Why Do Websites Show Me Homes I Can't Buy?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747

Not all homes for sale are really for sale!Why Do Websites Show Me Homes I Can't Buy?

You're cruising the Wild Wild Internet looking for homes to buy and you keep finding a trend.  There's a home for sale, but it's not REALLY for sale!  Or it is kind of for sale.  Or it's already under contract. 

Frustrating isn't it?  And the answer to WHY is actually complicated.  Some of those homes are "accidental" and some are "on purpose".   It might be a simple as a time lag in how often websites update.  Some update within hours, others days.

Syndicating websites (think Zillow, Trulia, etc.) gather homes for sale from different sources.  The bulk of those come from various MLS, but other websites might bring in feeds too.  What happens if something goes wrong with the updating?  Either because the original website isn't updated properly or because the communications between sites goes sideways?  You guessed it, inaccurate data.  Homes that are LISTED FOR SALE may have sold months (or even years ago), or the sellers may have quite trying to sell.  Either way, you see a home for sale that isn't.

Another category that leads to confusion is whether a website is fed PENDING (homes under contract) homes.  For instance one of our two local MLS feeds PENDING status homes to Realtor.com and the other doesn't.  Once a home goes under contract the one MLS stops sending it to Realtor.com, but the other doesn't.

Another factor?  One MLS a home is either ACTIVE, PENDING, or SOLD (or off market).  The other?  ACTIVE, ACTIVE/PENDING, PENDING, or SOLD.  Notice that ACTIVE/PENDING status?  That throws another wrinkle in.  What's ACTIVE/PENDING mean?  It means the home is under contract BUT there's a condition/contingency that needs to be met to complete the sale.  It might mean the bank has to approve a short sale, or the buyer needs to sell their home to buy this home.  Once the condition is met, the home is changed to PENDING.  So these homes MIGHT offer a chance for you to buy them, but depending on the contract terms you may not have a real chance to buy it.

And as for our own personal website with full Cincinnati MLS search capability, we've set up our search engine to show PENDING homes.  Why?  Because people that are looking for homes may be driving the neighborhoods and seeing For Sale signs in the yard and wondering why they DON'T find all the homes on our site.  If the home is PENDING, you'll still have the sign in the yard, but you might think we're hiding a home from you if we didn't make that choice.  Now if you look at the homes on our website, you'll see them labeled ACTIVE or PENDING.  It's not the world's biggest type (sorry, that's preset from our provider so we can't change the size), but the distinction is there. 

If you call us to see a PENDING home, we'll let you know it's under contract.  From there, we can still go see the home (assuming the seller is open to further showings).  But typically the first step we'll take is to contact the listing agent and find out if there are any contract terms that would allow you to become #1 and not merely a back up offer for the home.

Have more questions about the home buying or selling process in Ohio?  Call 513-520-5305 or email Liz@LizSpear.com

Serving Warren County home buyers and sellers,

Liz and Bill aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

 

The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  Liz@LizSpear.com

Search Homes:  Https://WarrenCountyOhioRealEstate.com

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Rainmaker
1,063,437
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I just checked a property on one of the third party sites for a long time client.  The property sold 3 months ago. Buyers are frustrated by the lack of inaccurate information.

Dec 18, 2014 03:05 PM #17
Rainmaker
3,220,525
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

That's one reason I update my status in MLS quickly and put a pending/under contract sign on a property asap. It helps reduce the disappointment for prospective buyers. Our MLS requires a status update within 48 hours. The issue is not so much MLS, it's what the major search engines pull off of MLS in terms of information.

Dec 18, 2014 07:24 PM #18
Rainer
1,756,848
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Bill.  The information is only as good as the agents who report status changes.

Dec 18, 2014 08:15 PM #19
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Tammie, I know I'm not a big fan of pushing Pending homes to syndicators, because it's not always readily apparent to home buyers that they're under contract. 

Sharon, Have to wonder what the source of the inaccuracy is?  Agent's posting to independent site?  Bad feed to the 3rd party?  Glitch?  Either way, not good to have a home sold months ago still showing as available.

