DID YOU KNOW??
- MLS Now has many educational and help options under the Help tab in Matrix?
- We also offer many educational webinars that we post on the News widget. Some of these are available for CEU credit.
Welcome to Autumn 2021
Carl DeMusz, CEO
As this year winds down, MLS Now is experiencing record high membership and homes are selling at record high prices. With that news, most would assume all is well in the real estate industry; however, we are aware that many of our members struggle to get a sale together or to closing. There are many more buyers than qualified available listings for them to acquire. Add to this the challenges brought about by the Department of Justice, (DOJ), investigating the real estate industry and whether it is serving consumers in a fair and equitable way. At MLS Now we are all about helping our participant members comply with laws and best practices.
The National Association of Realtors, (NAR), will be considering some MLS Policy changes at their November meetings in San Diego. We will bring you a full report on the action taken by the NAR Board of Directors as soon as the information is released.
Enjoy the colors of Autumn until next time.
Carl DeMusz, RCE, CMLX2
President & CEO
Quality Assurance By the Numbers
John Kurlich, COO
Have you ever wondered what the Quality Assurance & Customer Service Department at MLS Now really does? Sure, the easy answer is that they “enforce the rules”. But how do they do that? Let’s look at the Quality Assurance & Customer Service Department by the numbers. The charts or boxes below show the various tasks and activities the staff of the QA & CS department performed in August of this year.
Our automated Listing Data Checker program (LDC) processed 2,328 listings in August of this year alone. That means that of all the listings that were modified or entered during the month of August, the LDC identified 2,328 listings that contained some data or entry that appeared to be incorrect or in violation of our rules and required additional review by staff.
In addition to the listings processed by the LDC, and reviewed by staff, 761 listings were audited. An audit requires the listing office to send copies of all documents associated with that listing to the QA & CS staff for review. You will see that 246 of those audits were “random audits”. These “random audits” are just that, random. The LDC pulls them at random from our data base and staff requests the documents and reviews them to make certain the listing is in compliance. Since these are random, the more listings you have in the system, the greater the likelihood one of your listings will be randomly audited. The LDC has no idea who the listing agent or broker may be. No one is singled out. It’s just the law of averages.
The QA & CS department also received 401 Report Error emails from members identifying potential errors or violations that they came across while viewing listings in the system. These, member generated reports, resulted in 178 corrections to listings. Listing offices themselves, requested that the QA & CS department correct 664 errors in their listings that they were unable to correct on their own.
The QA & CS department also sent out 1,549 emails to members notifying them in advance, that one of their listings was about to expire so they could get the listing extended before it expired out in the system. Agents receiving these reminders were able to save themselves the time and trouble of having to relist and ren-enter an entire listing that didn’t get extended in time.
I have mentioned only a few of the tasks the Quality Assurance & Customer Service Department performs each month, in their efforts to keep your data timely and accurate. Please take a few moments to review the graphics included here. You will find that “enforcing the rules” is much more than just handing out penalties or charging fees. The Quality Assurance & Customer Service Staff are part of a team at MLS Now, working to make sure that you have reliable, accurate, timely data, and the quality tools to access and use that data in the successful operation of your daily business.
We will begin publishing these statistics each month on our website www.MLSNow.com as well as our social media pages. Follow us on social media. “MLS Now, your listings, anywhere!”
Rethinking Safety Risks in Real Estate
Cole Cooper, Media Coordinator
In today’s real estate industry, as the world begins to find a new normal post pandemic season, the market is ruled by the seller, and with inventory being low, it is causing agents to turn to more aggressive tactics to successfully secure a sale. With more personal contact increasing and becoming the norm again, danger can come from any direction at any time in this profession. From an agent worried about losing their information in cyber security, harassment from upset prospects over inventory woes, to violence and the unthinkable. The unthinkable is what happened to Beverly Carter on Thursday, September 25, 2014. Beverly was a real estate agent who had one last stop to make before she was done with her busy day. She was showing a house to two people posing as a relocating married couple. They kidnapped Beverly in the pursuit of acquiring ransom money, which turned into murdering her after that attempt inevitably failed. Her story echoes the tragic truths that lie in the shadow of the real estate world. In the years since that tragedy occurred, advocacy and exposure to the risk and danger that lies out there has started to become more public knowledge, but this start is not enough. Still too many Realtors® fall under the dangerous assumption of “it’ll never happen to me.” Too many people don’t take the time to consider their own safety until a situation arises that puts that safety in jeopardy.
