Understanding the Austin MLS can be difficult if you're not familiar with how it works. To help you understand Austin's real estate listing service, we have prepared a list of common questions about the Austin MLS below. Your Realtor can also help answer more specific questions about the Austin MLS. For frequently asked questions about other topics, please see our AustinHomeListings.com FAQ page. If you want to just start searching listings in the Austin MLS, click the link below.
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What is the Austin MLS?
Austin MLS is a short name for the Austin Multiple Listing Service, officially named the Austin Central Texas Multiple Listing Service. To put it simply, the Austin MLS is a data repository and system that distributes information to authorized Austin MLS users. People often assume anyone can conduct an Austin MLS search online. However, only authorized Austin TX MLS users are allowed to do an Austin MLS search for information about homes for sale or lease. It is also important to note that the Austin MLS is an Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) member agreement to cooperate and share information about sales of Austin homes and land for the benefit their clients. This is key, since this aspect of the Austin Texas MLS helps ensure the integrity of the information it captures.
Can consumers conduct an Austin MLS search?
Not exactly. Consumers are able to search Austin homes for sale at www.AustinHomeListings.com. However, when you find a website that advertises the ability to search the Austin MLS or conduct an Austin MLS search, the real estate brokerage running the site is misleading the public and breaking the ACTRIS Rules and Regulations. Here's why:
- All Austin MLS data is not available to the public. Many public facing web sites do receive data feeds from the Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service (ACTRIS) which owns the Austin MLS, but the data the sites receive does not include every available active listing in the Austin MLS. This is because some Realtors and their clients elect not to distribute their listings. The data feeds these sites receive definitely do not include all the data available to ACTRIS users, since some data is confidential, such as property access information.
- It's against Austin MLS rules. The ACTRIS Rules and Regulations clearly prohibit public facing web sites from claiming to search the actual Austin MLS system. Many sites will use such phrases as "Search the Austin MLS" or "Austin MLS Search" because they want to attract visitors who are using those search terms in their search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo), but officially, those terms are off limits since they falsely portray what data is available on public facing web sites.
Who owns the Austin Texas MLS?
The Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service, or ACTRIS, owns and manages the MLS compilation. ACTRIS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR).
Who can access the Austin TX MLS Listing?
The Austin MLS Terms and Conditions of Use answers this question as follows:
“You may only access the MLS listings if you are a Participant or Subscriber in good standing with ACTRIS or an Authorized Assistant designated by a Participant and registered with ACTRIS. Access is only provided to those Participants, Subscribers or Authorized Assistants who work for a real estate office open to the public or to those Participants who are appraisers certified or licensed by the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. If you do not work for a real estate office open to the public or are not a licensed appraiser, you may not access the MLS without express written permission from ACTRIS."
Do all real estate professionals have Austin TX MLS access?
Not all real estate professionals have access to the Austin Texas MLS. In order to have access to the Austin MLS, the real estate professional must be a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In order to be a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® an individual must be a member of their local Board or REALTORS®.
What types of Austin real estate listings are in the Austin MLS?
Residential, multi-family, farms, ranch, acreage lots, commercial properties for sale, and commercial lease properties are all included in the Austin TX MLS Listing. Another system, the Leasing Management Service is included in the Austin MLS and captures residential lease data.
What are the Austin MLS Regions and MLS Areas?
We've made it easy to get to know Austin in our Austin Neighborhoods Guide where we have grouped communities by the areas understood by most people who know Austin well. Officially, the Austin Board of REALTORS® has defined "MLS Areas" and "MLS Regions", but our area definitions may vary slightly.
Before 2007, people who used MLS data would often search by MLS Area (such as 1B, SW, LS) to find properties. In 2007 ABoR attempted to steer the public away from using these MLS Areas to locate Austin homes and land and created what they thought would be more consumer friendly "Regions" (i.e. West Austin, Southwest Austin, Central Austin, etc.). However, the Regions were much larger geographical areas, and many peopled preferred the smaller MLS Area search option, so MLS Areas are still available for searching by ACTRIS users and the public.
What cities does the Austin Multiple Listing Service cover?
The cities covered by the Austin Multiple Listing Service include all cities in Williamson, Travis, Hays, Bastrop, Milam, Lee, Caldwell, Blanco, Gillespie, Llano, Burnet, and Fayette counties. Listings of property in cities located outside these counties may also appear in the Austin MLS if an ACTRIS user submits such a listing.