NWMLS Makes Some Changes for the Better

A couple of changes were announced by the NWMLS this month regarding the way they interface their internal system with publicly-viewable sites. They have been covered by other local blogs, but I thought they would at least be worth mentioning here. If you spend a lot of time tracking individual local listings on sites such as Redfin or Estately, these changes may be interesting to you.

The first change is that homes with pending offers that previously remained visible on listing sites with the status of “Subject to Inspection” will now be taken completely off the market and all listing sites. If the deal falls through, they will go back on the market. It is not clear to me whether the MLS number for the home will change when this happens.

For the full scoop on this change, check out this detailed post from Jim Reppond over at RCG.

The second change is a welcome one, as it finally addresses the issue of false advertising that we have discussed here in the past. Previously, if a listing was taken off the market and re-listed, the “days on market” number shared by the NWMLS with public listing sites was reset to zero, even while the internal NWMLS database maintained a secret cumulative days on market statistic (CDOM) that indicated the true total time a home had languished on the market.

Starting next month, CDOM will be available for display on all the listing sites.  Additionally, the price history for listings will also be available (although this has been displayed on ZipRealty and Redfin for some time, they have been tracking it themselves, rather than grabbing it straight from the NWMLS database).

All in all, I think these are a series of good moves by the NWMLS, which continues to be one of the most open multiple listing services in the country.

For more information on these changes, check the links below:

(Jim Reppond, Rain City Guide, 06.02.2008)
(Jim Reppond, Rain City Guide, 06.19.2008)
(Aubrey Cohen, Seattle P-I, 06.23.2008)
(Elizabeth Rhodes, Seattle Times, 06.25.2008)

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    jack fitzwitz says:

    “It is not clear to me whether the MLS number for the home will change when this happens.”

    Can anyone find out if the MLS # changes? If it does, VERY SKETCHY

  2. 2
    Ray Pepper says:

    RAIN CITY GUIDE.. What use is that site? A network of Agents and Mtg reps. The Mtg Reps on that site cling to their Agents when in fact they should be advising all their clients on HOW TO BUY REAL ESTATE. But, noooooooooooooooooooo. Can’t cross that line. “My Agents are a source of my LEAD GENERATION. ” I know that in every transaction if the client used 500 Realty they could bring no money or far less to close but Raymond, I cannot tell them that”…………..

    Yes, all my blogs get deleted from Rain City. I tell the truth and they delete you. I go the News Tribune and SHOUT…..For God Sake EDUCATE THE PUBLIC on the ONLY way to BUY REAL: ESTATE in 2008 and Beyond…and i get deleted.

    I scream EVERY HOME ON THE MLS has money that is the BUYERS and yet they cannot print it because the advertising BUDGET will be crippled on the Sunday Real Estate Section.

    Can you imagine a News Story that says…Dare to buy a home in this environment? Well if you do.. lets check out offerings and services from some local real Estate Companies….!! A nice chart with a big FAT 0 in front of major Brokerages. Then 500 Realty and Red Fin…. I know its a dream but…hey just wanted to put it out there.

    Be happy you King County bubble heads get write ups on Red Fin. In Pierce and Thurston county……shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… Did I mention I can’t stand Rain City Guide?

    Ray Pepper

  3. 3
    Matt says:

    do you know what the time frame to reset CDOM is for a house being taken off the market and then relisted. For example, if I put my house on the market, take it off, and put it back up *1 month* later, I assume the CDOM is not reset to zero. How about *6 months* or *12 months*?

  4. 4
    deejayoh says:

    Ray, you’re just mad at RCG because you’ve been called out for spamming so many times.

  5. 5
    NotaBull says:


    Again, your POSTS are not “blogs”. You are not a blogger, because you do not have a blog. Other examples:

    -You’re not a surfer if you don’t surf
    -You’re not a driver if you don’t drive

    Once you understand that the blog you are POSTING on does not belong to you, and that you are a guest there, then maybe you will begin to have some respect for the place.

    I wonder what it might be like to meet you at a party. Imagine the scene… You turn up at a relaxed summer BBQ with friends and relatives. Everyone’s having a great time, relaxing, laughing, drinking and eating burnt food. A stranger approaches and says, “Hi, I’m Bob, enjoying the party?”. Your eyes widen, your heart rate shoots up as adrenaline surges through your body, and you proclaim, “For God Sake EDUCATE THE PUBLIC on the ONLY way to BUY REAL: ESTATE in 2008 and Beyond. GEMS GEMS GEMS GEMS!!!!!!!”.

    Stop preaching. Stop your excessive advertising. Stop being such a nut job. Then, you probably won’t get your posts deleted.

  6. 6
    Ray Pepper says:

    Dee Jayoh I was called a toad or something like that..I forgot what it was…Someone who diverts the topic on hand to something else. Whenever I see that Rain City Guide I get sick. I apologize for being toad like. I was very behaved over there until I began to tell the truth.

    Tim… Just delete me like all the other blogs when I get out of line. Its OK. I’m used to it. I think I will get my satisfaction seeing these GIANT 500 Realty SIGN HOLDERS (that start next week) at the intersections trying to educate the public. Maybe that will be loud enough for me.

