Monday, May 05, 2008

MLS Property

While MLS members including real estate agents and brokers understand how an MLS works, many homeowners using alternative means to list a property in the MLS (such as through flat fee listing brokers) do not know exactly what types of property are eligible to be listed. Each Multiple Listing Service has a variety of property types which are typically divided into sections. While they vary according to local MLS, some of the most common property types are: single family residential, multi-family residential, land, commercial, residential rental, and commercial rental. Some other multiple listing services further divide out condos and co-ops into a separate section of the MLS, while most incorporate all single family property types together (single family detached, townhomes, condos, lofts, manufactured and mobile homes, etc.) into the single family residential category. In the same way, some MLS systems divide out multi-family residential into separate classifications for units available for residential financing (2-4 units), units available for commercial financing (5 or more units), and mobile home and trailer parks.

It is extremely important that your property is listed in the correct section and property type in the MLS. Even though you may think that it is beneficial to place the property in a different, more highly valued section of the MLS (such as single family detached instead of attached), this strategy is ill-advised and simply does not work. Buyers and buyers' agents do not want to waste their time going to look at a manufactured home that they think is a normal site built home. Investors do not want to perform analysis or compare capitalization rates on apartments, only to have a mobile home park mistakenly placed in the category. Likewise, some buyers may specifically be looking for single family attached homes like condos and town homes; sellers that accidentally classify the property as single family detached might be missing out on valuable buyers.

Sellers also need to be aware that an MLS typically only lists real property. Unattached mobile homes are often considered personal property. Likewise, businesses for sale that do not include real estate should generally not be listed in the commercial property section. Some MLS systems have a separate section for business opportunities; however, most states require a totally separate business broker license in order to list a business for sale, and as such, do not expect that most real estate agents will choose to obtain a business brokers license or access the business opportunities section.

If there is any confusion about how your property would be classified in the MLS, you should ask your broker. Certain nuances are specific to a particular local MLS, such as the difference between a manufactured versus mobile home (it might simply be the year built or it might be much more complicated). Likewise, you want to ensure that when you are pricing your home, you look at other homes of the same property type. Condos and single family homes rarely ever have similar valuations due to obvious differences. Understanding the different property types is one of the first steps to sales success.

Donald Plunkett is the President of Congress Realty, a $299 flat fee MLS listing company. Congress Realty has won numerous for listing volume in local MLS's and

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