Marketing Data-A Simple Mistake Could Cost You

Marketing reports are always up to interpretation. There isn’t anyone who is involved in the current market in Northern Virginia that isn’t aware that housing prices are down. But they aren’t down the same way in every neighborhood so when an agent puts out a marketing report that is specific to a neighborhood and type of home they need to be careful that the numbers are reasonably accurate.

Recently I noticed a marketing report for a neighborhood that I know well. Not because I am the #1 Agent in the neighborhood but because I track sales, show homes in the neighborhood on a regular basis and even owned a home in the neighborhood for 7 years.

This particular marketing report showed that the average net sold price of a detached home was $428,876, yet when I ran a sold report for the neighborhood I came up with an average net sold price of $482,655. This is a significant difference. So I started looking at why the numbers would be so far apart.

What I figured out is it comes down to a matter of the placement of the “wildcard” that an agent uses when searching the MLS. The movement of the “wildcard” (aka asterisk) made the difference in pulling up only detached homes in the neighborhood and pulling in townhouses with a similar name close by.

As a consumer looking to buy a home or an owner in the neighborhood reading a marketing report with a $60,000 lower average sold price is not something to scoff at. This is one reason why checking and double checking marketing reports is so important and why consumers need to read them with caution. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in a specific neighborhood make sure you double check the data before you make a decision on an offer or list price.  You might not be looking at apples to apples comparisions if the “wildcard” was wrong.

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