In order to find deals as a real estate investor, you have to find properties. There are many ways of finding these properties. You can go through wholesalers, direct mail campaigns, post ads, drive for dollars, door knock, etc. However, there is one way that is very low in costs and will give you access to many properties that could be your next deal. That one way is searching the MLS.
There are many websites that feed data from the MLS, but they are not up to date with the real-time of the MLS and sometimes are missing data that you cannot find except on the MLS. Some of these apps and websites are Zillow.com, Redfin.com, Trulia.com, Realtor.com, and so on. There are several websites such as these, but there is only one MLS.
IS THE MLS ONLY USED BY REAL ESTATE AGENTS?
Some people think that the only way to get access to the MLS is by becoming a real estate agent. Although that is a sure way of getting access to the MLS, that is not the only way.
In a real estate office, agents sometimes hire assistants, office managers, online sales professionals, etc. to help out with tasks that can’t really be completed by a busy real estate agent. When an agent hire’s someone to work for them or with them, they are able to give them access to the MLS as an assistant. If you are an assistant to an agent and you are preparing contracts for them, posting ads of properties for them, uploading info and photos of a property that is being sold by them, answering phone calls about a specific property from a client… you will need access to the MLS to perform the tasks at hand.
With that being said, the Multiple Listing Service or better known as the Metropolitan Regional Information Service (MRIS) allows agents and agent’s brokers to give non-licensed individuals access to the system as long as they will be able to vouch for them. Also, there are certain rules that you will have to follow such as not posting your own properties and general misuse of the service.
HOW TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE MLS
- Form a relationship with a Real Estate Agent.
You won’t be able to gain access to the MLS without first having an agent and their broker willingly giving you access. It is better to form this relationship with an investor friendly agent who also wants to make investor income. You two will be able to form ways to help each other and to work with each other as agents are able to perform tasks that non-agents are not able to and vice versa.
- Fill out the MRIS/MLS Personal Assistant application.
Discuss with your agent that it would be beneficial to give you access to the MLS. Some agents do not know that they are able to have a personal assistant and will not know how to go about giving you access. Explain to them that you can be their personal assistant and will be able to have your own access to the MLS and that they will not have to share their login info with you (You will have your own login info). If they do not believe you, tell them to ask their broker. Brokers should know that their agents are able to have personal assistants and that their assistants are able to have their own access to the MLS. Make sure that the broker is investor friendly. Some brokers like to work with investors, and some just do not and will not give you access.
Here are the steps to completing the application:
a. Go to MRIS application site (this link is only for Maryland, VA, DC, PA, and other Metropolitan Regional areas) at mris.com/mris-customers/subscribe-to-mris/join-personal-assistants-office-secretaries/.
b. Download and review the MRIS Subscription Agreement
c. Fill out, print, and return the MRIS application form. (You will complete and sign this form and then give it to your agent to sign and the agent will then give it to their broker to sign and send back to MRIS for review.
d. Within 24-48 hours, MRIS will send you an email notifying you that you now have access to the MLS. You will be given a username and will have to create your own password.
- Thank your agent and begin to find deals.
Once you have been notified that you have access to the MLS, you will have to make an initial payment of $295 to use the service and continue to make a quarterly payment of $165. Once you have made the payment, ask your agent how to use the service. There will be instructional training material on the site as well. Once you are ready, start searching for deals and making offers.
Investing in the MLS is one of the best investments a real estate agent can make. You will be paying $165 each quarter but if you continue to use the MLS correctly, you will have found at least 1 deal within that time frame and that fee will be but just a small business expense.
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