Expert Tips For Finding MLS Deals


Investing in real estate is a numbers game. The more opportunities investors are presented with, the more likely they are to realize success. To that end, the more leads one is able to acquire, the more likely they’ll be able to land a deal. Therefore, it only makes sense for today’s investors to maximize their lead generation efforts by using every platform at their disposal. The multiple listing service (MLS), in particular, is a powerful tool that shouldn’t be ignored. MLS deals are, after all, capable off awarding savvy investors with plenty of opportunities. More importantly, what is a truly great investor, if not an opportunistic one?

MLS deals have proven they belong in the pantheon of lead generation strategies, and there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be searching for them yourself. MLS deals are one of the single greatest lead generation strategies known to investors, and you’re doing yourself a severe disservice if you choose to ignore them.

Why Find Deals On The MLS?

As I already alluded to, the success of most of today’s best investors is predicated on their ability to actually locate and secure deals. Accumulating leads is one of the most important things an investor can do. It is reasonable to assume the more leads an investor can get, the better off their business will be. That said, investors can’t rely on one lead generation platform. Today’s best investors already know it, and it’s time you did, too: a good marketing strategy will use multiple platforms to generate leads. As it turns out, finding deals on the MLS just happens to be one of the main pillars you should be relying on.

How To Find MLS Deals

Here are some of my favorite tricks that should help you find better deals on the MLS:

  • Look For Pending Properties
  • Research Property History
  • Expand Your Search Criteria
  • Execute In A Timely Fashion
  • Don’t Be Scared To Pay Up

[ Want help finding great investment deals in your area? Use these 14 FREE fill-in-the-blank marketing pieces ]

Finding deals on the MLS
For more detailed information on finding deals on the MLS, refer to the following explanations:

Look For Pending Properties

While a great source for leads, the MLS is anything but a secret. At this very moment, there are countless investors and real estate agents scouring the prolific online database for viable deals. Competition, as it turns out, is just as prevalent on the MLS as it is in the market itself, but I digress. The droves of people looking for MLS deals don’t necessarily need to represent a disadvantage for other real estate investors. It is entirely possible to simultaneously find MLS deals while reducing the amount of competition you’ll inevitably encounter on the online database. There is one strategy, in particular, that the competition may not even be aware of: looking for pending sales.

While searching for pending sales may sound counterintuitive, I can assure you it’s more than worth the time of savvy investors––provided they proceed accordingly. Whereas most investors are inclined to ignore pending sales, smart investors should dig a little deeper. If for nothing else, no pending sale is guaranteed to close. While most contracts will be finalized, it’s entirely possible for pending sales to fall out of contract.

I recommend looking at pending sales that have extended beyond the originally anticipated closing date. In the event a sale has been pending for a suspiciously long period of time, there’s a chance the deal may never be realized. Therein lies an opportunity: pending sales that have yet to close may represent an opening for investors to submit an offer of their own. There is no reason the representing agent won’t want to entertain a new offer in the event the previous one falls through, so be ready to act.

Research Property History

Fortune favors the prepared, and nothing prepares an investor for acquiring an MLS deal more so than due diligence––due diligence in the form of research, of course. Any investor hoping to acquire MLS deals will benefit immensely from simply paying attention to the information right in front of them. That said, not all data is created equal. There are actually parts of the MLS I believe to be more valuable than others, and there’s one section that has proven itself invaluable, time and time again: property history.

To find MLS deals worth your time, pay close attention to the property’s history. At the very least, utilizing the property’s history function could reveal details a quick glance would neglect to catch. Identifying a home’s history could reveal a more detailed picture of the active listing, in fact. Be sure to make a habit out of checking the home’s history, as to not glance over any important details. One thing is for certain: the more you know about a property, the easier it’ll be to secure it at a price you deem acceptable.

Expand Your Search Criteria

Far too many investors are comfortable working within the confines of a narrow search field. After all, specific searches should reward their inquirers with results that match exactly what they are looking for. However, I remain convinced a broader search will coincide with more favorable results. Again, real estate is a numbers game. A narrow search will result in a narrow field of inquiries.

Instead of relying on narrow search results, try expanding the criteria you use to find MLS deals. More importantly, don’t continue to subject such an important search to the same terms everyone else is using. To find MLS deals, you will need to think outside of the box.

If, for example, you are interested in searching for MLS deals to rehab, may I recommend adding the following words to your next search:

  • Fixer
  • TLC
  • Repairs
  • Careful
  • Disclaimer
  • Renovation
  • Needs
  • Missing
  • Cracked
  • Handyman
  • Contractor
  • Cash Only

On the other hand, if you are interested in locating properties placed up for sale by motivated sellers, you may want to consider using the following words in your next search:

  • Motivated
  • Must Sell
  • Relocated
  • Vacant
  • Estate
  • Assisted Living
  • Ready
  • Make All Offers
  • Consider All Offers
  • Probate
  • Trustee
  • Executor

The search criteria you type in needs to represent exactly what you are looking for. Relying on a narrow search will result in narrow results. However, expanding your search criteria should net more opportunities. The key, however, is to be able to sift through them accordingly.

Execute In A Timely Fashion

Today’s real estate market is constricted by an inherent lack of available homes. Inventory levels haven’t been able to keep up with demand, which has resulted in a lot of competition. As a result, investors have had to use every advantage they can get to acquire a deal, and speed of implementation is no exception.

One of the easiest ways to get ahead of the competition is to execute your MLS searches in a timely fashion. For the most part, the early bird really does get the worm. And while there are certainly exceptions, there’s no reason to think being the first investor to make a deal on an MLS property won’t tip the scales in your favor.

Don’t Be Scared To Pay Up

Profit margins have been prioritized by today’s real estate investors, almost to a fault. Of course, it’s important to acquire a deal at a price that works for your particular exit strategy, but there are times it’s worth paying slightly more just to land the deal. Quite frankly, there’s no reason an investor shouldn’t pony up a few thousand dollars more if they know they will be able to make a generous profit. As long as the numbers work, investors should be willing to spend a little more to beat out the competition––so long as they don’t exceed their maximum allowable offer. Making slightly less on the backend of a deal (but still remaining profitable) will almost always beat not doing a deal at all.

What is the MLS, if not for one of the greatest sources of leads made available to investors? Few places, if any, award investors with more opportunities to secure potential deals than the database created by real estate professionals for real estate professionals. As a result, you should be looking at MLS deals whenever you can.

Key Takeaways

  • MLS deals currently serve as one of the greatest lead sources for today’s real estate investors.
  • A savvy MLS deal finder may exercise an inherent advantage over anyone lacking access to the database at all.
  • Finding deals on the MLS can be as successful as you are willing to make it. The more work you put in, the more likely you are to find your next deal.