COMPUTER  LITERACY: Yours Matters!

By
Real Estate Agent with Your Friend in Real Estate, LLC

The most valuable exposure for the homes you are marketing is through the computerized MLS database, which is likely 50 times as important as whatever is in second place. If you have any question about this fact, do a bit of statistical analysis on how homes are sold. The answer is likely to be lurking in your own MLS database. Therefore, the information entered into the MLS computer is critical to your success! You are the connection between buyer and seller and your computer literacy is one of the most important factors. But real estate agents, like the general population, include a diverse mix of personalities and capabilities. Some of us are born computer nerds, and some of us will never know the difference between a bit and a byte, or between baud and bawdy. And some of us will never even care.

If you still think that your dynamite marketing plan is going to do the trick, you are way off base and thus you might view the MLS data-entry job as something to finish as soon as possible. Is it menial? Yes. But is it critical? Yes, yes, yes!

Review the MLS information for some of your recent listings. In reviewing the listing information:
-Look at the obvious items first: Accuracy of information; correct spelling; use of English instead of "Realtor-eze" (assuming that real people read these printouts too).
-Look for optional information that is not important. This should be purged, as it serves only to dilute the important items.
-Look for information that raises negative questions: Is "new sump pump" really a feature? Why did the old one wear out? Overuse? The home has a new water heater. Great, but this raises questions about the furnace. How old is it? And what about the age of the roof? Could some of this seemingly positive information be generating needless questions? Should it be omitted?
-If your MLS system requires finished square footage or map location information, are these items entered accurately and in conformance with local custom? A gross exaggeration of a home's size will mean that it will be seen by the wrong set of buyers. On some MLS systems, your listing will not be found in a “map search” if you have not entered the map coordinates correctly.
-Check the Zip code. Are any local Zip codes changing? The Zip code might determine whether agents will find your home in their searches. In addition, the zip code might determine whether your home gets world-wide Internet exposure on www.realtor.com or the multitude of third-party sites. If Zip codes are in a state of flux, should you use the old ones or the new ones?
-Are your listings all priced on round numbers? (e.g. $400,000 not $399,999) Because the home selling market is uniquely driven by the MLS computer, a little known advantage will be gained by pricing exactly on round numbers. Just think about this for a moment and the importance becomes obvious. We’re not selling used cars!
If directions and comments are to be entered, consider them very carefully. And, how is data entered (into data fields): Automatically by the system; selected from pick lists; through lookup functions; or manually? How does the data entry method impact your listing information and its relationship to how other agents search the MLS? You will need to view the entry of each bit of information as an important decision.

After you think you have perfected your MLS entry, ask your seller to review it and comment: Two heads are better than one. There are many, many ways to go wrong. But you get the idea, you have to think like a computer in order to enter the home in a manner that will maximize the number of times it issues forth in other agents searches. And when the information does pop out of the computer, it needs to say, "Come visit me." This is the root-purpose of the MLS. Like life, there is no substitute for experience and good judgment.

This article is excerpted from David Rathgeber's AGENT'S GUIDE to REAL ESTATE which is free online at http://www.davidr.net/AgentsGuide.html

 

Posted by

David Rathgeber 

Your Friend in Real Estate, LLC

Broker / Owner and NVAR Lifetime Top Producer

703 434 0773 / davidr@davidr.net / www.davidr.net

Serving the Washington DC metro area since 1987

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