By Tammie White
Sellers can live or die by the data entered into their local mulltiple listing service (MLS). This information is usually syndicated to a variety of real estate search websites including Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. Due to Broker Reciprocity this data is also syndicated to local brokerage and agent websites. Franklin Homes Realty LLC is one of the latter sites.
Our website is designed to assist home buyers in finding their search queries easily. However, the listing data is pulled directly from our MLS. The pages on our website are only as good as the information entered by listing agents. If an agent hasn't entered listing data correctly, buyers will have a difficult time finding a home.
While we see this mistake made more often than it should be, unique properties are usually the ones that are most neglected by agents. These properties may have fewer buyers searching for them but can sell quickly when the listing agent makes them easy to find.
What's a unique property? Any house or property that has a feature designed for very specific buyers. Examples include homes with a woodworking shop, guest house, oversized garage, barn, stable, storage building or waterfront access. Fencing and cross fencing are also important to those looking for horse properties.
All of these features are available in our local multiple listing service. Buyer's agents rely heavily on the data input to that source. If a listing agent hasn't included this necessary information, it's likely a buyer will NOT find your house.
We were contacted today by buyers looking to purchase a home with a guest house in Franklin TN. Like many home buyers, they wanted to begin their search online. They were having difficulty finding these homes and reached out to us. In truth, the very best thing buyers can do, especially those looking for unique features, is contact a local real estate agent. While agents rely heavily on the MLS, we also regularly show and preview properties. We may be aware of a home that wasn't entered correctly into the MLS meeting your criteria.
Let's take this buyer's request for a home with a guest house. When I performed a search in our MLS for Franklin properties with a guest house, only 17 results were returned. I recently showed a house that has a guest house but it didn't appear in my search results. At first, I thought the property had either sold or been withdrawn. Upon further investigation, I found it's still an active listing.
Much to the seller's misfortune, the MLS data doesn't include this guest house. A guest house that brings in an additional $20K in income to the sellers. That sounds like a pretty good incentive for a buyer to purchase. But, oops, buyers can't find the property.
Our MLS has a search field titled EXTERIOR FEATURES. All the listing agent needs to do is click GUEST HOUSE and this property would show up in a search. Because the listing agent hasn't done this, the property is hidden from prospective buyers. Buyers who may be specifically searching for this feature. Did I mention this is a $2.2M property?
I did contact the listing agent to alert her to this omission. As of yet, she hasn't made the change in our multiple listing service. This is unfortunate for the sellers, but just one example of mistakes we see listing agents make every day.
A recent National Association of REALTORS® survey showed that 92% of home buyers begin their search online. The majority of these buyers won't have a real estate agent working on their behalf in the beginning. Listing agents who exclude vital information online, may not connect with the right buyers for a home. When a seller's home isn't being seen by the right buyers, it doesn't sell. This usually leads to price reductions; sometimes costing sellers thousands of dollars. After many months, these properties may sell for much less than they should--all because their agent didn't enter their listing data correctly.
Another area in the MLS we often see agents making mistakes is the property description. Many agents don't recognize that this description is actually indexable by the search engines. You're probably wondering what that means. The phrases used in the property description can be picked up by the search engines. For example, I performed a search with the keywords "Franklin TN homes for sale with a gourmet kitchen". Below is a photo of several of the results.
If you were able to click on the above links, you'd be taken to actual property listings with gourmet kitchens. As you can see, our website ranked for 4 of the 10 search results on page one of Google.
Any phrase that might be used by a buyer should be used in your property description. However, your agent should choose the words carefully. Our MLS only allows 250 characters, not words, in the property description. That's not much longer than a TWEET. You want to make sure the agent you hire knows how to use the right search phrases so your house can be found.
Not sure how to find an agent who does that? Fortunately, we are well-versed in how to get your house in front of the right buyers using the property description and listing data.
Don't be like the sellers in this post who have been trying to sell their house for over four months. Instead, use an agent who will provide the right information in the multiple listing service making it easier for buyers to find your home.
Call Franklin Homes Realty LLC today at (615) 495-0752!
About Tammie White, Franklin TN REALTOR®
Tammie White is a REALTOR® and Principal Broker/Owner of Franklin Homes Realty LLC in Franklin TN. Tammie works with relocation buyers looking to purchase a home in Franklin and the surrounding Williamson County area. She understands the way buyers search for homes making her an invaluable asset to Franklin home sellers. Tammie's website, www.FranklinHomesRealty.com, has become the premier search tool for buyers moving to Franklin Tennessee. She has been writing a real estate blog since 2009 and has been quoted in various publications including the LA Times, Realtor.com, Skype.com, The Tennessean and Williamson Source. Trust your home sale to the company who has sold 100% of their listings since 2012. Call Franklin Homes Realty LLC today!