Monday, December 2, 2013

December Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate Update

With the ever increasing data available on the internet, consumers have the opportunity to be more knowledgeable about area markets. There are thousands of websites offering everything from search features showing what properties are currently available to how long they have been on the market, the history of list prices, sales prices and how the neighborhoods and community offerings are rated. Having well informed clients with the ability to do advanced research from the time they are just considering buying or selling is beneficial to real estate professionals. Technology has streamlined the process in many ways and has added a new level of convenience throughout the entire transaction. The majority of listing data used on real estate sites is obtained through agreement with local Multiple Listing Services. The “meat and potatoes” so to speak, is the property information such as pricing, location, square footage, land size, etc. This data is syndicated to these sites via MLSs as well as other listing sites that real estate companies have decided to utilize in promoting the properties available for purchase. I have been following an increasing trend on the public accessed sites to attempt to provide additional information above and beyond the basic data that is being syndicated to these sites via real estate professionals. On the surface, these appear to be pertinent facts that would assist a consumer in making educated decisions. The concern that I would like to share with you is that, while these sites can be very helpful, much of the additional data they are providing is inaccurate. It does not appear that there is any attempt to mislead consumers, however, as we’ve all heard “Real Estate is Local”. In our area, you cannot expect to draw a 5 mile radius on a map and expect that all homes in that location are comparable. I have seen numerous instances where sites are touting homes as being comparable when there is no basis for this other than being situated within a certain radius. I have not found any of these sites to factor in construction quality, how the property lays, amount of land or lakefrontage or even whether the property is on or off the water. As just two examples, I recently noticed a luxury home priced at just under $1 Million (I feel it is fairly priced and this is not my listing), the real estate site estimated it is worth $220,000. Another home displayed on the site and listed at $335,000 did not show a value estimate but the site did offer that it had decreased in value $50,000 in the previous 30 days. This home had only been on the market for 30 days and had not had any adjustments to the list price. With the market rebound we are experiencing, this type of misinformation can lead to poor judgment and even heartbreak for both buyers and sellers. Relying on substandard data can lead sellers to lose money or decide not to move forward when the time is actually right for them to do so. It can also lead to buyers making extremely low offers and missing out on buying opportunities. I am a big proponent of having knowledgeable clients and support sharing all pertinent information to allow them to make the best possible decision. I encourage you to utilize any of the information available to you but to also seek out an experienced, knowledgeable real estate professional to help guide and counsel you in making a financially sound choice. I’d like to thank all of you that take the time to read my column each month. I appreciate you and the feedback you pass along. Best wishes to you and your families for a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy 2014! If you would like a detailed sales report and value for your specific property type or neighborhood, or would like information on the best buys at the lake, contact C. Michael Elliott & Associates at 866.Your.Lake or You can view thousands of lake area listings with photos and virtual tours at You can also log your opinions on Michael’s real estate blog,