One of the sayings that I retain from my years in the technology is one that is applicable in so many things every day: “garbage in, garbage out.” In this circumstance, I speaking about some of the data that is input by real estate agents into our local MLS.
It seems almost any time I’m searching for properties for a client, I come across one or more listings that either have inaccurate or incomplete information that affects the marketability of the property. Oftentimes my clients will read something and assume it is gospel (when I know better) or will note that there is a lot of missing information. Some of the most common issues I see and why they matter:
Lack of photos
- If we can’t tell what the house is like on the inside or out, we often put it towards the bottom of the list – there are a lot of homes for sale and we don’t want to waste time on a house we didn’t view first online
- If all I can see is the flooring or if the room is very dark or the shot is a light bouncing off a mirror, there’s no way to tell what the house is really like.
Missing association info
- If it is a condo or townhome, it is important we know what the fees are and what it covers. Also vitally important: pet restrictions. Some associations ban dogs or put breed and weight limit restrictions in place… this affects many homeowners.
Missing room dimensions
- I see too many listings that have no room dimensions – this makes it very difficult to gauge room sizes and some buyers have particular needs.
Old tax information
- While it is easy for me to pull current property tax data for my clients, agents often have the prior year’s tax info online for 6-9 months into the new year and this information is displayed on consumer web sites and used in mortgage calculators. In a time where property values are fluctuating wildly and property tax rates are climbing, there can be $100′s difference between one year and the next.
- Agents can put in details about the roof, the tree coverage, exterior finishes, hardwood floors, number of bedrooms on one floor, accessibility, basement description, etc. For clients looking for something particular, unless we go through each listing by hand we will certainly miss many of the homes that would work for them.