Nina, I think ours is 72 hours, but frankly once terms are met we expect to have it changed no later than the next business day.

Conrad, And there is certainly that.  It often starts right there.  Don't change status and none of the other sites have a way of knowing differently.

Dec 18, 2014 09:40 PM #20
Ambassador
1,550,128
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I've never understood why back up status homes are on the national websites. I guess they really don't care, it's about traffic. 

Dec 18, 2014 11:59 PM #21
Ambassador
2,737,782
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Karen, Sometimes something can be done to get them, but more often than not they just tease buyers with something they can't buy.  I'd prefer not to be in that boat.

Dec 19, 2014 12:16 AM #22
Rainmaker
763,002
Thom Abbott
MyMidtownMojo.com |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

Great explaination of a confusing process to the consumer for sure!

Dec 19, 2014 01:15 AM #23
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Thom, No doubt real estate can be confusing to consumers, and sometimes it's bad enough even for the agents that deal with it routinely.

Dec 19, 2014 09:35 AM #24
Rainer
484,489
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I get this complaint often from buyers who don't use a Realtor and they are quick to blame the real estate industry for these errors and not the source of their information.

Why a serious buyer wouldn't employ a Realtor to help them is confusing to me and that continues to be a challenge, doesn't it? Yet, these same buyers still continue to use these unreliable sources for their real,estate information, go figure!

Dec 19, 2014 06:57 PM #25
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Kimo,  There's more than a few places to point blame between the agents themselves and sites.  Sometimes with buyers we've had to prove our worth to someone skeptical.  Given the opportunity we can make fans out of them if we can just clear the first hurdle with them.  We have other buyers who have totally sworn off some of the syndication sites because of the inaccuracies.  That's okay with me.

Dec 19, 2014 10:38 PM #26
Rainmaker
4,165,932
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Bliz, buyers should be hitting YOUR web site to find actual homes for sale rather than the aggregates that scrap data from everywhere and show homes for sale that are not!  

Dec 20, 2014 12:35 AM #27
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Joan, And when they do hopefully they'll watch for the ones marked PENDING, because we show them too, but at least they are identified as such.

Dec 20, 2014 01:15 AM #28
Rainer
168,601
Catherine Marcy
HomeSmart Professionals - Palm Springs, CA
CA Desert Home Specialist

Just another reason to rely on a trusted agent to simplify the home search process, narrow the list down, and find the right home for the client.  Knowing a home is no longer available can sometimes be helpful  since it gives the opportunity to highlight to the potential buyer the need to act quickly when they find the home that fits their needs.

Dec 20, 2014 04:45 AM #29
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Catherine, A hot market can shift the dynamics quickly.  No time to stall, react fast or risk the loss.

Dec 20, 2014 04:52 AM #30
Rainmaker
657,672
Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Sometimes the info that is out there is totally out of date. Latest on Foreclosure sites is properties that have a Lis pendans filed. Have had numerous calls on these. Can be deceptive.

Dec 21, 2014 06:43 AM #31
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Bill, I know Remax.com shows preforeclosures and can't say I'm a big fan.  But that said a buyer shouldn't think a $300,000 home is available for $30,000 either, yet we get those calls.

Dec 21, 2014 09:47 PM #32
Rainmaker
278,502
DALIA KIBBY
Sellstate Partners Realty - Cooper City, FL
Selling Broward County Homes with Passion!

Amen! I get calls/emails from leads inquiring about homes that sold months & years ago...still on these websites! Good post!

Dec 27, 2014 01:23 AM #33
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Dalia, The further away from the source material, the more likely to have problems.

Dec 27, 2014 08:19 AM #34
Rainmaker
1,431,497
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I spend my day telling people this until I am Blue in the Face.  No matter how often you tell them they keep hoping for that miracle underpriced perfect home that no one else knows about.  

Dec 29, 2014 04:49 AM #35
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

"But Gene Papa Smurf, they HAVE to be out there because the Internet told me so!!" :)

Dec 29, 2014 06:32 AM #36
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