Real Estate Web Sites wanting to draw eyeballs and generate commerce by displaying properties for sale are ubiquitous. What they need to succeed is inventory. What are the potential sources of listing data today, and what makes some better than others? What happens if MLSs tighten the rules on syndication?

Sources of For Sale Real Estate Data:

1. MLSs – This is the best source of active real estate inventory for many reasons. It is the most comprehensive, accurate and complete collection of for sale properties. It is the Gold Standard. Currently, MLSs make this well-policed data available at little to no cost for the purpose of distribution or syndication. There is no reason MLSs must make this data available to public sites.

2. Franchisors – Franchisors have databases of for sale inventory. For a number of reasons, this data often lacks the high quality of MLS data. It can be made available to third party sites and often is.

3.  Brokers

4. Sales Associates

5. Owners

6. Syndication and Data aggregators such as Point2 and Listhub.

7. Scraped from other sources (theft)

Consequences of MLS tightening control of For Sale Real Estate Data: 

1. Portals would still have access to listing data as there are many ways sites can acquire this data. Granted, some data sources are better than others. See above.

2. MLSs data would become more valuable as MLS data is curated and other data sources are not curated to the same degree.

3. MLSs could generate revenues by charging content users to whom data feeds are provided, much the same way MLSs currently charge for IDX feeds. This revenue could be rebated to brokers and agents in the form of lower MLS fees, at a minimum. No one knows how much this might grow in the future, especially if combined with an MLS Public Portal and the collection of consumer behavioral data, and the creation and sale of derivative works. All done for the benefit of the providers of the content, the brokers and agents who are MLS members.

4. Properties would continue to sell, especially as the market turns and we head into the expansion phase of the next real estate cycle.

5. Consumers will find the best data for their situation as they get closer to decision time, through the MLS and the MLS subscribers and participants.