What the MLS Won't Tell You
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a great tool for getting an overview of whats available in your area, but there are plenty of things and MLS Listing wont tell you. The MLS Listing will rattle off all the positive features of the house: the number of bedrooms, the garage space and how much yard you have. If theres a distinctive, attractive feature, like a pool, the MLS will be sure to highlight it. But the MLS wont mention any house flaws.
The MLS will be silent on all the little things that will decide whether this house will be pleasant to live in. The MLS wont mention a drunken neighbor who plays Madonna at midnight. You wont find an MLS listing that brags mold in the basement makes it smell like your grandmothers house. See if you can find an MLS listing that says the basement is great for hiding from the tornados this area always gets.
The MLS listing wont say whether its a good buy. The MLS wont clue you in to whether the house is too expensive. The MLS listing wont compare prices in the neighborhood like a good agent will.
The MLS wont tell you all the things youll need to fix and the MLS listing wont say how much it will all cost. Dont look for the MLS listing to mention the weak roof or ancient furnace. Thats something you have to figure out; the MLS real estate listing wont tell you.
The MLS listing will not rate how energy inefficient this old house is. The MLS doesnt brag about old windows and walls that were insulated with newspaper during the Depression. The MLS listing wont say that you should investigate for yourself what it will cost each year to heat or air-condition your new home.
The MLS listing isnt as strong in some geographic areas. The MLS doesnt really cover the countrys tightest real estate market, Manhattan. Sure, there is a tiny MLS listing for the coveted island, but most real estate listings are still kept by individual brokers. And if a broker selling a house isnt part of an association, the house shes selling might not be on the MLS.
In cartoons, people are always finding out that their property secretly once held something like an Indian burial ground. Odds are, your house didnt. But what if it had been the site of a murder? Not going to show up on the MLS listing. What if there was once a gas station or shooting range there that potentially contaminated the soil? The MLS wont say a thing. Youre going to have to do your own diggingand not rely on the MLS listingto find out if there was a flood or fire.
The MLS wont help you find most houses people are selling on their own. The Multiple Listing Service takes homes from multiple brokers. But FSBO homes are not on the MLS listingsunless a real estate broker offers ala carte services and one is an MLS listing.
Potential Conflict of Interest
The MLS will list who is selling the house. Pay attention to see if your broker is from the same outfitand possibly steering you to the house so his company gets both sides to the commission. The MLS listing can tip you off to a potential reason your broker may want to show you a particular house.
Remember, the MLS is a salesman, not your friend. And the MLS listing is an ad, not a critical description.