The MLS, or multiple listings service, can be a great help when you're looking to purchase a condo or detached home, because it allows you to see what's for sale regardless of the realtor or company that is representing the client. However, the multiple listings service combined many different regions and companies into one giant listing, so if you're not sure what you're looking for, you will be inundated with more returns than you can review. Here are some parameters that you can use to refine your search.
Simply knowing whether you want a house in Mississauga or a townhouse in Omaha will narrow the results down considerably. There are three basic property types that you have to choose from: detached home, townhouse (also known as an attached or row house), and condo. There are no size restrictions on any type, so your needs can probably be accommodated by any type. Make your decision based on how much work you want to have to do to the exterior of your property or how close you want your neighbors.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms
The most common way of refining search results in the listings is to specify the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want the property to have. Think about how many members of the household there are, whether you want extra bedrooms for guests or offices, and how many people need to get ready simultaneously in the morning and you should have your answer.
You'll cut quite a few properties off the consideration list if you specify that the one you want must have certain features. If, for instance you want the same shape of swimming pool that you saw in a home for sale in Detroit or you need a two car garage, or you want a fireplace in the living room and a deck out back, these are all things you should mention to your real estate agent when he or she is performing the MLS search on your behalf.
If you know which neighborhood you want to buy into, the number of Manhattan listings for example, you'll have to look through will be considerably smaller. If you don't know any of the neighborhoods, give your list of wants regarding price, neighbors, schools, amenities, and distance to work to your realtor and have him or her recommend a few locations that would suit you.