Pioneer Valley home sellers should always insist that their real estate agent list their home in the multiple listing service (MLS) before presenting them with an offer.
I have noticed that on numerous occasions that a home has been listed in the MLS and has been flagged as having an accepted offer at the same time. While this may seem impressive, this could only mean a couple of things:
- The buyer was able to get a showing scheduled on the same day that it was listed, the buyer met with their agent to see the property, the buyer then put the offer in writing, the offer was then submitted to the listing agent, the offer was then submitted to home seller by the listing agent, the offer was negotiated, and a deal was made. All of this also needed to have happened in a manner of hours from the property hitting the MLS.
- The listing agent had a buyer before the house was listed and had a deal put together before it was listed in the MLS.
The first option isn’t very likely given the logistics involved. A more likely scenario is that a deal was made prior to the home being listed in the MLS. Why list in the MLS then? It is so the listing agent and buyer’s agent can get credit for the sale and demonstrate that they are productive and successful agents for their own self-promotion. This is understandable, but advising a seller client not to accept an offer before to it being offered to the open market is not.
Accepting an offer before your home is listed in the MLS is a bad idea because the home seller will never know if they could have sold their home at a higher price, and with better terms. It doesn’t allow other home buyers who may be willing to pay more for your home to view it before an offer was accepted. It also doesn’t facilitate an opportunity for a bidding war, which would drive up the sale price.
As real estate agents, we have a fiduciary responsibility to get our seller clients the highest and best offer. When you list a property in the MLS, every agent with a buyer, as well as buyers who may not be working with an agent yet, will be made aware that your home is for sale. The MLS is where most real estate search engines get their data. MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN), which is the MLS of the Pioneer Valley and most of Massachusetts, syndicates their listings to a wide array of real estate search websites. These include Realtor.com, Zillow.com, and Trulia.com and many others.
It is in a home seller’s best interest to make sure that their home is offered to the public and not just to a few buyers with whom the listing agent or another agent with the same real estate agency may be working with. Doing so is only in the best interest of the listing agent or their agency, not the home seller’s. Why? Because they won’t have to split the commission with a buyer’s agent or the other agency they are affiliated with and, therefore, they will make more money on the transaction.
Other real estate agencies likely have a buyer who would be interested in your home as well. As part of our fiduciary responsibility as agents, we are required to put our clients’ best interests before our own. When you have more than one offer on your home, regardless of whether the offer came from your listing agency or another agency, there is always a chance of getting your home sold for more than the list price. A real estate agent’s job as a seller’s agent is to get the seller client the most money, not to ensure that we are paid the most money. A smart and ethical REALTOR® knows this and tries to facilitate such competition for your home.
The best way to facilitate such is to list the home in the MLS and to make sure that every buyer who wanted to see it has an opportunity to do so prior to accepting an offer. If there are people already out their looking for a home like yours, they will likely schedule a showing within the first week. If your house is a hot-ticket item, there will be numerous showings in that first week or even the first few days. Let them happen.
If you are planning on selling or buying a home in the Pioneer Valley and would like to work with a REALTOR® who will look out for your best interests before his own, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.