I have been working on this for two years. It is very difficult but the key is getting access to sellers before they talk to a realtor. That is how I did it. If you get the information before a realtor does you can avoid issues of conflicting interest, data rights etc. The MLS data is covered by license agreements as you would expect so you need to get to sellers before realtors do. That is my experience at least. Getting to sellers first is not that hard if you have a good mailing list that buyers and investors are interested in. Building a good mailing list is damn hard though.
Where are you located? I am looking for help on the programming side (I am a programmer as well). I would love to crush MLS and make it irrelevant. I hate it and everything it is.
Also, MLS data has yearly costs. I did not want to pay so I get access to the sellers first. Get them to sign some contracts saying I have exclusive rights to the data forever but I do not bar them from going to a realtor in the contract.
Hey I'm in the greater Boston area, but contemplating a move very soon. My email is in my profile if you'd like to talk some time. I'm working on a project now (I do consulting) but at the end of the month I'll be looking for more work. Also open to side projects and joint ventures if there is a good fit.
what are you working on? I'm working on something related to the real estate field. I would love to see an alternate version of MLS that is not controlled by the Nation Association of Realtors. It functions a bit like a cartel.
There are services like ListHub and Point2 that you can contract with for data, but point2 just launched their own consumer facing site. Zillow just bought a few companies to enhance their offerings in this space.
I'm not saying don't give it a try, but you'll have to offer something special to get noticed.
MLS data is oriented toward "retail sales." A lot of people have access. In many cases that access will be better than yours as an outside party. What seems likely to have value is data that is different from MLS.
I've worked for real-estate developers. Market data which gives them an edge. Aggregating that sort of data has the potential for a huge upside. Doing so efficiently has the possibility of scaling.