The Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, is a tool used by realtors around the country to input data about properties for sale and exchange information with cooperating competitors. The MLS system provides a wealth of information and knowledge to realtors and consumers alike by showing details like square footage, items included with the sale of a property and property improvements. One of the most important tools used by realtors when negotiating an offer is reviewing the listing history that is provided in MLS to obtain very detailed information about a particular property prior to submitting a bid for a client.
What Is the Listing History?
The listing history provides realtors with important information. Most commonly, the listing history will reflect the starting price of a property when first placed on the market, any price reductions and any prior offers that might have fallen through for one reason or another. This information helps the realtor evaluate how motivated the sellers of a property might be to come down on their price even more, or how quickly they will be willing to accept a good offer.
What Else Does the Listing History Say?
Not only does the listing history allow agents to review pricing information, it allows agents to pull up detailed tax records and tax appraisal records for the property. This is very important when it comes to estimating payments for a buyer needing to maintain an escrow account for property taxes based on assessed value. This will also show the agent if the property has increased or decreased in value since it was built, and provides the agent with a good indication of potential for resale value down the line.
Owners and Tenants
The MLS history can provide information on how many owners or renters a property has had pass through its doors. In many areas properties with fewer owners or tenants are more desirable as they tend to have less problems surface down the line. While the data listed in MLS will not reflect any "For Sale By Owner" transactions, it can be a good starting point to use when checking against the deed records of a property.
In addition to the other information the MLS history provides, agents can look up and review all prior disclosures from sellers uploaded into the system. These disclosures can be telling as one might list an item or problem with a property that another might not. This can help a buyer become very educated on the advertised condition of the property and its unique history.
When an individual is making a decision to purchase a home, a savvy agent knows that too much detail can be overwhelming to a home buyer. Agents should filter listing histories and information and disclose only material fact, using the data obtained therein to help guide a buyer into creating an offer that will likely be accepted. At times, too much information can be more of a detriment than a positive experience.
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