    I’m sorry Notabull. After years in the military with that stupid Dont ask Dont tell policy and seeing and hearing how many gay women and men worked around me in the medical field but had to keep it quiet….It just infuriated me.

    Now 15 years later in Real Estate I see the same SHHHHHHHHHHHH…When it is the biggest NO BRAINER in the world…If I have to hear one more time…”Ray you didn’t tell my client what your company does did you? Ray, can you please resubmit your offer and take off the ICON symbol that says 75% back to the buyer, please? Ray, can you please…………

    Good God!

  7. 7


    Tim, your statistics are great, don’t get me wrong. Its just I can save myself a whole lot of time just driving around and sampling/viewing the local economy and real estate health in general (they’re Tweedle Dee and Dum) as follows:

    Count the “For Lease” sign increases
    Watch a For Sale sign and see how long it stays there
    Go to your local restaurants and count empty booths
    Go to the movie theaters and count empty seats
    Go to Walmart and check out empty parking lot spaces
    Count the gas stations that close and never re-open later
    Count the grocery stores that close and never re-open again
    Go to the grocery stores and count the empty parking slots

    But you know, you can make even “chopped liver” seem delicious, if you point out a couple dumb buyers that gobbled it down for $40/plate. It doesn’t make it delicious, no, not at all.

  8. 8
    obelus says:

    CNBC reports that about a third of the sales are distressed (REO, short sale). A historical high?

  9. 9
    Sandy says:

    Matt–if I remember right the timeframe for resetting CDOM is 180 days off market. I could check that but I’m sorta busy today. Pretty sure I’m right though.

    Tim–As I understand it, if a deal falls through in the Pending Inspection or Pending Feasibility phase, it should act just like it did previously, where it goes back to Active and keeps its MLS number.

  10. 10
    ARDELL says:

    “If the deal falls through, they will go back on the market. It is not clear to me whether the MLS number for the home will change when this happens.”

    Generally not. When you change a status from one to another, as in Pending to Active or Pending to Sold you are using a drop down menu. Anytime you change any information on a listing, even if it is a word in the public remarks section or a photo, you hit “Submit” and the change is made without the mls # changing.

    The only way an mls# changes is if you are re-entering the entire listing from scratch. Say the expiration date is 6/30/08 and the seller doesn’t sign a form to renew that listing by the expiration date. Or the seller cancels the listing thinking he is going to rent it, and then a week or two later changes his mind and puts it back on market either with the same agent or a different agent.

    Anytime a listing is GONE by expiring or by being cancelled, it needs to be re-entered from scratch and the only way to do that is to enter it as “a new listing” and it gets a new mls #. For the mls # to carry forward with the new info, the changes have to be made while that mls # is still actively in the system.

    What apears to be “sketchy” from the public view often has a reasonable explanation. I have a listing in Green Lake. I had to cancel the listing immediately when vandals came in and caused damage. The property was unsafe at that point and I had to remove the lockbox immediately and cancel the listing. After we resolve the unsafe issues, I will be bringing it back on market at a new price reflecting the damage done. It will get a new mls#. I am not doing it to GET a new mls #. It’s just how the system functions.

    Hope that explains things a bit.

  11. 11
    The Tim says:

    Thanks Ardell!

  12. 12
    ARDELL says:

    P.S. There is a “temp of market” status for taking a property off for a few days. Say the owners are packing and moving and you want to take the property off for 3-5 days. You use the drop down menu and change the status to “temp off market” and that will allow you to bring it back and retain the mls#. I have one like that right now, but I just changed the “phone to show” to my phone number temporarily and poste “no showings until late Monday” in the agent only remarks, rather than remove it from the public sites with a “temp off market status”.

    If a property is going to be off market for an extended period of time and brought back in a different form with changes to the property itself, then a cancel and re-list with a new mls# is more in order. To some extent it’s the call of the agent and owner which method makes the most sense in a given situation. The mls fines agents who abuse the system.

    If you report the changed mls#, the mls will question the agent and fine them if they don’t have a valid reason for the change. Often the mls will allow a new number if the price changes by 5% or more, if a new kitchen was added, if anything has changed about the property that warrants a new number in their opinion. Reducing the price by a nominal amount just to have it appear on “the agent hotsheet” is a fineable offense, especially if done repeatedly by the same agent.

  13. 13
    ARDELL says:


    The word you are looking for is Troll.

  14. 14

    Thanks, Ardell. I knew Ray wasn’t a toad. Toads are short, loud, and have no fur or hair. But as far as I know, Ray doesn’t have green skin. Poor toads.It ain’t easy being green.

  15. 15
    Greg Perry says:

    And I think The Tim is more patient with your trolling than I certainly would be. Why don’t you pay him for your ads?

    I welcome any NWMLS changes that increase accuracy!

  16. 16
    Greg Perry says:

    Heck, I’m short and have no hair. Does that make me a toad? (At least I’m not green)

  17. 17
    biliruben says:

    LOL! You are currently looking VERY hairy, Greg. Woof.

    Can Joe-Blow report what appears to be obvious abuse of MLS by relisting, or does it have to be a member?

