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The Rules Have Changed in Selling (and Buying) Milwaukee Homes

View of Downtown Milwaukee, WI

Competition! You can always count on it to change the rules. I believe it was the primary driver behind the new rules for Milwaukee Metro MLS members, which affect home sellers and buyers…and there was good cause for these changes.

Lots of options exist to sell your home. You can publicly list your home (the most common), exclude your home’s listing from the public MLS, delay your home’s listing, or offer a pocket listing (Single Party). Most homeowners do not fully understand their options and may be limiting their marketing advantage in the sale of their home. I am hopeful this blog post will educate and possibly stimulate some good conversation between you and your agent.

In October 2017, I wrote a blog post about “Pocket Listings.” That information is no longer current.  As of February 16, 2018, the Milwaukee Metro MLS and the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors has changed how brokers can list your property publicly and privately. If you want a totally private listing, you have limited options and should talk with your broker to determine which option is best for you. However, you can maintain some level of privacy in the sale of your home, and here are your options:

1. Excluded Listing from MLS

Excluded listings are not really “Pocket Listings.” This option allows you to opt out of being syndicated nationally to Zillow and Realtor.com, but your home will be on a list made available to all MLS Members on the front page of the MLS website. Your excluded listing property address, along with all the other excluded properties of the Metro MLS, is shared with all MLS members. Excluded listings provide a good opportunity for Sellers to maintain some privacy from all syndicated websites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, but the property address, brokerage and agent will be known to all MLS members.

This used to be a semi-private option for sellers (there was no list on MLS) with brokers cooperating with other brokers, however, the rules changed this year as the market became more competitive. More and more, agents were “excluding” their listings in a hot seller’s market to take advantage of the marketplace. Some local members used this option as a marketing tool to capture both sides of a listing sale, providing little awareness to other members that your home was available for sale.

MLS membership stepped in and developed The MLS Excluded Properties List, making all excluded listings available to all members of the MLS. The list provides sellers with syndicated privacy, while exposing your privately listed home to all agents, giving you the best opportunity to sell your home for the best price. It is not completely private, as it provides awareness of the home’s listing to all agents and brokers, allowing for cooperation. However, it limits exposure. It also works to equalize market availability and reduce wrong-doing by members. This was a good idea from our membership for buyers and sellers. With the list, no agent has exclusivity over another and your home is exposed privately to all members to be shared with a much broader group of potential buyers.

2. Single Party Listing

A single party listing is just that: a listing contract with a single name or multiple names of buyers on the listing contract. This is a truly private sale. The home is made available for sale to only to those buyers listed on the contract. The home is not marketed or featured in the MLS or nationally syndicated sites. In a single party listing scenario, you have the option of multiple brokers each featuring their buyers on your contract and having multiple contracts.

For example, you could have a Powers Realty Listing Contract, a Shorewest Listing Contract and a Realty Executives Listing Contract all listing their buyers.  Each broker would show your home to their list of qualified buyers. Probably not the most effective way to get the best price for your property, but it is private and no list is generated to all MLS members.

3. Delayed Listing and Coming Soon

The “Delayed Listing” or “Coming Soon” Listing Status is an exceptional marketing tool for brokers developed by Milwaukee Metro MLS within the last two years for publicly listed properties. This gives brokers an opportunity to market your home publicly to all MLS members for two weeks prior to going live in MLS. This window gives the broker and seller the opportunity to stage, paint and prep the home, and create awareness for the home with photos and a full MLS description before it hits all the nationally syndicated websites.

Delayed listing status provides a fair and equal balance in a competitive market because no members are allowed into the property until the go-live date. Everyone is informed in advance and can plan their tour of the home for the go-live date. It provides an excellent way for relocation buyers to plan their visit to our great city and prepare an offer. This is the fairest and most equitable tool our membership has made available to all brokers, buyers and sellers. Love this tool!

Buyer Hint:  Buyers, you can write an offer on these properties sight unseen before they go live.

4. “48-Hour Rule” (a problematic loophole)

There is a thing called the “48-Hour Rule” that is still shaking things up a bit. This would not be much of a blog post without some juice. Here goes…your agent has 48 hours to enter your newly signed listing into the MLS. If your agent takes the listing on Friday, the MLS omits Saturday and Sunday as part of that 48-hour window, so theoretically, agents can have a seller’s signed paperwork on Friday, show the home through the weekend to their own office or company and not put it into the MLS until Tuesday morning. Over the weekend, they sold it in-house and it goes into MLS on Tuesday with an Accepted Offer icon. Yep.

Buyers reading this: this has happened to you…right? The rules of our MLS in this scenario were followed. It is a loophole. The house can be shown to anyone during this time even though it is not publicly listed yet, however, it’s possible it will be limited to buyers of the Seller’s agent or brokerage.

Complex?  Yes, but it’s better to be an informed Seller and know your options considering the stakes.

Powers Realty Group is a distinctive boutique real estate broker focused on the needs of customers delivering exceptional results. We are the trusted local experts. Call us today about buying or selling your home.

Call Suzanne Powers