@Marsha Rost In order to act as an agent you need to be associated with a broker. That is state law. The MLS is owned by the Realtor organization. Your would have to contact your local realtor organization what you need to do to get access. I have access via my partner as I am approved by his broker to be his assistant and I pay separate fees from my partner for MLS access.
Regarding actual access to properties you must be a licensed agent associated with a broker to have access to listed properties.
There are various services that provide sale data other than the MLS however many do not have as detailed information as the MLS.
I did not like the Real Estate agent world. I am an out of the box thinker. That is strongly discouraged in the agent world. I did some of my most profitable deals when I did not have access to the MLS - but I did use other pay services. I was an agent i gave up my license.
As a real estate agent, you must work with a realtor.. who is a broker. So if you sell something, you get a commission and your realtor gets a commission. Therefore, if you are only interested in being a buyer, you would save on your own commission but the realtor (broker) would get a commission. I think Realtor.com is the official website of mls and you should have full access to it as a buyer right now... If you are only interested in 1 to 2 houses per year, I don't think getting your real estate license is worth it. Don't forget that agents have to put in "floor time" every week.
Thanks for the information.
@Ned Carey Can I ask what other paid services you are referring to?
@Marsha Rost well certainly there are free places like Zillow or Redfin. They generally get there sold prices from the public records and have little detail.
There are a number of services like Reallist, Hains criss cross, RealQuest, Real fast data, etc I don't even know what these services are called but there are several of them. There is also a newer generation of info services that many REIAs sell of give access for a membership fee. Privy is one.
@Ned Carey thanks for the information. I will check those out.