Broker Shared Listings
Real Estate is unlike virtually any other industry in that business competitors have systems in place for cooperating with and even compensating one another. If you purchase a home that's listed by a broker other than your own, that listing broker has an arrangement for paying your broker. Whether that's necessarily a good idea or not is for another discussion, but for the time being, it's the way things are done within the real estate industry.
Part of the arrangement to cooperate with the competition has resulted in the practice of sharing the marketing of some of the listing inventory with competitors. For example, you could visit the website of one real estate company and actually see properties that are listed by a totally different company, and visa versa. Why would brokerages do this? Doesn't one company want to stand out has having more or better properties for sale?
Actually, this sharing of listing inventory has several benefits...both for the listing broker and for the consumer (in this case, the consumer is not only you, it's also the owner of the property that's for sale):
- First and foremost, the information about the properties has a high degree of accuracy because it's distributed via the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which requires:
- Information on a given property for sale can ONLY be modified or controlled by the listing broker
- There are standards of accuracy that must be adhered to
- There is substantial verifiable, written documentation that must be in place in order for the property information to be included in the MLS and potentially shared with other brokers through "broker reciprocity"
- Any change in listing status (cancellation, expiration, price changes, sale of the property, close of escrow of the property) must be submitted to the MLS within a limited period of time...generally a maximum of 3-5 days. This keeps that information very CURRENT
- Prospective buyers are more likely to find information on properties that might suit their needs because that information is more widely available
The sellers of those properties also benefit because broader exposure to the marketplace means a higher likelihood of more, and better qualified, buyers being able to find it
- Buyers are able to get a very good idea as to CURRENT pricing of the types of homes they are interested in
- Buyers are able to do active searches of available properties, changing their search criteria "on the fly" while doing so.
- Buyers can subscribe to these services to receive automatic updates to their searches as new properties are added to the MLS, or as price changes are submitted
- Buyers are able to save their searches for future reference, and can generally have multiple search criteria saved.
And all the while, the website owners benefit because this larger selection of property listings means more traffic of browsing eyes to their sites. This sharing of inventory "levels the playing field" to some degree between the larger brokerages and the small independent brokerages alike since both will have a great deal of inventory to market on their websites, While this is certainly a good solution, particularly for prospective buyers because they can have a high level of confidence that the information about the properties they see on these sites is accurate, there are also some limitations with these sites that you need to understand:
- While you can trust that the information you are looking at as ACCURATE, it is by no means complete. There are guidelines and restrictions that site owners must follow in terms of what can be displayed to the consumer.
- Not all MLS listings are included. The seller, the listing agent, and the listing brokerage all have a say in whether a particular property or group of properties will have their information "shared" with other companies publicly. In other words, you'll find lots of great, current information on a lot of properties for sale, but there will be some listed properties, that will not appear in any of your home searches. What percentage of properties will not be available in these searches? That varies from area to area.
- In many cases, you may have to provide a certain amount of information in order to search for listing data...perhaps email address, name, phone number, etc. In other words, you may not be able to search anonymously One of the nicest features of this type of service is that, in many cases, you can create numerous different searches, save them, and you can even indicate that you'd like any listings that meet your criteria sent directly to your email "inbox" as soon as they come on the market, or as soon as their price changes so they fall into your desired price range. This gives you a quick "heads up" on properties meeting your needs. If you'd like to see this type of search system in action, try our hassle free home search here, which is a terrific example of this type of home search system. You can do any number of live searches without the need to register. However, if you want to actually save your searches for future reference, or if you want to set the system up to automatically email you updated search results, the system will need basic contact information (email address) to be able to fill your request. Below is a screen shot of the basic home search by area. Notice you can also search by street address, by MLS #, by Subdivision, by Schools, and by Map! We try to make it as easy as possible for you to find what you're looking for