This blog is an extension on the blog “MLS Data Fudged By Realtors. Watch out!” This new post might not make sense without reading it first.
One blog reader asked me, “How frequently does MLS fudging really occurred. Are we talking once in a blue moon, is it commonplace or even the default?”
They wanted a breakdown of the frequency of both the Fat-Free MLS Fudge (technically allowed which is the same agent relisting a property to reset some data like the DOMM not DOMP and Starting Price), and the Full-o-Fat MLS Fudging that is a MRIS violation, which resets the DOMM and DOMP and makes the listing look brand new, with no trace of the old listing.
Quick DOMM vs DOMP recap.
- DOMM= Days on the Market- MLS (days for that MLS listing only)
- DOMP= Days on the Market for the property (regardless of relistings, unless fudged)
Quick Full-o-Fudge MLS recap.
An agent can pull their listing and when given a 1 click option to restart it, bypass the default and put “00000″ in the tax id box. This is an MRIS violation but done so that buyers and many agents won’t see how long it has been on the market, in hopes of getting a higher price.
I can’t get exact figures. There are probably over 10,000 active listings right now in this area. The system only allows us to pull up 500 at a time. While I was able to search for Tax ID 00* (* meaning anything after two zeros), and 999*, XX* and 123* I then had to manually look up EACH result to make sure it wasn’t a new construction or condo conversion (which don’t have Tax ID’s yet and putting in “000″ is and acceptable and legit practice). Some of you might think I have too much time on my hand (maybe since I sometimes talk people OUT of buying), but I don’t have THAT much time.
So I pulled up one county and price range and did a sample analysis. 2400 active homes analyzed.
My search criteria:
Homes and condos in Fairfax County priced from $300,000 to $600,000 built before 2004.
The result was 2400. (Since the max search is 500 I had to do smaller $50k range searches and add them.)
Then I searched for tax ID of 00*,XX*, 999* and came up with about 40 results. Again, sometimes not having the Tax ID (which attaches a property to prior MLS listings) can be legit in cases of new construction, condo conversion and a couple other reasons.
So I took those 40 and opened another browser. I searched for that street address and included all Withdrawns, Temp off, and Expired to see if that property was previously listed and whether the Tax ID of 000 was used to reset the data.
I found 21 Full-o-Fat MLS Fudgings and 17 of those were from the same agent (vs a new agent taking on a listing and wanting to reset everything, which is also not allowed but not AS bad in my opinion).
So out of the sample of 2400 homes, I found 21. Which is just under 1%. This doesn’t seem like a lot and I do remember seeing it fairly frequently, so I started looking at that 1% another way.
Lets say an average buyer might go into about 7-10 homes, they probably have the agent look into about 20 homes online. That means there is a 20% (20, 1% chances) chance that you will come across a listing that has been fudged by the Realtor to deceive the public in order to get their listing sold faster.
Fat-Free MLS Fudge frequency?
So then I wanted to see how frequently a listing undergoes Fat-Free MLS Fudging, the act of relisting the property but not removing the Tax ID. This practice is allowed. Heck, one agent did it 17 times.
I couldn’t look at all 2400 homes, so I focused on 90. , the results from a price range search of $499,900 to $500,000 in Fairfax built before 2004.
25 of the 90 were relisted and had a different DOMM vs DOMP (defined above). This 25 is legit, and tells you that there is a ton of turnover of listings to a different agent. Sucks to be those that lose the listing agents losing those deals.
- Of the 25 active listings with a DOMM and DOMP discrepancy
- 15 were new listings from one agent taking over for another agent. This is 100% legit.
- 10 were the same agent (Fat-Free Fudge, allowed but questionable)
- 3 (of the 10) were relisted and withdrawn 3 times for a total of 4 MLS #s each
- 1 (of the 10) was Full-o-Fat Fudged
About 12% of listings get relisted by the same agent
About 3% of the time they relist it multiple times, sometimes 4 times.
About 1% of the listings (in the example of 90 and 2400) are fudged.
So if you look at 20 properties, there is a almost certain chance that a few were using the Fat-Free Fudge technique and probably a 20% chance that you will encounter the illegal fudging technique.
Why does this matter?
When bidding on a property, you should have ALL the available information. If a place appears to have just hit the market 5 days ago, there might be a little rush to winsecure it. If you bought it to then find out that it was really on the market for 300 days, you wouldn’t be happy that you were duped. Also the amount you offer might be lower if it sat for the same price for 200 days.
- MRIS (our local MLS system), do a better job at catching these manipulations. A simple review of all 00* would be a start. Secondly impose fines and get serious about cracking down on this. (Email me if you want an address to complain to MRIS)
- Buyer Agent Realtors, report these violations to compliance, they can reset the listings.
- Listing Agent Realtors, stop fudging the MLS or risk losing your l
- Buyers, don’t be scared, just be aware and make sure your agent double checks into this before putting in an offer. Also ask your agent if their emailed reports use the DOMM or the DOMP (most use the DOMM).
Disclaimer: The data that I collected might not be statistically perfect, but it was the best that I could do. I would be happy to work with a research person to get more exact figures. Also the Fat-Free Fudge, which is allowed, is my opinion not kosher, many agents might debate this or say it is company policy. To each his own. I just wanted to bring up the debate.
Now talk amongst yourselves…
- Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker/Owner FranklyRealty.com