Search where you want.
TL;DR — Because it’s expensive, messy, and that’s not the real reason you’re here. You should search where you feel comfortable, but I recommend here.
What is the MLS, and why does it matter?
An MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, is the common acronym for the database that a real estate industry uses to reference real estate transactions. Here on Oahu, the Honolulu Board of Realtors (HBR) uses an MLS software called “Matrix” where brokerages input their listing data for the real estate industry to access. Think of it like a central database where all the independent brokerages across the island come to share their information across the industry.
This central database also allows websites to have a central point to access real estate data. A site like Zillow, for example, accesses the MLS database several times a day and scrubs any new data that it finds for it’s own site. You’ll also find many broker websites, including our own Marcus & Associates, who have installed this feature as well. Each website pays the HBR MLS for access to that data, as well as fees to the software company who harvests that data for you. Those costs can add up.
My website is not set up for listing data.
Getting the MLS data is expensive, but displaying the data can be even more costly. Between the time and money it takes to setup your basic website alone, adding in a searchable database compounds that cost even more. I decided years ago that it was not worth my it to setup my website to handle MLS data because there are other websites (like our HBR’s own HiCentral) that do it much better than I ever could.
As a side note, HiCentral is the only website I know of that has live listings for public search. Even Zillow can only “scrape” data a few times a day, and my own website would be the same.
I also see a real danger in how some websites implement MLS data without any thought to user experience. It can get messy, hard to understand, and reflects poorly on the customer experience. I don’t want to create any experience, no matter how insignificant, that is not beneficial to my clients. MLS data is no different.
Let’s be honest, you’re not here for MLS data.
When I was laying out my website, I gave a lot of thought to “why” you would be accessing my site. I quickly realized I don’t have the resources to be the first result for a Google search of “hawaii real estate listings,” and I would always send clients customized websites directly from our MLS instead. There would never be a reason that you came to this website to access MLS data, and I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time and energy just to have the feature on my website.
Instead, I have put that time and energy into designing a user experience that I think you’ll like, and hope you understand why that doesn’t include MLS listings (maybe, for now??).