Realtor Data vs Consumer Real Estate Data

If you’ve ever seriously shopped for a home online, you’ve probably had some frustration with the search process. For example, it can be very difficult to find out how long a house has been on the market, what the original listing price was, or when the property was repriced.

As someone who works for a company that builds real estate websites, I’d like to point out that the bottleneck is not a technology issue.

Teresa Boardman offers some insight into what data she, as a Realtor, can see in her local MLS system that generally isn’t accessible on consumer websites:

Listing, and Re-listing

The MLS, or RMLS that we use here in Minnesota tracks CDM, or cumulative days on market for all homes. Unfortunatly the CDM is not available to the general public, but then neither is DOM, or “days on market”. For buyers I say if you want to know how many times a home has been on the market in the past year and at what prices then please call a Realtor, if you are working directly with the seller, ask the seller.

This is such a strange situation. Personally, I find value in working with real estate agents due to their knowledge of the real estate transaction process, home evaluations, and appraisal skills. I feel like I’m wasting their time and my own if I have to ask them to look up data points like days on market for me.

What’s even stranger is that most consumers don’t know what data Realtors have access to beyond what’s found on public real estate websites. I’m sure most consumers believe their seeing the entire MLS when they’re surfing their local agent or broker’s site. If that’s the case, Realtors are doing a poor job marketing the fact that they are gatekeepers to valuable data.

What’s your take? Do Realtors benefit from withholding listing data from public websites?

Update: Glenn Roberts has a related post on the Inman blog about who has a right to use the term MLS in their domain names.

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