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Ask HN: How do I get my hands on MLS (real estate listings) data?
5 points by readme 1034 days ago | 12 comments
I'm interested in trying my hand in this space, and my research indicates that getting real MLS data is not exactly trivial. Hoping that someone is willing to give me a hint.


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.


I second that. I'm working on developing a managerial tool for Real Estate agents and want to work around MLS' bullshit. Let's get in touch.


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.


I am in the same position as you are. Trying to get my hands on new, fresh data. Let me know if you want to team up.



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.


No it's not trivial - for the simple fact that the MLS don't want you to have the data. (Barrier to entry).

You can find broker's but their fees are high. Otherwise, you have to become a realtor (or get access via a realtor's access - which can cause problems for them).

Nationwide, you would need IDX connections to many MLS which they're protective of. You can scrape Realtor.com's website , but it's in violation of T.O.S.

  It might be smarter to use Trulia or Zillow's API.

 Source of knowledge: Founded 1 Single family, and 2 multi-family companies.



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.


Thanks for the pointers! Nothing good comes easily!

>you'll have to offer something special to get noticed.

This is true for absolutely every startup.


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.


I run a start up that works specifically in this space. We've done deals with some of the biggest MLS's in North America to get access to the raw data.

Look into "IDX" and "RETS". You'll need to sign agreements with the MLS to get access to this data.

Feel free to reach out to me through my profile. I'd be happy to talk it over with you and see if there is anything that the inroads my start up has made can assist you with.


Make a friend who's a Realtor. It's proprietary data that they guard.


You can probably partner up with a local realtor or agency.


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