Why Rentals Are a Game-changer for the MLS

The MLS is home to the most accurate, timely, and reliable data. MLSs fuel our multi-trillion-dollar real estate sales market, enabling sellers to sell homes and buyers to buy them.

But the MLS does not show a complete picture of the housing market. MLS data represents only half the real estate market because few MLSs have successfully embraced real estate’s rental market.

MLSs are missing rentals because the rules, regulations, and policies surrounding cooperation and compensation programs for home sales transactions don’t translate to the rental market.

Yet the opportunity is massive: 113 million Americans today live in rentals. In some major markets, nearly 60% of the population rents instead of owns. If real estate agents are able to meet and help those renters before they are ready to buy, agents can develop lucrative relationships with future homeowners.

Rentals have long existed as a blind spot in MLSs’ vision. Considering the popularity of rentals, MLSs that continue to focus only on home sales miss a huge opportunity to provide value to their member agents. However, the lasting consequences of COVID-19 make this issue even more pressing. Economic uncertainty has spurred would-be homebuyers to opt for the affordability of renting, and worried landlords are offering staggering concessions to fill empty vacancies. High supply and a demonstrated desire for landlords to work with agents—it’s never been easier for agents to close rental deals and collect larger commissions. The timing for MLSs to embrace rentals is impeccable.

Rental Beast offers MLSs a new opportunity to share Rental Beast’s rental data and tap into the leasing

market’s $12 billion in available annual commissions. By leveraging a seamless integration between their sales systems and our rental listing service, MLSs help agent members drive additional revenue from rentals, develop long-lasting relationships with potential homebuyers, and establish lucrative connections with investors. When MLSs help their agent members tap into the rental marketplace, this ultimately leads to more agent-assisted single-family and multifamily sales.

The Rental Beast platform allows an MLS to offer a complete rental solution to MLS members without disrupting any single-family resale policies.

Delivering more home buyers to members

Today, many urban rental markets are going through a transition because of density. Agents will tell you they are seeing more customers moving from densely populated areas to the suburbs and smaller towns. Many of these customers are Millennials. Millennials represent the largest segment of both today’s home buyers (38%) and renters (60%+). Recent research tells us that three in eight Millennials believe they will be life-long renters, and three out of the remaining five plan to buy their first or second home in the next 36 months.

Renters are increasingly more qualified to buy, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The number of higher-earning households, those with annual incomes of $150,000 or more, are up 157% in the last decade. Renters who are married have increased by 26%, and we’ve seen a 38% increase in renters over 30 years old.

By working with Rental Beast, MLSs can quickly and easily tap into the rental market. For MLS members—brokers and agents—this means connecting to a viable pipeline of future home buyers, many of whom are already qualified to enter the home sales market.

Apply Now and the power of the Beast The Rental Beast SaaS platform simplifies every part of the rental process for real estate agents. MLSs can or Apply Now by Rental Beast, an FCRA-compliant online rental application engine. Apply Now gives listing agents and property owners fast and secure access to applicant credit checks, eviction history, and background information (where applicable) to help guide decisions. Simple to integrate and easy to use, Apply Now is accessible by clicking a button next to any rental listing within the MLS.

In September 2019, industry leader Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), integrated Apply Now and connectMLS and has since enjoyed a safe harbor for processing rental applications. Member agents have safely processed thousands of rental applications, ensuring both clients’ privacy, and compliance with FCRA rules and local measures, including Cook County’s 2019 Just Housing Amendment.

Now is the time for MLSs to add rentals

Last year, 86% of U.S. homebuyers aged 22 to 29 were first-time homebuyers. Many more young renters will be ready to buy soon. With more than 8 million rentals nationwide, Rental beast maintains the nation’s most comprehensive rental database. Listings are sourced directly from property owners and managers, verified using “boots on the ground” strategies, and updated in real-time. Rental Beast offers the most accurate and timely information, allowing MLSs data their members can trust.

We know MLSs seek to own their position in the marketplace as the center for excellence for all real estate data. MLSs also pursue new ways to deliver more value to their members. The Rental Beast MLS solution helps MLSs accomplish both.

Ishay Grinberg is the founder and CEO of Rental Beast, the leading all-in-one online rental listing service in the U.S., offering the most powerful rental search engine ever built. Learn more about the new program Rental Beast is offering MLSs here: rentalbeast.com/MLS.


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