Saturday, February 13th, 2016

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How to Get MLS Access Without a License

unlicensed guySo here’s one undeniable fact for anyone in the real estate biz: Access to the Realtor’s MLS = Power.

MLS of course stands for “Multiple Listing Service”, as in the big, honkin’ database of real estate information Realtors have access to.

And in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not talking about the real estate listings anyone can view at Realtor.com or through the “MLS Search” on most Real Estate Companies’ websites.  Sure, those search portals have the MLS as their source of data – but it’s not THE MLS — the data isn’t nearly as robust or in-depth.

The fact of the matter is, when it comes to doing top-shelf market and/or property research – whether you’re analyzing values, looking for “bleeding edge” listings, reviewing “sold comps” in detail, looking up pendings, etc. etc…  nothing beats the Realtor’s MLS.  The level of real estate data that can be searched, filtered and manipulated is simply unparalleled…

…Which is exactly why access to it is such a sought after thing.  Savvy investors understand this, and it’s a big reason why so many investors get licensed and join the local Realtor Board themselves.  Because…

You Can’t Get MLS Access Without Being a Realtor…Right????

Hmmmmm…let’s think on this one for a moment.  Well that’s the word on the street, isn’t it?  That only Realtors – that is, licensed real estate agents who are also active, dues paying members of the local Board of Realtors – can get access.

But would it surprise you to know that it’s actually fairly common for non-licensed investors to find ways to gain direct access to the MLS?  Sure, it can take a little creativity and some gumption, but we have our ways.

To this point, here’s an article by fellow blogger and KISS Flipper Kelly, originally published on her blog Kelly Flippin Cali.  I thought it was so good, I asked her if I could reprint it here for you guys.  Enjoy…

kelly flippin cali!“How to Get MLS Access Without a License”

So, excuse the non-perfect punctuation. Sometimes I just get typing and forget things like punctuation and capitalization. Just don’t red pen me.  I am not like JP, I don’t write perfect copy. :)

I think first off, you have to have confidence, assertiveness and sincerity at the same time because confidence and assertiveness can sometimes look a lot like arrogance. Without the confidence you look wishy washy and needy. You have to know up front what you are offering the Agent in return for this precious MLS access. I like having my own unlimited access and paying for it, than using someone else’s with limited access.

It is so simple! I had 2 different approaches. It takes some work, but you can do it! If I can do it, you can do it!

The Craigslist Approach:

The Craigslist ad was really Craig Fuhr’s idea that I gleaned off of the last call with JP from REItips.com. He was targeting Indiana fresh.

My ads, 2 of them, placed in Real Estate and Real Estate Services…

$1 RE Agent Wanted
California Cash investor working in ‘insert city here’ with single family homes seeks investor friendly agent to work with. Please call me now.
Call XXX XXX XXXX

My Other Approach:

First, you call Realtors from Keller Williams (because they are the most investor friendly.) Explain your strategy and tell them you value their time and would like to do your own homework upfront which takes about 40 to 80 hours. (The majority of my responses were something like, “I don’t have a problem doing the homework and sending it to you.”)

So then ask them for a list of all of the ‘solds’ in the last 60 days for the county, or the biggest area of the town or city of research. From there identify the hotbeds or areas of the most activity.

Meanwhile, on your own, without telling the Agent, contact the Association of Realtors or whoever controls the MLS…

  • Ask to speak to the commercial department or the administrator for the MLS.   Tell them that you have been working with (insert agent’s name here) and you both talked about obtaining MLS access as an unlicensed assistant.
  • Ask for an email of the form for him to sign to begin or if it is located online.
  • Ask what the log-on requirements are. Is it just username and password or little key fob deal that changes numbers every 60 seconds like California?
  • Ask what the fees are and how they are billed, i.e., quarterly, yearly, through the broker or can they be made online through the MLS website via your credit card.
  • Ask them to email you the rules as well.
  • If you have the keyfob thing, you need to go into the MLS office and show your ID and they hand you and only you the keyfob.
  • Ask who to contact when returning the information, if it is email then ask them to include phone and fax.  Now you have the MLS contact person information.