Far too many have a story like Beverly, such is the case of Stefano Barbosa, a 37-year-old real estate broker of Miami, Florida, who was held at gunpoint and forced to drive to a bank to withdraw money from an ATM. After which, a struggle ensued, and Barbosa’s car drove through a fence. Barbosa was found dead behind the wheel with a gunshot wound in the upper chest. Both Barbosa and Beverly’s cases were entirely preventable. The case of Stefano Barbosa, as well as Beverly Carter’s case, raises a terrifying truth for real estate agents; that danger can come from any place and anyone. The risk that Realtor’s® face in today’s industry will not always be identifiable. It will be covert and will look unsuspecting. Such was the case of the murder of Michael Sodoro, a 70-year-old Realtor® of Omaha, Nebraska. Sodoro was meeting a client one evening when during the showing the client pulled a gun out from behind and shot Sodoro at close range in the back of the head. Sodoro was merely meeting with the client to collect the rental home’s deposit and first month of rent, when the night had quickly turned into another preventable tragedy.
Too many Realtors® are unaware of the possible dangers that are lurking within the industry and don’t see safety as a necessity until it is taken from them. For too long, safety has been neglected and seen as a luxury, or that a sale is worth the risk. For tragedies like these to stop, advocates for Realtor® safety must rise and champion this cause. Danger doesn’t discriminate and most often hides in plain sight.
Most risky situations are assumed to be involved with buyers and buyers’ agents, like the stories mentioned above; but danger prevention doesn’t stop there. Seller safety is an important, yet often overlooked, part of real estate with many variables to consider before you jump into the art of the deal. With numerous strangers looming around and through your property or listing, you need to be vigilant to eliminate the risk of the unknown. Preparation is everything in real estate; from securing prospecting buyers, elevating the aesthetics and features of the property, and preparing it for a showing, one thing cannot be overlooked. Safety for you and your seller. Identities of the prospects must be verified beforehand; it is always better to reschedule a showing than to be reckless with the people you are dealing with. Meet with prospects at an office initially to verify they are who they claim to be and to obtain any information for a client record. Personal safety must be kept as a priority above personal preferences. Never allow things like efficiency, convenience, or the desire to make a sale make you put yourself at risk. Remember to remove or lock away all valuables such as jewelry, keys, credit cards, or electronics before you start letting people into your property. Prescription medicines removed from cabinets and nightstands. While firearms, knives, and other weapons need to be locked away and out of sight to reduce risk and keep threat options at a minimum.
According to the National Association of Realtors®, 31% of surveyed Realtors® felt unsafe during a showing or open house and it is easy to see why. House preparation is more than just balloons, cookies, and refreshments. It is vital that agents are prepared to keep themselves safe in any situation. There’s a lot to think about when selling your property, but it’s important to always consider your personal safety. The selling process can involve several complete strangers looking through your home and this is not without its own risk. However, by taking the following precautions you can improve your safety. Assess how the property is marketed. Is the property identified as a vacant home, rural, or ripe with luxurious items? Do the pictures of the property make it appear attractive for criminals? These are some of the questions that need to be asked when assessing threats. During your open house, do you have a co-worker, close friend, or family member to stay with you during the process? If not, can you reach out to the local neighborhood or even local police station and ask for representatives to watch over the property with you? Even checking in regularly with someone can be enough to cut through the illusion that you could be isolated or alone. Sometimes even advertising that the open house is monitored by surveillance can be enough of a deterrent to stop a crime from taking place. During your open house it may be more beneficial to avoid or lock certain rooms that could be difficult to get out of. The less room that you give someone to corner you in the better. Adding doorbells to the home is a good way to alert you or others that there is more activity within the home itself. If you cannot have someone present with you for the entire event, it might be more realistic to have someone come by to help with the close of an open house or have local authorities check in at the end to observe the end of the event. The end of an event is the most likely time where criminals could take advantage of you or the situation so having regular check ins or an extra set of eyes around the property can only help.
In all things, safety has become far too important than to be forgotten about. That is why each of us must do our part to ensure that safety becomes the standard of the industry. The safety of a people that we are dedicated to serve is the most important factor before any desire or need to secure a sale. We must learn from the tragedies of the past to help create a brighter and safer path to the future. We must be proactive and be advocates for the solutions to the problems, not to merely fade them from our view. Safety must intentionally become the industry standard so that it becomes non-negotiable.
