What Areas are Covered?


We’ll begin with brief descriptions of the areas covered by the MLS systems we’ve listed here. We’ll then move on to tell you why you can’t rely on these “areas covered” descriptions and why we generally run our home searches and daily updates in multiple systems in order to ensure that we providing truly comprehensive information for our clients.

Boulder & North Eastern Colorado

Boulder & NE Colorado. This system covers Boulder County and the areas to the north and to the east of Boulder County. It covers real estate listings in all of the communities in Boulder County, including Boulder, Louisville, Superior, Lafayette, Erie, Longmont, Lyons, and Nederland. It also covers real estate in all of the communities in Larimer County to the north, including Ft. Collins, Loveland and Estes Park. Finally, it covers real estate listings in the counties to the east of Boulder County, including the communities in Broomfield County and Weld County (e.g., Broomfield, Brighton, Firestone, Frederick, and Greeley). The mountains and plains areas outside these towns are also covered, from the continental divide to the Wyoming border.

Denver Metro Area

Denver Metro Area. This system covers real estate listings in the Denver metro area between those covered by the Boulder MLS to the north and the Colorado Springs MLS to the south. To the north of Denver and Denver County this includes real estate in Adams County, Broomfield County and Jefferson County and communities such as Golden, Arvada, Westminster, Broomfield, Northglenn and Thornton. In the east and south this includes real estate in Denver County, Arapahoe County, Douglas County, and Elbert County (e.g., Lakewood, Highlands Ranch, and Aurora).

Colorado Springs Area

Colorado Springs Area. This system primarily covers real estate in El Paso County and and Teller County and communities like Colorado Springs and Castle Rock.

National MLS System

National MLS System. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) sponsors this system, which provides national coverage of real estate listings. It’s inclusiveness is limited by the fact that some local systems, some listing agents, and some sellers opt not to upload their data to it. It is also limited by the fact that the reduction of data from a myriad of local systems leads to some errors and to a reduction of the level of detail on each property listed on this system. Still, the system is very useful for comparing prices around the country or for getting a preliminary read on property prices in your target area.

Don't Rely on these Areas Covered Descriptions

Having described the areas that these various MLS systems cover, we’ll tell you why you can’t rely on the area descriptions we’ve provided if you’re using these systems for a serious home search.

First, you need to understand that these MLS database systems emerged not from an abstract drawing of geographic boundaries but from the sharing of real estate listing data among groups of real estate agents. Many years ago, when a home owner hired a real estate company to sell their home, the information on that home was held within that company and they worked on its own to locate a buyer for the home. This limited the home’s market exposure and forced buyers to contact many real estate companies to get a full inventory of the available homes for sale. Except for a few backwater areas like New York City, real estate companies figured out decades ago that buyers, sellers and real estate companies are all better off if a list of all available properties is compiled and shared among all of the real estate companies in a community. These lists of properties were initially compiled and distributed in paper form, and later in the form of computer databases. Over time, the size of these Multiple Listing Services (MLS) generally grew as community based groups of Realtors merged their real estate listings into regional databases.

With this background, you can easily understand why the area boundaries we’ve described can be problematic. Imagine a real estate agent who works in a Boulder office, who grew up in Arvada and whose wife works in Denver. While this agent will probably focus their marketing for new listings in the Boulder or Boulder County area, he will get calls from old friends in Arvada or his wife’s business associates asking him to list homes in Arvada or Denver. Ideally, he’ll pay the extra bucks to join the MLS system that covers the Denver Metro Area, but if he’s broke or cheap he may just enter the listing data on Arvada properties in the system that covers Boulder & NE Colorado where he’s already paid his membership fees and hope for the best. If you’re searching for homes in Arvada and use the system covering the Denver Metro Area, you won’t find this property.

How serious is this problem? That depends on what you’re using the system for and where you’re looking for real estate. If you’re just using the on-line MLS systems to get a sense of pricing and availability of real estate in various communities, you don’t need to worry much. But if you’re using the systems in an effort to find your dream home, you may miss that home unless you’re running searches in both systems. And the problem looms large if you’re looking in communities like Superior and Broomfield that are located near the coverage boundaries of two or more systems. While agents who do a lot of listing in Superior or Broomfield are more likely to pay to list their data in both the Boulder and Denver system, you could still be missing 25% or so of the available listings if you don’t duplicate all of your searches on both systems.

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