Buying a House or Condo in Today’s Vancouver Real Estate Market

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Why you should know the history of an MLS listing

When I work for a buyer and we are filtering through many MLS listings to find the ones that are worth viewing, I always want to know the history of the listing. I want to know if there are any hidden red flags. It’s December 2018 and the market has shifted to a buyer’s market and this means that listing agents are having to work hard to bring their listing to the market so that it will get the potential buyer’s attention. This can sometimes lead to over emphasis, exaggeration, too much talking (if you know what I mean), and above all listing information that is not exactly true or correct or maybe in the grey zone. I wrote an article a while back about square footage and what buyers need to know however the listing history is another area that must be looked into because it can tell a story that needs to be told.

Last week I was showing a listing to a client after I had done my homework and before we viewed the property. My client and I discussed the important facts and agreed it was worth a look. The listing agent met us at the lobby and proceeded to take us up to the suite. It was a 2 bedroom and den condo with 1875 square feet and amazing views in a Triple A building. There are times when I like to ask the listing agent a question that I already know the answer to  – sounds strange but it tells me a lot. We were only a few minutes into the viewing and I had not even had a chance to ask one of those questions when the agent came up to us and casually mentioned that it was a new listing and that it had only been on the market for less than a week. Remember all those important facts I mentioned that my client and I had reviewed? Well, one of those facts was the listings history which included when it was bought, how many owners had previously owned the condo, how many times the condo had been listed since its occupancy permit and how long and how many times it had been listed under the current owner as well as the pricing history. In my opinion this particular listing agent just ruined his credibility in less than 10 seconds when he gave us this piece of info. This is because the condo had been listed with a different real estate company over the past six weeks with no sale. So, in fact, this listing is not new and for all intents and purposes it had been on the market for over 42 days. Further more, it was only off the market for less than 10 days until it was relisted with a different real estate company.

Knowing the history of an MLS listing that you or your agent has deemed to be worth viewing is not to catch the listing agent off-guard or to determine his or her credibility. Knowing the listing history is vital because it can provide important information. This information will assist one in how to proceed if there is a potential to want to make an offer on the property. Knowing the history is one of the first areas I look at when doing my research for my clients.

In summary, the history is important. I remember when I was at UBC in the 80’s and we had to drive out to the auditoriums and stand in line to sign up for our required courses and filler courses (pre-computer years). Sometimes the easy electives would fill up fast and I would be too late. I can still remember looking across the way at the history classes and saying to myself “nope I think I will pass.” It is now 2018 and decades later, if I could take a time machine back I would be first in line to Political history, Art history etc. Because how do we really know where we are at if we don’t know how we got here? That goes for properties too.

If you have any questions please contact me by phone or email. I am always happy to hear from you.

Written by Don Urquhart – Vancouver Real Estate Agent

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