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Archive for June, 2009

National Inventory Falling

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

NAR is reporting that overall housing inventory fell 3.5% to 3.8 million units for sale in May. To put this in perspective, that is a drop of nearly 2 weeks of national inventory in one months time. (10.1 months of inventory in April to 9.6 in May) 

What’s stalling even more progress?
Appraisals….NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun has verified what every Real Estate Agent already knows…. appraisers are killing deals right now with extremely conservative valuations.  To put this in basic terms….. buyers and sellers are coming to agreements at certain prices, however, appraisers are often appraising the property at a value well below this amount. As a result, the # of closed sales reported in May is well below what it could have been.

How does information relate to Congress Realty?
We have seen an enormous increase in offers in CA, NV, and AZ over the past 8 weeks. We have also seen a large # of escrows cancelled because of low appraisels. Our sellers should be informed of their surrounding comparables and be willing to share their pricing data with appraisers before the appraisal is completed.

MLS dot Com

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

MLS dot com is coming under fire from NAR right now for the mis-use of the term MLS. In a nutshell, MLS dot com has nothing to do with any local MLS and has nothing to do with NAR. (National Association of Realtors(R)) In its most basic form, MLS dot com is simply a site dedicated to selling leads back to agents and charging agents a fee to add their properties to the MLS dot com database.  The site wants to make money off agents by charging these agents the right to advertise their own listings. How can they do this? Simple, they own the URL MLS dot com, and in short, take advantage of the phrase MLS.

Is there any advantage to my property being listed on MLS dot com?

Yes and No, the reality is that less than 15% of all MLS listings across the country will show up on the MLS dot com webpage. Sites such as Realtor.com are much more effective marketing tools.

Multiple MLS’s now forbidding the use of Mechanical Lockboxes

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Recently, it has become more and more popular for MLS’s to forbid the use of a combination lockbox on an MLS listed property. The MLS’s general reasoning is that they feel the combination lockbox compromises safety. While I agree the E lockboxes are much safer, the fact is that the MLS makes money by charging agents for E lockboxes. An agent can only purchase an E box from the MLS, thus, the MLS controls all of the revenue generated by these boxes. Furthermore, the MLS also makes money by charging monthly service fees for keypads. (these are the devices that open the E boxes) The bottom line is that the MLS profits greatly by forcing agents to use their boxes.  How can an MLS enforce this policy? Easy, they fine any brokerage that places a mechanical box on the property. If you refuse to pay the fine, they shut off your MLS service.

A few MLS’s that have adopted this rule:

NWMLS in WA
Northern Nevada MLS
Sacramento, CA MLS.

The timing of this makes no sense

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

http://www.abor.com/about_abor/GreenRealEstate.cfm

To summarize,  the city of Austin is requiring energy audits for home sales moving fwd. Sellers will be required to pay a few hundred dollars to have their home inspected for its energy efficiency. The findings are then provided to the buyer during the escrow period. The goal is to encourage sellers to make their homes more energy efficient.

I don’t think anyone will argue that we all want more energy efficient homes, however, why in the world are we hitting sellers with additional cost in Austin….. in an already slumping housing market? The timing of this is just dreadful. If you’re wondering how you can live in Austin and not have heard about this… simple… the city of Austin has done a terrible job of letting homeowners know about this new requirement. I would estimate that less than half of Austin Homeowners are aware of this.