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Tips for Search Creation with Your Agent

Updated: Sep 11

Image Courtesy REIN MLS

In this article, I wanted to share some tips on initial search creation with your agent on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Keep in mind that in the majority of cases (w/ exclusions like FSBO only searches), I think it's a bad idea for your primary search to be created DIY without the assistance of an agent. Related:

Zillow Searches & Other Public Website Searches Vs MLS Searches

Search Creation Basic Tips:

Get Pre-Approved Prior to Search Creation

Meet with Your Agent in Person or Have them Do Screen-Share to Show You the Search They're Creating (Ideally with a Remote Desktop Option if Needed)

If Not Meeting In Person, View on a Large Screen Close to Your Face

Create a Search w/ 20-50 Property Search Results (Typically), Gradually Narrowing in Order of Highest Priorities

The More Search Criteria You Add That Aren't Required for Listing Agents to Input Criterion, The Higher the Likelihood That You'll Weed Out Properties that Fit Your Criteria Where the Listing Agent was Lazy or Didn't Deem it Worth Their Time

With Preferences, Prioritize Those Most Important That Wouldn't Be Possible to Cost Effectively Add

Honest & Good Agents Won't Be "Yes Man" Agents

I Don't Advise "Concierge Mode"

Multiple Searches & Multiple MLS

The Importance of Agent Search Templates & Research

Common Search Elements




Price - Max OR Max & Min

Square Feet

Weed Out "Fixer Uppers"

Detached or Attached

Garage Required?

Many More Possibilities

Less Common Search Elements I Like to Use for Home Searches if Applicable:

Pet Restrictions

Style Type(s)

Max HOA/Condo Fees

See Vocabulary Section

Words of Caution on Common Requests:

Introduction to Words of Caution on Common Requests

Narrow by Stories #

Narrowing by Neighborhoods

Acreage with a House or Commercial Property Search

Acreage with a Land Search w/ a Workaround in MLS

Year Built Minimum

1st Floor Bedroom & Full Bath: Viable in Hampton Roads; Not Recommended In Some Other Locations


Search Vocabulary to Know for Further Revisions:

If you've never purchased before, but even if you've purchased 5 or 10 times, it's a good idea to be sure that you are familiar with some vocabulary going into a search session with Adam. If not, Adam can explain verbally, but you'll have a more efficient session with Adam if you've gotten this information in advance.


"Agency Approved"

Short Sales

Local MLS: REIN, CBRAR, CVR, Northern Neck, WBG

Search Navigation Important Features:

Flood Zones in Matrix MLS (Hampton Roads & Richmond)

Picture Captions

What Else May Be Discussed In Initial Consultation with an Agent?


Initial Buyer Consultation w/ Adam Garrett: 3rd Generation Realtor®

Search Activation & Keeping Active

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Most Important Cities/Counties in Hampton Roads for Multiple MLS

Zillow Searches & Other Public Website Searches Vs MLS Searches

Zillow Search Setup

Expeditious Showings

Phantom Property Availability on Public Search Websites

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