The number of days a property is listed officially on the market can be quite deceptive. For example, there

Asked by Alex, West Orange, NJ Tue Jan 29, 2008

There are three homes I've been watching which have been relisted three times already. Yet the realtor always posts "new listing". How can this be ethical? (for all those realtors out there) Then a post by the same realtor states that the number of days listings are on the market in the area has not increased. Isn't that outright lying....and downright deceptive. How do realtors get away with this practice?

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Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Tue Jan 29, 2008
Hi Alex:

Some of the MLS are changing the rules to calculate DOM (Days on Market) differently precise before what you said.

It is interesting to hear the buyers come into my open house, one of the first questions they ask is how many days have the house being on the market? Maybe their Realtors mentioned that to them, or they heard others say so, or they read it somewhere, but somehow the buyers think DOM is important.

However, as a Realtor, I caution about just looking at DOM. DOM is overrated.

There are many reasons why a house can be on market longer than normal - too many similar properties at the same time, re listed three times, overpriced at the beginning, price marked down several times already, the house came on market right before holidays, not marketed right by the first Realtors, not presented correctly at first but now corrected - there are just so many reasons out there and not all are because the house is not worth what it is priced at.

I think instead of worrying about DOM< a buyer should look at the house itself and how it compares other homes of similar quality, how motivated the seller is, the condition of the home, the current supply and demand, etc. That's what sets the price, not DOM.

Sylvia
3 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Wed Jan 30, 2008
I agree w/ Tman that Marc's list to sales ratio is valid and well stated. The same is true for cumulative DOM when quoting average DOM.

I don't think Marc will get TD for this. I did not TD Marc, but I suspect that the TD might have come from RE Pros who work w/ MLSs that have membership rules which might prevent the distribution of expireds, closeds, etc. That's just my guess.

I have a bigger problem w/ intentional withdrawals for one day and then putting a property back on market the next day to reset by the same lisitng agent....particularly if I see that happen 2 or 3 times on the same listing or from the same agent.

When a listing expires from broker A and the relist is broker B, I understand the need to reset. The MLS systems that provide both Cumulative DOM and DOM resolve that by being completely tranparent. Agents have a responsiblity to their buyers to give them the history of a property, also. As soon as a buyer shows interest in a property, an agent should pull that data for their customer.

Despite the fact that, yes, some agents either don't think to pull history, or intentionally attempt to manipulate DOM........not all agents do this. There are many good agents out there. We have bad apples.....like all industries.

Syliva makes a good point, too. Sometimes DOM is given too much focus. I will be the first to admit that buyers immediately inquire, and Realtors immediately look at DOM. Just as buyers ask "how much below list should I offer" and we collectively respond...."structure your offer based on the value as supported by comps and the market".....Sylvia makes that point here, too.

Regardless of what price was on it......regardless of what lists or relists took place.........the property is worth what the market will bear today.....based on comps, competiton, market conditions, interest rates, inventory rates, etc...which are all market conditions.

If it was relisted, previously listed higher, etc.. might provide insight into the sellers thinking and knowing what and how the other side is thinking or what they are expecting can be a tool in negotiations.......it doesn't make or break the value of the property.

A buyer making an offer....or simply expressing interest in a property should be provided accurate and thorough data. We, in the US, have so much more to look at when we make purchase and sale decisions as compared to other countries. Since we have it, we should protect the integrity of the data we pass on.
2 votes
Brian Parkes, , Montvale, NJ
Tue Jan 29, 2008
I as a Realtor run the history for my clients when they express interest in a home- I also run the comps to get an accurate picture. Sometimes the home is listed by another company and that is the start of a new contract to market the home that has not sold. Other than that, I'm not sure the Realtors actually created how the MLS system works-we use the system. Any property you are interested in I would ask your Realtor to run the history.

Good Luck

Brian
Web Reference:  http://www.bparkes.com
2 votes
T.E. & Naima…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Thu Jan 31, 2008
Our MLS in Texas has changed the way the DOM appear... there are 2 field: One for current DOM and next to it CDOM for cumulative DOM... wonderful tool.

Unfortunately the buyers don't see that. The only way an agent can really say "new listing" is if the listing agent changed or if the owners made drastic changes to the house.

Otherwise I agree that it's deceptive. I love it when I see those listings that say "wont' last long" than I look at the CDOM and it's 180... sorry it's one of my pet peeves!!
1 vote
Patti Pereyra, , Chicago, IL
Wed Jan 30, 2008
Yay, Sylvia! I completely agree with every word you said.

A house can be snatched up in one week, and still be a bad buy. A house can be on the market for 254 days, and still be a good buy.

DOM can be really damaging to sellers as it creates a marred perception of the property (something MUST be wrong with it!), but, yes, can also be a useful tool for buyers. It makes buyers ask, "why hasn't it sold?" The question should be asked, because the answer may surprise them. It's not always for horrible reasons.

So as a buyer, don't be afraid to ask your Realtor to look up the entire history of a listing -- it's there. On my MLS (the same as Elvis's), the clock totally re-sets itself after 90 days, BUT, although the total days on market may be refreshed, a savvy agent can still do a quick search on the address itself, and any old history on that listing will show up, regardless of the clock re-set.

So if an unethical Realtor thinks she is going to get away with purposefully lying about the true DOM, she will soon be discovered. The MLS doesn't try to hide DOM, people do (and please know that this is NOT all Realtors). And you do have a right to know the truth.