After you do your homework using the list of solds, speak to the agent about your findings. (I have identified _____ zipcode as an area I would like to pursue, about what price are your clean REOs in that area?) Then state that there is another at least 60 hours of similar research but you need to use the map function and other things that would just kill trees if they printed it out for you and YOU would rather spend the time on the research and have them spend the time on submitting offers and listing your properties.

Then explain that you have spoken to “insert MLS administrator here” and you have the form for your own unlicensed assistant access and it would save you both so much time once you get that started.

BE ASSERTIVE. Don’t say, “if I had my own access” say, “once I get this access.”. Tell them, “I need your signature and I am good to go. It can be revoked at any time, so if for any reason you are not comfortable with this in the future, you can cancel it.”  There will be no charge to the Agent or Broker. The Broker might have to sign on the form also.

Once you have your access, go buy either a $20.00 Jamba Juice gift card or a Starbucks gift card and a Silver sharpie pen. Write on the gift card with the silver sharpie pen, Thanks SO much ‘agent’s name’ !! then your name, so the 3 or 4 times they use it, they see your name and smile. Go to their office and have receptionist place in their in box or mail it to the agent.

I think for me, before I had a solid strategy, it was very difficult to build rapport. Now after KISS Flipping and speaking with Bob Norton face to face, I totally know my strategies inside and out and have total confidence!! Without a doubt!! In the course are the steps to take to find private money AND instantly find buyers. I’m not an affiliate, I should be, but if you could swing it, you should, it’s the best money I have ever spent!

GO GET ‘EM!!  Let me know how it turns out!

I’m on my way to get an alignment before my trip next week and to sling mud on 4 more old listings.

Chyzle! (translation= see ya)

Kelly

Thanks to Kelly for spelling it all out so well!  And of course I welcome anyone else’s thoughts as well…please comment below!

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About 

JP Moses is a roughly-hewn man-child who first got into REI after reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad back in Y2K and went full time in 2002. He's tinkered in everything from landlording to short sales to rehabs to Realtoring to REOs to notes to owner financing, blah, blah, blah...Till he finally stuck his flag deep into wholesaling and has since flipped somewhere north of a couple hundred deals.

JP's not a “guru” but also doesn't think it's a bad word. Among his core values are authenticity, creativity, big honkin' value, general fun-ness and being unshaven. He's super proud to be chief blogger guy at REItips.com and host of the free REIology podcast. He also thoroughly enjoys sharing his 53 best real estate investing forms with anyone who wants them. You should totally check that out. :-)

  • Steve

    LOL OMG!
    This has got to be your most controversial post ever JP… And the most sadest…

    I love ya man, but this should give you an example of the ego’s influence in most realtors pursona…

    I don’t even want to work with them, which is why I’m getting my licence… lol

  • Steve

    LOL OMG!
    This has got to be your most controversial post ever JP… And the most sadest…

    I love ya man, but this should give you an example of the ego’s influence in most realtors pursona…

    I don’t even want to work with them, which is why I’m getting my licence… lol

  • Hilda

    Thanks JP I found it very usefull. As investors we need to build good teams and resources so that we can make good buying decisions. or else we are going to be stuck with bad properties and negative cash flow. Realtors and Investors can work together if realtors understood the investing end of the business. there are plenty of homeowners and banks that need our help…we should put our energies there instead.

  • Hilda

    Thanks JP I found it very usefull. As investors we need to build good teams and resources so that we can make good buying decisions. or else we are going to be stuck with bad properties and negative cash flow. Realtors and Investors can work together if realtors understood the investing end of the business. there are plenty of homeowners and banks that need our help…we should put our energies there instead.

  • Shawn

    Great comments on this article – I am a newbie to the REI tips site and real estate investing. I really like what I have seen so far on this site.

    I have been able to develop a really good relationship with the realtor that helped me sell my personal residence and then buy a new house a few years ago. She has a system similar to what Nancy mentioned above, where I have a personalized website that I can set parameters for investment properties (price range, location, etc.) Whenever a new property comes on the MLS that fits my parameters I receive an email. The site also shows if listings are contingent or pending.

