These days, looking at listings online is one of the first steps buyers take toward eventually owning a home. However, few prospective buyers know what they can do to ensure that they’re zeroing in on the listings that work for them. With that in mind, I’ve brought you four tips on how to get the most out of your MLS search. Keep reading to learn these industry secrets.

Keep your search broad

Often, buyers have the urge to narrow down their search as much as possible, thinking that if they do so they’ll land on the perfect property. The reality is that if you narrow your search down too far, you could end up missing some properties that will suit your needs, but may be slightly outside your search criteria.

In order to avoid falling into this trap, keep your search broad. I recommend defining your search by any must-have features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms or location. Leave wish list features like pools or fireplaces off the list and check for those on a case-by-case basis.

Don’t get turned off by less-than-stellar-photos

There’s no denying that MLS listings with great photos are more appealing. That said, though, less-than-stellar photos shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. After all, the quality of the pictures does not indicate the quality of the home. If you allow poor photos to sway your opinion of the property, you could be missing out on some hidden gems.

Instead, try to get a full understanding of the property before making the decision of whether or not to schedule a showing. Read all the listing information to make sure that it meets your needs and try to look past the image quality to see the home itself. If the quality of the images is the only thing that’s turning you off, consider going for an in-person viewing.