What Does Some of The Stuff on the MLS Printout Mean?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio

Technology has certainly done much to enhance the way we do business. One of my favorites is the client portal, which allows me to set up a search for my clients specific to their needs and wants, and then deliver to their e-mail all the records that match.

I do caution my clients not too enter too many parameters as this might cause them to get very few records. They might also be missing out on a great house because one of their parameters is .5 acres and this house that has everything they want has .49! A computer search is unbending...it will return only what you ask of it.

Before I take a client out I like to check the disclosure statements to see if there is anything unusual on them.  I'll try to to use google maps to see if there is anything of concern, such as a retention basin in the backyard. I am making an assumption though that my clients are reviewing the printout carefully but that's where I am wrong. Most buyers are excited about the buying process so they are looking intently at the pictures and envisioning living in this home. So even though I think I am prepared I sometimes will hear:

"Oh, I didn't know the house was on a corner'"

"I didn't know it was built in 1950!!!"

"The garage is detached???? I don't want that!"

"No central air conditioning?" Nope.

So, below is a picture of an mls printout, the way a buyer might see it in their portal. I strongly recommend that buyers carefully look over the information so there are fewer surprises when they actually get to the home! See my comments below:)

mls printout




























1. You can click on this number and see all the pictures that are available for this home

2. DOM/CDOM means days on the market and cumulative days on the market.

3. Monthly maintenance fee...you could see this for a single family cluster home or a condo

4. VERY IMPORTANT: homestead exemption meaning that the current owner is receiving a reduction on the real estate taxes and the once the new buyer owns it, he/she/they will be paying the higher amount, unless they too qualify for the homestead exemption.

5. Maintenance items that are included in the monthly fee, but always a good idea to make your contract contingent upon review of the HOA/condo documents.

6. VERY IMPORTANT: This tells you whether there is an assessment in place for things like new roofs, siding, or street repair. If this is checked yes, be sure to get all the details.

7. Sometimes people overlook the school district

8. An HOA fee, which generally but not always means that you are paying for some recreational items, such as a pool(s), walking trails, tennis courts, or maintenance of common areas.

9. Lot description. In addition to corner, you may see words like wooded, or sloping and it's important to note this as you may want a level lot.

10. VERY IMPORTANT: This notes the water and sewer supply, critical if you prefer septic over public sewer or vice versa. Or maybe you prefer well water.

11. The level the room is on. A lot of buyers skip over this one and then find out there is a first floor master which they don't want because they have small children.


So there you have it. A brief summary of what some of this stuff means. Happy home shopping buying!

As always, if there is something in your contract you do not understand, consult an attorney.



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Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

For the novice, listings sheets can be hard to read. Your MLS seems to give out more information to the customers than mine does. Genrally thats a good thing, but it does complicate matters for the uneducated buyer.

Jan 25, 2012 02:44 PM #25
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio

Very cool! It saves everyone time and frustration!!

Jan 25, 2012 02:55 PM #26
Toronto, ON

Hi Barb - Your MLS has a number of fields that the MLS in my area does not use.  It also allows many more photos as well.

Jan 25, 2012 03:00 PM #27
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

Our MLS doesn't show a lot of what your MLS shows to the customer, there are special formats and some are easier to read than others - but all of them seem to need an explanation.  We are allowed a lot of photos and hopefully the list agent has done their job and taken them!  Thanks!


Jan 25, 2012 03:16 PM #28
Rajeev Narula
iPRO REALTY LTD.,Brokerage - Mississauga, ON
My Services Are All About You!


It is a good effort on your part to advise the clients on how to read the MLS information. Our clients' copy here is somewhat smaller and easy to read except for a few abbreviations that have been added by the realtor themselves...like ELfs (Electrical Light Fixtures)....

I don't mind a call from the client to ask me to explain any part of the MLS listing. it is my feeling that only a handful would likely read through and remember all the details we want them to pay attention to.

Jan 25, 2012 03:19 PM #29
Ahmad Zeki
Zeki Real Estate - Lincoln, CA

Good stuff...Thanks for sharing.  It is always good to get a refresher.  Take care and best of luck to you in 2012!

