I was watching Nightline last week and they had a segment about real estate agents that re-list homes for sale to make them “fresh listings” in their MLS to fool the general public. In effect, they are resetting the amount of time a listing has been on the market. This was a big issue in San Mate County last year until the local MLS stopped it. Today, when you look for a house on our MLS not only can your agent see the history of the sales of that property, sometimes going back years, but so can you. But agents who do this kind of smoke and mirror re-listing are shifty agents.
Why is this issue important? To some people it isn’t but if you are the type of analytical soul who wants to understand the marketplace this data is extremely important for you and your agent. MLSListings, my local MLS, no longer allows an agent to cancel a listing and then re-list it under a new MLS number. Unless 90 days have passed, or the agent has changed brokerages, the same MLS number stays with the property, even if it’s re-listed for an expiration of the listing agreement. It’s very helpful to me, as an agent, and I always share the information with my clients. We can see if the property is about to become a Short Sale by how long it’s been listed and how the prices have been reduced over that time frame.
I applaud MLSListings for making the policy. It went into effect last October and there, truthfully, was a lot of grumbling going on by many seasoned agents. Today, there is nothing an agent can do to get around it, as the program we use to list property has been written so an agent must keep the same MLS number with that property.
If your agent isn’t sharing the historical data with you, shame on them! Ask about it and demand to see the data from them. If your agent isn’t in the same MLS as I am, they are still able to get their hands on the data. Don’t let them fool you. A good, professional agent, will give you this data without you asking, especially when you’re getting ready to write that offer. If they don’t, shame on them! Demand to see it.