Keep it clean
Database integrity proves crucial to real estate transactions
Kent Simpson had seen enough.
The amount of out-of-date information he was finding on the MLS was more than he could take, so he posted a blog article in July 2015 directed at his fellow real estate agents titled “Umm … Could You PLEASE Close Your Listing? (The Data is Important!).” The Tucson, Ariz.-based agent wrote how the failure of agents to report closed listings on the MLS had kept an appraiser for the buyer of a property Simpson had on the market from being able to make a price comparison. Today, Simpson is happy to report, he is seeing fewer and fewer such cases, but he urges his colleagues to remain vigilant and to abide by MLS rules regarding timely reporting. “I don’t think some agents understand the value or the real reasoning those rules are in place,” said Simpson, now with Realty One Group – Mountain Desert in Arizona. “A prime example is in what I was writing about in that blog post. We needed those comps to get the appraiser the data they needed because they can’t count something as a closed comparison unless it has actually closed.”
The bottom line
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Simpson, who has been on the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors for the past five years, said data integrity is important for many reasons. He noted a couple of years ago he was asked by the Arizona Senate Transportation Committee to study the effect of a new streetcar on residential property values within walking distance of the streetcar line. Because he was able to rely on accurate MLS numbers, he made a significant finding. “I found that since the announcement that the streetcar would come until the moment it was built, we saw properties within a half-mile on either side of the tracks actually outperformed properties outside that corridor,” he said. “That’s another reason data integrity is important: because it’s used beyond real estate.” As for the improvements he has seen in the way agents treat data integrity, Simpson credits the efforts of the NAR, as well as state and local real estate associations, to emphasize the importance of accuracy on the MLS. He added colleagues aren't only responding to rules and regulations, but also to the need for updated information. “People are seeing the value of accurate data,” Simpson said. “I think with the advent in the past decade, decade and a half, of syndication of listings to other portals, if it’s wrong in the MLS system and that feed is going out to Zillow, Trulia and all that, it’s going to be wrong everywhere else.”
Scrub your database
Data integrity in real estate also applies to individual and brokerage online profiles. In the blog posting “Time for Brokers to Clean Up Online Profiles” by Victor Lund, a founding partner of WAV Group consulting firm, Lund wrote that most of the brokerages audited by his company averaged 10% inaccuracy in their online profiles.
If it’s wrong in the MLS system and that feed is going out to Zillow, Trulia and all that, it’s going to be wrong everywhere else.
The article, posted on WAVGroup.com, quoted Lund’s fellow founding partner, Marilyn Wilson, who said, “Offices have identities. When we audit brokerage firms, we find that companies who have moved offices rarely put forth the effort to remove the old offices from association databases, MLS databases, brokerage websites and syndication websites.” Lund suggested brokerages take advantage of times when business is slower, such as in December, to audit syndication websites. Not only should agent and broker profiles be checked for accuracy, but also the sites where a company syndicates should be measured for their effectiveness. “If you are going to share your property listings with third-party websites, you should do so with intention,” Lund said in the article.
Not only should agent and broker profiles be checked for accuracy, but also the sites where a company syndicates should be measured for their effectiveness.
He suggested considering whether the website adheres to the fair display guidelines, whether the website generates leads and what the terms of use for the website are. Slower periods also are a good time to create files on each website where a business’ data appears along with a document that contains all of a company’s administrative passwords to help the marketing department make updates to profile changes, Lund wrote. “Brokers are onboarding agents all of the time, and discharging others,” Lund said in the article. “If you do not have someone tasked with making the changes, the firm’s online profile gets rusty in a hurry.”
Simpson is happy to report, he is seeing fewer and fewer such cases, but he urges his colleagues to remain vigilant and to abide by MLS rules regarding timely reporting.
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