    My realtor also has sent me a detailed comp report that I use to track closed properties in my area. I can refer back to the report whenever I want and it updates new closed properties so I am not always bugging her for a new list.

    So I basically have all the info I need for free and have developed a really good relationship with my realtor. Just something to keep in mind for those trying to get MLS access.

    Shawn

  • Shawn

    Great comments on this article – I am a newbie to the REI tips site and real estate investing. I really like what I have seen so far on this site.

    I have been able to develop a really good relationship with the realtor that helped me sell my personal residence and then buy a new house a few years ago. She has a system similar to what Nancy mentioned above, where I have a personalized website that I can set parameters for investment properties (price range, location, etc.) Whenever a new property comes on the MLS that fits my parameters I receive an email. The site also shows if listings are contingent or pending.

    My realtor also has sent me a detailed comp report that I use to track closed properties in my area. I can refer back to the report whenever I want and it updates new closed properties so I am not always bugging her for a new list.

    So I basically have all the info I need for free and have developed a really good relationship with my realtor. Just something to keep in mind for those trying to get MLS access.

    Shawn

  • http://www.tomtarrant.com/ Tom Tarrant

    Any serious investor must have MLS. Second hand info through commission based Realtors wont due when your money is on the line. This is an absolute. Great tips here.

  • http://www.tomtarrant.com Tom Tarrant

    Any serious investor must have MLS. Second hand info through commission based Realtors wont due when your money is on the line. This is an absolute. Great tips here.

  • Craig the Realtor

    Give clients, or investors a ListingBook account instead. All legal and no issues to worry about, but always get a Buyers Agency Agreement before providing access!!!!!!!! This way they can’t abuse you by searching for property and negotiating with the listing agent.
    Protect yourself! ALWAYS ask for an Buyers Agent agreement. Sellers sign listing agreements, why don’t buyers sign agency agreements.
    Makes total sense!

  • Craig the Realtor

    Give clients, or investors a ListingBook account instead. All legal and no issues to worry about, but always get a Buyers Agency Agreement before providing access!!!!!!!! This way they can’t abuse you by searching for property and negotiating with the listing agent.
    Protect yourself! ALWAYS ask for an Buyers Agent agreement. Sellers sign listing agreements, why don’t buyers sign agency agreements.
    Makes total sense!

  • Justin

    Ethics and security aside, MLS members pay quite a bit of money for this info. My MLS fees are almost $500 per year plus another 135 per year to lease a Supra Key. I don’t know the admin costs to the MLS, but collecting and maintaining the data isn’t free. If I have to pay for it why should I give it away to anyone? Besides there is very little data on the MLS that’s not available in public records or on some other website

  • Scott Jorgenson

    I know this is old but it costs more than that to list with MLS for a seller and that is a one time fee. 

  • Justin

    Ethics and security aside, MLS members pay quite a bit of money for this info. My MLS fees are almost $500 per year plus another 135 per year to lease a Supra Key. I don’t know the admin costs to the MLS, but collecting and maintaining the data isn’t free. If I have to pay for it why should I give it away to anyone? Besides there is very little data on the MLS that’s not available in public records or on some other website

  • bill

    Hey Leslie, ive read your replies, but can’t locate where you left your MLS password. Please repost again! Thanks again and free coffee is on the way my friend.

  • bill

    Hey Leslie, ive read your replies, but can’t locate where you left your MLS password. Please repost again! Thanks again and free coffee is on the way my friend.

  • Leslie

    Ill watch out for my coffee.. thanks, dont remember giving out MY mLS password letely, sorry!!! :)

  • Leslie

    Ill watch out for my coffee.. thanks, dont remember giving out MY mLS password letely, sorry!!! :)

  • Stevie Ray

    I can see why you might think what you posted, but I can think of a number of reasons I wouldn't give it out. One is liability to sellers. I have no control over what other agents post in MLS. Some post access codes, combinations, etc. If I give my info out to someone who is not a member, not only have I violated the terms of the contract I voluntarily agreed to, but I may have put a seller at risk. This may come as a shock to some of you, but the percentage of buyers in the marketplace with no integrity is roughly the same as the number of Realtors in the marketplace with no integrity. Just saying…..

