These days you can search for many different kinds of information with an efficiency and power that would have been hard to imagine a few decades ago. In real estate there are dedicated systems to find information about properties that developed during a previous era, before the egalitarian powers of instant search.
So you might think that such systems are now obsolete and irrelevant. You would be missing the point because of the focused power of multiple listing services or MLSs are still going to give you much more value than just searching on your own.
Efficiency As A Purpose
The reason that MLSs emerged originally is in the nature of the real estate market itself. Free and efficient marketplaces have some specific features that are lacking in real estate, quite simply because of the nature of buildings. An efficient market will have products that are all alike and easy to convert into cash.
It is fairly obvious that this is not how real estate works. No two properties are alike and exchanging a house for cash is a very complicated process. So the real estate sales industry has been working with these limitations and attempting to make the market more liquid by the sharing of information since the late nineteenth century. This has developed in the United States into MLS networks.
Getting Out What You Put In
So the point of an MLS is that it helps you buy and sell property in ways that go far beyond information. It gives the most accurate and up-to-date information as well as connecting agents with potential sellers and buyers.
You can find plenty of information on the Internet and , if you are diligent, you can search public records (once transactions are published). You can certainly build up a picture of the current state of the property marketplace. The advantage that the MLS gives is that it is a powerful tool that your broker and agent can use to give accurate information, promote the sale of your property or find a potential purchase and to help to close the deal for you.
A Collaboration Of Service And Information
As part of your initial research, you should certainly use every tool at your disposal to find the right home for your family and lifestyle. That definitely means doing Internet research to get the big picture. You will then be better placed to understand the real estate buying and selling process, when you begin to work with an agent.
So, it is not a question of either-or when you discuss home hunting. You will want to use websites that you find on your own and also consult with your agent to get the most accurate and relevant MLS information. That way you will be able to make informed decisions in your efforts to buy or sell your home.