How to Access the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Without a License

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Jan 17, 2024

As a homeowner, buyer or real estate investor, you may want to access property data beyond what is found on Zillow, or one of the other consumer-facing search portals.

Especially if you are a investing in real estate, flipping houses or buying rental properties, you’ll want more granular housing stats, comparable sales and detailed broker notes that are only found in the local MLS.

Access to tax info, market trends and pending sales can help investors and ordinary consumers make the best possible real estate decisions. In this article, we cover why the MLS is important, various ways to gain access to the MLS and other tools for obtaining property data outside of the MLS.

What is the MLS Database?

The MLS, or Multiple Listing Services, is a collection of real estate listings posted by real estate brokers, agents and property managers.

The term multiple listing came into use in the early 1900’s and is still used widely today by real estate agents and brokers to share their properties for sale with each other.

It’s important to note there there is not one single MLS. The author of this post, SimpleShowing, is a licensed broker in Florida, Georgia and Texas. We use 7 different MLS’s across those three states. In fact, there are over 700 MLS’s in the US.

The MLS database contains helpful data and information about properties for sale in the specific, local market. It also contains things like pending sales, closed sales, home value trends, tax data, broker data, buyer agent commission, transaction volume by zip code, etc.

Who Has Local MLS Access?

While we strongly believe that the MLS should be publicly available, unfortunately you can’t simply log on as a consumer. The fact is, the MLS is more powerful than Zillow because it contains much, much more information and data.

That’s why it’s important to always list properties on the MLS if you’re selling a primary residence or investment property.

People that can access the MLS include:

  • Real estate agents or Realtors members
  • Brokers
  • Property managers
  • Real estate investors that have a state license

Related: How to find Properties that are off-market (not on the MLS)

How to Get Access to the MLS Database

It may not be necessary to access the MLS if you’re an ordinary home buyer, but if you’re a real estate investor, MLS access may be critical to your success.

How to Get Access to the MLS Database:

  • Become a property manager
  • Become a real estate agent
  • Hire a real estate agent or consult with one
  • Use an API to access MLS data
  • Use an real estate investment tool/platform

There are many wholesale real estate investors and rental property investors that have a network of agents and rely heavily on those agents for data access and information. But, if you don’t have an extensive network of agents, it’s worth considering getting a real estate license in your state.

If you don’t want to get a license, there are other ways to access MLS data.

How to Access the MLS Without a Real Estate License

For many real estate investors, the simplest solution for analyzing properties in the MLS database is utilizing a real estate data analytics platform or MLS API.

There are several companies that provide this property data from the MLS, including the options below:

Home Junction


Picket Homes

Black Knight



Some of these platforms aggregates data from dozen of public sources, while others have a direct API to hundreds of MLS’s. Which platform is best depends on the style and type of data you need. In other words, if you need a normalized data feed, you may want a REST API. Check with each vendor to see which application might be the best fit for your use case.

Leveraging Licensed Real Estate Professionals for MLS Access

Gaining access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) without a license hinges on building relationships with real estate professionals. These licensed agents and brokers are the gatekeepers to this private database, rich with detailed property listings. For those keen on delving into the real estate market, partnering with a licensed real estate agent can be a strategic move.

These agents, as part of their real estate brokerage, have unrestricted access to MLS listings, providing invaluable insights into market trends and property specifics. By tapping into the resources of a licensed agent, individuals can leverage the existing real estate network to gain MLS access, ensuring they stay informed and competitive in the ever-changing real estate landscape.

Exploring Alternative Avenues for MLS Insights

While working directly with licensed real estate professionals remains the most straightforward method to gain MLS access, there are alternative strategies for those intent on navigating the real estate business independently. Flat fee listing services offer a viable option for those without a license. These services, often operated by licensed real estate brokers, enable property owners to list their properties on the MLS for a fixed fee, bypassing the need for a full-service agent.

This approach not only democratizes access to the MLS but also empowers individuals to take a more hands-on role in their real estate endeavors. It’s a testament to the evolving nature of the real estate market, where access to information is becoming more accessible, albeit through different channels and innovative solutions.