My house is in the MLS, so we are good, right?
Say your friend is a Realtor in Atlanta, and you want to use him or her to list your home. No problem right? As licensed agents, we are able to buy and sell within the State of Georgia, so it should be simple. Your friend is excited and brings over the contracts and takes your pictures, and is now the listing agent for your home. He or she sends you an email later in the day with a copy of your listing, and tells you all systems are go!
And then, nothing. Or maybe not nothing, but a trickle. Certainly not the rush of activity and showings you expected the first week or so on the market for a new listing.
So what could be happening?
First, you should check the usual suspects-pricing, pictures, competition. You should have discussed and reviewed all of these variables with your agent and know how you are priced compared to others in your neighborhood. Beyond that, you need to be sure your home is in the right MLS. Yes, there is more than one. And not all agents have access to the same listing service, and that detail can cost you views, visits, and potentially time and money when selling your home.
Here’s an example-a few months back a family friend asked us to be the listing agent for her home in Dallas, GA-just outside of Kennesaw. Having been to the house plenty of times and familiar with the area, location, neighborhood etc. we felt confident that we could price it correctly and market it effectively. We researched the local papers, local Facebook groups and even the local Realtor Association, to be sure we would have access and a way to market the home to agents not in our home area. We are members of the GAMLS, the Georgia Multiple Listing Service, in addition to the Athens Area Multiple Listing Service, so we knew that our listing would get in front of local agents as well as those in the North Georgia area. But we were also prepared to discuss with the Paulding Association of Realtors how to join if we needed additional access or how to co-list with a Realtor in that area in order to better serve our client.
We were spot on with pricing, local agents saw and showed our listing and we had multiple offers within days. No problem, right? Right.
But what if that isn’t what happens? How do you even know what MLS your agent is a member of?
In every listing agreement there is a section that tells you, the client, specifically in which Multiple Listing Services your home will be listed. This is SO important, and yet is very often overlooked or glossed over. It is on Page 1, halfway down, item number 5.
- Marketing.Broker agrees to file this listing with the following multiple listing service(s) _________________________________________________________________________.
As a seller, your home should be exposed first and foremost in the MLS in your local area. Speaking to our Athens area clients-that is the Athens Area Association of Realtors. All of your Athens based agents will be members of this MLS and once put into that system, your home will be shared and syndicated with a variety of websites. But what about your friend the agent from Atlanta?
They may be a member of the AAAR, but chances are he or she is not. They may be a member of the GAMLS, or even the FMLS instead (First Multiple Listing Service, another state wide listing service).
What does that mean to you?
Well first the good news. All three of these syndicate to websites like Trulia or Zillow and Realtor.com the same way. That means your home will be seen by consumers much the usual way. But you know who won’t see it? Your local Realtors.
If your out of area agent is not a member of the AAAR, your home will not appear in a search, on a hot sheet or in a reverse prospecting campaign in the system most used by over 900 Athens area agents. That is a problem.
Case in point-last week we were working with a young lady looking to buy. She was shopping online using Zillow or some such platform and sending us listing after listing that she wanted to see here in Athens. We started trying to schedule appointments for her by searching in AAAR MLS.
Over half of them-we could not find. And the other half? Already under contract.
The ones we could not find were listed with agents that were NOT members of the Athens Area Association of Realtors so we could not even see them in our MLS search. Having a local client, and one that was searching for a home in the Athens area, we naturally search the AAAR first. But because several of the agents were not members of our MLS, we had to search Zillow, find the Listing Agents information and what listing service provided the listing to Zillow (either GAMLS or FMLS) and work backwards to find out the information we needed.
The ones already under contract? Simple, Zillow and the like don’t update with changes like Pending, Under Contract or Active Contingent. Your home remains FOR SALE until it is SOLD. So for agents and consumers, it is a frustrating hunt and peck to find the listing and then confirm it’s status with the agent only to be disappointed.
Sound like a lot of work? It is.
It may sound like a little thing, but there are dozens of listings competing against yours. If yours is hard for agents to find and show, it makes a big difference. Just last month we sold a home in an adorable in town neighborhood. It was under contract in less than a day. The price point was perfect, neighborhood ideal, it was a dream. We drove through last week and there is a listing in the same neighborhood, priced very well, just sitting there. Guess what? It is listed with an out of area agent. It is not in the local AAAR MLS. Is that the reason it is still sitting? We can’t say for certain, but we can say that visibility is key. Your home should be seen LOCALLY FIRST. Your local agents talk, network, share, and should know about great local listings so they can get them sold.
In short, use your friend from Atlanta, but make sure your listing will be seen in Athens. Ask your agent, even your local ones where your home will be marketed, which MLS are they members of, and how they plan to get your home in front of consumers looking to buy.