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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Listing History

My thoughts on the issue while working hard.

A balanced perspective

The dissemination of data from the NWMLS to the public will be limited for a variety of reasons. Safety and protection of potentially personal information of each seller is paramount.

I am uncertain whether the issue of safety and protection of personal information should fall into the category of “transparency” for everyone to see. Some things should be kept out of the general public view. For example, theft has been an ongoing issue for the membership of the NWMLS—meaning that listings are a target for thieves, including new construction (appliances disappearing, furnishings and even mechanical items such as copper and other equipment).

Most sellers probably would not be pleased if the brokerage posted the time the house was on the market. The implications of a languishing listing means it is probably overpriced or there is some other problem such as poor location, poor condition or a combination of factors.

Market Time & Re-listing

There may be companies such as Zip Realty or others that will indicate if a home was re-listed or will post the total time on market. I have not researched this. The idea of disclosing this information, particularly in a slowing market or correcting market as one may define it, has the potential to have a negative affect on the value of a home if you are a seller. As a buyer, this information allows for a more level playing field. Buyers certainly had little to grasp on during the past couple years when the market was so hot. Realtors recommended removing as many contingencies as possible when making an offer or consumers would have little chance to buy the home. For many buyers, this exacerbated an already difficult buying experience. I heard about it first hand from many who sat across from me while going over their closing documents.

From a consumer’s perspective, many want the Realtor community to shape up. Many want full transparency, but the matter is complicated. The issue of agency and representation does not allow for certain facts to be transparent. Agency and representation does have merit.

Tim Ellis is correct. Much of the market time data and re-listing that goes on is manipulated. It is manipulated to assist the seller in having a sound market position. So, the agent representing the seller is doing their job. However, the interesting phenomenon to see is how this issue is being dealt with through the in-house NWMLS membership. The agents were tiring of this routine themselves. Today, we have the cumulative days on market (CDOM) being recently introduced to hopefully reduce the manipulation within the membership of the NWMLS.

As Ardell DellaLoggia and others suggested, there are some techniques that agents utilize to work around the days on market issue—also re-list the same property having the CDOM counter show zero. Sometimes there are good explanations for this. Sometimes it is clear market manipulation.

If I were buying, I would want to know how long a home has been on the market and how many times the home has been re-listed. In addition, I would want my agent to confirm the sales history (which is now publicized on various web sites) and underlying financing (King Co. shut this down via website, but Snohomish Co. is still available via web). In a swift moving market, much of the information gathered could save a buyer from making a costly decision. Buyers are able to discern if the home was recently flipped and whether the improvements merit the asking price.

The benefit of providing a true picture of time on market or re-list history is that it would put pressure on the sellers to market and price the home in an authentic competitive manner. For Realtors, I would think this would be helpful. That type of transparency may trigger phone calls from sellers indicating that they need to make a change—either make it worth what they are asking or drop the price to a level that is more reasonable. Rather than the Realtor initiating the delicate conversation of dropping the asking price, the seller is opening up the door for that conversation first, based upon what the market is dictating.

-S-Crow, your consumer driven Sentinel.


The Tim said...

For what it's worth, I agree that much of the data in the MLS system should remain private. Security codes, personal details, and so forth should be protected.

All I'm saying is that if the MLS wants to use their listings as an "advertisement" to the public, they ought to be truthful in what details they are making public. "New on market" ought to actually mean that it is a listing that has not been on the market for the past few months.

S Crow said...

I'm with you. The NWMLS will have to work out the problem with it's members. If Realtors want to change the way the public perceives them, then this is a step in the right direction.

MisterBubble said...

Tim, I don't disagree that security codes and "personal details" should remain private. They shouldn't be in the MLS in the first place. In fact, it's already a fallacy to assume that "in the MLS" means "private." Would you trust every Realtor in the state of Washington to the security code for your home? I wouldn't.

But whatever. This is like debating the tides -- the MLS is going to become more open, because there is an economic incentive to do so. Ardell, et al., can create an army of straw men, but it won't stop the change.

plymster said...

Have you guys tried to bring up loan docs in King County's Recorders Office? Lately I've been able to get to them again.

biliruben said...

I'm still not seeing scans for Warranty Deeds.

biliruben said...

Make that Deeds of Trust.

greenthum said...

Many people, if given the chance, would gladly choose to purchase a house without the services of a real estate agent. Realtors know this and that's why they guard the MLS with such ferocity.

I realized purchasing real estate can be overwhelming and some may is choose to hire an agent to guide them through the process. For the rest of us, educating ourselves before we plunk down our lifesavings is the preferred method. Give me the tools I need and I'll find my own home.

I agree with misterbubble, change is inevitable and the fools who stand in the way will, in the end, be left empty handed.

Tom said...

here is a link for a house which was on the market for long time for $650000. recently it is relisted as new for $625000.

listing agent:
Rachel Adler
Windermere Real Estate/East