    If so, Whats the number!!

  18. 18

    Voice: (425) 820-9200; (800) 541-0455
    Fax: (425) 821-3705; (888) 821-3705


    Aove are the numbers for NWMLS. Since the mls is a Broker to Broker site, I’m not sure what their policy is regarding consumer complaints or questions. I doubt they would ignore you, though I’d suggest faxing them the mls# and your confusion rather than accusing. You can say “this appears to be misleading to me as a member of the general public, can you please tell me why…?” In other words, assume that the agent had a good reason for doing what they did, but explain how it is confusing to you as a memeber of the general public viewing the change on a public site.

    If someone is doing something that is misleading the public, and they are a member fo the Board of Realtors, then a complaint CAN be filed by someone from the general public, especially a buyer or seller, via the Board of Realtors. There is a form to file the complaint and you have to read the Code of Ethics (available by Googling it) and note the Section of the Code you claim the agent is violating. It’s not a simple procedure to file that complaint, but well worth doing if you think an agent is really being “VERY SKETCHY” to use Jack’s words in comment #1.

  19. 19


    You are welcome. It was easy form me to make the correction since I was the one who was trying to be helpful to him by explaining what a troll was. I even offered to meet with him to help him maneuver on blogs appropriately. He chooses to hate RCG for MY actions. I am not RCG…I am ARDELL. Not fair to hold those who own the site or participate on RCG responsible for my actions. I take full responsibility for whacking Ray upside the head. But I did and still do offer to help him understand the basic etiquettes of using blogs. It’s a shame he doesn’t take me up on it, as I am more than happy to explain how he actually can promote his company via blogs. He’s just not doing it right.

    Ray – buy me a cup of coffee in Kirkland and I’ll be more than happy to assist you.

  20. 20
    biliruben says:

    You rock, Ardell.

  21. 21
    budbrad says:

    I disagree about the listings being pulled when there is an offer on the table. I think they should still be active even if under offer.

    I’ve done about 10 RE transactions, and I’d have to say that over 50% of them had an offer that when away for some reason. Especially in a soft market, you are just begging for offers if you are a seller. If someone makes an outrageous offer, you might consider it if you knew you weren’t going to get another offer soon.

    This is just market manipulation to match buyers and sellers ASAP, vs letting the free market rule. And of course, in 5 years, if we are back to a strong sellers market, and there are multiple offers flying around, they’ll eliminate this measure altogether, under the guise of…… the free market.

    Also, I know of a specific example where a family in Carnation were selling a few years back. They had no idea where the market was, and they listed the home with JLS. The listing went up on MLS, and I was really really interested. It was a deal and in a location I coveted.

    I called and called to get the realtor to show it and he NEVER returned my call. So I went to the home, and asked the owners if the house was sold, and they said No. I told them I was really interested, and they said call the realtor. (They weren’t the ripest apples in the bunch if you get my drift.) I told her I’d give her $200k for it. (It was listed at $160k)

    So, since I was in the market, I continued to look at homes. I found another one, and walked thru a few days later. The owner was there, and in conversation, found out she was a realtor for JLS. I asked her why she was moving, and she said because she found a place in Carnation that was a really good deal.

    Bottom-line: The two realtors colluded to keep the listing off the market and park it under “offer pending” for months until the JLS realtor could sell her home to free up the money to buy the Carnation home.

    It was only by chance that I found all this out. But with this new measure of taking homes off the MLS DB, I would never have discovered it.

    We shouldn’t be applauding an approach that hides data. Period.

  22. 22
    redmondjp says:


    By the same token, car salespeople and their relatives get first dibs on the nicest trade-ins as well, before they are either put on the lot or sent to the dealer auction.

  23. 23
    TJ_98370 says:

    Right from our very own Seattle PI. If posted earlier elsewhere, I must have overlooked it.
    State wants to yank Countrywide’s license

    State regulators are seeking to revoke the license of Countrywide Financial and fine the nation’s largest mortgage lender $1 million after its investigation showed it engaged in alleged predatory practices.

    “The allegation offers evidence that Countrywide engaged in a pattern to target minority groups and engage in predatory practices,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said at a news conference Wednesday, on the same day that Illinois and California sued Countrywide over unfair lending practices…..

  24. 24
    TJ_98370 says:

    The Countrywide story is also discussed in RCG
    What do Governor Gregoire’s actions mean…..

  25. 25


    I think you are misunderstanding a couple of things:

    1) “Offer on the table” as in not yet accepted, does NOT remove a listing from the public sites, nor does it change the status in any way. It doesn’t come off the site unless an escrow is open, and escrow is open during an inspection or feasibility study. The owner cannot accept another offer during that timeframe, except as a backup offer.

    2) If there is an contract “contingent on the sale of the house” then it gets a “Contingent Status” and those properties DO appear on public sites and a buyer without a home sale contingency CAN make an offer during that time. If the seller accepted a long closing without a house sale contingency, then it would NOT appear on the public sites. It is not “parked” in pending…it is IN ESCROW and the owner is not free to accept other offers while in contract with another buyer except as a backup offer. A backup offer is accepted by the seller, but “parked” and only valid in the event the first contract that is in escrow fails.

