Q&A Series: Real Estate Uncovered, Vol 1, Issue 1

Our answers to real estate questions we hear.

People ask me and my real estate partner and husband Bob real estate questions all the time. We know many other people are probably asking the same questions. Here’s where Real Estate Uncovered comes in.

Periodically I will be posting the Q&As we’ve discussed with someone or responding to questions we’ve heard from others. If you have a real estate question you always wanted answered, email it to me. Click here to learn more about us, what our clients think about us and our track record of sales and rentals that stands at 85 and counting.

Q1: Can you show me homes for sale by other real estate agents?

A1: Yes. It does not matter who you contact. If he/she is a licensed Real Estate agent, he/she can show you the home regardless of which real estate agency sign or logo you see. If you have found three homes you want to see and they are all listed by different real estate agencies, you do not need to make three calls to schedule three different appointments with three different real estate agencies.

Why? When a Real Estate agent enters into a Real Estate Listing/Commission Agreement with a homeowner(s), he/she will “list” all information about a property on the market for sale or for rent in the Garden State Multiple Listing Service, known as GSMLS. Although there are now many internet sites where a real estate agent can now advertise/promote a property for sale or rent to potential buyers/tenants, GSMLS is basically the only site a real estate agent in this area uses to track and to search for properties/land for his/her client to purchase or lease.

This GSMLS Real Estate Listing/Commission Agreement states in part:

The Listing Broker is directed by the Owner to list the Property with the Service and to distribute this listing to Service participants … Listing Brokers usually cooperate with other brokerage firms by sharing information about their listings and offering to pay part of their commission to the firm that produces a buyer [tenant].

Therefore, licensed Real Estate agents who pay the necessary dues can access all listing information from GSMLS, such as show instructions, disclosures and any other pertinent information to aid in the sale of a property. Just choose your Real Estate agent wisely.

Q2: What’s the difference between 1.1 baths, 1.5 baths or 1 full and 1 partial bath?

A2: Nothing. In the GSMLS we list half baths in increments of one. When you see “1.1BA” or “2.3BA” it means one full bath and one half bath, and two full baths and three half baths, respectively. Other websites define half baths as “partial” or “.5″. In the case of those that use “.5″, when it is more than two half baths the site rounds up. For example, if the home has 2.2 baths, a site that uses “.5″ may say this home has 3 baths.

Q3: What’s an exclusive listing? Can you show me those, too?

A3: If it can be shown at all, most likely. I would have to call the real estate agent to see the parameters of the exclusive listing.

An exclusive listing is when a homeowner signs a listing agreement that could detail parameters such as:

  1. The homeowner(s) has agreed to list the home with a particular real estate agent but the real estate agent and homeowner(s) have decided not to activate it in GSMLS just yet. Most times, no one can show the home during this timeframe and if it can be shown by one it normally can be shown by all;
  2. Only the listing real estate agent can show the home;
  3. Only the listing real estate office can show the home;
  4. Or something else.

With the explosion of the internet and so many places where a home can be promoted, #1 is the most common scenario to allow for something like the following:

  • A home may be listed on the real estate agency’s website, other websites, or a For Sale sign placed on the front lawn for a few days as a teaser before it goes into GSMLS;
  • The seller(s) may need time to finish preparing the home for sale;
  • The real estate agent is preparing all the marketing and promotional materials, etc.

Some agreement is needed to execute and formalize the working relationship between the homeowner(s) and real estate agent. In the past, and sometimes still today, an unseasoned real estate agent will start working for the seller(s) — advising/helping to get the home in shape, spending money on marketing and promotion actions and items — only to find out the seller(s) has decided not to actually hire him/her for some reason. A person has 3 business days to change his/her mind after signing a contract.

Traditionally, a real estate agent would just list a home on GSMLS first. If he/she needed a few days to allow the seller(s) to prepare the home for sale or to prepare marketing materials, etc. the home would have a Delayed Showing attached to it. This means the home is listed for sale but no one can show it until a certain date.

Using a Delayed Showing strategy starts the Days on Market count. Since the key philosophy professional Real Estate agents abide by when we list a home for sale is to expose a property in its best light to as many buyers as possible, as fast as possible, to garner the most interest and the highest price for the seller(s), we try to avoid starting the Days on Market count. We all know if a potential buyer sees that a home has been on the market for over certain amount of days it will look stale/overpriced and the buyer will think there is something wrong with the home, eventhough there could be a good explanation.

This is one key reason why many real estate agents sign an exclusive listing agreement first to start the formal working relationship and then when everything is ready to go, activate the listing on GSMLS and thus activate the start of the Days on Market count.

Regardless of the reason, if it is not because of #1 then the seller is not being well served in our opinion because he/she is not having the opportunity for the most buyers to see the home to let the market decide on the highest price it can attain.

Always have your real estate agent check on exclusives, not you, because the listing real estate agent has to show written proof that no one else can show the home. A professional real estate agent will tell you if your real estate agent can show this to you, others will let you believe only they can so they can grab your business.

NOTE: Answers to these questions are based on our opinions and experience. All information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed and are our opinions as real estate agents not Towne Realty Group LLC. This series is also on various Patch.com sites.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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