Today consumers have a lot of choices as to where to search for properties for sale in Silicon Valley (the South Bay area, Santa Clara County, San Jose, Los Gatos, Almaden etc.).  But not all “find a home” sites are equally accurate.  Some websites display listings that are sale pending, sold & closed or even withdrawn.

The very best, most accurate and most often updated site is the public branch of our agent-supported Multiple Listing Service or MLS, which is  You can find it at (If sending your own agent info a house, it is helpful if you provide both the street address and the MLS #.  By the way, the first few digits of the number imply the year that the listing was put into the system.  811 = 2011.  810 = 2010.)

Why is the best source for finding Silicon Valley homes for sale?

It is updated constantly.  Within a few minutes of whenever a real estate agent or broker changes the listing status, comments, photos, showing instructions, open house information,etc., the new information is displayed on MLSListings.  While it’s not instantaneous, most changes appear within 5-10 minutes (photos being the slowest to load).

MLSListings is syndicated out to some other sites, but some don’t update often (or at all).  Other sites rely upon the listing agent to go to that one site and update the status.  Realtors and other licensees get busy and this task may slip through the cracks, making you believe that a home is available when it’s not. is the source.

You don’t have to register. Some of the portals that you might consider visiting to view the MLS info may not include the virtual tour or all pics – or might show them to you only if you register.  You do not need to register to view houses, condos, townhouses, multi units etc. on

How is the public’s version of the MLS different from the realty agent’s version of the same data?

More info is shown to the agent, including the seller’s name (if listed), phone numbers, the sales type (REO or short sale, if distressed property), special showing instructions, school district name (and possibly the precise school name), commission rate or other compensation offered to the buyer’s agent, the sales history of the property, the tax records, and some other small details.

Your agent can provide you the info on specialized areas or home types that might not be displayed to you.

What about off market listings or pocket listings?

Some areas and some brokerages have seller clients with houses for sale which are not listed on the MLS.  There can be many of reasons for this.  But they are not impossible to find if your agent has a lot of initiative.  You do not have to go to a certain brokerage to get access to those listings.  But your agent should network – that old fashioned method of talking with other real estate professionals – to see if there are any hidden properties which might be a match for you.

I have several services which provide listing information to my clients and to my readers.  These are updated frequently but they “pull” from the system.  For ease, a lot of home buyers or sellers want to keep a pulse on the market by getting listings sent to them by email.  These systems are updated every few hours, so are pretty good, but if you ever need or want to double check the status, go to the source.