Investor’s First Look at the MLS

Scott Costello All, Blog 4 Comments

Analyzing the DataMy first few days with MLS access have been fun!  I’m like a kid in a candy store in many ways, one of which is that I’m having trouble figuring out exactly what I want.  For those that are just getting daily emails from an agent or who are getting some sort of “buyer” access, you are missing out on great features.  Over the next few weeks as I learn how to properly use them I will post about their power and limitations.

I honestly felt a bit over whelmed when I first opened up the gsmls webpage and logged in.  The first thing I wanted to do was run a simple search just to get the mechanics down and get into the flow.   I decided to find all the active listings in my farm area, Hanover   Twp.  31 active listings, presented in a nice tabular style spreadsheet.  I went through each listing by clicking on each and going over the entire listings.  My main goal was to find out what was different from the listings one would get from a realtor threw an automated email.

About 90% of the information was the same, but there was one MAJOR difference.  They listed the Sale Terms. Now I will be able to determine who the cash buyers are in my area…GOLD!  Hey, that is a good search, so I quickly put that search together and found THREE transactions over the past year where cash was used…only 3????  Not a lot of investor activity in my town apparently, unless the houses are just to expensive to use cash and they must finance.   This created many questions in my head, one of which was should I expand my area to include Morristown?

In any event getting MLS access is going to greatly benefit me in so many ways.  Here are some of the features that I have found useful so far…

Advanced Search: You can search by any criteria you want, from Zip code to Sale Terms (to find the cash buyers).  The results give you a great spread sheet style view that you can easily sort.  From the advanced search screen you can save the query, setup an auto-email based on the query or download the results to an excel file.  Awesome tool!

Open House Search: Nothing you couldn’t find some place else but it just gives it to you in a nice formatted way and allows you to see the remarks and map out the location of the properties much more easily.

Stats by Town and Bedroom: Quick breakdown of all the listings, new listings, Under Contract and Solds over a period of time.

Tax Information: Gives you the tax information for all listed or sold properties.  You are given the advanced search capabilities in order to easily estimate potential taxes for a given property.

Comparative Market Analysis: You can quickly put together a CMA report to help you figure out the value of a property.  I will be testing this feature out extensively once I get signed up with a broker.

Other Features

  • Contact Management capabilities
  • Financing functions
  • Tax Maps

For me the MLS will provide me with more then just finding properties to put offers on, it’ll provide an easy way to get invaluable information about my farm areas.

Also, In an effort to get as much out of the MLS as I can, I asked the good people over at flipping homes how they use the mls.

Raquel Said..

You can find all kinds of information. Expireds, REOs, ownership information, comps, handyman specials. There are several choices. You can even setup automated searches for yourself and your clients. I see that you’re in NJ. If you’re using TrendMLS, make sure to attend the orientation class.

J Scott of 123flip.com said..

Here are a few ideas… http://www.123flip.com/education/leveraging-the-mls

Steve Cook said…

Scott,

I always search by zip code.  No other criteria.  If I’m going to focus on an area, I want to know EVERYTHING happening in that area.  As I study the listings it becomes evident which ones may be the deals.

JerryNJ said…

Go into Trend and look at the pendings for all of your county or zip code if the county gives you too many results.  You want to look at everything and focus down from there.  For the exit side you need to id what kinds of homes are pending in less than ~20days.

Try to find a little market or a market within a market where stuff is selling fast.  Ideally first time homebuyer price ranges say 100-225K

Then when you have that market identified go out and look at all of the pendings and solds in the past 60 days.  Become an expert in that little area.

Then go into trend and make an offer on everything in there, and set up a search where you get notified of any new lists or drops in that market below a price threshold.  Check that search 2-3x per day 7 days per week.

Shane said…

I am with Steve on this one, watching the entire zip code or broad area is the way to go, after that you can start to go over things on a deeper level.

The biggest mistake I think individuals make is they don’t spend enough time talking to other market professional about what is happening in that person’s farm area. The MLS can help you identify these specific things, but I highly recommend calling a few professionals who specializes in that specific area.

Their is no substitute for good old fashioned networking. Knowing rent rates, back end values, and repair cost is paramount

Steve Cook followed up with…

Like I said, I just want the whole zip code.  I don’t search for only REO’s.  If an agent doesn’t enter it into the system as an REO you’ll miss it.  I don’t care if I see owner occupants in my searches, I can read the listings and figure that out.  I’d like to know what is going on in the whole market not just the REO’s.

Jason-PA said…

I would follow Steve’ advice and search zip code. Personally i search by town and zip code. On the MLS here you can then search low to high on the list price,sold price,etc. I just look at the cheapest ones and go from there. Sometimes you can catch a BK or estate at a great deal along with REO’s.

Congrats on getting the MLS! The MLS is absolutely priceless. Lets put it this way, anyone who is making money flipping homes in my area does have access to the MLS. I have spoken to 8 active investors and they all have access. Enough said there.

The advice varied greatly, from Steve Cook simply just watching the market to J Scott breaking down the numbers for a particular area and analyzing how a 1.5 bath house sells compared to a house with 2 bathrooms.

All in all very interesting and I will be taking advice from everyone.

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Comments 4

  1. The data and how you access it all is going to change your world. As the others have said, adding the zip search, amongst other things will really give you a great look at your target farm. Congrats and good luck!

  2. The data and how you access it all is going to change your world. As the others have said, adding the zip search, amongst other things will really give you a great look at your target farm. Congrats and good luck!

  3. The data and how you access it all is going to change your world. As the others have said, adding the zip search, amongst other things will really give you a great look at your target farm. Congrats and good luck!

  4. The data and how you access it all is going to change your world. As the others have said, adding the zip search, amongst other things will really give you a great look at your target farm. Congrats and good luck!

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