Selling or buying a house is a prolonged and difficult undertaking. Whether you're a private party or a professional realtor, the goal is to maximize your gain and minimize your cost. Researching old MLS listings to aid in your pricing or selling can be very useful. Figuring out exactly how to find old MLS listings can be difficult, however.
Buying, Selling and the MLS
Realty agent organizations have a method of cooperation where they help each other to buy and sell properties across different platforms and audiences. They share commissions when this sharing of listings results in a faster turnaround.
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This process or business of sharing real estate information across brokers is called a "multiple listing service," or an MLS. Access to the MLS listings are generally restricted to real estate agents or brokers who pay dues for membership in different MLS organizations and businesses.
Some brokers or agents will offer property owners who wish to sell the property themselves, or listings that are "for sale by owner" (FSBO), the ability to place their listings on MLS sites to increase the likelihood of a quick and profitable sale for a flat fee.
Consider Also: How to Wholesale Real Estate from the MLS
Accessing Expired MLS Listings
If an MLS listing has expired without completing its sale, there are a few approaches you can try to find and contact the listing agent, broker or property owner.
Consider Also: How to Find Out the Listing Agent for an MLS
Once you've identified a property you wish to access, review the listing on your browser's property portal and identify a few unique key phrases or descriptions. Use these key phrases and descriptions in the Google search engine to find a "stored" version of the listing. You will likely have to repeat the search, including omitted results to increase your odds of finding the desired listing.
If you find multiple listings over the course of several months or even years, you should talk to the agent in charge of the listing to determine why the property hasn't sold yet. This can become an excellent way to obtain a commission if you have a buyer in mind for this property who would not have otherwise been aware of the listing.
Consider Also: How to Find MLS Listings
Using Expired Listings to Find Clients
Alternatively, you can try making note of the contact information for listings that are going to expire soon and reach out once the listing expires to offer your services as a better option than the broker who allowed the listing to lapse without a sale.
If you market yourself as being especially talented in moving hard-to-sell properties or selling houses in tight markets, you may be able to convince the seller or the representing agent to make you their representative.
Finding Listing Photos of Your House
As a property owner, you may be curious about how the building used to look before a previous owner remodeled, you might want to see which pictures a real estate agent is using to advertise your house for sale or you may simply be curious as to the history of the property.
In any event, finding older listings of your house will likely be helpful in also finding those pictures. The writers from Architectural Digest offer some suggestions as to researching the history of your house, including finding older photos through real estate listings, public records of sales and deaths and even historical maps of your city.
When buying a property, the Title Report will contain a certain amount of information, but more digging will be required for actual pictures or a detailed history of interesting events.