Reliable but not gauranteed


If you are a home buyer and you are getting information from the NorthstarMLS, there is a disclaimer on the information: “Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed”.

If you are searching homes for sale on almost any website the data is coming from the Northstar MLS.

Some of the information is more reliable than the rest. Generally, the address, including the city and state the property is located is accurate. The listed price is likely to be accurate too. It is very hard to list a home in the wrong school district or in the wrong county.

Taxes and assessments are easy to verify by checking county and city websites.

Room sizes and measurements are notoriously inaccurate but I don’t find many that are so far off as to raise alarm. The foundation size and total finished square footage are sometimes wrong.

Association dues for condos are not always accurate but the association will provide an accurate amount in writing.

The number of bedrooms isn’t always accurate but Realtors are expected to provide an accurate bedroom count. I have seen houses listed as two-story houses that are really 1.5-story houses. It is usually pretty easy to tell from the picture.

At some point in the late 1880s, there was a fire and some tax records were destroyed. For the most part, we don’t know how old the houses that were built before 1885 are. The oldest houses will have a construction date of 1885.

Tax records are not always accurate either. Appraisals are a much better and more accurate source of information about square footage and room sizes. The lot sizes in the tax records seem to be fairly accurate.

People sometimes make mistakes. Listing information can go from the owner to an agent to clerical staff who actually enter it into the MLS.

I once had a client cancel a purchase because the house was 300 square feet smaller than what was listed in the MLS. The house was still big enough but the buyer was angry that he had been deceived.

The information in the MLS is deemed reliable because we are expected to put accurate information in the system. There is a link on each listing that real estate agents see and can click to report incorrect information so that it can be corrected.

Happy house hunting!

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