just sold

Stale vs. Fresh Data in a Fast-Moving Market

Test your knowledge of residential real estate, and field this question:

What is the best way to quickly find out the status of a “For Sale” home?

A. Check Zillow or Trulia;
B. Look on MLS (assuming you’re a Realtor);
C. Look on Realtor.com;
D. Request a showing (assuming you’re a Realtor).

Answer:  “D.”

Unlike third-party aggregators like Zillow or Trulia, which serve up famously stale info (or at least used to), local Multiple Listing Services (“MLS’s”) are much more current.

But sometimes, even they can lag market developments — especially when it comes to newly listed, well-priced homes at more affordable price points.

Which is why it makes sense to directly go to the source — the listing agent or their front desk — when a Realtor has an interested Buyer.

“Showing Denied”

Exhibit A would be earlier today, when I requested showings tomorrow for eight Twin Cities homes, listed between $250k and $300k, in several high-demand neighborhoods.

All were “Active” on MLS when I requested the showings.

I got confirmations in quick order for six (including two that are apparently vacant); rejections for two that just went under contract, but whose MLS status hadn’t yet been changed to “A,i” (for “Active, subject to inspection”); and a cancellation a couple hours later — for one of the six confirmations — on a home that apparently sold after I requested a showing.

Final tally:  out of 8 “Active” homes on MLS this afternoon, tonight only 5 are actually unsold and available to show to my Buyer tomorrow.

P.S.: Listing agents (representing Sellers) have a two-fold incentive to intercept prospective Buyers and Buyers’ agents before they do a showing on a just-sold home:  1) it’s a violation of MLS rules to incorrectly represent a home’s status; 2) the last thing many owners of just-sold homes want is another showing (if indeed their just-executed Purchase Agreement even allows it).

See also, “Prematurely Switching to ‘Pending’ on MLS”; “When Home Sellers Can — and Can’t — Continue to Allow Showings”; and “When ‘Active’ Doesn’t Really Mean ‘Active’: Displaying ‘Pending,’ ‘Contingent on Inspection,’ etc.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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