i turn REALTY into REALiTY

Garbage In, GarBage Out!

FlowchartBack when I was still in school, I thought seriously about being a software programmer.  I took many programming classes, and to this day, still remember the phrase (GIGO) that my instructors instilled into my little brain. My takeaway from that phrase was that no matter how good my programming skills may have been, it would never be good enough to correct or convert bad data (input) into good, meaningful results (output).


I’ve created the new acronym above that describes the current situation that I’ve been seeing lately. First let me define the term and then I’ll explain the circumstances under which it is occurring.

GDIGO – Good Data In, Garbage Out. How does this happen? Bad programming? Laziness? Unscrupulous marketing ploy by competing real estate companies? Maybe a combination of all of these factors??


A buyer client is looking to purchase a condo in Seattle, WA. He emails me a list of MLS numbers (this is how properties are indexed in our Multiple Listing Service) that he’d like for me to investigate on his behalf.  I pull up the information for him and see that 90% of the homes on his list have either sold or expired, rendering the list useless to him, and a waste of time for me.

Q: Why Would Companies Provide Garbage Data?

A: Buyer Leads! On some real estate sites, the property information provided is a lure.  Think of a fishing analogy here. The data is the bait and you, the client, are the fish.  On many of the real estate sites, the main purpose is to get you to provide the site with your personal data so they can

  1. Sell your contact information to real estate agents (for a small fee)
  2. Contact you and obtain you as a potential client

Let’s play out this scenario so you can better understand how it works.  Here is an imaginary dialog that is very common with these sites when you call for information.

Buyer (You): Hi, I just saw on your website that you have a 2 bedroom condo listed in Seattle for $200,000.

Them: Sure, let me look that information up for you.  May I have your name please?

You: Yes, It’s Joe Buyer.

Them: Hi Joe, What is the address of the property that you saw on our site? Or, can you provide me with the MLS#?

You: Sure, it’s MLS# 123456

Them: Thanks!  While I search for that property, can you please provide me with your phone# and email address in case we get disconnected?

You: Yes, it is (123) 456-7890, and my email address is joebuyer@imeasy.com

Them: Thanks Joe! Oh, I see that the property you’ve called on is no longer available for sale.  Do you have another property you were interested in?  By the way, what is the price range you are looking in?  How many bedrooms do you need?  blah, blah, blah…

You can see how the rest of this scenario plays out.  You called on a property that isn’t available, but in order for you to find this out, you first have to give them your information so that they can potentially pick you up as a buyer client, or sell your name and personal information to other companies for a fee.

Back To The Programming…

As a past programmer, I know that it is very easy to insert one single “IF” statement in the code to prevent showing “non available” home data in a search.  All property data comes from one source (NWMLS), and that data has several mandatory fields, including property status (so we as real estate agents know whether a property is available, pending a sale, sold, expired, cancelled, etc…).

Imagine this one “IF” statement:

IF status is “ACTIVE”, then PROCESS record, ELSE DELETE the record

This is an oversimplification and the code is truncated (and the syntax isn’t correct), but you get the picture, don’t you?  How much simpler could it be to filter out homes that aren’t actively for sale?

HTTP://ResidentExpert.com – Your One Stop For Home Searches!

But wait!  Aren’t you one of those websites also? Yes, and No. Yes, this is a real estate website, and I want your business. No, I’m not like some of those other unscrupulous sites that provide you with garbage listings.  All of the properties that you can search for on my site are provided by the NWMLS, and filtered and updated every 15 minutes.  You will not be searching for homes that have already expired or sold (unless it happened within the last 14 minutes).  Yes, I do ask that you provide me with some personal information, but you can always put in fake data and still be able to search for homes.

Now, if you do provide me with fake information, there is no way that I can contact you if you really do want my help in finding a home.  My purpose for creating this blog and website is so that consumers would have an honest resource available to aid them in their home buying and selling process.  So, why waste your time on those other sites? Bookmark this Blog so you can visit often!

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