  • Seth

    I am so sick of your realtors complaining about how this is dishonest!
    You are the most dishonest breed of people!
    I willl generalize because I have worked with way too many of you to know that all you care about is money, not your client, not providing a service, but to make sure things go fast and your get paid.

    The article gives us, investoers and regular home buyers, with advice on how to access a stupid list that has been monopolized by the Realtor industry!!

    I guess you are all afraid that if that wasn't the case, that if everyone had access to it, then you'd be without a job.

  • Mike

    Seth, You are so right.
    I been workign as an investor for approx 11 years, before that i worked selling software to car dealers.
    Use car salesman have the reputation of been the worst people on the retail business, Till you get to deal with realtors..
    Unscrupulous, Liars, cheats, scumbags.
    They will cheat the seller ,they will cheat the buyers, they will cheat other fellow realtors…
    God Bless America.
    Mike

  • http://REItips.com/ jp moses

    Guys, I just have to chime in and say…as someone who's walked BOTH sides of this…

    There are scumbags and there are honest folks on both sides.

    We all have our prejudices based on where we're coming from…but I'm gonna tell you right now, you can't pain all Realtors with one brush just like we tell them not to paint all investors with one brush. Realtors like to think of all investors as selfish, greedy, do-anything-to-make-your-deal-work type of folks…and we know those of us like that are in the vast minority…they just happen to get a lot of press and make the rest of us look bad a lot of the time. Same goes for Realtors.

    Thanks for commenting…

    …jp

  • John

    yes….agree friend. Unfortuantely there are unethical folks in every and all business practices. Challenge is releasing past offenses, so to not handicap your next encounter…

  • Realtor

    I am a Realtor whom just had an Investor pull this crap on me. Shameful. Waste of Time. Lack of Integrity. I will not be a part of this. I work hard to conduct business with the Upmost Integrity, and to have an Investor ask me for this information really angered me. Not only is it a violation of our MLS Rules (and yes I do see that there are obviously loopholes you are recommending), I was offered to be paid “on the side” for access. Disgusting!

  • Guest

    I wish that people have options not to use realtors. My experience with most of realtors that I’ve dealt with is poor. I don’t trust them at all. I do my own research before I do anything with realtors.

  • http://REItips.com/ jp moses

    Realtors are just people – some are good, some are bad. Some do a phenomenal job, others suck. Don’t write them all off…just know when to use them and when not to, and how to deal with the players and not the punks. :-)

  • bostonsysadmin

    You don’t have a choice to “not deal with them”, its so incredibly ridiculous how huge of a percentage they get for doing an hour of work at the most. They are leeches and suck money from the pockets of the consumers. The market is screaming for a more efficient way to match sellers with buyers, but realtors use their muscle to force their way into business.

  • Guest

    I just discovered that my agent played me multiple times on “investors – wholesalers”. They knew full well that these people would NOT fulfill the contract if they could not find someone to flip it to. That is ethically wrong but nothing you can do about it besides. Get your own license which is easy!!!!! Quit bitchin’ and get your license. Still doesn’t mean you cannot sell your own property if I recall. (need to confirm that)

  • Denise

    New to this. Please explain how they played YOU? Were you the seller? Why was an agent needed if investors were buying from you?

  • John

    you work real hard, typing on a forum all day lol

  • Dcmartin

    Dishonest breed.  Man you really need to get checked out.  Realtor live by a code of ethics and if they don’t live up to those standards anyone can bring them to a hearing.  The strange part is we are basically considered guilty until we prove our innocence.  Yes is there bad Realtors in the world , of course.  There is bad apples in any barrel, but the overwhelming majority are upright, honest, and very truthful.   Also monopolized by the Realtor Industry.  We created the MLS, we sell the homes in it, we pay for its upkeep, and yes we protect it’s integrity.  The MLS is a small part of what we do.  The average home owner does not have the necessary tools or time to fully Market a property.  I am sorry for whom ever you have run into, but two wrongs don’t make a right.  Examine yourself and see if you think you are doing the right thing.  As far as Keller Williams Agents working with Investors, yes, it is true.  We are a trusting bunch because we trust each other and we have to live up to another code.  A more stringent one in our WI4C2TS.  God bless you in your success as an investor, but examine if you truly believe in what you are doing.

