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The gimmick known as ‘value-range pricing’ got it’s American start here in San Diego years ago.  It’s when a listing agent and seller decide to offer the house with a price range, saying, “sellers will entertain offers between $999,000 and $1,100,000”.

Range-pricing sends a mixed message to buyers, who typically just want to know how much.

When the answer is a range, it’s not specific – it is murky.  Buyers hear the bottom price, and want to go down from there, while the sellers gravitate towards the high-end price. What’s worse is that there isn’t any conformity between agents, so you’ll see ranges with 1-2% gaps, and others with 10-20% spreads.

While our MLS companies have been asleep at the wheel, third-party websites have taken over the dissemination of our listings.  Their reporting of range-pricing isn’t uniform either, leaving the consumer wondering what the actual price is!

How Third-Party Websites Report Range-Pricing on Listings:

Zillow: Low-end price only.

Redfin: High-end price, with the low-end mentioned in the fine print.

Trulia: Low-end price only.

Realtor.com: High-end price, with low-end in the fine print.

SDLookup: Shows the full range at top of listing.

Rather than complain, I’d like to simply encourage sellers and agents to stick with a single price.

I think buyers will appreciate the honesty, and be more willing to to do business with those who provide this sort of transparency, instead of the constant flim-flam.  I know there are agents who swear by it, saying that range-pricing “gets the conversation started”.

But the industry has changed in the last ten years.  With the price range being reported differently on every website, we need to recognize that our primary data is getting more garbled in tranmission – we need to take corrective action.

Just Say No to Range Pricing.

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Or we could just terminate the listing syndications, but I think the jeannie is out of the bottle.

Here is the update on what has happened since Jim stopped sending his listings to The Big Three:

He complains that the Big Three websites re-sell his proprietary information (listings) to agents who have no knowledge of the homes.  But then he allows the entire MLS to be advertised on his website via the IDX feeds, and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t seen all 6,000+ listings in San Diego.

My point? 

Let’s make it easier for buyers and sellers to experience full transparency, and demonstrate why we can be trusted to assist them with the biggest transaction of their life.

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