Why Some Realtors Find Homes on MLS Before Anyone Else

Why Some Realtors Find Homes on MLS Before Anyone Else

  • Claire O'Connor

MLS is real estate lingo for multiple listing service, and it is the best friend of every Santa Monica realtor. This system allows real estate agents to access listing information, pictures, and statistics about Santa Monica real estate, as well as real estate across the country. If a Santa Monica realtor needs to know how to properly price a house based on what other similar homes are selling for, MLS is the first place they go.

But why do some realtors seem to get listings from MLS before anyone else? Why are some Santa Monica realtors able to show you a house at 9 am, while other realtors aren’t even aware it exists until 5 pm the next day? In this hot market, understanding MLS, how it works, and how to best utilize it is the key for a realtor to help find their clients their home faster and have a better chance of placing a successful offer. Despite some cool-off, Santa Monica real estate is still incredibly competitive.

MLS is huge and can be overwhelming


MLS is, without question, the largest collection of properties for sale across the United States. This system was built by realtors for realtors and is an invaluable tool to find homes on the market and catch trends as they are happening instead of following along afterward. It started in the 1970s, as paper listings were phased out in favor of an online system to keep track of everything. As the real estate market grows and expands, MLS grows, too. It changes and adapts to stay current, which makes it a valuable resource. If it were stagnant, no one would ever bother to use it.

It can also be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. When using the system, if you don’t input the correct variables and information, you could easily get Santa Monica real estate that doesn’t apply to your client or your position. You could find industrial or commercial properties that have nothing to do with someone looking for a 3-bedroom home with a pool, and you could end up only seeing listings that spent weeks or months on the market, instead of new listings.

Knowing how to use MLS properly is what sets a great Santa Monica realtor apart from a terrible one.

The best way a realtor utilizes MLS isn’t searching

There are a few ways to get the most out of MLS. When a Santa Monica realtor is working with a buyer who has a list of things they need from a home, like bedroom size or access to amenities, a notification system can be used. This is the biggest feature that MLS has, which too many realtors simply don’t utilize.

Once you input a set of requirements a home buyer has, you can set notifications. Each time a listing that fits your buyer's specifications comes on the market, you are notified. As a realtor, if you’re only looking at Santa Monica real estate when you specifically load up MLS and search for it, you’re going to be missing a lot of listings as they enter the market.

The notification system is the absolute best way to see houses as they are immediately listed on MLS.

There are two things not listed

There are only two homes not listed on MLS. Homes that are listed by the owners (FSBO), not realtors, and homes that have not technically been listed at open sale at all. These are two very different situations.

With FSBO listings, a Santa Monica realtor is not involved with the sellers at all. Most realtors recommend steering clear of these sales for a number of reasons, including that you can’t guarantee the condition of the home or the honesty of the sellers. Realtors have a code of ethics they must uphold, but the average homeowner is not under any obligation to do that.

For homes that are not listed yet, there is usually a realtor involved, it’s just not officially listed. Exclusive, expensive, or particularly luxurious Santa Monica real estate is often not listed on MLS. There are many reasons that someone would not want their home listed on MLS.

For one, they may not be sure they actually want to sell. They could just be testing the water and seeing what offers might be out there. They could also not want the outside eyes. Because any realtor can get access to an MLS listing, countless people could see pictures of their home and know all of the details about it. If you value your privacy above all else, this is very appealing.

How to know your realtor understands MLS


When you’re hiring a realtor to find you a home, you need to be assured they understand MLS and how it works. The days of driving around the neighborhood looking for signs are long gone, so utilizing MLS is vital for your home searching success.

When trying to find a realtor, you need to ask how often they use MLS. Do they understand notifications? How often do they search MLS for their clients, and what is their success rate of finding a home quickly.

If your realtor says they use MLS as a last resort or check once a week, these are big red flags. MLS is such a vital tool, and if your Santa Monica realtor isn’t paying attention to it (alternatively, if they don’t have staff doing the searching for them), they’ll never get to the listings first. If you are the fifth or sixth person to lay eyes on the home, you may have a good shot at placing an early competitive bid. If you’re there on the fifth day it is on the market, and hundreds of people have seen the listing and the home, you’re going to have a much harder time getting noticed. 

Ready to buy Santa Monica real estate?

If you’re looking at Santa Monica real estate, but you’re not sure you’re going in the right direction, reach out to Claire O’Connor. Claire is a California native and experienced Sotheby’s agent. Claire understands the importance of MLS and utilizes the best technology in real estate, thanks to Sotheby’s, to find better listings sooner and get you the home of your dreams faster.



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