What is MLS and how to import its data? The most common question we receive from real estate startups every day.
MLS or Multiple Listings Service is a database of listings created and maintained by real estate professionals. There are between 600 - 700 MLSs in USA and about 100 MLSs in Canada. There is no national MLS which would include the data of the country. That is why if you are interested in MLS import for your real estate startup, you have to find and contact the MLS provider appropriate for your state or area. Each individual MLS provider has its own rules, agreements and fees for access to its services and listings data.
What are the benefits of MLS integration?
Definitely a real estate website integrated with MLS is much more profitable than a regular real estate website where you add your properties manually. There are many benefits you get with MLS integration:
1.Buyers can search for all properties in one place. If your website has an easy-to-use advanced search tool and the properties database is up-to-date, your potential buyer will definitely contact you. You can convert lead into a buyer.
2.All the specifics about a home. Listings brokers enter the data about a home that's including the address, age, square footage, number of bedrooms, number of baths, upgrades, school districts, photographs, and other details. You won’t find more details anywhere than you will find on MLS servers.
3.With organic MLS integration, based on RETS or RESO Web api, all the properties from your MLS provider are imported and stored on your website server on regular basis. This insures your pages are always fresh with up-to-date data. Property information is indexed by search engines. It improves your website SEO rankings.
How to obtain MLS feed?
Every MLS requires a data licensing agreement before you can access and use their data. The agreement outlines what data can or cannot be used, which disclaimers or other notices have to be displayed together with listings data and the fees due to MLS (by vendor or brokerage).
Firstly, you need to become an agent and sign up with the selected MLS. Every single MLS includes data only for a specific state(s). Thus, if you need more data, you might have to contact and sign up with several MLSs.
Secondly, you need to find and sign up with a Vendor available for this MLS. Estatik can become a Vendor for some specific MLSs which offer organic integration only. Please contact us to check if your MLS is included in our list.
Which method of MLS integration to choose?
There are two basic and most common methods of MLS integration or import: organic and non-organic. Integration via RETS refers to organic MLS import. However, RETS is already supposed to be an older standard and it has been deprecated (it’s no longer being supported or improved at RESO). After it was supported and used for 20 years, now RESO Web API is replacing RETS. While RETS still works for many applications and not all MLS providers are ready to switch to RESO Web API, Estatik continues working on transfer to RESO Web API.
Non-organic import refers to IDX Framing which is not so good for your website SEO as the first one but still is quite popular. There is no real import of the listings into your website server. IDX import just displays the listings data from the MLS server.
Estatik Premium developed to work via RETS only. We hope that early 2020 all our customers will be ready to switch to RESO Web API solution.
I have the required RETS feed. What to do next?
If you want to get the most out of your website and chose organic import, you can proceed with our Estatik MLS import solution via RETS. Make sure that you have the required RETS access data (RETS link, username and password). Our team provides with a complete setup and configuration service included free in Estatik Premium Pack.
MLS import is a great way to maximize the exposure to your property website success. All of the major real estate websites (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc.) pull their home listings from local MLS feeds. MLS import allows you to publish tons of listings on your website and tons of possibility to get leads. Do not miss it out!