With that said, regardless of how long a house has been on the market, a buyer should do his due diligence. Just as a long market time can cast a (not always deserved) negative shadow on a property, a fresh listing doesn't mean there aren't any hidden issues.
1 vote
Bill Schwent, Agent, Santa Fe, NM
Wed Jan 30, 2008
Alex,
Mark Twain said it best. There are liars, damn liars and statistics.
Elvis (below) has a solution in that the MLS service should report actual DOM for properties on and off the market with different Realtors. What we need is for our National Association of Realtors to set a standard that all boards and associations use. At least there would be some consistency; but it is still statistics!
Web Reference:  http://www.remaxsantafe.com
1 vote
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Wed Jan 30, 2008
Many MLS across the country are now reconfiguring to address exactly this problem. Our MLS (MLSNI) one of the largest in the nation has already retooled to indicated Current DOM, and Total DOM which is tied to the property's PIN number. They used to tie it to the address, but found that some Realtors were getting around that by relisting the address slightly differently (ie: 1234 Main Street, became 1234 Main, or 1234 Main St. which didn't trip the Total DOM monitor)... so now it's tied to the Property Identification Number which cannot be manipulated.

While I agree with Sylvia that Days on Market is highly overrated, there's not reason that we should be allowed to confuse the public as to how long the property has been listed.
1 vote
Tman, , 30642
Wed Jan 30, 2008
Great question Alex,

Again, it does depend on the area of the MLS .. but as a rule it runs rampant.

I usually track homes for 3 to 4 months before a decision, so it picks-up homes that have been on the market for 100 days before that, thats 200+ days of running time .... you'd be stunned on how many agents will look at you with a straight face and declare "it's a brand new listing.!" -- then you pull out your sheet from last August and they get that "dead mullet look".

I don't know if it's lying, deception or just plain ignorance ... but most agents I know, their head rolls around like a weather vane when they see signs, especially competitors.

If you read further down - Marc Paolella gives an absolute wonderful description of a great search pattern, how the sale-to-list price ratio really works, etc.

Thank you Mr. Marc Paolella for a great and honest post.!
(I'm sure you'll get 7,896 TD's for this one)

:^)
1 vote
Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Tue Jan 29, 2008
Hi Alex,

Good observation. I agree with you. It is totally misleading. My buyers do not have this problem. When buyers of mine ask for a listing sheet on a home of interest, they always get not only the current listing sheet, but also any past listing sheets, including those that have expired, been withdrawn, or sold. I've had some homes where I supply 8 listing sheets for one home because it's sold 2-3 times and been listed 5 other times.

There are some MLS systems, in California I believe, where days-on-market is calculated regardless of re-lists. So an agent who re-lists the same property does not get the benefit of "resetting" the days-on-market counter, so to speak. If I remember, the rule is that a home must be totally off the market for 30 consecutive days before it can be re-listed with a days-on-market "reset."

I would favor this change. Also, it would increase the accuracy of the sale-to-list price ratio. Right now, the MLS systems report that ratio based on the current list price. So if a home sells for 300,000 and the final list price was 310,000, the sale-to-list price ratio is 96.8%, right? Well, what if the home was re-listed 3 times and was originally listed for 350,000? The true sale-to-list price ratio is 85.7%. Quite a difference.

Anyway, I'm expanding the service I provide to my own buyers to my website in general. I'm calling it "HomeSleuth". Pretty cool, eh? Buyers who search on my site and save any homes as favorites will automatically get full listing sheets for those homes - ALL OF THEM. Including active, withdrawn, expired, and sold. If you want to try it go to my website and do the MLS Search and save some of the homes you've been watching as favorites. Let me know if you like it. It will save home shoppers the trouble of having to track everything to see how long a home has REALLY been on the market, and how far the price has REALLY come down or NOT come down as the case may be.

I have to set up special "HomeSleuth" buttons, but for now, anyone can just do an MLS search. Then save any home you like to your favorites list and you will get back full listing sheets, WITH ADDRESSES, including all past histories, including expireds, withdrawns, and past closed sales. If you request it, I will also provide a tax data report, a tax map, a flood map, and a zoning map.

Good luck with your home search Alex.

-Marc
1 vote
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Wed Jan 30, 2008
When we are the broker who has relsted a property, I do not represent it as new listing and agree w/ you that this is misleading. We state that "We listed this property 14 days ago, and it had previosly been on the market w/ another Realtor." That generally prompts more conversation about why it did not sell, how long it was on the market, and at what price.

Some MLS systems have recently started a secondary field for cumulative DOM. CDOM.

As a buyer agent, I always look at history and provide that complete info for the buyer.

Some computer systems recognize a recent computer entry as new and tag the listing as "New Listing". I have seen that on some search sites, and it results from computer programming that identifies current DOM, but not CDOM. I have also seen some sites that identify a property as newly listed simply because it is new to that site. Example: Property listed 60 days, Realtor just learns about another site that he/she can post lisitngs and gain more exposure for the seller. The site recoginzes the posting date and identifies it as new.

I certainly am aware of situations when a Realtor is specifically representing that a property is newly listed, but is, indeed, a relist. I agree w/ you that such representation is misleading. There are times when, for other reasons, that tag line is assigned to listing, but it is not due to a Realtor intentional action.
0 votes
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