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July 21, 2020

Help REALTORS® Help You … and Everyone Else Looking to Buy

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 sellers and buyers enter the market despite current 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 – buyers, sellers, and Realtors. So let’s reexamine some of the local rules adopted by Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® intended 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 follow the rules we agreed when becoming a member and user of the multiple listing system (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 – that we’ve seen lately is not changing the listing status within one business day of the change. Think about the scenario of a buyer working with a Realtor for a month and finally finds a home that they are excited to see. After the showing, the Realtor alerts 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 – the grocery pick-up 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 is also important to reiterate what qualifies to be classified as Contingent (as opposed to Pending). According to our MLS Rules, 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 buyer and seller, and if not completed could nullify a contract. 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, where you will find the MLS Rules, Bylaws, and other important documents. Also, our Staff is available for questions in these matters to aide 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 area. Help us make the property buying process as seamless as possible for everyone. That’s Who We R®.