    It would be too confusing to the general public to post all Pending transactions, and would be considered “false advertising” under our licensing laws to suggest a property is available to purchase, when it is not.

    Hope that helps.

  26. 26

    But as I understand it, those STI still accepting back up offers will also be no longer on the public websites, and that doesn’t seem on the face of it to make a lot of sense.
    If your seller still wants to see backup offers, as a fair number of signed purchase and sale agreements never come to fruition, doesn’t it hurt every party from removing those from public listings?
    Or am I missing something?

  27. 27
    jon says:

    That is what “Pending BU Requested.” is for.

  28. 28
    Ray Pepper says:

    You got it Ardell. I WILL buy you a cup of coffee. Although I would rather give you a T shirt and a Costco Hot Dog at our Open house on Aug 10.

    I will try my best to not be a troll. I have 3 kids with 1 more coming next year and as I tell them “Never use the word hate.” My remarks “I can’t stand RCG and RCG makes me sick” sounds better. But, I can change my mind easily if I decide to ever blog there again.

    Until then Seattle Bubble is my outlet and the News Tribune. However, I tend to get deleted over there when I start yelling ” Come on now—-Stop telling me Editorial is different then Advertising…..Do a story on How to BUY REAL ESTATE…People in Tacoma NEED TO KNOW…..They have NOT EVER HEARD OF RED FIN…..1 Damn story ! Heck interview REAL PEOPLE who want to talk about us. The testimonial section continues to GROW and day after day we hear…”How come everyone doesn’t use you? I still don’t believe it!…Is this legal? Why doesn’t everyone do it?…………..over and over…

    My blood pressure is going up again….Time to watch the Family Guy “Syrup of Ipecac” episode. That always gets me to relax..

    Ray Pepper

  29. 29
    ARDELL says:

    LOL, RAY!!! You are not “blogging” you are “commenting”. Someone already told you that. Do you ever listen?

  30. 30
    ARDELL says:


    EVERY pending sale can take a backup offer. In every state every offer must be presented until the property closes. Any time you see a sign in front of a house, you can bring a backup offer. That is true whether it is subject on inspection or 5 days from closing or if the seller “invites” you to or not.

    The problem with showing those that “invite” backup offers on public sites, is that every other seller is being shorted. So next thing you know every single Pending listing will be on the public sites too. I guess that’s OK, but it will be a whole lot harder for people to find the ones that are really for sale, so be careful what you wish for.

  31. 31
    david losh says:

    Days on the market is a dangerous thing for Real Estate agents.
    A typical tactic used by today’s agents is the phone call in a hurried out of breath manner of the new listing that just came on the market. The agent tells the buyer they better rush right over because it could be gone in a matter of minutes. It’s a screaming deal I tell you and you better jump on it or some one else will.
    Now we have the pending sale status that takes it from view and even with a Back Up offer requested who is really going to waste the time?
    By the time the property comes back onto the market, if it does, it’s old news and passed over by the Real Estate community.
    A good deal is a good deal no matter how long it’s been for sale. The days on the market is there to encourage lower offers and I don’t think it’s working.
    I’m just saying that the time the Real Estate community needed to be proactive was when it was busy running up prices and telling both buyers and sellers that values were going up because of low interest and easy credit. Today we see a bunch of this smoke and mirrors feigned concern for the public transparency when it actually does nothing for anybody.

  32. 32
    Greg Perry says:

    david losh,
    Let me see if I have your thoughts right.
    In this market, agents snap their finger on a new listing and “poof” …..it’s pending.

    (who thinks it’s that easy? )

    Then if it comes back on, its old news and passed over.

    (I guess in today’s Internet age the even consumer can’t find this property ever again. I guess I can’t ever show it?)

    Then a good deal is a good deal no matter how long it’s been for sale.

    (Hmmmmm this is just weird in my way of thinking. Come to think of it I was working with a Seller of an expired property the other day who was convinced his house was a good deal at $610k. He had 265 days CDOM, and he was still convinced it was a “deal”.

    The days on market are there to encourage low offers.
    (If CDOM shows 265 days, you bet your bippy!)

    But you don’t think it’s working.
    (Have you tracked the “New Listings vs. Price reductions lately?)

    The Real Estate community responsible for run up prices?
    (It seemed to me that lots of buyers were competing for few listings)

    When it does nothing for anybody.
    (Nothing?? for Anybody??)

    DL, is there anything about the NWMLS that you like and agree with?

    Is your position that you want to hide all pertinent information? Maybe he NWMLS should just roll over and quit trying to create transparency.

  33. 33
    Greg Perry says:

    “Days on the market is a dangerous thing for real estate agents”

    I just shake my head……

  34. 34
    biliruben says:

    David Losh for President!

  35. 35
    johnnybigspenda says:


    have you considered a ‘user rating system’. That way people can recommend posts, or put a thumbs down on usless / troll type posts. (ie. sickening advertisements ect). Maybe if a user gets enough thumbs down, he will realize that he is devaluing his own brand by his shameless (and I meant truly shameless) self promotion.

    good lord Ray… you used to be so cool… what happened to you man?

