Due to the massive size of the multiple listing service (MLS) for real estate listings, it can be difficult to find the right home for you using this service. This is especially true if you are a first time home buyer, as the number of options can become overwhelming quickly. Fortunately, in today’s digital age, there are many online tools available that will streamline your search of MLS for the perfect home. Education is essential for first time home buyers, and the more you can learn, the better. Check out this information about some of the best online tools for searching MLS listings.

RedFin *
RedFin is an MLS search engine that provides users with direct access to real estate listings. You can use their specialized filters to narrow down your search for the perfect home. Some of the filters include property type, year built, lot size, number of bedrooms, number of baths, and square feet. This will help you hone in on and evaluate listings that are realistic for your needs and budget.

One of the best features of Redfin is that you can receive auto-alerts via email. The auto-alerts will tell you when a new home that fits your criteria hits the market or when the price of a home you’re interested in changes.

Trulia *
Trulia is another portal that allows you to search MLS listings online. This online tool is your best bet if you want to research neighborhoods and the area around certain properties. You can look at heat maps to learn about the commute times, crime, schools, and amenities in a certain neighborhood. This tool will even tell you the probability of natural disasters in a specific area.

Zillow *
Zillow is an online tool you can use to search MLS listings online to narrow your search for a home with filters such as beds/baths, price, and square feet. A unique feature of Zillow is that homes are deemed red (For Sale) or blue houses (blue houses). The vast majority of the red houses are already on the MLS listings while the blue houses are not. If you want a blue house, you may encounter many sellers requesting ridiculous prices or demands. Once you find a home you like, use can utilize the contact feature of Zillow to directly contact the seller.

Realtor.com *
Realtor.com doesn’t have as many features as the online tools discussed above; however, it is kept extremely up-to-date. Therefore, this online tool is a good resource if you’re not sure whether a listing is still current.

As you can see, the tools discussed above will help immensely when it comes to searching MLS listings online. Just keep in mind that an online tool won’t be able to do all the heavy-lifting for you. As a first time buyer, education is key and you should continue to seek new information throughout the home-buying process. For more information about buying your first home and how to best navigate the process, download our eBook now!


* Please note these websites/apps are not operated by Mechanics Cooperative Bank. We do not represent them, nor will Mechanics Cooperative Bank represent you if you enter into a transaction at this site. The privacy and security policies at these sites are different from Mechanics Cooperative Bank’s policies.