If you think buying, selling or renting a home is stressful, you should have tried doing so before the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, was created. Prior to this revolutionary service, dealing with residential real estate was a major headache. Even in a highly competitive and fast-paced market like Boston's, the MLS makes relatively short work of virtually any residential real estate transaction. Boston City Properties is pleased to maintain one of the largest online databases of Massachusetts real estate listings, and it is largely powered by the Multiple Listing Service. Find out why the Massachusetts MLS is such a crucial part of buying, selling or renting real estate in the commonwealth by reading on below.
Contrary to popular belief, the MLS is not just a single entity. In actuality, there are separate listing services for many geographical areas as well as some that are geared toward specific property types. When searching for real estate information, it is important to make sure that you are accessing it via a relevant listing service. For example, it would not make sense to search for Boston homes for sale through an MLS that is intended for homes in Florida. If you are looking for real estate information for Massachusetts, you will be pleased to know that Boston City Properties pulls data from regional listing services, so all of your bases are covered.History
Today, most of us take modern technology for granted, and the MLS is no exception. For many years, however, buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals alike had to do without it--and it wasn't pretty.
For many years, real estate brokers would list the properties that they were helping clients sell on actual sheets of paper. Multiple copies of these sheets would be made and then distributed to brokers and other real estate professionals around the area. Just like today, brokers and agents of yesteryear had to work together to conduct successful real estate transactions. These paper listings were there way of sharing information among themselves. For example, one broker might peruse another broker's listing sheet to see if they had any properties that would suit a particular client.
Needless to say, this was a clunky way of doing things. As computer technology evolved and became more sophisticated, listings started becoming digitized. Suddenly, it was easy to share hundreds--or even thousands--of listings with the entire world. Today, the MLS is the gold standard for accurate information about real estate.The Problem with Paper
It's hard to imagine having to flip through paper listings to find something suitable, but that was virtually the only option before the modern, digital MLS emerged. To fully appreciate how much it has done for people who are looking to buy, sell or rent real estate, consider the problems that those folks faced before:
• Outdated Information - Today, listings can be updated or removed in a heartbeat. This is precisely why Boston City Properties' database is so useful: Listings are updated continually, so you always have up-to-the-second information. When listings were limited to paper, there was no easy way to keep things updated. All too often, a buyer would get excited about a listing only to learn that the property in question went off the market several days before. Thanks to the modern listing service, this is no longer a problem.
• Difficult Searching - Before it went digital, the MLS was difficult to search. After all, there is no way to instantly search through a pile of paper. The best that agents and brokers could do was to sort listings into various categories. This was effective for, say, searching for properties in a specific town or city, as those listings could be kept in folders based on location. However, if you wanted a home with specific features, there was no way to search for that kind of thing. The best that you could do was to tediously read through one listing after another. Boston City Properties' database has a powerful search tool that allows you to zero in on what you need quickly.
• Limited Space - Only so much information can realistically be conveyed on paper. Not surprisingly, space was a major issue before the onset of digital listing services. Listings themselves were very limited in scope. As soon as a listing expired, whether because it sold or was removed from the market, it was eliminated completely. There was no way to go back and look at historical data. Space is not an issue at all now, so listings can be as detailed as you'd like. Expired listings are still removed, but they are saved for historical purposes and can still be accessed if necessary.
Now that everything is digitized, the Multiple Listing Service is a more powerful and effective tool than ever. Boston City Properties takes full advantage of this by populating our extensive database with information from local MLSs. Our convenient search tool is specifically designed to search listings as quickly and easily as possible. Happily, no one has to resort to flipping through pages of listings anymore.
Listings that come from the MLS are incredibly versatile. Unlike during the old days, when listings were relegated to sheets of paper and faced serious space constraints, the sky is virtually the limit. To even be included in the Multiple Listing Service, a listing has to include certain types of information. At the very least, then, you can always find out the exact address of a property and basic information about it. The vast majority of listings have at least a few photos too.
