How Internet Home sites have you FOOLED!

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Real Estate

How Internet Home Sites have you FOOLED!

Remember in the old days when you would drive through a neighborhood looking for homes that were for sale?

You would strategically look for a real estate sign in the yard.

However, if the sign had a “Pending” rider in red letters stapled to the top of the sign…you would drive right on by.

Crafty agents soon learned not to put “Pending” riders on their signs once the property was under contract, in hopes of still getting you to call them and potentially earn your business for another property.

Additionally, agents would leave their signs in the yard as long as possible after the completion of the sale for the same reason above and the free advertising.

Well, there is a digital version of the “Leave the sign in the yard” tactic.

It is called the “Active – accepting backup offers” classification., Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, etc are second party sites who get their info from the Coeur d 'Alene MLS database. Second party sites manage their websites for their advertising purposes and are poor tools if you want the most accurate information.

Second party sites like and Zillow are not search engines designed for you the potential buyer...they are advertising sites with "click bait" (aka listings) to get you on their site in hopes of providing your info to real estate agents and mortgage brokers who pay THOUSANDS of dollars per month to get your contact information.

For example, with Zillow, when you click on the blue button, you will notice a number of agents appear. One of them is the actual listing agent for the property. The other "Premier Agents" are "Premier" based on the amount of money they pay Zillow to be on that page to handle your inquiries about the property...a property that is not even their listing.

These advertising sites are intentionally slow to reflect pending, and remove sold properties, because if they did so in real time, they would have very few listings (click bait) to show people...especially from the North Idaho market, where most homes go off the market in days.

Truth is, the overwhelming majority of the homes these sites show as "active" are not! Here is why...

In the Coeur d'Alene MLS, there are several ways to classify homes as they go under contract.

When the seller and buyer enter a contract and the home begins escrow it should be classified as "Pending" in the MLS. However, internet home sites don't like to feature "Pending" homes, so they are slow to change the status, because site visitors are not interested in homes under contract.

Additionally, listing agents like to feature their homes on the second party sites as long as possible because it is free advertising for them.

So, there is a new “hack” or "work-around" the "Pending" status, which is an accepted practice by both the listing agents and the second party sites...

It's called the "Active-Accepting backup offers" status

When a home goes under contract, rather than classify it as "Pending" in the MLS,  the listing agent classifies the home "Active - Accepting backup offers"...and Voila...the home still shows "Active" on second party sites!!

The only way to know if the home is under contract is to check the actual Coeur d'Alene MLS to see if there is an (A) after the word "Active."  The (A) stands for "Accepting backup offers" This, (A), conveniently, does not show on the second party sites.

Statistically, only one in ten homes falls out of escrow, so submitting backup offers on a home already in escrow is 90% fool’s gold.

Accepted offers are legally binding contracts whether they are primary offers or backup offers. That means buyers cannot "shotgun" backup offers on multiple properties in hopes that one of them falls out of escrow, while they continue to look at other properties. Legally, the buyer must have the intent and ability to buy all homes under contract!

Please note: The Martinelli Realty team does not engage in the practice of "shotgunning" multiple backup offers. So, if that is a tactic you desire to use...we are not the team for you!

Bottomline is this…

If you like wasting your time looking at properties that are not actually available… second party sites work great.

This is just as inaccurate and frustrating as looking for homes by searching for real estate signs in the yard, expecting the sign to reflect and “Active” status.

If you are an active buyer, searching for a property to purchase, whether searching online, or driving neighborhoods looking for signs…DON'T BE need to have access to the actual MLS!

Written by Kory Martinelli - Team Owner/Agent of The Martinelli Realty Team of Professional Realty Services Idaho