  • Cfipilot

     If an agent “overlooks” a property or two that fits the criteria of the buyer, I hardly believe you can bring them up on ethics charges. But to the buyer that is looking for something specific and it is overlooked, the buyer and seller looses, not the RE. 

  • Matt

    There is no reason why I should have to access and pay a third party (realtor) just to view the most recent listings and up to date data. Doing homework on ones own time is part of being a savvy consumer. With any other product you are able to obtain information and present to a meeting prepared. Such is not the case with real estate. Mls listings should be available to public discretion.

  • Intersolidaris

     I could not agree more! Working with a real-estate agent should – as it is with travel agents – be optional. It may work for sellers, but buyers, and especially investors are often just thwarted by them. Moreover, the market is ever more dynamic, information ever more quickly  disseminated and realtors ever less able to provide value.

  • LDE01

    RE: “but buyers, and especially investors are often just thwarted by them.”

    Well said! We got blindsided recently by a realtor who gave us access to the limited RE portal some will set you up on these days (but they show only the info they want you to see while hiding important details such as comps and REO details). We did all the legwork and then on two amazing deals that we found, she went incommunicado until immediately AFTER they went under contract.

    Besides working for investors, said she is was investor herself. She let it slip that one of the deals we found was exactly the kind of property that one of her investor’s was always looking for. She then refused call-backs for two days until it went under contract. Second time this scenario played out. Fool us once, right?

    We suspect she was using us to do the legwork, then turned the deals over to her investors (or herself) who very likely pay her a bonus for finding good deals.

    It’s hard to find a good realtor, much less one willing to work with REO’s. But I happen to know a realtor in another city who is very honest and hard working so I might run the scenario, above, by her to see if she’ll give us full access to the MLS in exchange for representing us to re-sell our properties. Only problem I can see is we’ll have to use the selling agents to show us the properties because her managing brokerage does not allow agents to show properties outside their area. Hopefully they don’t restrict listings too. If not, this could work.

    Thanks for the great advice!

  • TheTruthAboutBuyers

    You are full of crap. There’s a reason for the saying, “buyers are liars.” Many buyers will use agents as your guides and as encyclopedias of an area. They will pretend to be working with you, then dump you like a bag of trash, if it benefits them. I NEVER work with ANYONE without a buyers agreement up front – period! And I also never work with clients who aren’t pre-qualified btw.

  • Horace Bryan

    So if I read you correctly, the msterial ought to be free? You remind me of folk who say nobody should profit from curing the sick.
    When I was in kindergarten i had that same sense of entitlement. Because I am a recovering liberal. I can tell that you would a government that can give you everything; especially other people’s THINGS…

  • Kauaigrls

    How the heck can the MLS block a licensed real estate agent from services if they aren’t members of their association or country club such as the NAR ? This is crap! This is a strongarm tactic to get us to join their crappy little club and pay them dues, for what? Their ethics? I already have ethics which I will write up on a sheet of paper and get properly notarized…

  • Dempseyllc

    Real Estate Agents have to pay dues to MLS and HAR and NAR and Super Key.. The cost are never ending.  If you do not pay one of these 4 you are not allowed to use any of them.  It is a racket… 

  • Ronson

    Why hasn’t Google started an  MLS type listing, a one source For Sale By Owner site instead of one million of them on the web? MLS needs competition. What do realtors do? Unlock doors and lock them, collect  a commision.  They do not give anymore information than whats on Zillow and Trulia.

  • http://REItips.com/ jp moses

    Hi, Ronson. Actually the MLS does give more (and better) info that Trulia and Zillow. It’s a lot more feature rich and the data can be manipulated in a number of ways. But I totally agree with you that they need competition. And actually they do have competition here in Memphis. One of our local brokers started a separate non-board MLS a few years ago and it’s gained quite a bit of steam. It can happen!

