I find myself in repeat mode lately. When that happens, I know it is time for an educational blog covering some of my FAQ’s! I was walking to my mailbox when a woman put her window down to ask me if I knew of a home coming on the market in my neighborhood. She heard one might be and was driving around looking for a lockbox because real estate signs are not allowed where I live. I also had a phone call asking about a property I have listed and another one that she loved. Funny enough I was in the property she loved at an inspection because I had the buyer.
Each of these women had been “missing out” on homes. The first said she had an agent but there are still ways that someone with an agent can miss out on homes. An agent who is not full-time may miss a property in a hot market. Both agents and clients can look for homes but if the client is using sites other than the MLS, there is a lag in the timing of the listing. For example, Zillow, Realtor and some of the public online listing sites are very popular but pull their listings and information from the MLS. Agents have MLS access to a “hot sheet”, this shows the moment a new listing hits the market. Full time agents also spend time viewing each others properties at broker opens and talk about what they may have coming up that is “new”.
The nice woman who phoned was not working with an agent was going to open houses and calling direct. Quite often a home may still have an open house and already have offers because it was scheduled when it was listed. Working with a full time agent you would be less likely to have this situation, because your agent would show you the home privately and or reach out to the agent for a status update. Also note, not all new listings will have an open house.
Both of these ladies had been using sites other than the MLS. They have their perks in that they are easy to navigate and the mapping function works well. They also allow for some updates in status to be emailed. This is where these sites can also hinder your search by not updating you when homes are under contract, in attorney review or even sold. The MLS offers additional status notifications that Zillow (Z-low) and Realtor.com do not. On the MLS when a home has a contract in attorney review it gets market with an asterisk A*. This notification does not appear on other sites. You get really excited about a new listing only to find out that it already has an offer. Once a home moves from attorney review to “UC” under contract, only one of the sites notes pending. The other does not show at all.
An agent who is working with pre-qualified buyers will often show homes with purchase contracts ready to go. This way when a buyer finds the right home, they are ready to go on the spot. In a low inventory market this is why things are sold so quickly. It is absolutely fine to get to know a neighborhood by going to opens. If you are getting close to a decision, it is well worth your time to find a buyer agent. All agents can be buyer or seller agents but some prefer to specialize. Many even take classes for a buyer designation ABR Accredited Buyer Representative. An ABR buyer rep will expand a search in ways a regular agent may not.
As an Accredited Buyers Representative, I look forward to being the one that can best guide you thru the home buying experience. Click to see more on my website!