Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 24, 2020

Realtors must update status of listings

We’re in the deep summer months, which traditionally is a popular time for those looking to buy or sell. Even during the ongoing pandemic, we’re still seeing buyers and sellers enter the market despite the low inventory in some price points.

Put those ingredients together, and the result is a fast-moving market.

With properties selling quickly, it can be easy to cut corners or overlook a few fundamental rules and guidelines that help everyone involved in the transaction – including buyers, sellers and Realtors. So, let’s reexamine some of the rules Greater Chattanooga Realtors adopted to ensure consistent listing data and help both buyers and sellers have a positive experience.

As Realtors, we will move mountains for our clients, but we also have to adhere to the rules we agreed to follow when we became a member and user of the multiple listing service (MLS). We must follow the lawful instructions of our clients, provided those instructions are in line with the MLS rules.

One oversight – intentional or innocent – we’ve seen lately is not changing the listing status within one business day of the change. Think about a buyer who’s been working with a Realtor for a month and finally finds a home they’re excited to see. After the showing, the Realtor tells the listing agent an offer is forthcoming, only to learn the seller accepted a contract last week.

Not only is this a waste of everyone’s time, it makes everyone look bad – the listing agent for not changing the status and the buyer’s agent for not “knowing” there already was a contract and wasting their time and the buyer’s time.

With technology, a listing agent can edit a listing status via their smartphone from anywhere – even the grocery pickup line or on their way to an appointment. Making status changes within one business day is the rule. Yet I encourage my fellow agents to consider communicating changes via the MLS sooner rather than later as a courtesy to your fellow Realtors and their potential buyers.

It’s also important to reiterate what can be classified as contingent (as opposed to pending). MLS Rules state a contingency “shall be defined in the purchase and sale agreement between seller and buyer and include (a) appraisal value equaling or exceeding the agreed upon purchase price; (b) financial contingency; (c) sale or lease of another property; and/or (d) buyer specified contingencies in the special stipulations.”

For example, just because there’s going to be a home inspection doesn’t qualify the listing to remain in contingent, nor does the delivery of earnest money. These are examples of performance obligations for the buyer and seller that could nullify a contract if not completed. However, a purchase agreement typically is not contingent on such items.

There are a lot of rules to follow when dealing with a property transaction. I urge my fellow Realtors to closely examine our governing documents at gcar.net/about/governing-documents. There, you will find the MLS rules, our association’s bylaws and other important documents.

The staff at Greater Chattanooga Realtors is also available for questions in these matters to aid all members in selecting the correct listing type at the time of entry or the appropriate status throughout the life of the listing.

These rules make a transaction go more smoothly for the buyer and seller, as well as anyone looking for property in our market. Help us make the property buying process as seamless as possible for everyone. That’s Who We R.

Greater Chattanooga Realtors is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. A regional organization with more than 2,000 members, Greater Chattanooga Realtors is one of 300 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. Greater Chattanooga Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee and Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net or call 423 698.8001.