Websites provide lots of access to real estate listings | Just Ask Jan

In shopping for a home on the Internet, is there one site that has “all” the listings or do I need to go to each and every site to see what is for sale?

Dear Jan:
In shopping for a home on the Internet, is there one site that has “all” the listings or do I need to go to each and every site to see what is for sale? — LLSBM

Great question. After spending millions of dollars on our website, my company’s owner would be very unhappy with me if I didn’t say, “Use ours!”

But in writing this article, I try to stay as neutral as possible for you, the reader, so let me explain how “it” works.

Almost all companies in our area are members of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, or NWMLS. Therefore, when an agent or broker takes a listing, they put it on MLS forms and enter it into the MLS computer system.

The companies within the NWMLS have reciprocal agreements with each other so are therefore then allowed to “publish” each other’s listings. And that is exactly what they do.

If you look on each site, you will see the same listings. The catch is, though, when you want more information about the listing, you will be directed to an agent or broker within the company whose website you are on.

So in choosing a website, you need to choose a site that is user friendly and then stick with it; no need to jump around. There are so many cool tools on the larger company websites (thus the big dollars being spent) to help you in your search — items like automatic emails for new listings, shopping by price, shopping by neighborhood, mapping tools, open house trackers, mortgage calculators, foreclosure/auctions and the newest hot feature, mobile shopping on your smart phone.

The question you did not ask is how to choose an agent/broker. That is more important than whose website you choose. Perhaps I’ll address that in another article someday.

Thanks for writing. — Jan

— Jan Zufelt is a real estate columnist for the Kingston Community News. Contact her at


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