MLS Auto-notifications, and what they miss.

A client and I came to a parting of the ways this week. I had her home and the comparables around it on an auto-notification list on MLX (MLX is our back end of the MLS system). Sales in the area have been a little sluggish, and I wanted to make sure we kept on top of what was going on in the market so that she could decide when to list her house for top dollar.

Rather than sending the notifications to her directly from the computer, I had them sent to my email so that I could vet them first, since sometimes the number of listings can be a little overwhelming and regardless of how well you set up the search parameters, listings can get sent that don’t resemble the subject property at all.

Anyway, a new listing finally came up that matched her home quite closely and I sent it to her, noting that I would keep an eye on the property and let her know what it sold for. I was quite surprised to get an email from her saying she was shocked I didn’t know the property had been on the market for some time and implied she wouldn’t be working with me in the future.

The auto-notifications we send to clients don’t have a property’s sales history (that’s only available to realtors on MLX) so I went back into our system to take a look. And sure enough, the client (or should I say, former client) was absolutely right. The property had been on the market for 267 days, but it showed up as a new listing in the auto-notification email.

Now, I had actually given this client a copy of that listing when I first met with her a few months ago to look at comparables and talk about price. What I didn’t recognize was that this was one of the properties that we’d discussed a few months ago, and obviously, neither did she. From her perspective, I’d missed it altogether, and therefore didn’t know her neighbourhood well enough to give her advice.

(This cuts both ways. I often get a request from a client to send them a new listing when it’s actually one I’ve provided before. We deal with a lot of properties, and I can send out twenty or thirty listings in a day. If there’s a lot of activity in a certain area, it’s easy on both sides to lose track.)

I’m fine with this client’s decision. I think it’s crucial that people selling homes have absolute trust in the agents they work with, but I also try to only work with clients who have confidence in me. This one clearly didn’t.  I  told the client I was sorry I’d missed the sales history for this house, made my apologies, and wished her well in the future sale of her house.

Lessons learned. From now on, I’ll ask  clients if they want to receive auto-notifications directly, knowing at times they may be inundated with listings that aren’t good comparables, or have me vet them first. I’ll explain ahead of time that given the volume of listings we deal with, and the way MLX is configured, I won’t always know the sales history of the listings I’m forwarding and that I won’t be familiar with each and every house in their neighborhood.  Mea culpa.


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