Tips for searching MLS listings more effectively

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) contains a wealth of information for homebuyers about properties on the market. But with so many listings out there, find the ones that best match your home search criteria. Follow these tips to search MLS listings and uncover potential dream homes.

Use map searches

Many MLS platforms let you search listings by interactively scrolling around a map. Use this visual search method to explore homes within specific areas that appeal to you. Map searches to check things like:

  • How homes are distributed throughout a neighborhood
  • Prices and amenities available in various subdivisions 
  • Proximity of listings to points of interest like schools, parks, etc.

Map searches allow you to zone in on attractive areas and see at a glance what’s available. You may spot appealing neighborhoods or even specific homes you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Compare listings side-by-side

As you start favoriting potential homes, use MLS tools to compare listings side-by-side. Key details to compare include:

  • Price per square foot
  • Number of days on market
  • Number of price changes 
  • Property taxes
  • HOA fees
  • Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and garage stalls
  • Interior amenities and upgrades
  • Outside features like pools, patios, etc.

Side-by-side comparisons let you thoroughly assess how homes stack up against each other. Determine if a higher-priced home offers sufficient extra value to justify the cost. Make apples-to-apples comparisons between multiple properties to select your favorites.

Use any available virtual tour options

Many MLS listings now offer virtual tours or 3D walkthroughs online. Take full advantage of these to digitally “walk” through promising listings. Virtual tours help preview homes and decide if they are worth touring in person. Key things to look for in virtual tours include layout and flow, light and space, condition of surfaces, and if the home meets your storage and functionality needs. Virtual tours showcase some homes better and provide invaluable early insight for the more info here  nystatemls.

Chart price changes

If you’ve compiled an MLS search of favorite homes, chart how the list price of each property has changed over time. Many MLS platforms are easy to see at a glance if and when listings decreased their asking price. Tracking price changes helps uncover deals and negotiating opportunities. You may find homes originally overpriced that have been subsequently reduced to a fair market value listing with multiple reductions indicate motivated sellers with more room to negotiate.

Research market inventory trends

Beyond viewing individual listings, research overall MLS market inventory in your desired locations. Is the number of active listings increasing or decreasing compared to past months and years?  High inventory signals a buyer’s market. You’ll likely have ample selection and more bargaining power. The low inventory indicates a seller’s market with possible bidding wars. Knowing current inventory trends will help you set expectations.

Pay Attention to Days on Market

When evaluating MLS listings, pay close attention to days on the market (DOM). Listings with extended DOM may indicate an overpriced home. But high DOM can also mean a property has something undesirable that has deterred buyers. Conversely, lowered DOM indicates a hot listing attracting lots of interest. Be sure to factor DOM into your listing analyses when searching MLS.

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