Realtor.com (+other sites) vs. MLS for Finding Deals

3 Replies

Hey everyone,

I'm super new to real estate investing and BiggerPockets so this topic may have been covered previously, but I wanted to get people's thoughts on using realtor.com and other similar sites vs. the MLS. As an investor without a real estate license, any searches on the MLS would have to be facilitated through an agent which may take extra time and could be filtered more than one would like. I love looking at all property data myself, so I'm wondering if realtor.com (in conjunction with other sites such as zillow and trulia) is comparable to using and agent to access the MLS. This is in terms of speed, data, accuracy of info, etc.

For example: 

If I find a property on realtor.com and it fits my criteria for a good BRRRR investment, what are the chances that I am already too late to the game? Would someone using the MLS have found that deal before me, or is the information on these sites pretty up to date? Is realtor.com a good place for finding investments, and if not what are better options? I'm assuming direct mail, but that requires more of an up front investment.

All thoughts and comments welcomed!

Thanks all!

Hi @Eusebiu Ardelean -

The majority of the MLSes across the country feed directly into realtor.com - there are a few exceptions, but I don't recall off-hand who they are. So, assuming the market you are looking at doesn't happen to be one of these exception areas, you can be pretty confident that what you see on realtor.com is an accurate reflection of what's in the MLS ... you're not losing out on deals because the information is dated.

If you're working with an agent, they'll most likely setup an automated alert for you based on some general criteria. This won't take extra time and doesn't need to overly filter the data ... if your agent understands all the capabilities of their MLS, they can make these searches either hyper-focused (well beyond anything that you could search for on a public listing site) or they can make them extremely generic - whatever you want. Then, when a property hits the market matching your criteria, you'll get an email with the details.

If you're trying to find deals, though, at a certain point you're going to want or need to go off-market.  And this only happens by you either 1) finding owners yourself that are willing to sell off-market or 2) networking with other real estate players in your area that are finding owners willing to sell off-market.  #2 is the easier option ... connect with local people here on BP - watch for local events to be mentioned - go to meetups - go to open houses for properties that have been flipped and meet the agents and find out who's behind those deals - etc.

Good luck!

While you can just browse the MLS. If you get yourself a good realtor hungry for your business they will bring those off market deals to you before going on the MLS. That's how I bought my last house. Another realtor gave my realtor a heads up about an upcoming property. I saw it and Put my offer in right away and it was accepted. A good realtor will work for you and not you working for them.