Be the Sherlock Holmes of Realtors

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

 Royalty-free Clip Art: Sherlock Holmes A Caucasian Man In A Green Hat Coat And Pants Smoking A Pipe And Peering Through A Magnifying Glass While Searching For Evidence

Like Sherlock Holmes mysteries?  Who did it, when, where, how?  Another job description for Realtors, being a sleuth.  Understanding how the history of the property can bring value to our buyers, understanding to our sellers, and save us a lot of professional time.  A simple Archive or History search of a home through MLS can tell a story. 

When listing a property what does the MLS history tell us? 

  • If it had sold in the past few years through MLS you will know what they paid for it.
  • When they purchased the home in the past did they have the seller carry closing costs?
  • Did they have the home listed and it expired?  How much and condition of the home?
  • If there is a past sales history who was the Realtor that represented them on the purchase? 

When representing a buyer what does the MLS history tell us?

  • Any history of the sales price, terms of sale, condition at time of purchase of the seller.
  • Days on market, how long, when was last reduction in price?
  • If you need to stack on closing costs and need to exceed the list price, has the home been on the market for a long time at the current list price?  If so then you more than likely will have a problem with the home appraising over the list price.
  • Has the home been reducing in price level on some systematic time table?  If so then maybe you can use this to calculate where you are on the schedule.

Seller's loan amount history, how does this assist Realtors?

  • Prior to going out on a listing appointment you will know if the seller is upside down on what is owed to market value.
  • Buyer's agents will know the seller's equity position in the home and can share that information with their clients to pave an understanding as to the seller's bottom line negotiations.

Just a few minutes of research can unfold critical elements that are key to bringing our service to its top professional level and yes, unfolding the mystery.


Comments (11)

Don Sabinske
Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
Sabinske & Associates Inc.

We do not have access to the seller's loan amount history.  Perhaps your MLS give different information that what other MLS's give out for data?

Feb 18, 2009 02:33 PM
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

We can access that information through the Tax roll information through our MLS, it will give mortgage history.  This is fairly recent improvement but one I have used many times already.  Saved me on a listing appointment as I could see that the seller had taken out an equity draw on his home and increased the amount owed dramatically.  He had chewed up any equity and it put him now owing more than the worth.  Knowing this I went right to that discussion on the listing appointment and saved us both a lot of time.

Feb 18, 2009 02:38 PM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Connie, what is interesting that although all that information is there a buyer needs a Realtor to access it.

Feb 18, 2009 02:57 PM
Marvin de la Vega
Realty Source Inc - Chula Vista, CA

Great post, many times it helps to be hyper-analytical to use research as your tool. I've needed every single one of your points at different times. Knowledge is power!

Feb 18, 2009 03:55 PM
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

All of the old MLS sheets along with the public records have an immense amount of useful information. It's fun to look at some of the old MLS sheets to see what the property was like before a renovation was done.

Feb 18, 2009 06:26 PM
Toula Rosebrock
Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ - Lacey Township, NJ
Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township,

Hi Gail:

I call myself "TOULA P-I" all the time!  I just need the Ferrari...

Feb 18, 2009 10:34 PM
Cherimie Crane
Cherimie Crane & Associates - Beaufort, SC


This is a terrific post! It feels like a mini-lesson, and a great reminder to "do your homework". I am sure your clients are so appreciaitive of your level of professionalism.

Feb 18, 2009 11:34 PM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

I can see how this would be very valuable information for a Realtor to know Connie, thanks for sharing!

Feb 18, 2009 11:45 PM
Tom Ferry
Tom Ferry-yourcoach - Newport Beach, CA


Great post and VERY importnant for all agents to read! Nice work!

Passion Rules!


Feb 19, 2009 02:47 AM
Sean Dankers
Realty World Select - Fredericksburg, VA

The MLS and tax records have a wealth of information.  i look through old listings and tax records for all my listings, sales, and comps used.

Feb 19, 2009 05:37 AM
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

... I always dig around in the history and tax records if I have a buyer interested in a specific listing - I must admit, it does feel very Sherlocky sometimes !

Cheers !


Feb 19, 2009 08:35 AM