The 47 Awesomest MLS Keywords for Real Estate Investors



n 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 + 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.
  2. Go to the search page, where you can input whatever criteria you might need or want.
  3. Enter your basic search criteria for whatever type(s) of deals you’re focusing on (area, price range, beds/baths, etc.)
  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”.
  5. Make sure that you’ve got the search criteria set to search for “contains (keyword)” and not “equals” or “contains all”.
  6. Input your top MLS investor keywords in the search fields for “Public Remarks” and “Realtor Remarks”. (see ingredients below)
  7. Save this search and setup a automatic daily ‘hotsheet’ search to run for you based on these parameters.

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”.

  • 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.


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.

awesome-sauce-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.

Johnpaul Moses

JP Moses is a roughly-hewn man-child who jumped into REI back in Y2K and full time in '02. After many twisty turns over the years, from landlording to short sales to rehabs to Realtoring to lease options to REOs to notes to owner financing, blah, blah, blah… he finally stuck his flag deep into wholesaling. Today JP's Memphis-area operation's wholesaled somewhere north of 400+ transactions and actively turns 3-7 houses a month. He also really digs helping others and pours a ton of his heart and soul into helping his fellow real estate investors from his own REI and business-building experiences.

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Patrick, thank you for always being thier with support , wisdom and the encouragement for me to strive for more…
Your the best my friend…
RC Hogan

Abby Zukowski

What do you suggest if I do not have MLS Access?

    Johnpaul Moses

    Hi Abby, we’re planning a full blog post just on this in the near future, so stay tuned.

alex mezzo

Thanks for sharing!


Patrick. How about fire, fire damage, smoke, smoke damage? Even small fires with no structural damage frighten off 99% of buyers (and bring prices low, low, low).


Thanks Patrick, how do I get into wholesaling with out any money?

    Patrick Riddle

    Hey Brian, you may want to look into Justin Wilmot’s 10-Hour Wholesaling business model. It’s a great way to completely offload all the marketing expenses to find deals… and you won’t need earnest money or proof of funds. Basically, you leverage wholesaler’s inventories and match them with your cash buyers… and then split profits with the wholesaler. To learn more, click on the “Awesome Products” tab in the navigation and click on 10-Hour Wholesaler.

    – Patrick

    Geoffrey Jones

    Patrick, hope you don’t mind me answering this one. But feel free to add on if you’d like. I personally would start bird dogging first. Referring deals to cash buyers or other wholesalers is a good way to rack up on some cash. You can learn a lot about finding deals doing this. After you have a nice stream of income from bird dogging you can use a small amount to start locking properties under contract. Key thing is try not to put too much for EMD deposit. Look if you have any deals send them my way Id love to take a look at what you find.


That is great info that can be use for any business one is involved in.

Marjorie Jackson

Thank you for the real great info


Completely incredible and down the detail.
My new equation is

MLS Access + Keywords + Customization = Awesome Sauce

    Patrick Riddle

    Glad you enjoyed the knowledge bomb!

    Thanks for joining in the conversation here 🙂

    – Patrick


    I love this concept and now I simply need to get access to MLS w/o me having a r.e. license. Your input greatly appreciated…

      Johnpaul Moses

      Awesome, Rodney. We’ll have a full blog post on getting MLS access without a license, coming soon.

Jo Sanders

Thank you , thank you again and again.


Easy to process. Sometimes less is more.
Especially when working a full time job.

Vladimir Statsenko

Hi,I’m looking for list of rehaberst or investors, send me some if you want. Tnx . Vladimir Statsenko.

Fredrick Austin

JP thank you for the Awesome Sauce!!!! I tried it on Zillow and it worked like a Charm. I found some many distressed property it is unbelievable. Now I have to find the funding to go with this.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

    Johnpaul Moses

    You’re welcome, Frederick! Awesome! 😉


    Hey JP, what is this sauce for Zillow that is mentioned above?

      Johnpaul Moses

      Hey Corky, if you’re talking about Fredrick Austin’s comment, I think he’s just saying he used these same keywords in Zillow (instead of the MLS) and got some great results.


Liked! Thanks! Patrick! + bad roof + shingles missing + needs some + needs some TLC. RE Entrepreneur in PA, USA.

Dwight Allen

Thanks for the keywords. I’ve just been searching Craigslist for a large shop or garage with a small house attached… for cheap. This gives me tons more ways to search. Throw more ideas my way anytime.