  • Guest

    I’m confused. So, investors want access to the data that is placed into a database and maintained by a group of people that they do not trust? There is a fairly simple solution. Instead of relying on the data in a database, compiled by Realtors for Realtors, you can actually get this information from the public records….on your own….for your own use. But, I guess that would require too much work.

  • http://REItips.com/ jp moses

    Dear, “Guest”. No, the data available to the general public is not nearly as in-depth as what can be tapped directly in the MLS. It’s also not nearly as searchable. You cannot filter the data in nearly as useful or as powerful a way as the MLS allows.

    And I for one don’t have a distrust of Realtors, any more than I have a distrust of my fellow investors or plumbers or pastors. People are people…some are awesome, some are rotten, some are ignorant. There just seems to be a large number of Realtors who don’t “get” investors, and tend to see us a necessary evil to be tolerated rather than a vital part of the real estate economy. Regardless it’s certainly not all of them, and I don’t think anyone here is saying that.

    Oh, wait, I get it now. You were just trying to be snarky. Well played, “Guest”, well played. 😉

  • Ryan Newman

    Pffff.
    The MLS is dying because information is getting easier and easier to obtain.The days of brokers keeping information from the public are dying. The days of people not advertising their resume are dying. Sites like LinkedIn make it easy to search for passive candidates.  Sites like Zillow will get better over time and new sites will appear that eliminate this information advantage. Dwellgo in Austin is one RE site that comes to mind that is competing to kill the MLS. There are many others…I am not sure which one will ultimately dominate the market.

  • Erinreganrealtor

    This is verging on criminal I worked hard, spent many hours in school and spend a ton of money for that precious information. This article is garbage is pretty much telling people how to lie cheat an steal information while tricking that poor realtor. The woman that wrote this is the scum of the earth. He’s an idea all that work you put into obtaining something so manipulatively, you could’ve obtained an actual RE license in an upstanding way. Get a life lady and leave that information in the hands of professionals. You’re pathetic.

  • Cfipilot

     Yea,

    I trusted an agent. I gave him the criteria if what I was looking for . Why is it, without MLS access, I found 2 properties that fit what I was looking for and he overlooked them. I had to tell him the MLS listing numbers. When I asked him, his answer was “I must have overlooked them”. I bought the property I FOUND!!

    That’s why people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars do NOT trust realtors!!

    Rebut please!!!

  • Sean

    Are you serious?…One Realtor, overlooked a couple properties and you don’t trust all Realtors? What was the Realtors intentions? Was he going to buy it for himself? Maybe he just didn’t see them…people make mistakes..I’m sure you’ve made a few.

  • Ray Cone

    I think the point was that the “service” the realtor provided was marginal at best. He, like many of us, did his own research and found what he was seeking…but must still pay for a “service” that didn’t really provide any.

  • faewr

    My past realtors did nothing too. I found all the houses he showed us.

  • Brad

    The search technology most MLSs use is archaic compared with, say, what Zillow or Trulia has built.

  • http://REItips.com/ jp moses

    Yes, but the search PARAMETERS the MLS gives you beat the pants of Trulia and Zillow.

  • mister

    Explain what “strategy”, also by “tell them you would like to do your own homework upfront”. Does that mean that your are asking to go into the MLS and then getting the information?

  • Railroad Tom

    You are exactly the kind of Realtor that makes investors want their own access to MLS.

  • Observer

    Just to add my opinion on a 3 year old argument… I am an Relator and in my association you do not need to be a Realtor’s Association member to gain access. The price for this is the same price that Realtors pay in order to become members. So if this information is as important and should be given to everyone as many people here are stating…then everyone who uses it should pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the data. So pay the few thousand a year and stop complaining/arguing. OR… do all the data collection from public sites and organization of that data on your own. This would be a good conclusion to the conversation, but I’m sure someone will say that I am wrong or ignorant or arrogant (something along those lines). And to you I say.. Thank you, I will take that under advisement.

