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Search tips for finding Sullivan County real estate

Multiple Listing System Property Search Tips

You can dive right in and search for properties from the Basic Search page, but the MLS search system on this site has a lot more powerful features available through the advanced search options. There are a lot of tips below to help you get the most out of the system and find the properties you’re looking for.

Basic versus Advanced Search

The MLS search on this site includes listings from two different multiple listing systems (Sullivan and Hudson Gateway). The “Basic Search” will search for matches in both systems, but because the systems are different, a basic search can only search on criteria that are shared by both — like price, number of bedrooms and location.

With the Advanced Search, you can select which of the MLSs you want to search (using the Market Area selector), so all of the searchable criteria in that MLS are available — like house style, water frontage, etc.

Choosing the Market Area (MLS)

In Advanced Search, choose the Sullivan MLS first. That MLS includes far more listings in the county than the Hudson Gateway MLS. If you’re looking in the southern parts of Sullivan (Rock Hill to Wurtsboro in the SE, and Barryville to Glen Spey in the SW), you should search Hudson Gateway as well as there are some listings in these areas that are not in the Sullivan MLS.

Searching for lakefront homes

Lakefront homes are a very popular category, but searching for lakefront homes can be a challenge. Using “Advanced Search” and selecting the Sullivan MLS, it’s more straightforward. There’s a “Land Features” category where you can select “Lakefront”, which will return all listings from the Sullivan MLS that are coded as “lakefront”. The easiest route is to start with one of the lakefront searches from the Popular Preset Searches list.

Searching for lakefront in the Hudson Gateway MLS is more difficult and confusing. There isn’t a single “lakefront” selector. There is a selector for “Water Access – Yes or No”, but listings that have ANY water access features, including lakefront, riverfront, pond, stream, river or even lake rights, can be coded as “Water Access” and will be returned in a search. Under “Amenities” there are selectors for “Lake/pond/stream” and “Waterfront”, and a lakefront house could be coded as either one of these. Either selector will return more than just lakefront houses. It’s a consumer unfriendly mess that unfortunately I have no control over.

If you’re looking for a lakefront home, you may just want to email me what you’re looking for and I’ll email you back a list of lake houses that may fit your criteria.

"City" is not the same as "Town"

“City” in the main selection box is the generally accepted geographic locator for the property (and may or may not be the actual mailing / post office address.) It is NOT the same as “town” (or township), which is a clearly defined area, and can include a dozen or more “cities”. So if you want to find property in Liberty Township (which can include White Sulphur Springs, Ferndale, Swan Lake and Parksville, as well as the village of Liberty, use the Advanced Search page, don’t make a selection in the City Selector box, and choose Liberty Township in the Township Selector box on the Advanced Search page.

While the broader “township” search may pull in properties you don’t want, it is more reliable to sweep in the properties you do. For example, if you’re looking for a lakefront house on White Lake, the listing agent for the property could have input the city as “White Lake”, “Kauneonga Lake” or even “Bethel”. A broader search for lakefront homes for sale in Bethel township would pull in all 3.

Searching by address

The Address Search function can pull up listings by full or partial address. The search will look for a match anywhere in the street address for what you enter into the search box. So, for example, entering “Rob” will pull up listings on Robisch Hill Road near Callicoon and Roberts Road near South Fallsburg. You don’t need the house number. It will also match anywhere in the address string, so entering “Rock” will pull up houses on both Split Rock Road and Rock Ridge Road. Keep in mind that street names are sometimes misspelled. and some numbered roads can be tricky. For example, 17B can be either “17 B” or “17B”, and a search for “17B” will not pick up the former, but a search for “17” will pick up both (along with every property with “17” in its house number.)

Understanding "Style" — or how to find that farmhouse charmer

In real estate, style doesn’t mean the way you accessorized that little black dress. The house “Style” selector on the Advanced Search page can be tricky. If you’re looking for an older charmer, you might think of only selecting “farmhouse”, but older charmers can also be coded as “Victorian”, “Cottage”, “Bungalow” or even “Cape Cod.” There’s no single category for “vacation chalet” style houses (you know the style – peaked cathedral ceiling living room with a wall of glass). They might be coded “A Frame”, “Contemporary” or even “Log Cabin.”

