John in Home Buying
Real estate agents have a saying; a well-listed property is half-sold. The term ‘well-listed’ refers to the information the listing agent entered into the MLS database about the property. A well-listed property has all relevant information about the house correctly entered into the MLS. It also has photos and a description that accurately represents the property being sold. The idea behind the well-listed property is that the MLS listing should give the HomeBuyer a clear picture of the home before even visiting it.
Last month, I came across a couple of properties that were poorly listed and as a result, had been sitting on the market for some time. One particular house listing was sent to me by a client after she found it on MLS.ca. I was curious to see why I didn’t come across this house as I was also researching the same area.
After looking at the listing in a little more detail, I realized that the home did not have a parking spot. When most buyer agents search for home for their clients, they typically filter their search based on their clients’ needs. If a HomeBuyer says they would love a 4-bedroom home, but can live with a 3-bedroom, most agents would likely search for homes with at least 3 bedrooms in the area their client is interested in, filtering out all of the two bedroom homes. Similarly, if the HomeBuyer indicates that they need a parking spot for their car, agents are going to search for homes with at least one parking spot.
In the case of the listing my client found, an opportune call I placed to the listing agent revealed that the house did in fact have a parking spot. The listing agent incorrectly listed the home as having no parking, and as a result, agents who were looking for a home with at least one parking spot in that area probably had no idea this house was on the market.
Another home I recently visited ended up being completely different from what was described in the listing. For starters, the home was listed as having four bedrooms when it only had three. More importantly, the listing failed to note an addition that the owner had built behind the home which contained two apartments, one on the main floor and one in the basement. The rooms in the addition were not accessible through the main house which meant that a future HomeOwner couldn’t easily combine the addition into the existing home. Any purchaser would have to use this addition as two separate units, the way the current owner was living in one unit and renting out the other.
Now, the particular characteristics of this house did not necessarily pose a problem for the HomeSeller - there are plenty of HomeBuyers who look for homes that have the potential to generate rental income, either through a basement apartment or an addition. There are also investors who might be interested in a home's income potential.
The problem is that the two separate units contained in the addition were not mentioned once in the listing. Not only were they not mentioned, the listing agent attempted to pull a fast one on future HomeBuyers, disguising the rather particular nature of the dwelling by listing the house as having only one kitchen when it in fact had three. The listing agent did a disservice to the HomeSeller by not giving them a ‘well-listed’ property - not to mention HomeBuyers. By listing the house with one kitchen, the agent is attracting HomeBuyers who probably don’t want to generate rental income, while excluding all HomeBuyers who do.
If you are currently having trouble finding the perfect home to buy, but have come across some 'almost perfect' homes on MLS, it wouldn't hurt to have your agent verify the existence of those 'defining details' that are turning you away. If you plan on selling your home, ask your agent to send you a copy of the complete listing as soon as your house goes on the market. Read over all the details and make sure that all of the information contained in the listing accurately represents your home. After all, a well-listed property is half-sold.
John Pasalis is a sales associate at Prudential Properties Plus in Toronto and a founder of Realosophy. Email John
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