“Beverly's Story.” Beverly Carter Foundation, https://beverlycarterfoundation.org/about-us/beverlys-story/.
“Safety for Sellers.” The Beverly Carter Foundation, https://beverlycarterfoundation.org/.
“Open House Safety.” The Beverly Carter Foundation, https://beverlycarterfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Open-House-Safety-Checklist.pdf.
Conley, Alia, and Jessica Wade. “Man Accused of Killing Omaha Real Estate Agent Hid Body in Crawl Space, Court Documents Say.” Omaha World-Herald, 11 Feb. 2021, https://omaha.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/man-accused-of-killing-omaha-real-estate-agent-hid-body-in-crawl-space-court-documents/article_cb34b0ec-4ed1-11eb-a84d-3f5d4cb789fe.html.
Murray, Joan. “Public Defender: Teen, 15, Accused of Killing Real Estate Broker Stefano Barbosa Should Have Been at Mental Treatment Center.” CBS Miami, CBS Miami, 12 Mar. 2021, https://miami.cbslocal.com/2021/03/12/teen-henry-lewis-mental-treatment-public-defender-says/.
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Best time to buy a home this year is
October 3-9 for most U.S. markets
Realtor.com® recently released its annual Best Time to Buy Report and the majority of U.S. markets will hit their home buying prime the week of October 3-9, 2021. According to the analysis, this one week will see more homes for sale, lower prices, and fewer buyers competing compared to the average week of the year.
Based on an analysis of listing data since 2018, Realtor.com® has found that this time period offers the best balance of market conditions for homebuyers. While the current market is still challenging, especially for first-time homebuyers, the key factors -- available homes and buyers in the market -- align best starting Sept. 12 to reduce prices and competition with the majority of major metro areas hitting their sweet spot by Oct. 17.
There will be more homes to choose from
- Although the year began with extreme inventory shortages, the market began to consistently see more listings this summer adding 100,000 or more new listings in 15 of the last 17 weeks.
- On average, the best time to buy in each market will mean 166,000 (31%) more active listings than the average week and have an additional 100,000 new listings to choose from nationwide. That is 46% more than the start of the year.
- The week of Oct. 3, we expect to see 7.2% more active listings than the average week, and 17.6% more than the start of a typical year.
- If 2021 follows the typical seasonal pattern, there should be around 705,000 listings on the market in October nationwide, which is roughly 100,000 more active listings than during the peak summer season in July.
Buyers will face less competition
- Fall sees a seasonal slowdown partly driven by the opening of schools, as many buyers put their home search on hold when their children return to the classroom.
- July is typically the peak for homebuyer demand, as measured by views per property on Realtor.com®. The summer has the highest concentration of buyers looking at each home for sale, which translates to competition for buyers looking to lock down a home.
- On average, the best time to buy in each market will see 18% less competition than the July peak and 6% less than the average week.
Prices may begin to dip
- Prices and affordability remain at the forefront of many buyers' minds, especially after the double-digit price growth earlier in the year. During the best week to buy, homes may be more affordable.
- During the week of Oct. 3 prices could dip 2.6% compared to a typical season high. On a median listing price of $385,000, buyers could save approximately $10,000. And in the largest housing markets, prices could dip more than 10% from their peak.
- The best week to buy is also a peak period for price reductions, with an average of 7.0% of homes dropping their price. Based on inventory estimates, this could mean roughly 50,000 homes nationally will see price reductions.
- An added help to buyers: mortgage rates remain near historical lows (2.87% in August).
Homes are selling a bit slower
Homes have been selling at a blistering pace, forcing many buyers to make a purchase sight unseen, or to make more concessions to close a deal. But the best week to buy should bring some relief to those who need more time to make their decision.
- In June, the national median time on market for a home was just 37 days, down from 56 days in 2020.
- On average, home buyers will have 7 additional days to consider a home.
- During the week of Oct. 3, we expect the pace to slow by 18%, compared to the peak pace earlier in the year. That means by October, it should slow to about 44 days.
NEW MEMBERS Q3 2021
|Qusai Abu Hammad
||Cheryl Mueller Estergall
||Rosario Torres Bermudez
||Mary Jo Ugolini
|Diana Calderon Castro
|Enrique De La Mata