Buying a new home is costly enough, let alone trying to figure out how much utilities and property taxes will set you back.
A revamped website dedicated to selling homes in Florida aims to help consumers figure out how much that new home you're looking at will really cost you.
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) used to be a tool almost exclusively used by realtors, but the website has recently undergone a major change that is not only easier to use, but is now a better tool for shoppers as well.
State27Homes.com is the website, and it's featured tool is something called the True Lifestyle Cost (TLC) that will help you find the "hidden" costs of a new home, including taxes, insurance rates, commute, local gas prices ... a total of 30 lifestyle cost factors.
The website's name refers to the fact that Florida was the 27th state to officially join the United States.
MLS is known for publishing updated realty information faster and more frequently.
The website was created by My Florida Regional MLS, which says it is the largest MLS in the country, and is focused on homes in "Central and Southwest Florida." A map of the counties served include much of the Tampa Bay Area, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Manatee and Sarasota Counties.
Shoppers can search by budget, zip code, or add other personal information to refine the search.
"The biggest problem with a lot of the third party websites, is [they] allow people to self-input their own listings," said realtor Lance Mohr of the Mohr Realty Group.
Mohr, who specializes in residential homes in the Tampa Bay Area, says that means those websites are often inaccurate and often not updated quickly.
The newly revamped MLS website, says Mohr, looks to him to be much easier to use for the average consumer, and the frequent updates, every 5 minutes, is especially important for buyers in the competitive Tampa Bay Area real estate market.
"It's only going to give you the homes actively on the market right now so you're not going to be getting any junk listings you might find on Zillow, Trulia, and some of these third party websites," adds Mohr.
Zillow contests those claims.
A spokesperson for Zillow and Trulia tells ABC Action News in a statement that Mohr's claims are "highly inaccurate," and points out that Zillow's data comes directly from the same place, My Florida Regional MLS.
Zillow and Trulia are both owned by the same company, the Zillow Group.