Tips for Utilizing MLS to Purchase a Home

Multiple Listing Service or MLS is not one system. Rather, it is a collection of databases across the country. Many of them are zoned to a specific region, though a few are nationwide.

MLS was created for brokers to connect local listings, making it easier for realtors and buyers to find what’s locally available. This type of networking began in the 19th century when buyers and sellers met in person to trade information.

Today, over 80% of homes for sale have an MLS listing. Popular websites such as and use MLS to funnel listings into their sites. While the MLS is a great tool, everyone is looking at it, which creates intense competition. In 2018, Zillow captured 7.182 billion visits. However, even as a potential home buyer, there are a few ways to stay ahead of the game.

You know what they say about the early bird . . .

. . . they get their dream house, or something like that. The lesson applies to our current competitive housing market. Being the first one to view a home, or make an offer, can make all the difference.

Here are a couple ways to be the first one to jump on a new listing:

  • Automate alerts
  • Stay flexible with your time
  • Get pre-qualified for a loan
  • Make an offer before seeing the property

A photo isn’t everything

We live in a visual age where it feels like photos tell the entire story. However, not everyone is equipped with stellar photography skills. Don’t let poor photos control your opinion of a property. It could be your hidden gem.

An added plus, if the photos are poor, there is a decent chance the property hasn’t been viewed as many times, which could give you a chance for a more competitive offer.

The five months or more rule

Look for homes that have been listed for five or more months. There may not be anything wrong with these homes besides a case of bad luck. This is your chance.

These sellers are often frustrated, ready to move onto the next phase of their lives, but unable to due to their unsold property. These sellers are often more likely to be open to negotiation tactics, and potentially a lower offer.