What the History From the Sacramento MLS Will Disclose

Old booksAs a real estate agent in Sacramento, I am fortunate to have access to a vast network of private subscriber information that is unavailable to the public. Oh, the public is clamoring for listings, meaning homes for sale and, if they peck around on enough websites they can piece together a string of homes that may or may not be available. Not to mention, a real estate agent can give a buyer access to MLS information directly through MetroList Prospector, with a portal and all kinds of goodies. But an agent can’t give a buyer or a seller access to behind-the-scenes information, and that’s where the all of the crucial data lies. The “meat” is not in the square footage or sales price.

Maybe it’s my title and escrow background that makes me naturally inquisitive. I used to search title and liens for First American Title in the early 1970s. Uh, oh, I almost typed that date as 1907. Transposing the digits would probably no difference to most people; whereas to me the 1970s seems like it wasn’t all that long ago, but further down the path than, say, 1990s. Although the 1990s was yesterday, you know, and I still haven’t adjusted to the 2000s. What, what, new millennium?

My how time flies when we are researching the history of property through the Sacramento MLS. The MLS provides access to other links containing essential data ripe for exploring through other companies as well.

One can learn so much by looking at history. For example, when I take a new listing, I will study how many times it has been listed before and by whom and when. I pay particular attention to the Days on Market. Those days on market could become mine. I might not differentiate much between the 1970s and today but I do recall — without question and with superior clarity — what the real estate market was like in any given time period since then, let’s say, 2004. If I spot a home that sold in 2004, and it was on the market for longer than a few weeks, there was most likely something wrong with the listing.

Then I have to figure out the defect. Was it price? Location? Condition? Agent expertise? I blow the dust off the comps from back then, flip through the photos, pull up the agent’s license and background. If I see that the home has been withdrawn from the market repeatedly during all sorts of real estate markets — including hot and cold real estate markets — then it might be a seller problem. I have to ask myself if I want to take on that kind of problem. I love challenges. I thrive on challenges, actually, but I try to draw the line at working with assholes and crazy nut jobs.

I recently skirted one such situation. A seller called, seemingly desperate to sell a couple of homes in South Sacramento. The prices she wanted were out of the realm of reality but I sometimes agree to take overpriced listings if other factors are compelling. Let’s just say during my discovery phase, not one of the other elements was compelling. Nada. So, those potential listings were not listings. It was an exercise in futility and, while the 1970s might not seem like that long ago, one would hope that I have learned a thing or two along the way. Experience is invaluable.

Subscribe to Elizabeth Weintraub\'s Blog via email

Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.