In the REI game since Y2K, JP's deal-making adventures run the gamut from rehabs to rentals to realtoring to wholesaling—from REOs to lease options to seller financing to raw land. Many 100's of deals later, his active real estate game is played remotely today (from home) in various U.S. markets, and intentionally with the smallest team possible. The aim is high margins with the least possible time & effort. Less, but better.

The 47 Awesomest MLS Keywords for Real Estate Investors

In today’s Knowledge Bomb we’ve got some tasty distressed property leads in the oven, and we’re just about to serve up a ‘swipe & deploy' system for getting you more of them, and doing it easier and awesomer.

Basically I’m handing you a simple but potent recipe for routinely extracting qualified distressed sellers from your active MLS listings – or as I like to call it, MLS Awesome Sauce.

How do you make this spicy MLS goodness?

Well like any good recipe, it all starts with selecting the highest quality ingredients.

So let’s get cooking, shall we?

Recipe for MLS Awesome Sauce


MLS Access for Real Estate Investors 1


MLS Access + Keywords + Customization = Awesome Sauce


Our goal here is to uncover properties listed in the MLS that kind of smell like they might be a deal for investors like us, and to be as efficient and effective as possible in doing so. So rather than just potshotting around randomly or pouring through MLS listings on end, we want to systematically unearth key ingredients (choice keywords) in the listing that will give you clues that there may be a distressed property or distressed situation worth your time and attention.

Here’s exactly how I do it. And please note that your MLS may differ slightly from mine, depending on the platform your local board of Realtors uses. But the principles should be the same.

  1. Open your local MLS.

    Awesome Sauce Step 1
  2. Go to the search page, where you can input whatever criteria you might need or want.

    Awesome Sauce Step 2
  3. Enter your basic search criteria for whatever type(s) of deals you’re focusing on (area, price range, beds/baths, etc.)

    Awesome Sauce Step 3
  4. Make sure you’ve got search fields for listing remarks, like “Public Remarks”, “Realtor Remarks” etc. If not, then you may need to “add more search criteria”.

    Awesome Sauce Step 4
  5. Make sure that you’ve got the search criteria set to search for “contains (keyword)” and not “equals” or “contains all”.

    Awesome Sauce Step 5
  6. Input your top MLS investor keywords in the search fields for “Public Remarks” and “Realtor Remarks”. (see ingredients below)

    Awesome Sauce Step 6
  7. Save this search and setup a automatic daily ‘hotsheet' search to run for you based on these parameters.

    Awesome Sauce Step 7

This may go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Don't skip step 7!

Look, I get it. I totally remember what it's like when my default norm was being a silly task monkey that repeats the same work over and over again. That kind of learned self-hatred can be hard to shake.

But stop it. Be a CEO, not a task monkey. CEOs know or learn how to leverage (i) people, (ii) systems and (iii) processes to make your business run better and your life easier. And in this case, that means setting all this up one time as a daily ‘hotsheet' that pings you whenever something fresh hits the MLS that matches your criteria and keywords. Every single MLS in the known ‘verse can do this.

Then as soon as possible, it also means training someone else on your team (your Realtor, Acquisitions Manager, or even your V.A.) to be the initial filter for each day's hotsheet and see what's really worth digging into further before putting it in front of you.

*saunters down from soap box*

OK let's hit those tasty keywords…

Awesome Sauce Ingredients:

Time for the good stuff. These took us a while to compile, and are the exact keywords we have setup in our search of “Public Remarks” and “Realtor Remarks”.

MLS Access for Real Estate Investors 2

  • probate
  • inherited
  • foreclosure
  • short sale
  • preforeclosure
  • estate
  • bring all offers
  • junker
  • must sell
  • investor special
  • special warranty deed
  • quit claim deed
  • heir
  • heirs
  • TLC
  • motivated
  • fixer
  • fixer upper
  • fixer-upper
  • repairs
  • as-is
  • as is
  • relocation
  • rented
  • tenant
  • do not disturb tenant
  • owner will carry
  • owner will carry 2nd
  • owner finance
  • owner will finance
  • personal rep
  • personal representative
  • estate
  • trustee
  • basement issues
  • basement repairs
  • basement problems
  • foundation issues
  • foundation repairs
  • foundation problems
  • structural issues
  • structural repairs
  • structural problems
  • no FHA
  • lease option
  • engineer report
  • price change


So there you have it. Now you possess the prized family recipe for MLS Awesome Sauce passed down to us from dear Great Aunt Maud who bequeathed it to us before moving on to that great real estate development in the sky.

MLS Access for Real Estate Investors 3

Before you head out, just a few worthy footnotes you may want to be aware of.

1: Honorables

Besides the 47 fresh, all-natural, certified organic, non-GMO keywords in the list above, there were a handful more – 7 to be precise – that didn’t quite make the prime cut, but could still prove potentially useful. So here are the ‘honorable mentions' in case you want to include these in your search as well:

  1. Water issues
  2. Leak
  3. Water problems
  4. Not responsible
  5. Relocated
  6. Vacant
  7. Out of State

2: Float your own boat

Depending on the types of deals you’re focusing on, many of these keywords may not make sense for you to include. Just pick and choose those that do, and keep trying until you get the right results. Awesome sauce takes some practice to perfect, but once you do it is spicy and well worth it!

3: If your MLS is dumb

Some MLS systems are apparently still stuck in the early 2000’s and may not give you the option to select “contains (keyword)” in the criteria menu. If your MLS is dumb like this, you can often use wildcard characters to accomplish the same thing. These wildcard characters are typically ‘*' or ‘%' depending on your MLS system.

MLS Access for Real Estate Investors 4So for example…


Remarks = ‘%Bank%'


Remarks = ‘*Bank*'

Starts With:

Remarks = ‘Bank%'


Remarks = ‘Bank*'

Ends With:

Remarks = ‘%Bank'


Remarks = ‘*Bank'

OK, that’s a wrap.

Got any thoughts on this? Maybe a tasty keyword or two we missed?

Leave a comment below. And don't forget to be awesome.

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