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House hunting online - graphic of woman in PJs looking at computerLooking to purchase real estate this year? Most interested home buyers are doing their house hunting online. Today I’d like to share a couple of tips with you that I think may be helpful.

  1. The local MLS is MLSListings.com. That is the most complete database of information for house hunting online. (Some listing agents will not permit their listings to syndicate to Zillow, Redfin, or Realtor.com.)
  2. Not everything is seen by the public on the MLS. MLSListings has 2 databases: most of it can be seen by the public, but there are some which may never show up on Realtor.com or other portals. These are homes which are either “coming soon” (but could sell before hitting the open market) and some which are “members only” and by design won’t be seen by the public, only by paying members of the MLS. To get access to all data, make sure that you are working with a real estate professional who is a member of the MLS. (He or she may also be able to tell you about disclosures online or offer due dates if they are published – or can reach out to the listing agent for that info.)Listing
  3. Redfin features the “hot home” label which lets you, the consumer, know that a property is likely to sell fast and over list price. Once in awhile a house or condo is “hot” and then it’s not. Sometimes the delisted from the hot list homes still do sell for more than list price, though.
  4. Syndication errors can happen. With syndication, some listing info that you see on one of the large portals, or perhaps through another MLS organization (not MLS Listings) may have old or outdated information. Best to always check the MLS local to the market where you want to buy.
  5. The status may not be updated immediately. Listing agents are allowed a couple of business days to change the status from active to pending once an offer is accepted. Many will wait for the buyer’s initial deposit to go to the title company. Typically that happens the next business day. If a property still shows active after a due date, it doesn’t necessarily mean that no one bid on it. For the same reason, the “days on market” on sold or pending properties could be a a little longer than what actually happened, particularly if the sale ratified on a Friday or a day before a holiday weekend and the check or wire could not go to title until the next business day.

If you are working with a local Realtor who knows the market and is partnering with you in your house hunting online, you are less likely to be surprised either when a home goes pending or closes if it’s your target.

Author

  • Silicon Valley Realtor, selling homes in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, Silicon Valley, and nearby since 1993. Prolific blogger with a network of sites.