Our MLS listings are very detailed and provide lots of opportunity for complete disclosure of information that is pertinent to buyers. Like all things however, the quality of the listing is only as good as the quality of data input by the individual Realtor. Also, a lot of brokerages don’t do a terrific job of oversight or quality control on their listings but this is a matter for another post.
What we do wish to discuss here, are the sections of the listing that can be very useful for a buyer to know and can also be critical to the success of the listing, as well as the buyer purchasing decision.
Here are some of the key sections of the listings that buyers don’t see:
This short section allows the listing agent to detail ancillary information like listing conditions, closing date preferences, utility costs, special instructions, special assessments, rental items or lease obligations or other notes that are generally directed to the Realtor members but almost always are pertinent for buyers as well.
This is the acronym for “Commission-to-selling-office”. This is critically important and both buyers and sellers should know what is contained in this small section. This section tells the buyer agents what % commission is being offered on the listed property and may be the most important hidden section of all, since it speaks to compensation.
Many sellers don’t understand what is posted there for their listing and what effect it may have on a buyer agent’s enthusiasm for that listing. Also, FSBO sites or “mere posting” listings often show $.01 in this field with instructions in the Realtor remarks to contact the seller directly to understand what commission they are offering or not.
Buyers need to know what is shown in this section, as they may be liable to pay directly any difference between their contracted commission rate in their Buyer Representation Agreement and that offered by the specific listing. While most commission rates to the selling office are 2.5%, they can vary widely. Government relocations for example may be seen at only 1.85%. Some brokerages offer 2, some 2.25 and some do a flat fee commission amount for as little as a $3,000 commission to the buyer brokerage and representative.
The sales history section of the listing is very critical for buyers to see (and also sellers, prior to listing time) as this documents the current sales activity and most previous MLS® listing history. It can be useful for buyers to know how long the property has been on the market and also what the previous sales timelines and results were. For example, if a property had some kind of stigma, unique feature or location disadvantage and it took a long time to sell during previous listings, the odds are the same will be true again. This buyer should try to remember this when calculating an offer price and also remember it in future when their turn comes to sell the property.
Noting when price changes or conditional sales have occurred is also relevant information contained in this area.
Our Realtor system has a feature that allows us to any number of attachments to the listing to provide further information such as floor plans, surveys, lease agreements, work orders, permits, upgrade lists, pre-listing home inspections, property appraisals, tax bills, maintenance records/history or any other pertinent record that helps the buyer representative better explain the home features and history to the prospective buyer.
This attachment field is not as well used as it might be, but more and more we are seeing useful and detailed information being added by the most conscientious and professional listing agents.
Both buyers and sellers should be asking their respective agents if there is pertinent information in any of these fields that are pertinent to their decision making.
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