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The Hampton Roads Multiple Listing Service

REINCheck Podcast Episode 8

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Benefits of Promoting the Details

Episode 8 Podcast Transcript


Voiceover [00:00:06] You're listening to REINCheck with Andrea Rice Contracts and Industry Specialist at REIN, where you get the latest member news and information delivered straight from the source, REIN MLS.


Andrea Rice [00:00:21] Hello and welcome to REINCheck. I'm your host Andrea Rice, and today we're checking in with REIN Sales Manager Advisory Committee member and managing broker Lisa Frates and REIN's Director of Operations Ellen Montemurno. Today we'll be discussing the importance of completing the input form from the perspective of representing the listing, as well as searching for properties for your buyer. Lisa, Ellen, thank you so much for being here today. 

Lisa Frates [00:00:48] Thank you. It's good to be here. 

Ellen Montemurno [00:00:50] Glad to be here. Thanks, Andrea. 

Andrea Rice [00:00:52] And Lisa, this is your second time on REINCheck. And if you guys have not had a chance to listen to it, Lisa was here with us when we talked about items to convey and you did an excellent job. So many good points you brought up. So, go back and check that out if you haven't already at And I'm sure a lot of you are probably familiar with Ellen Montemurno. She's been with REIN what, Ellen, almost 18 years now. 

Ellen Montemurno [00:01:20] Almost 18. Hard to believe. 

Andrea Rice [00:01:23] So Ellen was just a baby when she started. So that's why she's been here so long. But Ellen is a Director of Operations. She's done a lot with training, tech. So, if there's anyone here at REIN qualified to talk on any topic, it is Ellen. So, Ellen, thank you so much. So, let's go ahead and start by talking about completing the input form. So, Ellen, can you give us a little bit of background on why it's important to fill out as much information as possible on the input form from a database perspective? 

Ellen Montemurno [00:01:55] Absolutely, Andrea. It really comes down to meeting consumers where they are and they're online. gets over 38,000 hits every single day from people searching the site. And agents don't usually get the opportunity to start helping a buyer until well after that buyer's gone online and looked at homes. Statistics indicate that 80% of home buyers start their journey online. And in fact, many times the buyer reaches out to an agent with a list of homes already selected that they want to see. So, all of this boils down to this. If a buyer is online looking for a feature that the seller's home has, that wasn't included by the listing agent, there's a greater chance that that house will be missed. This actually hurts the buyer and the seller. The buyer misses out on what might have been the perfect home and the seller misses out on an offer. 

Andrea Rice [00:02:42] Wow. Yeah, good information. You know, I didn't even think about that. But yeah, a lot of times and Lisa you might speak to this. Do you find that a lot of times when a buyer reaches out to an agent, they already have some properties in mind that they want to look at? 

Lisa Frates [00:02:59] Yes, that is true. And, you know, you were saying, Ellen, that over 80% of buyers start online. I would think it would even be higher than that. So, yes, they are looking. Unfortunately, a lot of times they are looking at not the most up-to-date information. So, when they call you with a list of homes, some of them could be sold if they're not looking at the real estate agent's website or The other websites I've noticed have outdated information. 

Andrea Rice [00:03:28] Yeah, good point, Lisa. And, you know, as a managing broker, you know, you deal with a lot of agents and searching the REIN database yourself. What's your typical experience with searching for properties, matches for buyers? Have you experienced any issues? 

Lisa Frates [00:03:46] Well, there are some fields that are required for the agents to fill out, and then there are some that are optional. The ones that are optional are not always filled out with all the information that could really help narrow your search. You know, for instance, we now have the feature of en suite. So, these are the bedrooms that have an attached bathroom. And a lot of times it may have one, two, or three bedrooms that have an attached bathroom. And that isn't always indicated on there, which we could be missing some properties that would fit our buyer's criteria. And a lot of times I don't see lot size. I think it would be helpful if we put in there the lot size. Sometimes that's very important to a buyer and that can make a big difference. And you can't tell that from the photos. You know, I was thinking, too, about you know I've had buyers say that they really like the open concept, you know an open floor plan. And again, just reminding the agents that we can go into the public remarks or the agent remarks and put in some information to kind of find those properties that fit that criteria. 

Andrea Rice [00:04:52] Yeah, yeah. Good point. We're not limited to just what is on the input form. Like you said, we have access to the remarks section the agent remarks, public remarks. Ellen, do you have anything to add to that as far as like a database, maybe searching on the remarks section or? 

Ellen Montemurno [00:05:12] Certainly, to echo Lisa, the public remarks are specifically designed to paint the picture of the home in ways that straight-up data can't. So, you know, in the public remarks are going to learn that the bay window in the kitchen has the best sunset views or, you know, that you're going to be able to enjoy relaxing evenings on a newly built deck that might be tree-lined or what have you. So, you can't get those answers in just regular data input fields. And in Matrix, there are some special characters that you can use if you just surround one word with two asterisks, one on the front end of it and one on the back, you can do a catchall search for that. So, if I'm looking for big backyard or something of the like, I just again, all I do is put an asterisk, the keyword, an asterisk,     and hit search. And that'll look for that field anywhere in the listing database. So certainly, agents should take full advantage of that public remarks space. It's just added marketing. 

