Before the Internet, searching for properties was done one of three ways: contacting a realtor for assistance, driving through desirable properties and noting For Sale signs or looking through the paper for properties. The Internet has made this easer because more and more realtors, government offices, and newspapers have come online. As a result of newspapers coming online, that brings their classifieds in to the comfort of home without even having to step outside to grab the morning paper. Arguably the best method of conducting a property search is by a realtor because of their access to the MLS, multiple listing service. The MLS is a service that almost all realtors belong to and share information with in order to view homes as they come on and off the market. The main disadvantage of this system is that it can only show the information of the realtors who subscribe to their service. Therefore properties may be for sale by owner and there may only be a for sale sign on the lawn or an ad in a paper. The MLS has an advantage over government searches where access to only sale history is available, not what is currently for sale. Government sites do allow the searching of all houses by subdivision, parcel number, address, property name etc. The great thing about the government site is that they list all of the properties in that area.
Click below to view external sites. Note: Government sites pertain to Gainesville, Fl.