Who runs the Greenwich Association of Realtors, and for whom?

More frequently these days I’m noticing that, at least to my suspicious eye, the local record keeping for my “profession” (yes Walt, I know, that’s why I put it in quotations) is being manipulated. For instance, 253 Round Hill Road sold last Wednesday for $16.5 million (from an original price of $25, but still a good sale). Under the MLS rules as I understand them, that sale should have been posted by Thursday. As of 1:00 Monday, there’s no such report. Now I don’t know why it is being kept off the MLS – you’d think the selling agent, at least, would want to crow about it, but there must be some reason, and I wonder what that is.

Similarly, I’ve been writing recently abut listing and sales histories being disappeared and here, I think, is another one: 504 Round Hill Road has been for sale, unless I am mistaken, at least since 2003, yet it  shows only a truncated history back to 2005, when it was asking $8.5 million – it’s down to $6.750 today.

Realtors depend on accurate records to advise their clients, both buyers and sellers. When those records are corrupted, whether by posting “sales prices” millions f dollars higher than the actual selling price (the broker explained that one by claiming that the house would have been worth that much had it been finished!) or wiping out old prices or long histories of failure, it makes the records useless. That may benefit some brokers – I don’t know, but it certainly harms the rest of us and all of us pay the same dues and fees to maintain the system. o what’s going on?

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Who runs the Greenwich Association of Realtors, and for whom?

  1. Front Row Phil

    Frightening stuff, Chris. It smacks of revisionist history. Heck, is IS revisionist history. But let’s not jump to any logical conclusions. This could simply be a “bookkeeping” error, huh? Please?!

  2. B1

    This, Chris, is a business opportunity for the new firm of Fontaine & Fischback. You’ve already succeeded at creating a reputation as a truth teller when it comes to the real estate market. Seems to me you should be able to leverage that into being the source for accurate marketplace data as well as opinion.

    The competitive advantage would be not only in having accurate data, but in having it somewhere accessible to the general public (for a small fee, of course) and in having it in a format which is easier to sort and analyze than the GAR’s.

  3. anonymous

    Have heard from other high-end realtors that such “sloppy” pricing records prevail in other parts of country, even in better times; if true, difficult to obtain clean macro-stats on pricing anywhere and need to price off of a few anecdotal precedents

  4. Interested Resident

    As a previous buyer of real estate in this town, I believe you are on to something that records are misrecorded. For example, there was a property in OG for which the buyers paid approx $250K less than what was shown to me, by my agent, in the “comps report”. I found out the true sales price after I became friends with the owners.

  5. Chimney

    Is Tracy Chester still the head of GAR?

    • christopherfountain

      I don’t know who is the “head” of the GAR but it’s run by and for its members, the various agents and brokers in town. I have yet to figure out who pulls the strings and dictates the policies but not everything can be attributed to sloppy record keeping, an obsolete MLS system and an over-worked staff. I am not a conspiracist by nature, but when something this out of kilter persists for this long, I tend t believe that it’s being done on purpose.

  6. If you find that the errors consistently make the sales histories look better, inflating the comps, then it’s almost certainly deliberate and done to support higher appraisals, asking prices and commissions. So who has standing to address this?

  7. Jack Martin

    Chris, when does the changing of the data becomes fraud?

    Being the typical realtor knows that what they are presenting as the truth is not.

    For that matter when does it become RICO?

    Or is the information presented to buyers, sellers and lenders purely for entertainment purposes only.

    I’m not a lawyer so I ask you.

  8. Cos Cobber

    LOL. I love it, the new fine print for the MLS listing book; “for entertainment purposes only.”