How to Read an MLS Listing and What to Look For

When you’re looking into buying local real estate in Alpine, TX, you might encounter MLS listing sheets. If you’re unfamiliar with the abbreviations and terms used in these listings, it might come across as a completely different language. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the terms you’re most likely to encounter:

  • Status: This is the listing status of the property: active, pending or sold.
  • APN: Assessor’s Parcel Number, the number the county uses to track the property.
  • APX SF: Square footage in the property.
  • APX LSZ: Square footage of the lot.
  • YB: Year built.
  • FP: Number of fireplaces.
  • Zone: How the property has been zoned, which determines the kind of structures that can be built on the property.
  • STO: Number of stories.
  • DOM: Days the property has been on the market.
  • LP/SF: Listing price per square foot.
  • LP/OLP: Listing price and original list price. Compare these to see if there have been any reductions or other changes in listing price.
  • Sale type: This could include a standard sale, short sale, foreclosure, auction or other type of sale.

Other things to look for

Of course, reading a property listing will also require you to read between the lines in some cases. Beyond the specific facts such as those listed above, there are other things you should look for in an MLS listing that could make you more or less comfortable with purchasing the property.

The photos in particular will reveal a lot about the property. The verbiage in the listing will try to make the property sound as appealing as possible—that is the job of the realtor who wrote it. The pictures will determine whether or not the property is truly as good as it sounds.

Some things to look for include:

  • Number of photos: Ideally, you’ll want to see around 20 photos for a standard house. If there are just a couple photos, it’s hard to trust the property is truly as appealing as the realtor is attempting to make it sound. It’s reasonable to wonder what they might be trying to hide.
  • Quality of photos: While professional photos don’t necessarily mean the home is a high-quality home, it does indicate that more effort has been put into the listing, and thus it is reasonable to expect that more effort has also been put into taking care of the home.
  • Location of photos: If the focus of the set of photos seems to be the exterior of the house over the interior, this could be a red flag. Generally speaking, you’ll want the interior of the house to be the main focus. A good listing will show a couple exterior shots of the house and then bring the buyer inside.
  • Strange angles: Unusual angles in photos, especially when compared to other photos in the listing, could indicate the realtor is attempting to hide something.
  • Wide-angle lens: The wide-angle lens can distort the image to make the space look much larger than it appears.

For more information about reading and deciphering MLS listings when buying local real estate in Alpine, TX, contact the team at Carpenter Real Estate today.