLS Listings Search

Mashvisor’s Heatmap tool provides real estate investors with an overview of the rental market in their preferred location, helping to make them make informed investment decisions.

Subscribe to Mashvisor and Access MLS Listings Without a License

You can choose from Mashvisor’s three different plans to start performing an efficient  MLS listings search.

It’s easy to search Mashvisor’s database—you just need to enter your preferred city or neighborhood and you’ll get a list of all available for-sale listings in the said location. Click on the property that interests you, and you will see an overview of the important details about the property and in-depth analysis and trends.

To learn more about Mashvisor, schedule a demo or start a free trial now.

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