The difference between "lakefront" and "lake rights"

Homes listed as “lakefront” are actually on the water (or, in a few cases, they are not on the water but have a small separate deeded lakefront parcel for a dock or lake access.) Houses with “lake rights” are not lakefront, but come with rights to use a community beach or shared lake access. Lake rights to motorboat lakes often, but not always, include boat docking.

In the Advanced Search, using the Sullivan MLS, you can select “Lakefront” or “Lake Rights” under “Land Features”. Using the Hudson Gateway MLS, if you choose “Water Access – Yes”, you’ll get everything with some type of water access, including both lakefront and lake rights houses. There isn’t a way to pull just lakefront or lake rights houses.

Can I see an aerial view of the property?

Yes. On property detail pages, there’s a map view at the bottom. Click on the layer button on the map to switch to a satellite or hybrid view. The system uses Mapquest for maps, which has similar satellite views to Google. Bing (maps.bing.com) has much better zoom in aerial views, but you’ll need to go to Bing and enter the property address.

Note that many addresses in Sullivan County do not accurately map on Bing, Google or Mapquest, and sometimes properties map differently on different systems. This is particularly true for addresses on ‘numbered’ roads like SR 97, SR 17B, CR131, etc. If you want a good aerial and can’t get it to ‘hit’ right, email me the listing number and I’ll email you back a Bing link. I’m pretty savvy at getting the pin to center correctly on a map.

Can I see a parcel map for the property?

Unfortunately, the MLS search system on my website doesn’t have the capability to display the tax map for a property. You can try to locate the tax map through the Property Assessment Database system of the Sullivan County Office of Real Property Services, using the property address. But it’s a cumbersome system, and it can be difficult to locate the actual parcel.

I have access to other resources to locate tax maps. If there’s a property you’re interested in, and would like to see the parcel map for it, email me the MLS (listing) number and I’ll email you back a .pdf of the tax map.

Using saved searches to be notified of new listings

Set up a free User Account in the search system — either by going to the Account Set Up page or by clicking to “Save” any property you find. Then when you log in to “My Listing Manager” and run a search, there will be an option at the top of the search, “Save Search”. Click it and your search will be automatically saved. When you save a search, the default option is to send you a daily email with new listings that meet your search criteria (on days when there are new listings that meet those criteria.

If you’re looking for motorboat lakefront, please email me to set up a search for you. I can set up an auto-search for only motorboat lakefront houses in the MLS that isn’t possible on the consumer search.

How do I stop auto-notificatons of new listings?

If it’s a search you set up on here, go to My Listing Manager and then to “My Saved Searches.” Uncheck the box “Receive Email Updates” on each saved search.

If it’s a search I set up for you directly in the multiple listing system, just shoot me an email and I’ll discontinue it.

Why don't some properties I know are on the market show up in my search?

The most common reason a property doesn’t show up in the MLS search is that the listing has recently expired — and the listing agent hasn’t completed the extension of the listing yet. Listings that are “expired” may still show up on third party ‘syndication’ sites like Trulia aor Zillow fter they’ve expired or are no longer available.

Occasionally, a property located in Sullivan County may be listed by a broker in a another area and included in that area’s MLS, not in the two primary MLSs that serve Sullivan County.

Also, while a basic search on this site returns listings from BOTH the Sullivan and Hudson Gateway MLSs, they aren’t co-mingled in the same results list. So

Lastly, if a property is an “open listing” (listed with multiple brokers), it will not be included in the MLS. If there is a property you think is on the market, but can’t find, drop me an email or give me a call at 845-468-5710 and I’ll try to track it down. Note: open listings were popular in the past, but are far less common today.

Why did a property 'disappear'?

When a listing is no longer “active”, it drops out of the online search system. This can happen because a listing has expired and has not yet been renewed, or a property has gone into contract or been sold. If a property is still on the market, but the listing has been relisted with another MLS number, it will not not come up under your “Saved Properties”.

Just because you can’t pull it up doesn’t necessarily mean the property is no longer available. If there is a property you’re interested in, and you can’t find it, give me a call (845-468-5710.) Note that if you saved the property in “My Listing Manager”, even though the listing is no longer viewable, the MLS number will still be there.