How to Read a Real Estate Listing

What is a Real Estate Listing?

A real estate listing is an online description of a property offered for sale. It includes details such as the property’s location, size, features, and asking price. Websites like Zillow and Redfin are some of the most popular listing websites for homes.

MLS, or multiple listing services, are online databases used by real estate professionals to buy and sell properties. Accessible to real estate professionals only, the MLS is continuously updated throughout the day, making it possible for them to browse and locate suitable properties by combining listings into one online resource. It’s important to note that buyers and sellers cannot directly access the MLS, so if you want the most optimized way to find a listing, then you will need a realtor or real estate agent by your side!

How Should You Read a Real Estate Listing?

Reading a real estate listing online can be a little bit complicated if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Make sure to check the details carefully, such as the address, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any special features the property may have. If the listing has photos, take the time to look at them to get a better understanding of the property. Finally, make sure to contact the listing agent if you have any questions.

Look for Key Terminology

Real estate listings can be deciphered if you know what the terminology means. A “fixer-upper” means that the home is severely dated or damaged, so you will need to put a lot of effort into fixing it. A “cozy and quaint” home is small, so that’s something to keep in mind before you head over to the open house. A home with “great potential” has good bones, meaning that the structure is perfect and it could use a little bit of TLC. 

Check for the Number of Days on the Market

Another red flag in a listing is the number of days a house has sat on the market. If a buyer has also rescinded their offer, it may be because the home inspection brought out a few concerns that the buyer wasn’t willing to deal with. This could indicate that there are underlying issues with the home that need to be resolved before it can be sold. A home that has been on the market for a long time or has had multiple offers rescinded could be a red flag. Some of the underlying issues of the home could be quite concerning, especially if it has a cracked foundation or a leaking roof. It is important to have an inspection done by a professional to identify any potential issues. The seller should also consider offering incentives such as additional repairs or discounts to sweeten the deal.

Look at Sold Prices of Other Homes in the Neighborhood 

When browsing a real estate listing, look for the price per square foot of the home being sold. Then, compare that to other homes in the neighborhood that have sold recently. Is the house priced considerably higher or lower per square foot than other homes in the same neighborhood? Both of those scenarios can be red flags, but not always. 

Conclusion- Trust Your Real Estate Agent

At the end of the day, if you are struggling to read a listing, an experienced realtor or real estate agent can be a huge asset.  They can help you understand the true market value of a home and provide valuable insights that can help guide you in making a decision, including learning how to make a counteroffer on a home! Furthermore, they can help you negotiate the best deal possible during the buying process! 

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