The Multiple Listing Service is a computer database that compiles information on houses listed for sale in a particular area by participating real estate agents. Real estate agents use the MLS to help clients find property that meets their specifications. While consumers don’t have direct access to the MLS, they can indirectly access it in a couple of ways – first, provide requirements to an agent who has access to it, or look on a Website like Realtor.com, which posts MLS listings from members of the National Association of Realtors, or NAR.
Looking for a home can be overwhelming. You and your real estate agent need to make important decisions about a number of things, like how much you can afford to spend, what features you want in a home, how many square feet you want and in what area to look.
Luckily the Multiple Listing Service can help you narrow down some criteria. If you chose to use a real estate agent for the home buying process, you may be able to access the Multiple Listing Service through your agent’s website.
Most Multiple Listing Service programs will let your agent search for homes by area. That is a good way to compare prices in neighborhoods which you find desirable. Your agent can set a minimum and maximum price range and produce the listing that you can afford. This can save you considerable time and effort because you won’t end up looking at homes that are out of your price range.
You can also narrow search results by indicating what kind of property you would like. That means you can input data that will show you townhouses, condos, single-family homes or lots.
As far as home specifics, there are search fields that indicate how many square feet, bedrooms, bathrooms and other features which you find attractive. This is where you might want to consider being flexible. While it is a good idea to have some ideas in mind about what you want and need in a home, don’t rule out looking at home because of one feature. You may be able to make up for it with the price or another feature.