Real Estate Agent Question

Do you have to have a real estate license to access MLS at your liesure?

IIRC, no…You can list your home on the MLS free of charge, and the realtor’s are the ones who pay for the service to see all the homes. But then again on you can type in any parameter to find what you need.

No, the info in many MLSs (multiple listing service) is available to the public via the web. Call your local board of Realtors for the address.

Aren’t you a Denverite, Inigo? Colorado has a public MLS, if you are interested.

With very few exceptions, most MLS’s feed their listings to Of course, the information that RDC displays on their web site is not the entirety of the information contained within the MLS. The listing agent’s comments are not displayed, and the full location address is withheld in many metro areas.

Any listing that is not purely active status (eg Pending, Contingent) will not be displayed.

That aside, it does give you a wealth of information regarding the listings that are currently available in your area and the added benefit of searching anywhere in the US or Canada.

In New Jersey, the MLS gives “customer copies” to the public, and “full listings” to agents via the web. To access full information, you have to have the correct website address, a valid name and a password.

Some agents (ME!) can also input and change listing information. And we can access county tax maps to verify ownership information, which can and has gotten us out of a lawsuit.

Very nice. Very nice indeed…
More to the point: Any way to tell how long these places have been on the market?

Suppose for a second that I want to shark someone who’s desperate to sell. : Evil smiley :
One indicator of that desperation *could * be a home that’s just not been selling because it is unattractive for some not-obvious reason: overpriced, bad market, physical problems, etc. Is there a resource available that indicates the date the house was listed? Or even one that can identify a distressed mortgage (legally!)?

IANA Realtor (but I am part of the industry), but a few things you might want to consider:

When the house was listed is not always an indicator of the seller’s situation.

As to seeking out a “deal” by looking for forclosures or distressed properties, keep in mind that there are people who make their living doing this (“fix and flippers” buy a run down property, fix it up and turn it quickly). These people are quite experienced at what they do, and it would be difficult for you to compete with them for properties.

And finally, please know that there is a lot of fraud that takes place in this particular area of the industry (not to say that everyone is out there doing that, but the nature of the transactions are shall we say, susceptible).

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to call a realtor and tell them what you are looking for (costs you nothing as the buyer, BTW). You can even ask if the realtor deals with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac foreclosures (several in the Boulder/Denver area do)… I have closed some transactions where the buyer got a very nice deal without having to… uh… “snake” anything.

I’m currently looking for a home in my area and asked several Realtors for direct access to search the MLS database. I was shot down each time and they all claimed that if they gave me access they’d face a steep fine. is ok, but as another poster mentioned you don’t get the full listing and you have to work to find the place since they don’t normally provide an address. I do not know of anywhere the general public can do searches directly against the MLS database.

You’ve got to remember that the Realtor is in business to make money, off of you, and you’re asking him to give you his valuable information for free. It be like if you went to a restaurant with a bag of groceries and asked the proprietor if you could use his kitchen to make your own breakfast. He’d shoot you down too.

IIRC, an agent can cancel an existing listing (or let it expire) and then re-list the house with a new MLS ID. There is nothing in the subsequent listing to indicate that it was listed already. However, an agent can query the MLS database by address and find the previous listing. A good agent that knows the area should remember that the house was already listed.

Yes, agents have access to how long the property has been on the market and the listing history of it. Also the tax records, which often show liens on the property.

My New Jersey MLS uses a code where listing number 24xxxxx means the property was listed in 2004. The rest of the number is just chronological (the order in which it was put into the computer). I can usually guess about when the property was listed, based on the number.

In each case I offered to stick with the Realtor if they would just let me run my own querries. I know I can do a better job than they can, plus I could check more frequently. I wasn’t out to cheat them, just find the best deal I can for myself without having to go through someone else to do my searches.

You’d have to have a lot more than a real estate license. :o