The Nasty Truth about Finding Deals on the MLS

A big THANK YOU to everyone who emailed Elise over the last few days. She is recovering slowly and appreciates all of your encouragement!

Now back to real estate this week.


Other top investors and I agree that these are the most effective ways to find good deals in today’s marketplace: 1) Wholesalers, 2) Vacant Houses, 3) The Internet, 4) Referrals, 5) Out-of-State Owners, and 6) Pre-Foreclosures.

Notice that the MLS is not on the list. Here’s the hard-hitting reality…

If you’re looking to spend several hours driving around analyzing and inspecting over-priced ugly houses and making offers that never get accepted, then be my guest, and pursue properties listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

The bottom line is that when it comes to finding bargain-priced properties, myself and some of the top investors in America consider “MLS” to be a dirty word … or acronym … depending on how you look at it.

Way back in the day, this was a pretty good way to find properties. Now, it’s one of the WORST ways to find deals. It went from good to bad because in today’s market everyone and their dog has access to view the listings on the MLS. And when that many people have access to the deals, the prices get bid up too high. That’s exactly what has happened with the MLS. It’s called an efficient market. And efficient markets aren’t so great for real estate investors.

And if you plan to have Realtors comb the MLS for you, think again…

I advise that you don’t waste your time calling Realtors telling them that you buy houses and that you want a “good deal” and you want them to pursue listings on the MLS for you. If they don’t laugh in your face, they will when they hang up the phone. They get calls like this all the time. And they’re tired of getting burned by other investors who never bought a thing.

Listen, you can still get deals from the MLS. In fact, I still own a rental that I bought from the MLS. It was a bank-owned REO property. It was an OK deal. Nothing too great. But I could have bought 3 houses for the amount of time that I spent finding this one. It’s just a matter of using your time wisely. Remember, time is money!

While we’re on the subject of bashing the MLS, let’s talk about HUD foreclosures and VA foreclosures because these properties are on the MLS, too. Same problem. OVER-SHOPPED! Stay away. Save your time and energy. Let the rookies buy them up. Move on to greener pastures.

Some folks like to mail to expired MLS listings to convince these people to sell to them. But the problem is that almost all of these listings expired because the seller wanted too darn much money. Do you really want to pursue deals from folks who wanted too much money in the first place? I don’t. Tough crowd.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from the MLS when it comes to buying properties. But be sure to have a Realtor put your property on the MLS to sell it. It’s a GREAT place to sell! So yes, I do love the MLS after all, but just for selling.

Until next time, happy (and profitable) investing!

Doug Smith

P.S. Do you lack the time, money, or energy to find bargain priced properties on your own? Or do you simply want a wide array of investment properties to choose from? Then sign up today for a FREE Trial at and get dozens of wholesale deals and motivated seller leads delivered to your computer screen each month.

Posted on Jul 18, 2007

Author: Doug Smith

MyHouseDeals was founded in April of 2005 and has since provided information on thousands of bargain-priced properties with over $7 Billion in equity (and growing!) In addition to property lists, we help investors succeed by providing valuable tools, resources and education. Most of the properties on MyHouseDeals are single-family houses. Many of these properties are wholesale deals, which are for sale by other investors. Others are motivated seller leads, which are for sale by homeowners who are often in a bad situation. These properties are typically discounted by far greater amounts than bank foreclosures.

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