Real Estate Tech Question: Getting Nationwide MLS Listing Data
When it comes to building real estate websites, listings are kind of important. Just kind of. That is true whether you are an agent/broker trying to be relevant to buyers & sellers in your area or a serial entrepreneur trying to build the next national real estate portal with your own unique twist. I recently got a private question from someone on Quora asking how to get comprehensive MLS listings, so I thought I’d answer it publicly rather than privately.
Adding listings to an agent or broker website in one specific market is a known process – just sign up for IDX, hook it to your website, and away you go.
But for entrepreneurs looking to get nationwide listing inventory — well, it’s not so simple. For those of you in this situation, there are three primary options to consider:
- Direct from the source (agents and brokers) – This is the route companies like Zillow and Trulia took in order to give them maximum long term flexibility. But it’s extremely time intensive and relationship heavy. You’ve got to win over the likes of ERA, Prudential, Weichert, and about a thousand other medium and large sized brokerages and convince them syndicating their listings to you is a good idea. Or you can spend a boatload of money trying to reach 500,000 agents individually. Whichever route you take, you’ve got to be committed to the effort over the long run and put in the time to form real relationships with key stakeholders at a variety of organizations.
- Aggregate MLS feeds across the county – This route still requires that you aggregate hundreds of MLS feeds (there are roughly 900 MLS’) to get comprehensive. Plus, you’ll have to have a sponsoring real estate agent/broker in each market. Additionally, if you aggregate MLS feeds, you are bound by MLS rules that vary from MLS to MLS (making building your national site a pain in the rear).
- Use ListHub or Point2 – this will probably get you the greatest number of listings in the quickest amount of time. But it’s still not going to result in comprehensive coverage across the United States. Not all brokers/agents use one of those two syndication partners.
So, in short, there is no quick way to achieving comprehensive listing inventory around the country in a timely manner. Unfortunately for serial entrepreneurs, but fortunately for the Zillow’s of the world who have a considerable head start (they’ve been working on it since 2007), if you start now – you don’t really have a chance at having comprehensive listings within the next 2 years. Unless you want to pay a LOT of money to agents and brokers to get them.
Regardless of which route you take, you’ll have to build a XML import system that can handle multiple XML feeds and de-dupe listings that come from more than one source simultaneously. Hope this helps clarify that whole (non-existent) “nationwide listings data” thing.
If anyone else reading has alternatives, by all means, leave them in the comments.
[Update: here is info on companies to contact for property records data in bulk]
AlexPosted at 01:38h, 08 March
Thanks for the info, Drew. I’ve never thought about it before but it’s good to know how it could be done (if somebody really put the time/effort into it)
National MLS | limeyboy real estate technology blogPosted at 14:40h, 08 March
[…] the comment I was writing on the geekestateblog.com regarding “Getting Nationwide MLS Listing Data” was getting longer and long I decided that perhaps a blog post maybe the better […]
Sabine TaylorPosted at 23:36h, 23 March
For the serial entrepreneur this would be a good form of revenue for the agent…but marketing a website with national listings would be expensive and if this becomes the norm I can see Real Estate becoming Ultra Competitive.
tri cities tn real estatePosted at 10:38h, 05 May
These are all good tips! I never really thought about angles-I’m going to have to try that next time!
QuoraPosted at 10:57h, 13 June
How comprehensive and flexible is Zillow’s listings API?…
I’m almost positive the listing api doesn’t exist anymore. To do a comprehensive search for real estate data, you’re left with one of three options. 1. Go collect the listing data yourself from the source and then build a search on top of it. 2. Use…
The Required Hook for Every Consumer Real Estate Startup - GeekEstate BlogPosted at 13:07h, 17 February
[…] to cover more than just one local market. It’s no small task to get nationwide listings (as I’ve written about). You have several options, none of them perfect or […]
Alexander WPosted at 16:03h, 24 March
Great info Drew. How would you use Point2?
Drew MeyersPosted at 16:04h, 24 March
call/email them, tell them what you want to do with the data, and ask what the next step is
Adam ScottPosted at 00:22h, 30 March
Hi Drew. You’ve got some informative articles here. Question – what exactly do you mean by aggregating feeds with a sponsoring agent/rep in each market ? Are you referring to idx or syndicator feed ? There seem to be headaches involved with assembling idx.
Drew MeyersPosted at 09:49h, 30 March
yea, aggregate IDX feeds.
Adam ScottPosted at 10:28h, 30 March
Thats what I thought. But what’s the utility of “a sponsoring real estate agent/broker in each market.” The broker has to be the one with a feed to use it for the company. But the brokers aren’t allowed to share the feed with anyone else per the regs. So how do you propse that these individual brokers can pass this data to each other for aggregation legally ? Any thoughts ?
Drew MeyersPosted at 10:31h, 30 March
If you are seriously trying to do this, you should go to the recommended tech providers page and schedule a call with Ben Clark. https://geekestateblog.com/recommended-technology-providers/
Jack MclemorePosted at 04:18h, 09 October
We need to be able to re-format the data with friendly URL and title tags.
digi manPosted at 13:18h, 24 June
Jack, i just came across this blog and i have a proposition for you.
i am willing to create what ever fetch tool to get any kind of report out of MLS nationwide feed , if you are willing to share
if interested, please let me know
Brick SteelePosted at 14:14h, 10 May
Drew, do you know if AgentPro 247 is an MLS aggregator?
Drew MeyersPosted at 14:33h, 10 May
It doesn’t look like it from their website, looks like it public record data. I’m not sure though, you should ask them to verify.