Listing syndication - you may be missing 15 percent or more if that is all you're seeingListing syndication matters to buyers and sellers, even if they don’t know it!

What is listing syndication?

Listing syndication refers to the distribution of listings of homes for sale to other websites from the multiple listing service or MLS. The information about the home is input into the MLS for members online, and also for those visiting the MLS directly as guests or those receiving email updates from that system. When it’s sent further, say to for example, that’s syndication.

Put more simply, listing syndication is distributing and displaying listings online.

Today most listings can be found on real estate web portals large and small, including real estate agents’ own websites (we have it, too). On real estate agent websites, that is accomplished through either an IDX feed (Internet Data Exchange) or VOW (Virtual Office Website). The main difference between IDX and VOW is that with the VOW more can be displayed, but it’s behind a login / password wall. The IDX feed shows information without having to register.



Why it matters for home sellers

Having the most exposure for homes on the market is usually in the best interest of home sellers, as more exposure can result in more traffic, and more traffic should cause more (and better) offers. When houses, condominiums, or townhomes or other properties are sold without syndication, they may have cut down on the traffic and therefore on the ultimate sale price.

Why it matters for home buyers

Listing syndication is great and it’s indispensable. At the same time, not every home IS syndicated, and buyers need to know that so that they aren’t only looking at Zillow, Redfin, their own agent’s cool looking MLS feed, as in those cases they are missing a good chunk of properties.

Members Only listings on the MLS (you won’t see them on other sites)

Those non-syndicated homes for sale are categorized as Members Only: Show or Members Only: Do Not Show.

You will not find these properties on the big portals. You won’t even find them on our websites, much as we would love to include them in our IDX feed. In Santa Clara County, it seems to usually be about 15% of all homes are not syndicated – that’s a big amount of inventory to miss! This week I pulled just houses in San Jose and it’s 21% right now are Members Only. When I looked at just houses in the county it was 17%.

Two real life success stories from paying attention to the non-syndicated listings:

  • This year Clair and I got buyers into a home that was Members Only: Show. There was hardly any competition compared to those homes on the open market (those on all of the portals).
  • Last year, in 2022, we also sold a Members Only: Do Not Show to our buyers. In that case I had reached out to the listing agent to see when it could be shown. She said “NOW!” To be clear, she was violating the MLS rules and regulations. We as the buyers’ agents, did not. We got our clients into contract and they had almost no competition (we were not the only parties who were told to show it during a short window of time).

Summary & conclusion

The main takeaway here is that not everything is on or the real estate portals. If you want to view EVERY home on the MLS, you’ll need to be getting that info from the MLS itself. Your local Realtor can assist you in getting those email alerts so you don’t miss anything. The alerts can be set to ASAP, meaning you’ll be notified within minutes of a listing going live, or once a day, twice a day, several times a week, or weekly. (Monthly may also be an option.) You can start with ASAP and then change it if that’s too much.


Related reading:

House hunting online

Remove photos of the home on the internet

Sell one home and buy another (on, one of our sites)