  • Chuck

    If everyone that wanted it were allowed to pay for it, MLS “upkeep” would be in the neighborhood of $10-20, tops. I’d pay that if you guys would let me. So, get off your high horse, “Observer.”

  • Terry

    Seth, what are you talking about? Sure in every profession there are dishonest people, and yes in every profession people want to make money. Don’t investors? But I also believe that most people truly are good and want to do good things for others. What do you mean Realtors monopolize the MLS. Realtors have to pay a lot of money every year just to maintain their license and get access to the MLS. Including my supra fees, MLS fees, membership fees, and this fee and that fee, It totals well over $1500.00 per year. Then, now get this…Our own National Assn of Realtors sold us out. We pay to list properties and gain access to the MLS, then have to turn around and pay sites like Zillow and Trulia and others like them to advertise on their sites because the National Assn of Realtors sold them access to our Data Base. I can’t begin to tell you how much money I have shelled out to advertise on those crappy sites and got nothing in return. For the first three years I was in real estate I litterally had to scrape pennies to survive and borrow from friends and family in order to keep myself afloat. This is not a glamorous career. Top agents either work very hard to get there or they are lucky and have a lot of connections before they even start. We are not monopolizing the MLS, we are paying for it. It amazes me this negative attitude people ave against agents. I use to be a school counselor. I was respected. I am still the same person, but sometimes feel like I should be ashamed that I am earning a commission. If they only knew how hard I busted my butt for that commission, they might think twice before they even open their mouths and ask for some of it back.

  • Balance

    Terry,

    $1500 a year?! Come on… Us investors do the same homework as you, comb the planet for a good property, pay for the property and assume ALL OF THE RISK. Your “$1500 a year” is made up in one sale. If that sale is with one of us investors (which it has to be because of the monopolized MLS), then you really do no work at all but sign a couple lines. I am sure that the money you spend on advertising is no where near the 100-500k risk we take every time we do this.

    Honestly, I’m not a negative person, but you have to realize that this is the information age. EVERY industry is getting middle men cut out because it is free, easy and fast to do their job and access their data. Realtors have MLS to make sure they don’t get cut out. Honestly, I invest all over the country and i use realtors that I trust and have grown relationships with. But, I would much rather pay for your time then give you commission on something that I have researched, negotiated and assumed the risk for.

    If I was you, I would start advertising yourself as a real estate adviser. The way of the Realtor being required will soon be gone. Don’t be late to adapt.

  • Sean

    Real estate advisor, Realtor…same thing….The way of the Realtor will always be around… there will always be someone wanting to sell their home, people that have to sell , first time buyers, short sales, and banks that use agents to list homes and investors that understand the value of a good agent. All agents are not bad…I negotiate the absolute best price for my buyer even if it will drastically cut my commission..It’s my job and I take pride in it and I’m sure there are other agents like me. . A useful agent can find/ get deals, do the due diligence, pull comps, negotiate, make sure you’re protected, and market the property for you for sale or rent. Why shouldn’t they deserve a commission? If you can do ALL of that yourself then you don’t need an agent, but sometimes its easier for someone else to do the work while you either find more deals on your own, enjoy the money that you’ve made or spend time with your family.. Pay people for their work…You assume ALL THE RISK because thats what INVESTORS do…but you wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t a chance of a BIG REWARD….I bet there is not as much of an issue with your stock broker or the guy showing you a few features on a car you want to buy.

  • Sara

    Why is MLS “protected” information anyway? You can find most of it in the county appraisal records.

  • Guest

    I don’t care that realtors pay $500 + dollars a year for the ability to use MLS when you take 6% of my money. For a realtor to sell a house for $77, 000 and make over $5, 000 is absurd. So don’t complain when we want to sell our homes using the MLS. If I used a realtor to sell my home, I would end owing money instead of making money. If I sell myself I will make money. I will never pay someone 6% to do what I can do myself. My parents sold a home w/o a realtor and had no problems doing so.

  • Ray Cone

    I have done the same…in a slow market, a realtor can add value through promotional efforts. In a hot market where listings post and properties sell within a two week or less time frame, people should really consider trying to sell their real estate themselves. I’ve done this twice and it was fairly painless both times.

