Decoding a Real Estate Listing

Robert Reffkin

Lesson time 08:47 min

Robert decodes a real estate listing and teaches you the key terms you should know. He also shares tips on how to read between the lines of descriptions and photos.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Not All Square Footage Is Created Equal · Look Beyond the Photos


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Going to open houses and seeing property in person or just looking at listings and seeing them digitally, that's the best way to really start getting smart on your specific dream for your home. Just search online and look at listings. Create a search alert of a couple of different neighborhoods and different price points, and then whenever something new comes on the market, you'll get an email, and that will help you get a sense for the market, how quickly things come on the market and off the market, and what the prices are. Are prices going up or are they going down? When you're looking at a listing, there are a couple of key terms to focus on. The first is days on market. It can be DOM. Let's say it's 300 days. That can mean one of two things. It could either mean you haven't really unrealistic seller who's not willing to take a realistic price and it's a waste of time on one hand, but on the otherhand, it could mean that you have a seller that hasn't been able to find a buyer because people aren't interested in it, and they're going to be able to take a reduced price. And so it usually means one of those two things. If days on market is one day. It means people haven't seen it yet, and you may want to get there really, really quick to see before anyone else and preempt other offers. Another term that matters is the term status. Active, in contract, under agreement sometimes, and then lastly sold. And the status is the status of the listing. Is the listing something that's available, which means active, or is it something that isn't available, it's sold, or is it something that someone else has already put an agreement into buying. Now, the agreement-- it may fall through and then you can still buy it, but it's likely that you're not going to be able to because most homes that have an agreement with the purchaser are going to go through. When you see year built on the listing, that's something else to consider. It's a proxy for the quality of the home, and so you should look at year built, but also, you should ask and hopefully it's in the description if it's been renovated in any period of time. Another reason why year built can matter is there are certain architectural aspects of a home that come from certain periods of time. Like in New York, it could be pre-war or post-war. And pre-war buildings have a different feel, and some people really want to be in a pre-war building. On the other hand, some people prefer the style and comfort offered in a post-war building, and in every city there may be architectural elements that are specific to that city or region, Victorian, craftsman, ranch, colonial, Cape Cod, contemporary. So then there are real estate taxes. That definitely has to go into your calculation of what the home will cost. The cost of a home isn't just the down payment you're going to make on the home and the monthly mortgage. It's the down payment on the home, plus the m...

About the Instructor

As the CEO and founder of Compass, Robert Reffkin has used modern technology to revolutionize the real estate industry in the U.S. Now he’s demystifying the ins and outs of the American home-buying process and sharing tools that will help you buy or sell a home with confidence. Learn how to approach your search, choose an agent, make an offer, and more. Your future home is waiting—let Robert help you find it.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Robert Reffkin

Robert Reffkin, the founder and CEO of Compass, helps you get closer to finding your dream home by simplifying and demystifying real estate.

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