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A Year’s Numbers Come In From The MLS: Agents Who Take More Pictures Negotiate Better

March 5th, 2007 · 15 Comments

Hot on the heels of Redfin’s controversial news that analysis of the MLS data conclusively shows that Redfin agents are better negotiators, 3 Oceans is pleased to announce the results of a study showing, again conclusively, that agents who take lots of property pictures are better negotiators.

After downloading all transactions in 2006 in the REIL MLS, the results are striking: properties in which the listing agent only took 1-3 pictures sold on average for just under $900K, while properties with 4-6 pictures sold on average for nearly $930K. But the really trigger happy agents did the best: their properties with 7-9 pictures sold for a whopping $1,077,933 on average.

Agents who take more pictures are better negotiators

Here’s my only question: What happens when a 9-picture-taking listing agent goes head to head with a Redfin negotiating agent?

P.S. List with me. I’ll take 9 pictures of your property. It’ll sell for more.

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Tags: Industry · REIL · Real estate · Real estate data · Redfin

Today’s sign that the apocalypse is nigh…

November 8th, 2006 · 1 Comment

apocalypse3a1.jpgI doubt I caused this, but I’m shocked nonetheless.REIL, our local MLS, has just announced a rule change to its long-standing prohibition against displaying “sold” listings on a web site:

Over the past year, REIL’s Board of Directors, its Data Use Policy Committee, and REIL staff have researched data policy issues. From this research and following in the groundbreaking footsteps of Northwest MLS’ sold-data policies, RE InfoLink’s Board of Directors has adopted a new data use policy that addresses these trends. The policy:

  • Allows more types of information on IDX websites such as:
  • Search and display of SOLD listings
  • Automated valuations
  • Statistical analyses (only allowed when data is obtained through a datafeed and custom analyzed – does not include reprinting statistics published on REIL.com)

What does this mean, and why should you care?

If you’re a Realtor, there’s bad news and good news. First, the bad: prospective clients will no longer need to call you to get information about properties that have recently sold. The good news: prospective clients weren’t actually calling you anyways, since they could get this information from various online sources (e.g. Zillow et. al) Now you finally get to compete with Zillow as an information source for sold properties. (Hint: If this rule had been changed, say, 3 years ago, Zillow probably wouldn’t exist today.)
If you’re a member of the public, it means the old contemptuous way our industry used to treat you — “we’re the guardians of the information, and you must come through us to get it” — is continuing to change. As an industry, we’re finally acknowledging that our value-add isn’t and shouldn’t be access to information.

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Tags: MLS · REIL · Real estate · Technology

Part 2: The nice thing about making the rules is … you get to break them!

October 25th, 2006 · 2 Comments

My previous post about Realtor.com displaying sold listings led to a stimulating converation with a reader named “Endtable20″, who challenged me on my assertion that Realtor.com is going against our local MLS rules in doing so. I’ll be the first to admit I could be wrong, but here’s more evidence. You decide!

The “Internet Display Guidelines” document starts as follows:

I know from personal experience that “Guidelines” is not the right word. I tried to bend the rules myself once and got roundly called to task within a few hours. :(

Further in the document we get this: [yellow shading mine]

“Authorized User” refers to someone with whom the MLS has an agreement, be it a broker or a 3rd party like Realtor.com. “Electronic Clients” are people who view this information online.

It’s pretty clear that displaying “sold listings” is prohibited.

The final shaded text says that the Authorized User may “augment” the MLS data with “additional data not otherwise prohibited from display so long as the source of such data is clearly identified.”

Realtor.com follows the rule about identifying the source of the other data…

…but that’s a moot point because the data being displayed (sold listings) is clearly prohibited.

Therre are only two ways I can see that would make this ok:

  1. The agreement that REIL has with Realtor.com is a different agreement than REIL has with every other “Authorized User.”
  2. Creative legal reasoning that says the data being displayed is not “sold listings” but “sold homes.”

By a similar argument, I could get around the prohibition on displaying “sellers’ or occupants’ names, phone numbers or email addresses” by

  1. identifying the non-MLS source from which I got that data and
  2. referring to “sellers’ or occupants’ names, phone numbers or email addresses” as “owners’ or renters’ personal information“? Something like this, perhaps:

Seems pretty clear to me. Am I missing something?

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Tags: MLS · REIL · Real estate · Realtor.com · Technology

Relisting “magic”

September 1st, 2006 · 2 Comments

Typically, a new home listing gets a flurry of activity as real estate agents and the general public swarm in to take a look. If that home is still on the market after too long a time, it becomes “stale” and the market loses interest in it. There are several reasons why that home may not have sold yet, but often it boils down to being priced too high: no matter what “defects” a home may have — typically poor location and/or condition — it will sell if the price is right. The problem is, once a home becomes stale, it acquires a stigma, and even agents who haven’t seen it assume there must be something fundamentally wrong with it — $35,000 in termite damage, perhaps? Awkward layout? Dead skunk in the living room? The standard solution in our area involves three steps:

  • First, an awkward conversation between the seller and the agent that starts with, “I think the market may be telling us we’re overpriced” (a message no seller likes to hear).
  • Then, if needed, a quick property facelift — a new paint job, maybe some improved staging, maybe taking that dead skunk out.
  • Finally, a bit of “relisting” magic…the property disappears from the MLS for a few days, then is reincarnated a few days later with a new price and a new MLS number.

While this little trick sometimes works wonders for getting the property sold, it can be confusing for the agent community and the general public. Is this really a new listing? Do I recall having seen it before? Has anything changed about it? It also skews one of the key metrics the industry uses to track activity — “Days on Market” or “DOM.”

Our local MLS service, REIL (Real Estate Infolink) is soon going to ban relisting. (Full article here.) In order to get a new MLS number (and hence appear like a fresh listing and get a fresh DOM count), the property will have to be off the market for 30 days, and the seller will have to sign a new listing contract.

I think this will policy will have several effects:

  • For agents and the general public, it will reduce the confusion about whether a property is newly on the market or not.
  • For the seller and the listing agent, it’s going to be more important than ever to come on the market at the right price. There’s going to be no hiding the fact that a particular property has been on the market for, say 8 months.

My opinion? I think it’s the right move. Anything that provides more clarity to the market and enforces better pricing discipline on sellers and listing agents is a good thing.

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Tags: MLS · REIL · Real estate · Relisting