Busy Real Estate Market Creating Challenges
Sometimes, it's tough to determine if homes for sale are actually available. Brandon Bramlett of iDeal Real Estate Professionals explains the difficulties caused by a busy home real estate market and other factors.
Anyone who has been following the real estate market during 2012 (whether you were looking to buy, sell, or just reading this weekly column) knows that it has been quite the roller coaster ride. With values going up steadily through the year, available inventory shrinking, and more buyers entering the market as interest rates continue to fall, the amount of competition between agents and brokers to find good property for their clients has been fierce. One example of that is what we will address this week: the lag time between what various Internet sites say is available, and what actually is available.
It’s important to understand the different status classifications of property before we get into the details. There are several, but we will concentrate on the most common three. The first is “sold.” This seems fairly obvious—any property that you find online (regardless of what website it is on) that shows the status as “sold” is just that—already closed on and off the market. Most of the time these “sold” properties are removed from the various websites so that they don’t show up in searches but occasionally they do.
The second is “pending.” Many people get confused as to what this means. Pending, put simply, means “under contract.” It is designating that the property has had an offer made on it, all parties have agreed, and it is going through what we call the “contract to close period.” No more offers are being accepted on it, and it is on track to make it to closing and be “sold.”
The last and third classification is “active.” What this means is that the property is listed for sale, is ready for sale, has no offers currently accepted on it, and generally in all ways should be considered available to see and receive offers. This scenario is where a lot of the current frustration for both us in the industry, and our clients, originates.
Now, remember that the agent or broker that has the property listed is responsible for indicating what the current status of the property is. Some of you reading this may already be figuring out where the problem is. If an agent has several listings or is otherwise very busy (or if they are less than diligent regarding listing maintenance), it is very possible (and common nowadays) that once the “active” listing becomes under contract it will not be changed to “pending” in the system. The result of that is while conducting a property search, one may find 20 “active” properties that fit their needs. However, upon calling the listing agents on these homes, it turns out only five are actually available. What about the other 15? As it turns out those properties are actually “pending” or are in some other state of non-availability.
Now before I get accused of being too hard on my fellow real estate professionals, let me add that there are other factors involved in the status of a property not being changed and up to date. The biggest of those is just the nature of the present market itself. Because things are moving so fast, and there are more and more people entering the market every day, this is creating the perfect storm for out-of-date data.
One other thing to consider is every third-party real estate site (those like Trulia, Zillow, etc.) all pull from the MLS services agents use to list and update property. The problems I am describing here apply to the most accurate and up-to-date first party websites (the MLS websites themselves, sites that pull directly from them such as our website, www.idealrealestateprofessionals.com, etc.). So you can imagine how much worse the problem is when you consider the third-party sites have a lag in the time they pull their data from the first-party sites. As a side note, this is why we ask, beg and plead with our clients to not use those sites.
I will end with an anecdote from just this week to illustrate the problem. A new client who came into the fold last week has a very specific budget. She also has very specific geographic requirements, so I knew conducting her search would be challenging but I was confident nonetheless. On Monday morning, she had emailed me 23 “active” properties she found on our website that meet all of her criteria. I was excited with the amount she found (even though I should have known better). Upon calling each listing agent individually to schedule showings for Tuesday, it turns out four of the 23 were available. Four out of 23. No one knows how long this craziness will last, but in the meantime, be sure to give your favorite real estate professional a hug when you see them next. They need the emotional support.
iDeal Real Estate Professionals LLC is owned and operated by Brandon Bramlett and C. Mark Willix and is affiliated with Maximum One Realty Greater Atlanta. For personalized service, visit us at www.idealrealestateprofessionals.com. You can also email us at email@example.com.