How to Get an MLS Map for the Wall
June 12, 2007 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get an on-dead-trees map of MLS areas and zip codes?

We're looking for a home in Austin, TX, and we're trying to get a deeper understanding of location, location, location. I'm more than happy with the numerous online resources, but my wife wants a big on-dead-trees map of MLS areas and zip codes to put on the wall. Where can we get one?
posted by rush to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I doubt they'll just hand it over, but your local MLS office (Looks like Austin Board of Realtors from a quick search) will most likely have a large paper map. That being said, you would have to take it to a copy shop to get it copied at that size.

There's a good chance that a local real estate office also has one of these maps from the ABOR, and they might be more likely to let you borrow one to make a copy.

I doubt it, though. Best of luck, maybe a friend of a friend is an agent?
posted by shinynewnick at 12:30 PM on June 12, 2007

Do you have a realtor? Maybe they can get you one.
posted by chiababe at 12:33 PM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: And to add to my earlier reply, is there a particular reason you want MLS areas on a map like this?

It looks like you can only access the boundary maps online if you are an agent (ABOR Maps page).

Needless to say, Realtors don't like sharing.
posted by shinynewnick at 12:34 PM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: I called ABoR, and as shinynewnick suspected, they were unwilling to help, as I am not a member. I asked if they knew where I might be able to get what I'm looking for, and they said they didn't know. One person said that they get their resources from Mapsco.

So, I called Mapsco, and they said they'd love to sell me a map with the MLS areas on it, but they can't, because the board of realtors will not permit anyone else to sell the area information.

So, so much for that idea. Still looking...
posted by rush at 1:37 PM on June 12, 2007

Sorry they shot you down rush. Why is it that you want to know MLS boundaries, anyway? It is mainly a tool for designating regions for statistics, and I can't see that being useful for anyone outside of Realtors and appraisers (That's another avenue... appraisers are often members of the MLS but not quite as gung ho as agents).

And are you currently working with an agent? For better or worse, you will most likely be involved with an agent at some point in this search - it's not very often a buyer finds a For Sale By Owner on their own, at least in our area. One or both parties are usually represented, which is why the MLS has so much power.

Ask friends to recommend an agent. Real estate isn't particularly difficult to get into, but it is quite tough to be actually knowledgeable about an area, particularly one with the variety I assume you'd find in Austin.
posted by shinynewnick at 2:34 PM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, shinynewnick. We do have an agent, and we're pleased with him.

However, I'm an information junkie, and I like statistics. Would it be reasonable to ask my realtor questions like: What is the average price per square foot by zip code for each zip code? What is the standard deviation? What is the average time on the market for houses within each zip code? Again, what is the deviation? Average age of homes by zip? I have a bunch of questions like this. I've found some sources of this information, but they're tied to MLS.

The reality is that I'd much rather get a big download of data that I can sort and analyze, than ask each question individually as it occurs to me. Perhaps the Internet has spoiled me?
posted by rush at 3:19 PM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: I just found a website named Zillow which has a google-maps-like map with property boundaries on it. It also has 'estimated values' written into the properties.

Not an on-the-wall map... but still pretty cool.
posted by Wild_Eep at 6:24 PM on June 12, 2007

Depends on your agent, rush. You can most likely get your first question without too much problem, but be aware that agents are not supposed to even give out that sort of information from the MLS system. Realistically, they are supposed to give you listing sheets that give you the basic information about specific houses, and how those prices compare to other houses that have sold / are currently for sale.

And unless your Realtor happened to be a statistician in his former life, good luck finding out this kind of info.

You might have better luck with an appraiser, they have programs for comparing houses on many of these variables.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:21 PM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: What is the average price per square foot by zip code for each zip code? What is the standard deviation? What is the average time on the market for houses within each zip code? Again, what is the deviation? Average age of homes by zip?

Trulia has some of these statistics. They draw their data from a variety of sources; but not directly from MLSes, who are generally more protective of their data than the agents who provide it to them. It's how they stay in business.
posted by meowzilla at 10:29 PM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: Great information, everyone! I also found a good source for some information by neighborhood over at the local newspaper site.
posted by rush at 1:04 PM on June 13, 2007

Best answer: If anyone comes back this way, please note that Google has done me a real solid.
posted by rush at 3:59 PM on August 23, 2007

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