Las Vegas MLS tips
Search the Las Vegas MLS for homes
When a new property is listed for sale the listing agent gathers as much information as possible and places this data in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) computer. It often takes some time for the agent to research some of the data such as balance on mortgages and home-owner's association information. Once the listing is entered, a photographer is sent to the home to take pictures and an order is placed for a sign. A week or more has usually elapsed by the time the photos are available and the "for sale" sign is on the lawn. If this home is a "bargain" it will probably have been sold before the sign arrives. The average home in Las Vegas sells within 45 days but bargains sell much sooner. So how is one to get at these bargains. There are two basic ways to gain access to MLS data:
One of the most important factors about a listing is the listing date, or how long the home has been on the market. An older MLS# indicates an older listing and subsequently raises a red flag. Why hasn't his home sold in a timely manner? Until recently the listing date was hidden until after the home sold. Experienced agents knew that they could roughly calculate the age of the listing by its MLS number and would avoid those listings.
Although an older listing number may indicate a problem, there are a couple of legitimate reasons for this situation. The most common reason is that the home was originally listed at a very high price (and may still be) but the owners have gradually lowered the price. Another common reason is that the home went into escrow but the buyers canceled the transaction at a later date.
If it sounds too good to be true...
Some homes look great on paper but are a big disappointment when you actually visit the site. One of the most common problems is a home that backs on to a busy street. Maybe when the home was originally purchased the street was relatively quiet, but now it has turned into a 4-lane major thoroughfare. Another problem is a home that backs up to a commercial development or a high-rise condo. When the original owners purchased the property there was an empty field over the back fence but now they have lost all the nice mountain views and gained a lot of noise. I will show you how to investigate these types of problems later in this article.
Fax your offer
You will notice that the description on many homes includes the phrase "fax your offers to xxx-xxxx." This is often an indication that the home is a repo. If this is the case, the home will be sold "as-is" with no warranty as to the condition of the property. Under these circumstances you must hire a professional home inspector! Bear in mind that when negotiating with banks and lenders that there is no sense of urgency on the seller's part. Your offer is just another piece of paper on the lenders desk. The sale will go to the best offer.
Searching public records
Clark County maintains one of the most sophisticated websites in the country. If you know where to look you can find tax records, ownership history, aerial photos and soil maps; in short, all sorts of pertinent data to help you research a potential purchase.
Searching for a new home
There is no comprehensive database for new homes available to the general public. Some realtors subscribe to a service called Salestraq. Like the MLS, Salestraq will not give you an address or directions to the development. We agents make our living by showing homes to clients. If the clients went straight to the new home track on their own, they would be dealing with salespeople who work for the builder and are bound to negotiate the best deal for the builder. If, on the other hand, they arrive at the models with a buyer's agent, then a professional agent represents them. (end of commercial)
You can explore all the new home models by clicking here