real estate mls comps

How to Find Free MLS Comps Using ListingSpark’s Market Compare Tool

In case you missed our most recent webinar series where we offered a walk through and tutorial video on how to use our Market Compare tool to pull MLS Comps, we’ll go through what we covered here in this post.

Before we get started with the tutorial, let’s first start with learning more about what exactly “comps are”, and why it’s important they come directly from the MLS instead of other third party sites.

Why are MLS Comps Important?

  1. Most sites like Zillow and do not post the final sales price. Instead, they only have the list price for when the home went under contract. The final sales price could be 10’s of thousands of dollars over or under the list price, leading to inaccurate valuations
  2. Zillow and are unable to access every listing on the market. Real Estate agents have the option to opt out of syndicating their listings to third party sites. Meaning, if you are not looking on the MLS, you are missing listings.
  3. AVMs (automated valuation models) like the Zestimate are based off of flawed algorithms, and often provide inaccurate valuations. Real Estate professionals, such as appraisers, will never consider AVM’s as a reasonable means to determine a property’s value. 
  4. The MLS has extremely strict rules to ensure data integrity, ensuring the information you are getting will be accurate. 
  5. If you are not using the SOLD prices of comps as the primary source for deriving a property’s value, you are risking inaccurate valuations.

Why don’t you have access to MLS data?

The MLS is a subscription based listing service that only licensed Real Estate agents are able to subscribe to. Consumer websites such as Zillow, Trulia, or any of the search portals on the brokerage sites only get a portion of the data available on the MLS.

Texas is a non-disclosure state, so there are strict compliance rules about displaying sold home data.

How does ListingSpark gain access to real MLS Data?

  1. ListingSpark pays the high licensing fees necessary to license data from the MLS.
  2. We follow the strict data-sharing rules laid out by the MLS.
  3. Our tech team built custom software with the ability to pull huge amounts of data from multiple MLS’ daily, aggregate this data, and displays it in an easy to use manner.

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How to use ListingSpark’s Market Compare tool

You can navigate to ListingSpark’s Market Compare tool from our homepage by clicking on the tools tab at the top of the webpage and selecting “Market Compare”. From this page you will be able to pull free MLS Comps without a real estate agent.

Step 1: Enter the address of the property you are valuing.

Step 2: Use search filters for a more accurate valuation

Upon your first search, the tool will pull back comparable sales based on a one mile radius to the subject property as well as other pre-determined criteria.

When comparing properties it is a good idea to be as specific as possible in order to get the most accurate valuation. Below are some suggested criteria to use in order to find the most accurate comps:

  • Fill in Beds and Baths and choose 1 more/less as the option for bathroom and bedroom range
  • Fill in the exact square footage and choose 15% more/less for the range
  • Plug in year built and start with 10 more/less as the range.
  • Select Active, Pending and Sold under the statuses
    • As mentioned above, focus mainly on the sold data for values, but it’s also great to see what’s currently on the market and pending to gauge the current market conditions.
  • Date sold range should always start at the last 6 months. If there are not enough results, you can push back to 9 or 12 months, but we recommend staying within 6 months.

Step 3: Use the Polygon Tool to make your search area highly specific to your neighborhood or market

Click on the “Draw Map” Button embedded on the top right corner of the map.

Next, draw your polygon around your specific neighborhood or the area you are looking to search in.

Step 4: Scroll through the listings that populate and de-select the ones that do not fit as comps

It’s important to understand that it’s ok to not use every house that shows up based on the search criteria. If a home is not similar based on the level of finishes or the features in the home, you should remove that from your market analysis so it doesn’t skew the data.

This is done by simply de-selecting that listing by unchecking the box next to it. You will then notice the data and stats will adjust accordingly.

Once you have de-selected the homes that are not comparable, then click the “Matched” button to narrow the results to the selected properties.

Step 5: Analyze the data

Click on the Export Data button once you have refined your search and picked out all the homes that you want to include in the market analysis.

This will pull back a full CMA report that you can download and share. You can also Save the Comparison and filters so you can continuously check for updates.

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