I was talking to a friend recently who is thinking about selling his home. When I started talking about our MLS® system he had this puzzled look on his face. I realized then that he didn't have a clue as to what I was referring to and if he didn't know about the MLS® System and there might be others that don't understand what the MLS® is.
Here is the description of the MLS® System from the Ottawa real Estate Boards website.
"An MLS® System is a co-operative selling system operated and promoted by a Board or Association in association with the MLS® Marks. An MLS® System includes an inventory of listings of participating REALTORS®, and ensures a certain level of accuracy of information, professionalism and co-operation amongst REALTORS® to effect the purchase and sale of real estate.
The Ottawa Real Estate Board operates the MLS® Systems for the members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board and the Renfrew County Real Estate Board. The OREB enforces a set of Board-specific MLS® Rules and Regulations that apply to all of the above members listings. Only a REALTOR® can list properties on his or her Board's MLS® system."
How does that help you buy or sell your home?
The MLS® has a computerized database of every listing that has been listed for sale by every REALTOR® from every company in the area. Realtors® use this database to match their clients to specific homes. Having agreed to share information, the Realtors ensure that homes sell for the best price in the least amount of time. Royal LePage can show Re/max listings etc. We all co-operate with each other.
The Realtors pay fees to the OREB for this service.
The Ottawa Real Estate Board has over 3000 members. Each agent usually has a minimum of 5 buyers or more in their database at all times so they are continually looking for a good match to fit the buyers needs. If your home is not on the MLS® you are losing a lot of potential buyers! (3000 x 5) You do the math!!!!
Each day "Hot Sheets" come out from the board showing all the new listings, sales, expired and cancelled listings. Every agent has access to the hot sheets and new listings are matched to buyers very quickly.
Just having your home on MLS® doesn't guarantee a sale. The Realtor you choose to work with is important. If you are working with a full service Realtor he or she is continually promoting your listing, following up with the agents that have showed your home and keeping you up to date with the feedback on your property.
There are tons of very important things to check when you're buying a home however, there are some that shouldn't enter into your decision process at all! Why? Because they are so easily fixable.
1. Paint color — Sure, a hideous red wall may be the first thing you notice when entering a room, but it's also the easiest thing to change. One hundred bucks, a weekend and you won't even remember your horrific first impression.
2. Furniture/ Style — It's hard to even think about loving a home when you hate the style of the decor, but guess what, lucky ducks? That decor is leaving with the old owners! Don't sweat it!
3. Architectural details (or lack thereof) — Have your heart set on crown molding? Hate that the walls are covered in wood paneling? Those things are so easy to add or remove.
4. Light — No one likes to enter a cave when they were expecting a living room, but take a careful look at why there's no light before you dismiss a house completely. More often than not, hedges or trees are blocking the windows and a little landscaping outside might completely change the feel inside. Note: tiny, prison-like windows are another story. They're still fixable, but might take a little more work and cash to get what you want.
5. Current layout of the home — Don't forget that the whole "which room is used for what" thing is very easy to switch up. It's easy to fixate on how a space is currently laid out, but notice the bones of each room, not what it's currently being used for, to determine if it will work for you.
The one thing you should worry about: a dirty house is not a happy house. Not messy (although if someone is showing their house, one hopes they would straighten up), but dirty. It may not seem like a big deal, but if you notice signs that the current owner is not properly maintaining their home, you can bet that it only gets worse below the surface.