MLS Bargain Hunting: Tips and Tricks (Part 1)

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After three years of chasing REO properties on the MLS, I’ve managed to pick up a couple of tips and tricks that I thought I would share with you over the course of the next few weeks.  I realize that not all MLS systems are created equal, so your mileage may vary, but hopefully you will find these tips useful when conducting searches and hunting for bargains on the MLS!

Tip #1- Make Your Searches as Broad as Possible

What I have found over the last few years, especially when it comes to bank REO listings, is that the agents are often too busy (or too lazy) to bother conducting any due diligence before inputting a property into the MLS.   As a result, the information contained in many of their listings is often inaccurate.

To give you an example:  One of the first REO properties I wholesaled off of the MLS was listed as a 2/1, when in actuality it was a 3/2.  This obviously makes a huge difference in the marketability and value of the property.  Had I narrowed my search to look for only properties with 3+ bedrooms (which is what most of my end buyers are looking for),  I would have missed out on the deal.

The same holds true when searching for properties of a particular construction. For example, in my market, there is a much greater demand for concrete block homes as compared to wood frame or stucco, and as a result many investors will narrow their searches to bring back only houses of block construction.  In many instances, however, the agent will leave this field blank in the listing, so if you were to narrow your search to look for only concrete block homes, you would be missing out on some potential deals.

To get the most bang for your buck out of your MLS searches, my recommendation is to make them as broad as possible.  When I do my searches for properties in the zip codes or subdivisions that I am interested in, I search for ALL single family homes in those particular areas within a certain price range.  It may take me a little bit longer to sift through all of the listings, but this way I am assured that I am not missing out on any opportunities that may have fallen through the cracks if I were to have narrowed my search.

This is just one of the many tips and tricks I’ve learned while searching for deals on the MLS.  Check back next week for Tip #2!

Photo Credit: Danilo Rizzuti

About Author

Formerly a bartender, Steph Davis is now a full time wholesaler in Tampa, FL. If you'd like to get an idea of what it's really like out there in the trenches, head on over to her blog: FlipThisWholesaler.net!

8 Comments

  1. The best deal I ever bought was listed as a 2/1, but the previous owner did a full permitted addition to a 3/2 with central air and a new roof. I bought it for 57% of an AS-IS appraisal I got on the property. Good tips.

  2. I like the idea, but starting out too broad may overwhelm you. Do you start with a narrow focus and then broaden out your search from there? What’s the best technique that you’ve found?

  3. Pingback: Deals, Dogs, and Busted Computers | Flip This Wholesaler

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