Who can and can’t make use of real estate board data

Pat Arlia
3 min readDec 7, 2020


Since we founded Repliers back in 2018, we’ve been receiving steady interest in our real estate API services. From time-to-time, however, our prospects aren’t aware of the rules and regulations regarding making use of real estate board data. I thought it would be good to set the record straight on this topic.

What it really boils down to is one simple question:

Are you building technology for a licensed real estate agent?

If the answer is no, then you can’t make use of the data.

Technology would be commonly defined as a website, app or software. Most real estate boards have similar policies regarding acceptable use cases, however, it’s important to check with your real estate board specifically as policies vary.

Some feel that they’re entitled to use real estate board data and believe it to be public. To clarify, the data belongs to the real estate boards and is made available only to licensed real estate agents of those boards. Equally important is that its intended use is for the agent’s personal real estate business to service its clients directly. For example, if a real estate agent has a friend that is a mortgage broker, they’re not permitted to share the data with their friend for use in their mortgage business. This is a common misconception — having a friend that is a real estate agent does not entitle you to make use of real estate board data. A real estate agent and their broker of record can face large fines and even have their licenses revoked if they share data with unauthorized third parties.

What if I partner with a real estate agent?

A partnership with a real estate agent does not entitle a non-real estate business to make use of real estate board data. If you’ve partnered with a real estate agent and the intention is to make use of the real estate board data for your business, regardless of its nature, that’s not permitted. If you’re partnering with a real estate agent as a technology provider and the final product is a solely for use by the real estate agent’s business then that’s fine — you and that real estate agent can work out a compensation model for your effort. The main message being, that a non-real estate business can not make use of real estate board data for their business in any way.

What if a real estate agent hired me to build their website?

Real estate agents are free to hire third parties to build technology for them, but it’s important that the data is used by the third party exclusively for the real estate agent that hired them. Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the real estate agent to ensure that anyone they hire makes use of the data properly.

What if I want to offer services to many real estate agents?

In this scenario, you would need to apply as a vendor with the real estate board. Upon approval, you would be permitted to use the data to provide real estate agents of the board with your technology. Every real estate agent that you work with will need formal approval from the real estate board to use your services.

Other important things to be aware of:

  1. If you build real estate technology that generates leads, the leads need to be for the real estate agent who the technology was built for. Leads should not be sold to other real estate agents.
  2. The real estate technology that you build has to be clearly branded for the real estate agent who the technology was built for.
  3. In most cases there are very specific rules about how to handle sold and historical data. For example, sold data generally must be password protected and client privileged. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your real estate board’s specific rules about sold and historical data.

Confused? 😕

No doubt navigating data access with real estate boards can be intimidating and confusing. Even if your use case is acceptable, it’s difficult to know where to start. If you’ve crossed this path and have questions, please feel free to book a meeting with me. I’m more than happy to learn about what you’ve set out to build and will guide you through the dos and don’ts.