Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fool Me Once

NOTICE: We've had some major email disruptions in the past month and I have not received all mails. If I haven't responded to a recent mail, chances are, yours was one of the lost ones. Please resend to the hotmail address in the header of this blog and I'll respond immediately.

What can I believe when looking at real estate listings online? I spoke with someone yesterday who noticed a listing that was previously under contract had just come back on the market at When I researched the MLS history it showed as still under contract and continuously so since the end of October. So, why did show it as back on the market? The only thing I can figure out is that when the listing agent changed the status from "contingent" to "pending" it triggered a status change which conveniently and incorrectly defaulted to "active/for sale" status rather than "under contract". More page views = more revenue. None of the major non-MLS real estate sites can be trusted to be up to date and accurate. Actually, nor can, but, it is the most accurate by a mile.

The errors on are mostly related to agent errors or circumstances, not a policy intended to boost page views. Foreclosure listings often remain active for a few days following acceptance of a contract because the banks are slow to get all the paperwork signed and delivered. Short sale listings are sometimes left in active status for months even though the seller has accepted an offer that is being negotiated with the bank. Sometimes a listing agent will mark the wrong area by accident. AND, some listings marked as "waterfront" may be a looong way from the water. There are two active listings this morning that are designated as "waterfront/ocean" that are over a half mile from the ocean. The condo project that they are a part of extends to the ocean so these listings are allowed to be tagged as oceanfront even though some units are as far as 3/4 mile from the beach. The units here are nice and the prices reflect the distance but the "oceanfront" status is misleading.Your agent can fill you in on the details of any too-good-to-be-true listing.

For buyers looking for listings with specific criteria, the best way to be on top of the accurate data is to have your agent set up an auto-alert directly within with whatever criteria you desire. The system will send you an email whenever a new property with your criteria is listed or an existing listing has a price change. The mainstream for-profit real estate sites can't match the timeliness or accuracy of the source. I'd be happy to set up an alert for any readers without one.

When the axe came into the woods, many of the trees said, "At least the handle is one of us."  __Turkish proverb