Garbage Only (Photo credit: Peter Kaminski)
It is an axiom among data types… Garbage in = garbage out. you can’t derive good data from bad. If you put garbage into the system, you are destined to get garbage back out.
MLS (Multiple Listing Service) data is the same way. Real Estate Agents have to use strange and unique search patterns to overcome the bad data put in by other real estate agents… in some cases because the inputting agents are lazy, in others because they are incompetent… or a combination. Mix in some “over-confidence” because they “have been doing this forever and don’t you dare think you can tell them what’s what” for good measure.
In this case, I’m talking about school district data.
Some of Butte’s School Buildings (1915) (Photo credit: Butte-Silver Bow Public Library)
One of the main motivators people have in looking at a certain area will revolve around picking the best schools they can find. In fact, the last areas to go down in value and the first to begin to rise are those with solid schools. And the areas with solid schools had less of a slide to begin with.
Getting the schools right is a BASIC part of our jobs.
Unfortunately, we can’t rely on the seller (home owner) to know which schools serve their area. Unless they currently have children in all of the schools, their data may be out of date. Sometimes, even when they DO have kids in school.
In the case of one local area, there was a re-districting that went into effect in June, 2010. A new High School, Middle School and Elementary School were added in the area. But, we are almost 3 years into this change.
You’d think that agents would have a handle on it…
Wheelwright’s tools (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well, you’d be wrong. In fact, you’d be wrong 30% of the time. Yep, out of 210 listings in this High School cluster, 64 of them had bad school data. Usually one wrong school out of three… sometimes two. I didn’t look to see if they were in the wrong cluster totally… The one area that really surprised me was that 2 of them were new construction.
One of the tools that EVERY agent needs to use is the online data from school systems. Granted, some school systems are a decade behind the times on getting districting maps online, but that is NOT the case here in Gwinnett.
But often, agent think they know the schools (since they have been an agent in this area since it was farmland) or the look to see what other agents have put in for the neighborhood… or worse yet, they look at the schools listed by Trulia (which can even be in the wrong county). So, they don’t spend 10 minutes checking online.
I expected that with the agents listing bank-owned properties over the last few years. They were churning their listings, not caring about serving the needs of buyers. But as we have moved back into an era of private sellers again, I’m a little surprised at how few agents have the right info…
And Where Does This Go?
WRONG WAY (Photo credit: CarbonNYC)
First… as a seller, how many buyer searches are you missing out on because your agent doesn’t have basic information like schools entered properly? Buyer search by school… And they BUY based on schools they search.
Second… if they aren’t paying attention to things like schools, what other details are they not noticing? I run across poor descriptions, bad pictures and other faulty data all of the time.
Third… how much actual money or time are YOU wasting, as a seller, while buyers skip past your home because the data isn’t correct? The average days on market for homes listed in this cluster over the last year with the RIGHT info is 86. The average for homes listed with the WRONG data is 108. Do YOU want to spend an extra 22 days on the market… almost an extra full house payment?
Fourth… and this is the one I don’t have the ability to find data for… how many times were homes put under contract, only to fall out of contract when the buyers discovered that they weren’t in the school system they thought? How much missed market time was there?
Want to know more? Give Lane a call…