  • Ray Cone

    This is an old thread, but it is personally relevant. Here’s my take on realtors and the MLS. Not too long ago, the stock market had brokers that were paid 8% commissions…8 percent! Discount brokers came in and changed all of that via market forces…i.e. competition and client preference. If the real estate industry would be less concerned about preserving a model which has not kept up with the aptitude of the average real estate buyer, then they would make the MLS available to everyone for a nominal subscription fee and the agents would have to compete with one another on fee structure and services provided. Forcing everyone to give up 6% of their equity just because they want to sell is outright piracy! If I contracted the services of an agent that I felt was worth 6%, that would be a different story…but alas there is no competition in the current model.

    Here’s the historical tidbit that blows my mind…not too long ago, Google maps provided MLS-like data. At some point, the folks behind the MLS sued them…and won! I don’t recall what their claim was or how it was spun, but the fact that an internet giant like Google was forced to pull real estate data off their online service because it likely competed with the MLS…well, that should give everyone pause. I thought monopolies were illegal, but apparently the MLS database is somehow a very successful sacred cow.

    Real estate agents while subject to the laws of agency are also prudent human beings that are looking out for their own best interests. Who isn’t? I don’t think the focus should be on whether an agent wants to collect a commission, I think the right question to ask is are their commissions subject to real competition? I also think the MLS database not being available to all participants in the industry paired with a hardwired commission reeks of monopoly. Realtors are not the problem…the people making money off of them and perpetuating the non-competitive model for commissions are whom we should be targeting our angst against.

  • Ray Cone

    FWIW…my stock brokerage firm charges between $7 & $9 per transaction and offers tons of free research options. Like I said above, they used to charge 8%…what a beneficial change it would be for the populace if the real estate industry got their fees structure re-defined so that fees were based on services provided versus a percentage of the asset value. I think realtors should be paid for what they do, I just think that needs to be better defined and not scaled as a function of the asset valuation they’re working with.

  • http://www.flatmlslsiting.com Flat Mls

    I have seen a trend of real estate brokerages not syndicating listing data. Some companies are hoarding pocket listing hoping to sell their own listings with-in their local offices.

  • fedup

    One agent told me that the first thing he look at on the listing is the agent commission. Of course it is almost always 3%, right? Well, he said if it is EVER less than 3% he immediately ignores the property.

    So, just think about that…you go to your agent and give her everything you want. She searches and 3 houses come up. But let’s say that the first one is only paying 2.5% to the agent. Even though this could be your perfect ideal dream house, she will never even tell you about it, but will only give you the other two instead. So, she puts her own desires for $ above those desires of her customer. That is the most perfect description of “unethical” I can imagine and if that is the “high code” you live by, then someone needs to rewrite your code. That is shameful!

    Can’t wait til the MLS is public. Gosh I hate middle people who think he they have a right to bully/meddle in my personal transactions, only because they are granted monopoly by lobbyists. If I want a realtor, I will ask for one. If I don’t, THEN let me buy and stay the hell out of my transaction!

  • David Provost

    renters are just a dollar sign to most realtors, what a shame.

  • Kim Hartwick

    In Realtors defense, brokers have to pass continuing education every 2 years. They adhere to a strict code of ethics, and can be disciplined by the state licensing Board who governs all state licensees, for unscrupulous, or UN ethical behavior and other crimes. The Departent of Business and Professional Regulation can revoke ones real estate license. They are comprised of a Board of various professionals who are there to protect the public and discipline Realtors. The local MLS has private information Listed in It about sellers homes that sellers in confidence share with their trusted Broker. These things are posted in the MLS and it cannot be revealed to the general public, for obvious reasons. Juggling many listings, buyers and sellers, is a complicated process. It is a people. Business as much as it is a real estate selling business .. Sellers and buyers give out less than the whole truth and waste Realtors time and we take the blame for things, which is part of the profession. Every deal is different, and sometimes we get paid, but for every closing there is many tire kickers!
    .