Well, here is the direct scoop, from a licensed Realtor no less. I consider myself an average computer user, meaning I know how the search engines work and how to use key words, so it was unsettling to find out the limitations regular folks face when trying to search for homes online.
Realtor.com does an OK job of keeping things accurate, and it will show Active/Contigent on the listing, but finding the deeper info is impossible. How long has a listing been on the market? How many price drops has it had? Did the listing expire or renew with a new agent? How long has the short sale been on? Who is the listing agent and do they have experience with handling a short sale package? Sometimes the Realtor.com database does NOT indicate the listing agent, just the brokerage office. Very frustrating if you’re a home buyer looking for quick answers.
There is a lot of information Realtor.com simply does not share. Yet, there is an entire comment section on the MLS database for agents only, more than worth an agent’s commission for details on a property. Meaning, if you’re going to drop a lot of money on a investment or a home of your own, shouldn’t you dig around enough to get the entire low down on it? Listing time, expired listings, owner’s issues (sometimes), details on condition of home, disclosures on issues with the home, etc are listed right on the MLS, very often in the never-published agent comments section. Also being able to search by keyword on the MLS comments allows for faster results to find “motivated sellers”. Try to find that on Realtor.com!
Getting all the important info is also why I like using the HUD website. It shows all active bids on a property, in addition to listing out the escrow costs and issues with the property. A lot of homes are not in livable condition, but wow, the deals to be had out there are listed in black and white, like this one:
So the next time you are thinking about purchasing a home, for yourself, or for a rental, be sure to check in with a Realtor who is registered to buy under the MLS as well as HUD. You never know where your best price may be until you do some due diligence to find it.
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