Recently many of my clients have wondered why they cannot find their property on the MLS. After a little research I found out that they were actually looking at a web site called MLS.com.
www.MLS.com is nothing more than an advertising site. The owner of that domain bought a very good domain. He sells territories to real estate companies so they can farm your business. Go ahead and try it. Search for a home anywhere, try to get more information and you will be redirected to a real estate company.
The real MLS is nothing more than a secure, password-protected, private database where REALTORS® display and share information and make a unilateral offer of compensation from one Broker to another Broker. Unless you are a REALTOR® you will not be viewing the exact MLS. There are, however, many companies that offer a way for you to view most of the information on the MLS. For many of them, you will need to create an account with a user name and password. From there, you will be able to view around 90% of the data that we can see. But, you will have a much more limited search capability than us. For instance, we can search for a home on a specific block between $330K and $331K with a fireplace in the basement (not that there are many calls for such a search). For the most accurate search, it is in your best interest to use a REALTOR®.
As real estate professionals we offer our consumers the chance (through us) to find the home of their dreams. Advertising sites, such as Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, or even MLS.com will limit your search capabilities. Also, most web sites are horrendously behind. As much as 50% of the data may be out of date. All of the information on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database to which we belong is up to date and accurate.