Real estate sales is a mystery to people buying a home for the first time mainly because there is so much to learn before the move. Buyers get a whole new vocabulary of ‘pre-qualification, home inspection, home warranty, radon, locking or floating interest rates, and closing costs’, not to mention ‘bungalow, rambler, townhome, condo, CCR’s’ and the like!
Over 90% of all buyers begin looking on the web at listings of homes for sale. The term ‘listing’ gets thrown around a lot by Realtors. We assume people know what we’re talking about. In a nutshell, a ‘listing’ is a property that has been registered, cataloged and made public from one main data base that is owned by different entities. In Salt Lake for example, the ‘Wasatch Front Multiple Listing Service’ is the one and only data base used by Realtors along the Wasatch Front to offer homes for sale on behalf of sellers. The WFRMLS is owned mainly by three Boards of Realtors in the State. The website is www.utahrealestate.com and you can find homes for sale virtually state wide, but mainly in Provo, Salt Lake, Ogden and close-by burbs. The information about the home is offered there, including: asking price, size and details about the interior and exterior of the property, things that are included (garage, hot tub, appliances) or not included. Also the ‘listing agent’ contact information and brokerage name should be on the site that you’re looking at on the web.
Buyers and sellers often don’t understand that all the listings of homes come from one data source but will appear on up to 9,000,000 other websites. If a homeowner lists their property with my brokerage, their listing will show up on the Coldwell, Prudential, Re/Max, etc. websites. Their listings will show up on my website as well. There’s really no creditability these days to a brokerage telling you in their marketing plan that they can get you onto more real estate websites than any other brokerage. Everyone’s listings are on everyone’s websites because most of us have a link to the full MLS on our home pages of each brokerage. It may appear that an agent through ABC brokerage might have 30 condo listings downtown, when in fact he doesn’t. If you read the fact sheet of the listing on his website, you will see in tiny print somewhere on that page who the real listing agent is, and the brokerage it’s listed with in the MLS. It’s a good thing that everyone’s listings are available on everyone’s website for a seller-the more exposure the better, right?!
There are only a few reasons why a home might not show up in a property search: 1) it’s got a sale pending; 2) it’s been taken off the market or 3) the seller has requested that the home not be mass-marketed. Any Realtor can show any other Realtor’s listings through the MLS system (with appointment or instructions).
The MLS is a terrific data source and great way for buyers to initially see what might be available in the areas and price ranges they are wanting to search and live in. There is nothing to replace a Realtor though because we are the ones ready and able to show you those homes you find!