What is a Commercial MLS?
A multiple listing service, or MLS, is a software system used by real estate brokers in order to represent the sellers of properties, search for properties for buyers, and to establish commission rates for other brokers who may help a broker sell a property. There are approximately 900 MLS services in the United States, most of which are intended for residential property brokers in specific local areas. However, there are only a few commercial MLS providers that stand out, including LoopNet, CoStar, CREXi, Brevitas, and ApartmentBuildings.com.
The Top Commercial MLS Providers Compared
LoopNet: LoopNet is the largest commercial MLS in the United States. Currently, the MLS provides over 500,000 listings valued at a staggering $425 billion. The service has over 5 million visitors per month, and has benefits including high quality videos and HD photos in order to give potential buyers highly detailed views of their properties. LoopNet was purchased by CoStar in 2012.
CoStar: Originally a major competitor to LoopNet, CoStar now focuses on a suite of CRE software platforms, including a private buyer network, and COMPS, which brands itself as the largest database of commercial real estate sale records on the market, and is designed to help CRE professionals compare the costs of different properties. In addition to owning LoopNet, CoStar also owns Apartments.com, BizBuySell, CityFeet, and Showcase.
CREXi: CREXi, which is an acronym for Commercial Real Estate Exchange, Inc., is one of the newest MLS providers on this list, having been founded in 2015. CREXi raised $11 million in venture capital funding in 2018, and it plans to use the funds to continue its mission to make commercial real estate more transparent and liquid, by digitizing everything from property purchase documentation to finding CRE financing. The company currently reports around 200,000 users per month and says it’s already facilitated bringing 100,000 to market. CREXi’s listings currently are valued at a substantial $450 billion— so, while it may not have LoopNet’s reputation, the service is likely to become a formidable competitor.
Brevitas: Branding itself as an exclusive private market for commercial real estate, Brevitas combines a traditional commercial MLS and a DocuSign exchange with messaging and sales features. While Brevitas has some great buzz, it’s currently not as established as many of the other MLS providers on this list.
ApartmentBuildings.com: Unlike most other MLS providers, ApartmentBuildings.com is focused solely on listing multifamily properties. Currently, the site operates listings in Arizona, California, Texas, Florida and New York, the five largest real estate markets in the country. In these markets, the company is second only to LoopNet in the amount and value of multifamily listings—which means it could be a growing force as it expands througout the country.