  36. 36
    johnnybigspenda says:

    I too am a little confused about why they would want (or why we the users) would want to have listings disappear while there is an offer on the house. Does that mean if a low baller puts an offer on the table that me as a seller (and I’m not a seller today, but someday) has to take down my ad and deal with the joker (if even for a day?)

    Basically the sellers are forced to sit in the penalty box while they are evaluating their offer…no chance for a better (possibly non-contingent) buyer to come along and bid it up.

    Something seems strange about the MLS’s plan…. I think the main reason they want to do that is because it will immediately have an effect on the inventory levels by LOWERING the number of homes ‘officially’ on the market. Say 1 in 50 or 1 in 100 homes in the market have some kind of offer pending on it.. that decreases the inventory (since they can officially remove the listing) by 1-2%…and to me, thats a conservative number.

  37. 37

    The listing would not disappear when the offer was on the table. It would disappear when there was a signed purchase and sale agreement. Up until now, the listings would remain up while it was subject to inspection, and the inspection can change a lot of things, from the buyers demanding a lot of repairs to a lower agreed upon price to the deal falling apart…Seems to me that I’m seeing a fair number of subject to inspection homes that become active listings again, and by removing them from public listings, it penalizes the seller because it delays things- the buyers don’t know about the property even when the seller will accept backup offers.

  38. 38
    Andy says:

    I’ve noticed several new listings in the Olympis area come up on NWMLS and are immediately STI…and I mean immediately…then I see them a while later and they’re no longer STI and they languish.

    I wonder if some agencts falsely mark them STI in an attempt to make it look as though there’s interest from buyers that simply don’t exist…and when the non-existent deal falls through some poor slob gets suckered into buying it thinking he got a lucky break.

    Anyone else notice this?

  39. 39
    Ray Pepper says:

    Johnny, I was never kool. I have been fat and bald since I was born. I must admit we have received alot of customers from Bubble and the News Tribune. I get emails all the time. The bashers tend to be people in the industry or “others”.
    It appears some like my babble and others don’t.

    As for devaluing my own Brand. Johnny… As long as people buy right. I’m very happy. Its the ones that do NOT know I target. This concept is not allowed in many states and the citizens here should be very happy that we exist. Education Johhny. Its all about education.

    Just as Gates wanted a PC in every home. I want everyone to know there is only one way to BUY homes that are listed on the MLS. Those that seek to obscure and hide the message infuriates me. As for shameless promotion try this: USE RED FIN! TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW! FURTHERMORE MLS4OWNERS if you are selling! Both great companies and many more coming down the pike. But, please tell everyone you know HOW TO BUY!

    Ray Pepper the
    “troll” “bloviator” “self promoter” “arrogant ass” “idiot” and a multitude of others I forgot..

  40. 40
    Pegasus says:

    Hey am I alone or are there others that tire of Ray Pepper shamelessly clogging and promoting his personal business here? Everyday?

    I see comments about the Gov’nor jumping on the sue Countrywide bandwagon. Just a thought….where was she when they were doing all of the damage? Oh….its an election year. That explains her behavior. Funny thing she did the same with Household Finance when she was Attorney General. After the hard work was done by other states that actually gave a crap she jumped on the settlement bandwagon and let them off easily with the damaged to remain damaged for life. Even less funny was the fact that Booth Gardner who was her boss for years was the one who represented Household in the settlement. Remember that when you vote.

  41. 41


    More often than not, a backup offer will encourage the seller to be less negotiable with the buyer in escrow. Backup offers are not really good for buyers in the long run. More people may end up buying homes without having the appropriate leverage to have needed repairs done before closing. When there is a second buyer in line and in contract, the seller will clearly agree to less with either buyer from the inspection.

  42. 42

    I can see that, but wouldn’t a back up offer benefit the seller?
    Only slightly changing the subject, a few months ago a client of mine was heartbroken when a house she’d looked at went STI. I called the listing agent just to make sure, and he strongly encouraged a backup offer, saying that it was VA financing and with a brokerage he was unfamilar with, and was below asking price. so we submitted a backup offer, also below asking price. We never got a response, other than the acknowledgement that the offer was received. Then, looking up the property afterward, somehow it closed for more than the asking price, and somehow it turned out to be dual agency. I’m not sure what the listing agent did, but it sure left a sour taste in my mouth.

  43. 43

    In this market, rarely will a backup offer be advantageous to a buyer. They would really have to want that house really badly. I didn’t realize until now that you were an agent. Backup and 2nd backup are only good in a hot market or for a really hot property.

  44. 44
    biliruben says:

    Expanding on Andy’s comment, is this rule going to crimp the style of those with pocket listings? My guess is that’s what Andy is seeing with the houses that come on the market STI – pocket listings trying to follow the letter, if not the spirit, of the MLS rules.

    This new rule will effectively not allow this anymore. Is this to discourage pocket listings?

  45. 45
    Greg Perry says:

    Again, I think it’s important to udnerstand that almost all sellers — when they get a signed around offer on their property — want the showings to stop. In theory, working toward more offers is good for the seller, however, stopping the showings, etc. is often valued more. The whole back-up offer solicitation is really seller driven. However the conversation must be made with the seller so they can make their decision.