Highly detailed listings save buyers, sellers and real estate professionals a lot of time. As you will see after browsing our real estate listings, most listings are incredibly detailed. Today, you can learn far more about a property than its size, age, location and other basics. For example, many listings now include virtual tours. Through the use of special photographic technology, virtual tours allow users to explore a property from the comfort of their own homes. Using a mouse, you can drag the image around the move through a property. Thanks to this, you can often avoid making a special trip to see a property that would have ultimately disappointed you.
Particularly savvy sellers and agents are increasingly adding actual videos to their listings too. With a smartphone or other camera, an agent might walk through a property explaining and pointing out things to their audience. Once again, this allows you to essentially explore a property without having to be there physically. Because the MLS doesn't face any real space constraints, there is plenty of room to add as many photos, virtual tours and videos as desired. Our database makes especially effective use of these features by allowing you to zero in on viable options in a heartbeat.Searching the MLS
If you're not a licensed real estate professional, you can't tap directly into the Multiple Listing Service. The one that real estate professionals use includes sensitive information like times when the home is vacant for viewing and sellers' personal contact information. Therefore, you need to find a portal where you can search MLS listings yourself. Boston City Properties offers such a portal, and it's made even better by the addition of listings from other listing services. You won't find a more exhaustive array of Massachusetts listings anywhere else on the internet.
Having a lot of data only gets you so far. If you can't search through it easily, it is virtually useless. Boston City Properties designed a convenient, highly effective search tool to complement our vast database. First, you can select a specific town or city, or a neighborhood in Boston, on which to focus your search. You can even limit your search to a specific zip code, if desired. Next, you can adjust filters for things like total square footage, total beds and baths and price range to get more relevant results. When combined with the accuracy and dependability of the MLS, our search tool is the best way to find real estate all around the commonwealth.Benefits
The Multiple Listing Service brings many benefits to the table. Those benefits are further enhanced by Boston City Properties' additional resources and features. A few of the top benefits of searching the MLS for MA real estate on our website include:
• Accuracy - The MLS is prized for its accuracy. Listings can be updated in an instant or removed in a matter of seconds. The instant a property hits the market, its listing goes live. When you search our database, you can rest assured that you're getting the best and latest information.
• Speed - Thanks to the detailed and organized design of this listing service, you can pinpoint properties that meet your requirements incredibly fast. This is true in general, but it's especially true with our database, as it can be searched with our powerful search tool.
• Details - In the old days, even the best listings only conveyed so much information. Prospective buyers were often left with more questions than answers. The listing services of today are capable of storing limitless amounts of information, so it's often possible to get all of the details that you need about a property on the spot.
Like many people, you may be under the impression that the Multiple Listing Service is reserved for single-family homes. That isn't the case at all, which is a good thing because in major cities like Boston, condos, townhomes, apartments and other property types are far more abundant. As you might have guessed at this point, the MLS PIN includes listings for all of these property types. Whether you are looking for a condo, a townhouse, a duplex, a single-family home, an apartment or any other type of property, you will find it in our database.
Additionally, the MLS is not reserved solely for sale transactions. It is among the best sources of information for properties for rent too. Although there is no centralized database for rental properties, they can easily be found by using our handy search tool. Boston City Properties helps clients find homes to rent every day, and most of them start out by searching our database. If you are looking to rent an apartment, townhouse, single-family home, condo or other property, you can get the information that you need right here.Search the MLS with Boston City Properties
Considering how much information you will gain access to through our MLS-populated database, it's easy to assume that you'll have to pay a hefty fee. You'll be happy to learn, however, that Boston City Properties provides free, unlimited access to our database and search tool. All that you have to do is sign up using a quick and easy form. In an instant, you'll have the power of the Multiple Listing Service and our incredible search feature at your fingertips. Our team can also connect you with local real estate professionals and help in many other ways, so give us a call today.