Andrea Rice [00:06:07] Right. Good point. I was. It's March 2021 and anyone you ask will say right now it's a seller's market. So, if there's a house on the market it's sold right. Like it's going fast. But that's not always going to be the case, right? Markets change. And I was recently reading an article called Eleven Home Features Today's Buyers Want Most by Andrea Taylor. And one of the things that stuck out to me was she said that 89% of buyers are looking for energy-efficient features. And those are features that maybe as an agent when you're walking through a property, getting ready to list a piece of property, you might not know that that home has these features but on the input form, there are a lot of options for energy-efficient features. They're all highlighted in green. And if you're in a market where, you know, the buyer has lots of options, but energy efficiency is something that's important to them, like that could make that property really appealing. You know, if they're trying to narrow down what properties to look at or to consider putting an offer on. So, I think, you know, you're right. Sometimes I get the feeling that, oh, you know, go ahead and hurry up and get this listing on the market because it's going to sell fast where maybe you don't hurry too much, right. Like, take this time where you can really practice getting all of those features noted on the input sheet so that the listing can be as robust as possible because there may come a time when that's really important. 

Lisa Frates [00:07:47] Andrea- I was also thinking that that's a great point about the energy-efficient features, also the green certifications, that's something that the agents won't see either. We have lots of fields for that too. 

Andrea Rice [00:08:00] Yeah, exactly. So occasionally, you know, a listing may be overlooked because something wasn't checked. Is there any advice, Ellen, you can give to help in these kinds of situations? 

Ellen Montemurno [00:08:13] Yeah, one hundred percent, Andrea. Again, it's all about making sure that the listing gets in front of the buyers and there's no harm in filling out more information. In fact, it's the best strategy possible. You know, it's true that most people will start by maybe a zip code, or bedrooms, bath, and price. But I'm a homeowner that's lived in two or three houses and has bought two of them. And the first time I bought a house, I didn't know what I didn't know. So I was, you know, made the offer. We lived in that house for two or three years. And after that time, I realized very quickly what I loved about that house, what I wish that house had, and what I absolutely did not want to have. When we moved to the local area, I mean, my poor real estate agent, this was back before you had digital access to search for homes on the sites really conveniently. And my poor agent must have brought us to 30, 40 homes and actually brought us to homes that we knew we would never buy because it included a feature that we said to our agent we didn't want. But the thing is, is that the listing agents didn't put that feature in the listing. So, we kind of wasted our time, the agent's time going out to the house. And while they were great homes, they just weren't for us. Had that feature been included and we could say nope, that's not for us, it just would have been beneficial to everybody. And on the flip side, you know, we want the houses that we want. And so, if we're looking for like you said, the big closets or maybe some great landscaping features or just anything in general, and the agent puts that in the listing, guess what? That's a match. And we're going to go see and we might have a home purchase based on putting that in versus keeping it out. 

Andrea Rice [00:09:50] Right. Good information. So, Lisa, Ellen, do you have any parting thoughts or best practices when it comes to either inputting information into the MLS or searching? 

Lisa Frates [00:10:02] I just wanted to; I was thinking about us meeting today. And one of the fields that I think a lot of agents may not even have been trained on or thought about is the financial section of the listing where it talks about the minimum cash on assumption. You know, we've been for years and where our interest rates have really been declining. We have such attractive interest rates and just recently they're starting to head upward. And I think that there are some loans out there that have a very attractive interest rate on it. And it may be very a very good time to maybe assume that loan. Assuming a current existing loan on a property. Actually, the closing costs are much cheaper, especially for the buyer, and we can release that seller's liability for that loan. And then a buyer could come in and potentially get a two and a quarter, two and a half percent interest rate. So, don't overlook that section. It talks about minimum cash on assumption, the years remaining on the loan and just filling in the information about that current loan. 

Andrea Rice [00:11:11] Interesting. Yeah, something I didn't even really think about, but yeah, good points because the interest rates, as you said, they're not going to say this forever. So, in the future, people could take advantage of these low interest rates. Good point. 

Ellen Montemurno [00:11:22] Yeah. I would just add one last thing. When it comes to filling out the listing in the most complete way, you know, listing agents are generally dedicated and committed to their seller, which is great. But having that complete listing data set, it really is an advantage to the whole home buying community. The whole industry as a whole. It helps the sellers when the whole story of their home is told because it'll help the buyer potentially match to that property. And the more buyers or potential buyers that match to that property, the better the offers are going to be for the seller. They're not isolated and they have more choice when it comes to making the transaction complete. 

Andrea Rice [00:12:01] Right. Thank you. Good point. And I know we've been talking here today about the input forms, but for those of you listening, if you have any suggestions on, you know, making the input forms better or things that might, you know, be some items that we could add. Or if you have any suggestions for any of our forms, please reach out to We will take your suggestions to our Sales Managers Advisory Committee for consideration. I want to thank Ellen and Lisa for being here today. I really appreciate your time and giving us that perspective, both from inputting the data into the MLS as well as extracting that data from the MLS when it comes to the input sheet. So, thank you both again for being here. Thank all of you for listening. And everyone have a great rest of your day. 


Voiceover [00:12:49] You've been listening to REINCheck with Andrea Rice. Stay in the know from those who know. Delivered straight from the source, REIN MLS.