How do you know if your realtor is showing you everything that is for sale in your price range?

Asked by audresmith, Yuba City, CA Thu Jul 12, 2012

I am only getting a house every so often through my 21st century realtor via the automatic email system. If I ask her about a house that i see online she says I am just wasting my time, because I only need to wait to see what I get on my email notifications. Is this true? Please help...

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Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Thu Jul 12, 2012
Au contraire, It is very likely that this IS true! But only 95%..

How can John and I both be right? Well he is about 5% right. A very important 5%. And since you are in need of only one house it could the one And that could be a very important needle in the haystack that you find. Learn how to read which ones are obviously fake listings, but make her look up the ones that are maybe for real.

You see 95% of the houses you see online are NOT for sale IF not ALSO in the MLS. Either they are notices of default, or foreclosure filings, or they are sold listings, or pending listings, or they are short sale listings in contract with no need for back up offers (you might as well call that pending too.)
So, on the 95% you are wasting your time - and hers.

The one in twenty, the chestnut, the needle in the haystack is the rare nugget that John S mentioned. A FSBO that is realistic about market value, an agent with an MLS waiver, a rehabber or builder just before completion, a pre-MLS listing inserted onto Trulia or Zillow as a "coming soon" -
1 vote
Goo7y, Home Buyer, Yuba City, CA
Tue Jul 17, 2012

I am not an agent.... I'm not in the home flip business....I'm not an expert. I HAVE however been looking for a house to buy for 4 months. I have worked with one realtor my wife and I feel comfortable with and there were times that I would request to see a home and would get the response that it can't be seen, or some such. Some of those answers were, the home is pending (as answered by an agent previously here). The main thing is, the ones that I wanted to see and was told it was out of my requested price range or it was a short sale? I persisted and saw the home. Now I may have wasted my agent's time because we didn't offer on any of them, but it was good to see the different layouts of homes and lots and flooring, etc. to help further clarify what we really liked and wanted. We now finally have an offer and are in contract heading toward closing. My advice to you is mentioned by many others, lots of these sites have fake or old listings that are already sold....after 4 months, I have found that Ziprealty is OUTSTANDING at keeping up to date. EVERY home that has gone into offers or we were looking at that got an offer before we saw it was pulled from their site. They are VERY reliable I have found, for my search. I started using all of the websites (companies like century, remax, etc. and generic like realtor, zillow, etc.) I ended the last 2-3 months ONLY using Ziprealty due to its accuracy. My suggestion is to go through them for your searching. You will have much more success and less searching through non-available properties. As for the rest? If the trust is gone? Take everyone's advice.... but most of all, follow your gut. (and no..... I don't work for ziprealty or anyone or part associated w/ them....i think the site was that good and helped that much. most of the time, I would contact my realtor first wanting to see a property before the agent would send me an email with the same property info)
0 votes
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Fri Jul 13, 2012
Movoto keeps really old listings on their site. One way, you can avoid being tricked by Movoto or other advertising sites is to look at the MLS #

I just found two sold listings from 2009 on the Movoto site advertised as if they were current listings. Unfortunately Movoto is typical of consumer facing websites that are loaded, bulging at the seams, creaking under the weight of FAKE listings.

For listings in Sacramento: If you see an MLS number that starts with any number other than 12. (such as an 8, 9, 10 or even an 11) it is very old. Some that begin with an 11 are short sales listed last year that have fallen apart, or had bad lenders or bad sellers
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Fri Jul 13, 2012
It probably is....As agents, we often has some personalized knowledge of inventory where we might know that something isn't a fit...or it has 25 offers on it.

That said, you are in charge here - if you want to see a house and it's available, your agent should show it to you.

There are plenty of places to look for homes on your own...Trulia,, and every broker's website...Use these to see for yourself what's out there.

If your agent can't respond to your wishes, than get another agent...
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Jul 13, 2012
I am not familiar with inventory in YC so I can't comment on how many listings you may be getting. That said, there are a lot more sources for houses than just the MLS: FSBOs, off market and private listings to name a few, so your agent may not be getting you those.

Also understand that sites like trulia often don't have updated information so something that looks like it's for sale here actually isn't. I'd want to get a little more info than you are just wasting your time. Find out why and why you aren't getting these from her and that will probably tell you whether you need another agent or not
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Fri Jul 13, 2012
It seems like there are two sides to your question:
The important part is; do you trust your Realtor? Your Realtor has many built-in incentives to help you and do a great job; they want to sell you a house, and they need future business from you and referrals. Reputation is everything in this business.
The Second thing is the inventory: Understand that it is changing every day, and there will some Listings that she will filter out, for one reason or another: (She might have heard that there is structural damage. Or that it is a Shortsale with a recalcetrant 2nd Lender. Or that she knows that you do not want a pool or second story. Or it has mold or termites.) You just have to trust her on this.
There is a third thing, that I probably shouldn't even mention, but it might have happened to some other Realtors: Sometimes I will do a search, and the computer will give me 12 homes that are ACTIVE. And later, I will do the same search, and the computer will give me 13 homes: I wonder; where was that 13th home the first time I did it? Computer ghosts?

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes
Scott Thiel, Agent, South Lake Tahoe, CA
Fri Jul 13, 2012
The only way to be sure your agent is on top of YOUR game is to be sure they are FULL TIME and recommendations from other buyers are helpful too. The inventory in YC is weak. I actually contacted a "flipper" to get a prelisting opportunity and have my client write an offer before it hit the market. But even those are getting hard to find as the banks are not releasing many homes, even for the courthouse steps... Short sales are probably the only game and your agent may not want to get involved in those.
0 votes
John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Thu Jul 12, 2012
It very likely that this is not true.
Most professional agents get information about properties for sale from AT LEAST 4 different sources that are not tied to an automated email system. Between for-sale-by-owner, pocket listings, and a multitude of other web sites, the MLS is no longer the end-all source for property listings. Yes, it remains the most accurate, but by no means is it the most complete. Ask your agent for a complete set of properties and their listing source. Don't settle for just the MLS.
0 votes
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