Are You Ready for MLS Enhancements?

mls enhancements

It is nice to see that a person or persons are thinking over at MLS because they are calling their mandated updates — decided without input from the membership — MLS enhancements. In some ways, though, the changes are enhancements. Are you ready? Because all listings supposedly converted two days ago. I only know this because I spotted a warning that other features might not work correctly because of the updates, um . . . enhancements.

One of the best changes are the increase of allotted letters and spaces in the marketing comments and confidential remarks in MLS. We were bound by 500 characters for so long. Not anymore. Now, with the new MLS enhancements, we can enjoy 1,000 characters for marketing and an increase from 300 to 1,300 characters for confidential remarks. We can yak away!

Although I figure the added stress will definitely backfire for some agents. Those are the agents who struggle to describe a property. And let’s face it, some properties are so boiler-plate, they have difficulty. Those are the agents, I’m afraid, who do not know how to write about a brick in the wall. Which of course I can do. They can’t even write about the wall, much less the perimeter of the property on which the wall resides.

Further, our allotment of photographs has leapfrogged from 36 to 99 photos. Personally, I’m having a hard time imagining a listing that would require 99 photos to adequately tell the story. There are only so many angles in which to shoot a bedroom. I suppose we could look under the bed. Or in the closets. Maybe inside the medicine cabinet?

And speaking of photos, MLS contacted me a few days ago to say one of my photographs was not in compliance. The way that sort of thing happens is some agent, and it is a listing agent, reports the violation to MLS, and then MLS follows up. My listing photo was not in violation. It was shot from the property. With a zoom lens, but still it was shot from the property, which is a MLS rule. MLS removed it anyway, even though it was in compliance, and frankly is not worth the energy to argue over such trivial shit. But what a pissant.

But back to the MLS enhancements. Some of the changes pertain to legal liability such as adding a field for surveillance equipment. I imagine it’s to let buyer’s agent know they should watch what they say and do within view of the surveillance equipment. So, that’s gonna put a stop to discussing the merits of the property in front of the Ring doorbell or opening the refrigerator to swipe a Coke. Oh, who am I kidding, agents would have to read MLS.

Some of the other MLS enhancements include re-naming a sold property now as closed. Not sure the reason for that. And many of the statuses have changed. Personally, I’ve always liked active release clause as a strategy, but now that is gone in favor of contingent show.

One of the clauses is likely to draw the ire of sellers, though. I’m not sure they thought this one through, but one of the MLS enhancements is to include the now required status of Notice of Default. To me, that is an invasion of the seller’s personal financial situation that is really not anybody’s business. Now, buyers will know if a seller has fallen behind on her mortgage payments.

It used to be we could enter a listing that was in default into MLS as a regular listing. As long as we could close escrow prior to the sale date, the parties do not need to know upfront that the seller is experiencing financial difficulties. I do not see a logical reason to make this a listing status because it will hurt the seller. It eliminates any negotiating power the seller could hold.

Besides, as a matter of disclosure, once an offer has been accepted and we are in escrow, the preliminary title report will show the Notice of Default. Further, the Notice of Default is also noted on the Realist, which any buyer’s agent can access to analyze. Publicizing the seller’s personal financial situation to a buyer means the seller will lose equity. Once a buyer knows the seller is hurting, buyers will attack. Just does not seem fair to sellers, and I hope MetroList reconsiders.

When pigs fly, I’m afraid. Or enough lawsuits are filed.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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