2011 Sep 9th

Beating the System

When we list properties on the MLS there is a link to something called the “property history”. With a click of the mouse, all agents can see and share with their customers what the property was listed for originally and all subsequent price reductions. That same history of price changes often shows up on secondary real estate sites like Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow.  The price history of a “for sale” unit is something in which buyers typically are very interested.  I always look at it and share it with my buyers.

Today, when I was emailing my customers new listings and price reductions something funny caught my eye. I noticed an agent (intentionally or not) found a way to beat the system. This particular property was listed at the original price and had one price reduction, so far.  Rather than reduce it a second time, which would make the multiple price cuts apparent to everyone with one click of the mouse, the property listing was withdrawn so that it momentarily came off the MLS.  Then ON THE VERY SAME DAY the agent relisted the property at a significantly lower price.  Why does this matter, you may wonder?  Well, not only does this make the prior price reductions much harder to find, it also resets the “days of market” to zero, making it look like it’s a new listing – again.

People wonder why some realtors have a bad reputation.

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  1. morally_right

    Price paid should not be a function of how long the house has been on the market or the number of price reductions. The house is worth what it’s worth. If a buyer chooses to pay more because of a lack of these other factors, then should I feel bad that he/she pays more??

    That said, it’s not right for realtors to behave that way.

  2. Lori Turoff

    The issue is not what is the price or what should be price be – the issue is transparency. Don’t most people prefer to do business in a market where they have access to robust information? I know I do.

  3. w

    Lori – If a client asked, would you ever do that? It seems like a great idea for a seller in that situation. Remember, the agent works for the seller.

  4. Lori Turoff

    Would I do this? No. You are correct that I work for the seller and it is my job to be sure they understand why being deceitful is going to hurt their credibility and hinder them in selling their property for the most money possible.

  5. JC

    Yes, it doesnt bode well for transparency. However, cant the agent do just a little bit of digging for a true price history? I understand since its a “new listing” there wont be a price reduction history attached however, isnt there some sort of “trail” or an expired listing trail that an agent can search for and bring that info to the table?

  6. Lori

    Yes – the old listing still shows up in the MLS as withdrawn and if you were to look at that history the original price is there but that presumes quite a bit of diligence on the part of the buyers agent. An amount I infrequently see.

  7. Chili Agee

    Remember also that many buyers rely on third party sources like Zillow and Trulia which pull their (often erroneous) data from the MLS and therefore have no opportunity to dig for price change shenanigans.

  8. hoboken07030

    i see this as a non-issue. who cares about transparency on how many times a property’s price was lowered.

    end of the day the buyer determine the value of the home.

  9. Tiger

    hoboken07030, I think it is an issue with other sellers. Most buyers sign up to get alerts from their relators when new properties are listed. I would be pissed off if I’m a seller and someone else’s old property appears on top of mine.

    Even Craigslist does not allow you to repost a for sale ad unless a few days went by.

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