Merit Real Estate

How Realtors Search for Available Homes

A realtor searching for homes

Have you ever wondered how Realtors search for available homes? A hard-working, experienced Realtor uses several methods and sources to help them find homes for their buyers. Considering that the services of a buyer’s agent are almost always free, the value that the agent brings is immense. When choosing an agent to help you find a home to purchase, be sure to ask them what methods they will use. If they mention the MLS as their only source, then you may want to interview a few more agents.

Here are the top 5 ways that a true real estate pro will help a buyer find the home of their dreams.

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

The MLS has been the number one tool of real estate pros since the late 1800s! The way the MLS is used has evolved greatly over the past hundred-plus years, but its prevalence in real estate has not diminished.

Almost every home listed for sale on the MLS can be accessed by consumers on websites such as,, and What most potential home buyers don’t realize is that not all homes listed on the MLS are syndicated to these public web portals. There are a handful of brokers throughout the United States that do not allow their listings to syndicate to sites such as Working with a savvy Realtor will ensure that you see every home that is listed for sale through the MLS.

Calling About Homes that are Pending Sale

Just because a home is ‘sale pending’ or ‘under contract’ doesn’t mean that the sale of the home is a “done deal”. Real estate professionals know that as well as anyone. For this reason, a Realtor will spend a fair amount of time each day calling the listing agents of ‘sale pending’ listings to inquire about the strength of the current transaction. If the listing agent is not confident that the current buyer under contract can close the deal, they will make it known so that they can procure a ‘back-up’ offer just in case.

Realtors search for available homes by following up on Pending escrows
Sale Pending listings should still be considered for ‘backup’ offers

Most consumer websites will remove listings from the site once they are labeled “pending”. If you are working with an experienced Realtor, they will bring these homes to your attention if they meet your criteria so that you have an opportunity to submit a backup offer.

Click here for more information about why ‘pending’ transactions fall through.

For Sale By Owner

On average, about 5-10% of homes for sale in a given market will be ‘for sale by owner’. Realtors will spend time each day combing through the list of homes for sale by owner to see if any of them match their buyer’s needs. When they find a home that matches what their buyers are looking for, they will call the seller to see if they are willing to work with them and their buyers. It is common for the seller to offer 2 or 3% of the selling price as a commission to any agent that brings the buyer.

Learn the True Cost of Selling a Home Yourself.

Networking with other Agents

Realtors search homes by networking

When there is a low inventory of homes for sale in a given market, there will be buyers that are waiting around for new listings to come on the market that may meet their needs. A well-connected agent will communicate with other local agents to see if they have listings that will be hitting the market soon. When an agent is waiting for their seller to get their home ready for market, they will often let other local Realtors know that they have a “coming soon” listing so that buyers are aware of the listing as soon as it goes live on the MLS.

Neighborhood Prospecting

If a real estate agent has a buyer that wants to live in a particular neighborhood or area, they will reach out to homeowners in those neighborhoods and areas to see if they would be interested in selling their home. This method is thought to be a bit out of the box, but it has been proven to be quite effective for agents that use it. Most of the time, the buyer’s agent will mail a letter to homeowners in the area to let them know about this opportunity to sell their home to a specific buyer.


Are you ready to have a local agent help you step up your home search?

If you would like to speak with one of our local pros to discuss how they can help you find your dream home, call us today at 310-379-4444