The Hot Sheet
Because inventory is so tight, and has been this way for a few years, it has become important for agents to learn about homes for sale that are not on the Multiple Listing Service or MLS. The MLS feeds every public domain website out there, and is the standard source for information about homes for sale in the marketplace. Everyone has access to this data via sites like like Redfin and Realtor.com
HOWEVER, there are other sources and other ways to find you the home that works best for you. Let’s face it, if buyers can find all homes for sale on the MLS they don’t really need an agent to help them search the MLS. So the value of a buyer agent shifts to the more important elements of real estate — ensuring the home makes sense for your needs, negotiating a good deal, and protecting your side of the deal.
More and more I’m finding properties for my buyers through “non-traditional” means: networking, off-market databases, word-of-mouth, intense scouting, and Brokers Opens. Every Tuesday agents have the option of attending what are called “Brokers Opens” — like an Open House for agents rather than the public. These Brokers Opens are a tool that a listing agent at his or her disposal to accomplish a few things for a seller: test the price, generate advance interest, or stimulate interest after a listing is already on the market. Buyer’s agents who are scouting for a particular property for their clients can use this as one way to try to find the perfect home for their clients, and potentially to get it under contract before it hits the MLS.
There is no law that says a listing must be advertised on the MLS. While the MLS is an easy way for sellers to get the broadest exposure possible in the marketplace, the reality is that some sellers prefer to sell off-market. Don’t you want to know about those properties also? I can help with that! In fact, my brokerage, Long and Foster, maintains a database of “coming soon” properties that I have easy access to. Since Long and Foster is the largest brokerage in the Arlington area, this means a lot. Every one of my agent colleagues is contributing to the database, making it a hugely valuable resource for my clients.
Please let me know if you’d like to get the run-down on properties poised to come on the market, before they are published on the MLS.