    As Ardell points out, with plentiful inventory, a buyer would really want to have a house badly to entertain going in to a back up postition. In a hot market, we see more.

  46. 46
    Greg Perry says:

    I don’t see any real effect to pocket listings. They’re discouraged anyway. If you think about it, the seller of a pocket listing is essentially a FSBO who agrees to pay an individual agent for a buyer. The MLS won’t allow an agent to market the listing without going into the database (which is 24 hours with a listing agreement).

    When the market was hot, I generally sold several FSBO’s a year. I would negotiate my commission and create a commission agreement prior to submitting the offer.

    In regards to Andy’s comment, agents do not manipulate data in that way. What he described would actually hurt the seller. If an agent did manipulate data in such a way –and got caught– fines would be heavy handed.

    In reality the biggest abuse in agent manipulation of the data has always been DOM. I remember doing hours of research tying to determine CDOM prior to the MLS rule change. CDOM was an issue that I lobbied hard for.

    Other common manipulations were cancel / relist abuses and listing in multiple MLS zones. (We always enjoy seeing an area 600 Kingsgate house in unincorporated KC listed in 560 Kirkland.) We can still list in multiple zones but we are charged $50 and it must be within 1/2 mile of the border.

    In the last 5 years or so, the MLS has worked very hard to tighten up the integrity of the data. Sure agents gripe because fines are “heavy handed”. Frankly, supervision by some brokers in the field was so poor that they had no choice in my opinion. (BTW, the fines go to the offending broker)

    Consumers really shouldn’t be suspicious of the intentions of the MLS when it comes to data. As several here have pointed out here lately this MLS is at least open to sharing the data.

  47. 47
    NotaBull says:

    “LOL, RAY!!! You are not “blogging” you are “commenting”. Someone already told you that. Do you ever listen?”

    It’s infuriating! Ever see Monty Python and the Holy Grail? The scene with the peasant in the field that won’t shut up about politics and the “violence inherent in the system”. Dealing with Ray reminds me of that… “Help help, I’m being oppressed”, wailed Ray. Sigh.



    Please copy and paste the following text in response so I can confirm your understanding of this very complicated and nuanced difference:

    “I, Ray Pepper, understand that I am not “blogging” and am in fact posting comments on Tim’s blog. I understand that because it is not my blog I am therefore a guest on Tim’s blog (not *my* blog), and as such do not have the right to endlessly annoy others with my constant self promotion and rants regarding my business model.”

  48. 48
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Let me give it a try:


    You are not a “blogger” by posting here. A blogger is someone that has their own blog. This is not your blog, so posting here does not make you a blogger. It makes you a commenter on someone else’s blog. The only person that is a blogger by posting here is The Tim, because it is his blog.

    The only way to be a “blogger” is to have YOUR OWN blog, not posting on someone else’s blog. Understand?

  49. 49

    “…it must be within 1/2 mile of the border.”

    Greg, I don’t see this being enforced. Just saw one in Goat Hill listed as 600 and 560.

    Also, regarding Andy’s comment, I’m 99% sure you can’t upload a listing as STI (or Pending Inspection). They may have changed that rule, but putting in listings that are already in escrow used to be a violation. I thought it would be good for comps for agents and appraisers, but was told it was not permitted.

    You could upload it while there was “an offer on the table”, but not if the offer was accepted back when I last checked. One of my clients received an offer from a builder and he was not on market at the time. We put it on market for $150,000 more than the builder offer and got it from another builder. This was last summer in Ballard at 7th and Market. It shows in the mls, but had we accepted the first builder’s offer, I don’t think I could put it in the mls just to get back ups. I can’t find that rule now, so they may have changed it.

  50. 50

    Actually, I would say anyone who writes the actual post is “a blogger” like the PI bloggers or me on RCG. Still, I’m not “blogging” here just because I happen to be a blogger elsewhere. I am commenting here.

    Ray could easily have a blog on Active Rain (and may), but that still doesn’t define a comment as a blog on someone else’s post.

    Still, I expect his efforts are somewhat successful, or he wouldn’t be doing it. He’s likely an “ends justifies the means” kind of guy. If it gets him money in the bank to be a pain in the butt, he has no incentive to try to “get it”.

    He reminds me of Vern Fonk. I think that’s his name. Does anyone Honk when they pass Fonk on the Freeway?

  51. 51
    Greg Perry says:

    “Just saw one in Goat Hill listed as 600 and 560.”

    Goat Hill is just above the border. (The border is tricky there.) Take a look at your map :)

    But yes, I agree with your thought. I am seeing a few abuses creeping back in.

    Right after they changed the rule, I was turned down flat on a border listing between 610 and 730 (between 1/2 and 1 mile away). This area is no man’s land and should have been allowed because it made common sense.

    I am strongly opposed to outright abuses of double listings. If an agent can show a good common sense reason for an exception, perhaps a some negotiating should be allowed.

    I do think, however that the MLS is working toward developing a culture toward maintaining accuracy.

