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How to Find MLS Listings and Do MLS Searches

MLS is an acronym for multiple listing service. Every home for sale listed by a real estate agent, unless it is specifically exempted from MLS, will be listed in MLS. However, only real estate agents and other professional affiliates can access MLS, but that doesn’t mean a home buyer or home seller can’t get pretty much the same information — just not directly.
Back in the old days, like the 1970s, MLS information was available in print format.
Books were published monthly; updates weekly. It was quite heavy and cumbersome to haul around! Fortunately, today all of that information is available online, via a private website.

What is MLS?
MLS is a sharing of comprehensive home information among real estate professionals. Listings brokers enter the data about a home for sale and offer to share the commission with a broker who brings a buyer. It’s an online software that contains all the specifics about a home, from the address, age, square footage, number of bedrooms, baths, upgrades and schools districts to types of financing the seller will consider, and more. There is generally at least one to a dozen photographs of the home, plus a link to a virtual tour, if one exists.
Home buyers make the mistake of believing they can access this information through online feeds to other services, but the data the public can receive is:
• Limited in scope
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• Can be outdated
• Often inaccurate

For Sale By Owners in MLS
While there is no separate category for a For Sale by Owner (or FSBO) listing, the MLS can contain listings from sellers who are unrepresented.
• The way FSBOs circumvent some MLS restrictions is to pay a flat fee to a discount real estate broker to enter the information, but the seller is not really represented.

• Instructions to present all offers directly to the seller is often frowned upon or prohibited by MLS authorities.

• Sometimes the selling commission is less than the fee agents are offered by traditional brokers — which does not motivate agents to show these listings, even though they cannot legally refuse to do so.

Who Owns the MLS?
The trend is leaning toward local MLS companies joining or merging with other local MLS companies to create regional MLS services. MLS can be privately owned and operated or it can be an affiliate of a local board of Realtors, among other forms of ownership, but most are subject to regulations set forth by the National Association of Realtors.
Back in the ’80s, many MLS were owned by boards of Realtors, but conflict of interests and lawsuits caused many association groups to form a separate entity for MLS. In my area of Sacramento, for example, members of MLS are not required to be a member of the Sacramento Board of Realtors, nor the California Association of Realtors, nor the National Association of Realtors. Not withstanding, about half of our MetroList is owned by a small group of real estate brokers, created quietly without fanfare.

Finding MLS Listings
Many websites offer publicly to provide home buyers with a list of available homes on the market, but few provide comprehensive data.
To get that information, you need to ask your real estate agent to set you up on a private home search. Typically, there are many types of reports a buyer can receive, so ask your agent for the most comprehensive report, the name of which varies by locale. What you want to avoid is limited data.
An agent can enter your name, e-mail and home search preferences into a search engine on MLS that will send you automatic e-mails of new listings. This way you will receive up-to-the-minute information that you can’t really get anywhere else.

MLS Searches
If you’re beginning a home search, lucky you! You can ask your agent to customize a search for you that will automatically send you updated listings. Not all agents will set up a search for you based on anything other active listings, so if you want to receive price reductions, pending or sold sales data, ask for it.
Here are a few ways (among many) that you can request to have your report customized:
• ZIP Code
• Radius Search, within a specified distance from a target address
• Street or Subdivision
• Map search within boundaries
Within those parameters, you can further define your search to any number of criterion, including but not limited to:
• Price range from low to high
• Number of bedrooms and baths
• Garages
• Pools and spas
• Square footage

Your requirements can be even more clearly defined, depending on your priorities. But be aware that as the number of exceptions climb, you might be missing out on opportunities. It’s wise to keep the list somewhat general, especially for those cases where a data field might not contain data due to human error.

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Palm Desert Real Estate – Homes and Condos for Sale

Recognized as one of the better places to live in the US, the many reasons to live in Palm Desert include amazing golf and tennis courts, a vibrant and diverse nightlife, prestigious restaurants, and upscale dining. Palm Desert also acts a major hub for education, health care, publishing, and hospitality industries in southern California.

Business is booming in Palm Desert due to the area’s ideal climate, centralized geographic location, reasonable cost of living, and exceptional opportunities.

Whether you’re interested in an established, affluent neighborhood such as Sun City or the eclectic lifestyle of the up and coming North Palm Desert, you’ll find the perfect home here. The following list just some of your options.

Bighorn Golf Club

Home are large and luxurious in the Bighorn community. Nestled in the southwest corner of Palm Desert in the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Bighorn Golf Club is only a five minute drive to the shopping centers, restaurants, and other amenities of central city.

Bighorn Golf Club includes great views, two championship 18-hole golf courses, a clubhouse, pool, fine dining, and more. Featuring some of the Palm Desert’s most expensive real estate, recent sale prices of houses located at Bighorn Golf Club range from $1.5 million to $7 million.

Cahuilla Hills

Cahuilla Hills offers the same private setting as Bighorn without the hefty price tags. The shops and restaurants of popular El Paseo and Westfield Palm Desert are just a few minutes drive away.

A non-golf community with a large selection of homes and lot sizes, properties at Cabuilla Hills range from .7 to 5 acres which allows country living close to the city. As an unincorporated community, there are no HOA fees for Cabuilla Hills homes, which sell for anywhere between $325,000 to $1.5 million.

Chaparral Country Club

Known as “The Best Kept Secret in the Valley”, Chaparral Country Club is centrally located just north of the heart of Palm Desert within walking distance of the James Earl Carter Elementary School.

Various shopping opportunities including Plaza de Monterey Shopping Center and the El Paseo shopping district are also a short drive away. Great restaurants, culture and attractions are close by too

The community features an 18-hole executive golf course, tennis courts, clubhouse, twenty one swimming pools, and great views of the San Jacinto Mountains. There are 625 condos in the area with very affordable recent sale prices between $170,000 and $350,000.

Hidden Palms

Wonderfully located, Hidden Palms is within walking distance of the El Paseo shopping district.

The relatively small and guard-gated Hidden Palms boasts four pools, tennis courts, and lakes.

HOA fees are low here as well, making the area affordable. Home prices are on the low end of the spectrum for the area too, with recent homes selling for between $155,000 and $340,000.


A neighborhood for all ages, Lantana is close to all levels of schools including Palm Desert High School. El Paseo’s shopping district is also just a few minutes drive away.

This enclave of 64 homes features larger lots with newer single family homes, many of which come with swimming pools. Rarely available, homes in Lantana often sell in the $500,000 range.

Other golf communities in Palm Desert include Avondale Country Club, Desert Falls Country Club, Desert Falls Estates, Desert Falls – The Links, Desert Horizons Country Club, Estates At Desert Springs, Ironwood Country Club, Marrakesh Country Club, Monterey Country Club, Oasis Country Club, Palm Desert Resort Country Club, Palm Desert Tennis Club, Palm Valley Country Club, Shadow Mountain Fairway Country Club, Sun City, The Lakes Country Club, The Reserve, and Woodhaven Country Club

Find your vacation country club condo or home among these many options in Palm Desert.

Palm Desert Real Estate Infomation

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