Jan 25, 2012 03:26 PM #30
Kamal Salim
Lokation Real Estate - Weston, FL
A Superior Level of Service !

And that is why I pre-screen all my clients before I even start the search. Once I know most of what they like and also what they don't like. I have a buyer's pre-qualification page that I fill out with them, and that way I know their price range, what size home, how many bedrooms, would a pool be important, and how about a lake? do you prefer 1 story or maybe 2, any kids? and waht age? (For School) Gated community? etc. etc. etc. and that way I don't need to send them 20 properties to preview, but maybe only 5 are available, and they always feel that I understand what they want 

Jan 25, 2012 04:59 PM #31
Ron Holborn
Short Sales, Foreclosures, Rentals, Income Real Estate - Anaheim, CA
Commercial & SFR, Anaheim CA, Real Estate & Short

Lots of work put into this Barb! Definitely featured-worthy and you hit it spot on. Never mind the boring text surrounding the flashy pictures! Buyers are rightfully excited and that's why we've got to walk them through the process step by step as best as we can, disclosing everything we can.

Good post!

Jan 25, 2012 07:16 PM #32
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

Now that us a darn good idea! What product did you use to draw the arrows and use the ink colors? I like this idea a lot!

Jan 25, 2012 11:00 PM #33
Kathy Dowd
RE/MAX Realty Team, 239 220 4133 - Punta Gorda, FL
Consider it SOLD

Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your feature! I was looking at your MLS sheet and noticed Cleveland area! I'm from Aurora, moved here 3.5 years ago. Nice Blog!

Jan 25, 2012 11:52 PM #34
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Barb, very nice analysis of an MLS printout. A lot of information in one page.

Jan 26, 2012 12:27 AM #35
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Jared, Me either!!!

William, for some reason that light bulb to a little time to go off in my head LOL

Chuck, I probably eliminate at least 1 out 5 after I share some of the details with my client.

Thanks Ryan!

Brian, It's my hope too and I know they won't catch it all but I do think they appreciate the "lesson".

Robert and Lisa...yes, it IS our job.

Greg, I think as agents we would probably be shocked at how different our mls info looks. I love the fields that are required and our mls does a pretty good job with what they deem to be required.

Francine, entirely possible!

Laurie, thanks and you do the same....it's almost Friday! Oh wait, the weekend is when we kick it into high gear:)

Luis, maybe because they are so excited about looking at the homes!

Donald, can be a double edged sword.

Dawn, thanks my friend:)

Jan 26, 2012 12:34 AM #36
Judith Sinnard
SMARTePLANS; Houston, Texas - Houston, TX

Great job ... hopefully armed with your most excellent cheat-sheet breakdown more consumers will focus on reading and understanding the information the MLS provides ...it wouldn't hurt some agents, either.  

Jan 26, 2012 01:22 AM #37
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Barb, great information, A lot of times we take it for granted that our clients understand the abbreviations as we do, or that they are self explanatory. But for many people they are not!

Jan 26, 2012 03:06 AM #38
Tibor I. Olah
Apex Results Realty Inc.Brokerage - Burlington, ON

Hi Barb, my favorite is when Realtors make up their own short forms in the remarks and nobody except them know what it means.

Jan 26, 2012 05:00 AM #39
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

This is a good overview.  There is so much information on some of our MLS printout types it's a wonder anyone reads them sometimes.

Jan 26, 2012 05:34 AM #40
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Very detailed. Even checking the easy ones like short sale or finished basement are crucial to save time these days.

Jan 26, 2012 10:50 AM #41
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Marc, we are allowed 25 pics which is wonderful!


Jan 26, 2012 02:18 PM #42
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Thanks so much everyone!

Cheryl, I used snagit to draw and fill in. You pull up whatever you want to annotate, open up snag it, capture the image and then you can make all kinds of markings. You can circle, underline etc... It's a great and inexpensive program:)

Jan 26, 2012 11:50 PM #43
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Kathy, We are practically neighbors!!

Jan 26, 2012 11:51 PM #44
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Barb Szabo, CRS

E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes
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