  52. 52
    biliruben says:

    NWMLS is certainly better than New Jersey. They reported a small increase in sales, YOY, last month. A blogger who was paying attention repeatedly pointed out it was more like a 30% decrease. They didn’t respond to him, but published a correction.

    I think we can set the bar a bit higher than that, however.

  53. 53
    NotaBull says:

    Ardell said: “Still, I expect his efforts are somewhat successful, or he wouldn’t be doing it. He’s likely an “ends justifies the means” kind of guy. If it gets him money in the bank to be a pain in the butt, he has no incentive to try to “get it”.”

    I agree. In some ways he reminds me of an old school religious preacher in that it doesn’t *matter* if people are getting fed up of the message. Ray likely believes that the message is so important that it deserves to be said over and over again, and rammed down everyone’s throats until they too see the truth. It just so happens that his beliefs and the conversion of others are strongly correlated with his personal business success. :)

  54. 54
    Ben says:


    Did you know that you can make your own blog for free at wordpress?

  55. 55
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Ardell, of course you are correct about blog contributors being bloggers, but I was trying to keep it as simple as possible. :)

    Ben, you can also create free blogs at Blogspot/Blogger, Myspace also hs free built-in blogging.

  56. 56
    cheapseats says:

    I say, in the spirit of 7 minute abs…

    how bout realty499.net

  57. 57

    I suggested Active Rain for Ray because it is exceptionally user friendly. RCG is WordPress, but Dustin tweaked the back end to make it more use friendly. Though Ray may have a tech background and be able to function on any blog platform, I expect he’ll have to hire a writer :)

  58. 58

    “It just so happens that his beliefs and the conversion of others are strongly correlated with his personal business success. :)”

    LOL, I think you have “noted the Bull” there NotaBull.

  59. 59
    Ray Pepper says:

    Good God Everyone!!….I’m heading on vacation and I just checked in. All I can say is……………….. Can I offer any of you a 500 Realty T Shirt? Will that make it OK? They are very form fitting and you will be the ENVY of your neighbors!

    Just let me know!

    Ray Pepper

  60. 60
    david losh says:

    God I hate to take the pepper’s side but look at the comments here. The pepper is at least honest. He may be trolling, but you know what he’s about. What about your new friends here?

  61. 61
    david losh says:

    OK Greg, let’s get started. It was Ardell who made the comment about living in a thirty minute window or some such nonsense. She couldn’t see shopping for a prom dress in a discount bin or something. She meant she was only waiting for new listings to show her clients. That was on another blog some place far far away.
    In terms of todays market us old timers know that if we bring our buyer to an over priced listing we can make an offer that we like. If it doesn’t get accepted you can bet you will see a price reduction soon enough.
    As for those price reductions; why do agents wait for price reductions? When I see a $700K property getting a $100K price reduction I’m thinking somethings wrong with this picture.
    This is what negotiation is about and why a Real Estate agent gets paid. If it is all about price then people don’t need agents. Why not 4saleby owner and lower your own price. If it’s all about price and waiting for the price you want to hit the computer why do people need agents?
    I have this discussion every god damn day with agents who expect price to be the only tool they have in thier bag o tricks.
    Can I say god damn on this blog, ’cause i sure couldn’t on some others.

  62. 62


    I think we should scrap the whole area code number system. Now that we can do a map search and target the area, are “secret code area numbers” really relevant anymore? Area 600 is huge! Who cares if it’s area 705 or 710. And we all know it just invites snobbery regarding certain codes. Not fair for people who just happen to fall on the other side of the area code line.

    Aren’t they a bit antiquated at this point?

  63. 63
    The Tim says:

    It would be just my luck for them to ditch the codes all together, just after I finally finished mapping those stupid things. ;^)

    I agree though, what’s the deal with those funky-shaped areas? Is something wrong with zip codes?

  64. 64


    For the most part you will find that the smaller areas are “preferred” areas and then they lump a lot of the rest together. I haven’t used them in years as a search tool, though It’s a required field that I have to enter when I upload a listing.

    Don’t worry about all the work you did. I don’t see them being ditched until some old people retire :)

  65. 65
    Greg Perry says:

    Yes, on the Eastside, 600, 550 and 500 are especially huge. If 600 were divided for instance, we’d see a stark difference statistically between the east and the west. I think for this reason alone they should be changed!

    You bring up a good point. We don’t have to search for a property by area. Thomas guide map page, zip code, city, address are a few other ways to search. Often in 600 I use the map page, and the area number to throw out the “double entries” from 560. I also enjoy using the mapping (by address or listing number) features.

    The Tim,
    You will have to rewrite 500. The NWMLS did a border change(expanded the southern border) . Just a guess, but perhaps the residents around Newcastle golf course took exception for being in the “Renton” zone? (speaking to snobbery?)

    If you haven’t’ seen the revised border , email me on Monday. I’ll send it to you.

  66. 66
    Greg Perry says:

    The Tim,

    In response to member requests and their input, NWMLS is implementing Area Designation and Boundary changes in the Newcastle/Renton area to more accurately reflect the true market areas in this section of Bellevue/Renton. This boundary change will take effect on June 24th, 2008. Click here to see how the map will change.

