Relisting Homes To Make Them Appear As A New Listing

By: John Harris

With the current housing market making it much more difficult for owners to sell their property, some realtors have been creatively resetting the "days on market" meter for their clients on their local multiple listing service (MLS). Though many have done so out of good intentions, perhaps not realizing that this is a violation of many multiple listing services, buyers should beware and ask their realtor to take steps to ensure the home they are interested in is not a relisted property.

The targeted homes usually have sat on the market for several months, no longer attracting potential buyers. There are many reasons a home may sit on the market too long. Generally, the reason has nothing to do with the value of the home to a potential buyer. Here are just a few reasons:

&bull There are currently so many homes on the market across the nation. The competition and falling home prices are making it difficult to sell homes, regardless of price and value offered;

&bull Most realtors show clients the new listings first. That means that a truly good home will not get the same attention as it did when newly listed, making selling it even more difficult; and

&bull New listings can command higher prices. Once a home has been on the market for a while, many buyers and their realtors make lowball offers. Seldom do owners accept these too-low offers, leaving the home on the market even longer.

Some realtors, wishing to help their clients sell their homes, have come up with ways to manipulate their multiple listing service's computerized tracking features. By pulling the home off the multiple listing service and immediately relisting it, these realtors do several things:

&bull They reset the "days on market" tracking to zero, obscuring how long it has been for sale;

&bull Realtors, who also zero out the property ID and tweak the address a bit, ensure that the database cannot track the home as a relisted property;

&bull Even if the days on market continue to track, many multiple listing services put newly listed (including relisted) properties on their "hot sheets", making them appear new;

&bull They can disguise that the previous listing was at a higher price, alleviating the perceived sign of seller weakness by buyers and their realtors;

&bull Relisting means a seller may not need to lower their asking price, since new listings command higher selling prices; and

&bull The realtor is ensuring the seller gets another run at competing in the market on a level playing field, since new listings get higher prices and most of the attention of potential buyers.

All of these factors are in the best interest of the seller. Unfortunately, a false sales history puts the buyer on an unequal playing field.

The days on market alerts the buyer and his/her realtor to possible problems with the property. Though many reasons for market longevity have nothing to do with the property, some homes have flaws and issues that make them unattractive to potential buyers. It is easier for realtors to show newly listed homes than to research homes for problems that have been on the market for some time.

To protect yourself, ensure your realtor digs a little deeper when researching the newly listed homes. The agent should investigate the sales history of each home before showing it to you. A diligent and experienced realtor will know what to look for and can spot relisted homes.

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