Back in the Saddle

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Shiver me timbers, it’s been far too long since my last blog post – easily a week and a half!  Oh ho what I want to know, where does the time go?  OK, so it’s been a slow news week or two.  I don’t think it’s just me – a lot of the Real Estate blogs I’ve been reading seem to have been a mite quiet of late.  OK, not thunderously silent like mine has been these past ten days or so, but still – quiet.

So what’s been going on?  Well, an interesting tidbit came into my e-mail box the other day, from the good folks at RE Info Link (REIL).  The good folks at REIL supply the life’s blood of the Realtor business:  the MLS.  There’s some big news in MLS-land:  re-listing is hereby, officially and forthwith, banned!  Well, starting in October.  This move comes at a very interesting time…

For a long time, agents and sellers have been in the habit of de-listing a property from the MLS for a day, and then putting it back ont the market the next day, so as to get a new MLS number. Also, this would reset the “days on market” to make it look like a fresh listing. Many agents just look at the new listings, because if they’re busy, active agents, they see everything as it first comes on, and if they’ve got a buyer for a newly listed property, they jump on it.   Also, listings that have been on the market for a long time probably have something wrong wtih them – i.e. they are over-priced.  It’s always the price.  Any property would sell for $1, right?  Unless it’s a super-fund site, that is.

So relisting a property is a great way to get a listing back in front of the eyes of many agents.  Often times, a relist is accompanied by a change in price (usually downward) – but that’s about it.  According to REIL, re-listing was originally envisioned so that a seller could respond to market feedback and make changes in the property or the way it was listed on the MLS – changes significant enough such that it really could be considered a “new” listing.  But in reality, this process has been abused such, and is now mostly just a cheap ploy, as I said, to fool un-savvy agents and buyers into thinking that the property is new on the market, and isn’t the over-priced dog it probably is.

I say this comes at an interesting time because now we’re entering into a buyer’s market….scratch that.  We were entering into a buyer’s market.  Now we are definitely, undeniably in a buyer’s market (though how long it will last is anyone’s guess – at least another six months, I reckon).  Better said:  we are in the first stages of a buyer’s market that may last quite some time, and many homes are going to be staying on the market a looong, long time.  It’s interesting:  in Silicon Valley, the average Days on Market is somewhere arund 30; here in Santa Cruz, it’s somewhere around 60 on average (although many neighborhoods have averages closer to 30, some even lower than that).

However, 60 is just the average – there are many homes that will be staying on the market longer than that:  90 days, 120…do I hear 150, 360?  But, take heart, would-be re-listers:  there are ways to get a new MLS number even still.  For one, you can just take your property off the market for 30 days, and then put it back on again – this will give you a new MLS number.   Or, if your listing expires “naturally,” you can re-list it then, too, and get a new MLS.

But wait – there’s one more way.  If a seller formally cancels the listing agreement, and then signs a new listing agreement – this entitles you to a new MLS number, too, as well as a new Days on Market.  Interesting.  So the only thing that’s changed, really, is that now you need a bit more paperwork to achieve the same result.  The practice of re-listing is dead!  Long live re-listing!

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