    Hopefully this will work: http://www.nwmls.com/discover/library/monday_update/MonUpdates/MU2008/Jun08/KC_SW_350_500.pdf

  67. 67
    Greg Perry says:

    I wasn’t going to respond to your last post, but I changed my mind.

    In order (in my opinion), here are the 3 major things that cause a home to sell.

    1. Pricing at the right price.
    2. Putting the home in the best possible condition.
    3. Exposure — making it easy for agents to show, and marketing.

    You cannot market an overpriced pig to success.

    Statistically the LP must be within 2% of the eventual sales price for good odds of success.

    I agree, good negotiation is critical. If the LP to SP % is too far away however, a negotiation rarely happens.

    Speaking of negotiation, a very elementary concept goes like this, “Time is the enemy of the Seller”.

    CDOM is a critical component in negotiation.

    You’re original premise “Days on the market is a dangerous thing for Real Estate agents.” in my opinion is preposterous.

    And no, you shouldn’t say “GD” on any blog. Again, my opinion.

  68. 68
    david losh says:

    OK , first of all a buyer is entitled to see what they are looking for. Making judgements about price in a declining market is a disservice. I was just talking with an agent about how some prices have dropped as much as 10% in some areas. How does that pencil?
    The principles of a sale is Location, Price, and Condition. You’ll notice location is first which brings us to the Location, Location, Location refrain.
    That takes us to the areas mapped by the Multiple. In Seattle it’s the freeway, 145th, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Downtown and Capital Hill. I search by these criteria every morning,. There are neighborhoods within the areas and we have always had the ability to search by map and grid.
    So what? How does that effect the buyer or seller. These are our tools to help us simplify our days work. Yes when we search for a specific buyer we look in specific areas the way they do now. Inside those areas it’s my job to know what fits the buyers needs, or get my seller top dollar. That is a negotiation.
    That isn’t what happens. Real estate agents sit around looking at computer screens day in and day out. These agents then pontificate about a market place they are looking at from afar.
    My buyers see for sale by owners, expired, cancelleds, pocket listings, places I think might cave on an offer, or anything else that might be a deal for thier criteria. Sometimes I door knock for a strong enough buyer. It can’t hurt me and might help my business.

  69. 69
    ARDELL says:


    The problem is that some areas get identified into smaller segments in a “we’re special” manner. Such is the case with this newest change. Then those considered “less special” as in all of area 600, get lumped together. When you throw half of Kirkland into the “not special enough” category and lump poor Juanita into an area so huge that it makes no sense to search by area 600, it hurts those sellers. The mls should not be making these “classist” decisions and the whole numbering system should be tossed, OR no area should be larger than X miles to make it more fair.

    Given we can draw a circle or a box or even a polygon around any area we want to search, the area numbers should be eliminated. They go back to the DOS version of the mls and should go the way of the do-do bird, IMNSHO.

  70. 70
    Greg Perry says:

    Ardell, you bring up good points. From a search standpoint, I really don’t see why areas are all that important. I would think that the NWMLS could turn off searching by area. There are so many other, more effective ways to search.

    Here’s the question. We have an un-quenched thirst for statistics. How would the NWMLS approach this? KC stats are one thing, then it pares down to the “Eastside” or “Seattle”, then down to the area. As I mentioned some of the areas are so large that they get distorted anyway, however, it’s more accurate than looking just at the larger KC.

    Perhaps The Tim’s suggestion of zip codes? I’m doing a lot of zip code work with AR’s when working with sellers anyway.

    I can see one issue that would hinder change and that would be the rich history of YOY stats for established areas.

    Any other ideas from the statistical point of view?

    The Tim, you’re a statistics junkie, any thoughts?

  71. 71

    Even within the same zip code there’s a lot of variability. For example, where they just split up the areas of Newcastle and part of Renton, it’s all a Renton zip code and mostly in the Renton school district, but it’s certainly away from the bits of riff raff that Renton has, much more convenient to Bellevue, and a bit more expensive.

  72. 72
    ARDELL says:

    “…but it’s certainly away from the bits of riff raff that Renton has, much more convenient to Bellevue, and a bit more expensive.”

    You make my point, Ira. The move to separate was to say, “We’ re special…they’re riff-raff.” Is that really the role of the mls? To single out special and lump together “the riff-raff” into basically “we don’t care about those areas enough to break them down into smaller segments.” Declare them a kind of “no man’s land”?

  73. 73

    I completely agree with you Ardell…So how did this decision come about to create this new scheme?…I know the claim is to “alleviate confusion”, but couldn’t this be construed in a way as a form of steering? Not the blatant illegal variety, but it still …

  74. 74


    Took me awhile to find it. Here’s a post a friend of mine wrote regarding Zip Codes and Newcastle. Semi-related.


  75. 75

    Totally related, Ardell. I’ve got clients looking in the south part of Bellevue but would prefer to spend less money, so I suggested Newcastle, a place I’m very familiar with, but they don’t want Renton schools, which most of Newcastle sends to.
    So you can change a zip code, you can change an area number, but it’s all a bit of sleight of hand.

  76. 76

    I agree, Ira. And sleight of hand is inappropriate in this industry. If not in the past, then in the present and future.

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