Patrick, I really, really am so happy you arrange for us to get this without having to shell out money we don’t have to spare at this time of year. This gesture has placed you right at the top of my list as “an AWESOME SAUCE” real person who cares about helping others. This is a tremendous thing you have done! You will get back a hundredfold for this.

    Patrick Riddle

    Hey Brenda, the knowledge bombs we’ll be releasing here will forever cost you a grand total of $0 🙂

    Put this info into action and let us know how we can help.

    – Patrick


This is great, thanks Patrick!!


Thanks for the goldmine of information. I will surely soak it in. Need it on my way to millionaire.

charles Brewer

Patrick Thanks for the key words. It all helps!! Oh by the way I can’t seem to find the docs that I can print, Can you let me know where? the name of my company is B&R Sterling Investments LLC. Bob (Charles) & Rose Brewer

    Patrick Riddle

    Hey Charles, I’m not sure what docs you’re referring to. Email our support area and let them know what specific docs you need help with.

    – Patrick

Glenn E. Fleming, MD, MPH

Awesome sauce 🙂 Thanks for that Knowledge Bomb! Looking forward to more…This budding REI looking to start with wholesaling/wholetailing (short-term goal) and eventually delve into acquiring rental properties and fix & flips (long-term goal) could use all the help he can get! **Bonus if I can find a mentor to show me the ropes 😉 **


Sounds like this will help me get back on my feet, after being ill for 2.5 years. I’m starting today

Maria Hurtado

Okay Jp…I thought I was the only person on the planet that still uses “Awesome Sauce” – most excellent value guys. Thanks -Maria Hurtado, Mahogany Bridge Investments.

Fredrick Austin

Great tip Great tip!!!

Ellis Valentine

LEST DO SOME BUSINESS ; I’m Mr Ellis Valentine , Call me at (614) 420-6533

Luke Whitis

This was a fabulous email. I am not a Realtor or RE Agent with access to the MLS and assuming I cannot find a Realtor to load these keywords into the MLS and create a drip campaign for me, is there a workaround?

    Johnpaul Moses

    Hey Luke, glad you enjoyed it. I think the problem here is that you are already ASSUMING that (i) you cannot find a Realtor to work with you on this, and (ii) you cannot get MLS access. You’re already defeated! I challenge you to challenge these assumptions, and instead ask “How can I…?” I promise there are ways, amigo 🙂

Houston Lewis

i did’nt know Distressed Property leads was so plentiful now i can get leads every day practically.

    Curt Marts

    If you can find the house leads, then I can find thelocal cash buyers there in Houston – Lets co-wholesale 50/50 under those terms…?


Greg Bainer

Great recipe for leads, thanks for serving up the information.


Great Post….this will help a lot of people in our community….


Thanks for the info. Helps you to expand your thinking.


thanks for helping out , i sure can use any and all help. thank you STANN

Johnny Walker



It sounds Awesome !!! Can’t wait to try it. carol P.S. My son David can’t wait to read it. He’s my partner , in this new adventure.


You have put together a great list. Thank you for this article

Winston Crosbia PA

This is a awesome document! Thanks for the tips and the list of keywords.

Winston Crosbie

Fenold Alexis

Thank you for such an extensive list. I think this list will make a difference.

    Patrick Riddle

    It’ll make it difference if (and only if) you take action and use the what you learned.

    As you take action Fenold, let us know if we can help with anything.

    – Patrick


You forgot the couple that I’ve used for years, divorce and bankruptcy! Good luck on your searches!


Thank you for sharing this useful information. Working with investors, research is time consuming and this is one more tool that will be most helpful. Teresa


Thanks for the tips. l will make use of them.

You’re awesome.

Bertram Dobbins

I’m still trying to get the money together to join. How low can I get into the program, make a few bucks and upgrade to a more expensive plan until I reach the top.

    Johnpaul Moses

    Hey Bertram, what program are you referring to? help me out here 🙂

Pat Henley

Thanks for some really useful tips on keywords. The graphics are great, too! You have obviously put some thought and experience into this.

Pat Henley

    Johnpaul Moses

    You’re welcome, Pat… thanks for stopping by! Glad you found it valuable.

    Bud Brewer

    Very helpful! Thank you for all the free and straight to the point information. You are the man. Much respect!!

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