Lies, Damn Lies and Stastics In NOVA Real Estate

Mark Twain Stats Quote

Mark Twain’s quote on the misuse of statistics always pops in my head when I look at the Northern Virginia MRIS data. The problem with the data is the Realtors® who enter it and how easily it can be manipulated to tell a different story.

Let’s face it, chances are you have driven through a neighborhood and seen a for sale sign in front of a house for months on end and wondered what was going on. But then you get a postcard announcing “JUST SOLD” and the headline reads “SOLD AT FULL PRICE IN SEVEN DAYS.”

How is that possible? There are agents who like to play a little magic with the time it takes to sell their listings. They withdraw a listing multiple times and re-enter it in the MLS as new a few minutes later. By doing this is resets the days on market (DOM) back to zero and the home appears as new listing. The secret is to look at a second set of number in the MLS. This one is labeled days on market property (DOMP.)

Mark Twain warned against the use of numbers to support a position.  This should be true of Realtors® who constantly list and re-list properties. Northern Virginia homeowners look at national real estate sites, which often only pick up the new listing information. As a result you can be mislead to think homes are selling in 7 days when in reality they may be taking months.

If you are getting ready to list your Northern Virginia home make sure you ask about both the Days on Market (DOM) and Days on Market Property (DOMP). The second number will be the one that tells the full story on how long it took for a property to sell. Also check to see how many price reductions took place between the original list date and the final sales date.

If you are interested in selling your Northern Virginia home this fall give me a call. I’ll show you all the numbers to help you make the best decision for timing your home sale.

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