Q:

How can you access MLS listings?

A:

Quick Answer

The only way to access the full multiple listing service or MLS is to be a licensed realtor with a membership. However, consumers find most of the information by searching sites such as Realtor.com and ZipRealty.com.

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Full Answer

MLS listings are proprietary information and are carefully guarded. Part of this is for safety and privacy reasons. The listings contain information such as the homeowner's full name as well as information about when the home is going to be empty. This is important information for real estate agents so they can arrange showings.

The listings on other sites usually include all of the important information for consumers, including price, size and other factors. An MLS simply keeps the more sensitive information private. It is useful to search a few different sites because some of them contain different details. For example, ZipRealty lists price changes but does not always have the name of the listing agent, while Realtor.com does, according to BiggerPockets. By using a variety of sites, consumers can find all of the publicly available information that the MLS listing contains. If working with a specific real estate broker, a consumer can also ask him for the listings. Many brokers feature the public version of MLS listings on their own websites for their clients to browse.

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