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Are Market Snapshots A Waste of Time for Sellers in Mueller Austin?

If you ever see ads saying “Find out what your home is worth” which look like this, then the chances are that the back end is powered by Top Producer Market Snapshot (TPMS). How do I know this? Because I have one – you can generate your own real time market snapshot for your home and neighborhood right now if you click on the image on the right.

The automatic data you get from these is much better than the data you get from Zillow or Trulia as it takes into account actual sales prices. Texas is a non-disclosure state, which means that sites like the TPMS have access to sold prices, where the others don’t. This means prices are more reliable (rather than a 15% margin of error in Zillow), but does it make sense in a mixed-income urban infill project like Mueller?

I decided to pretend I was a seller in one of the larger homes in Mueller on Camacho Street and generated myself a snapshot. The great news for me as a Realtor is that I got a text message saying that someone was interested in selling a $800,000 home in my neighborhood (from my own site), so if I was the frantic “spam them until they acquiesce” type, I could commence my email campaign telling my seller self that I was the best agent in town, that I knew the area, that he would be crazy not to list his home for sale with me and that I would offer free staging and a virtual tour with every listing.

The bad news is all for my seller self. First, not only have I opened myself up to the spamathon marketing methods of an agent out there, and told them where I live, but I’ve also got some pretty useless information. The Mueller neighborhood is diverse, and for the most part distinct from the immediately surrounding area. I don’t mean that in some snobby way, just in terms of observable price and demand characteristics, as I’ve been harping on about in this blog for the last four years. So when the snapshot mashes away and throws out data from a geographically close part of town – e.g. the Rowood listing that backs up to the Mueller greenbelt, I realize that it’s of no practical use.

Statistics are given which include vastly different price points, which are wildly useless in all but the most general of terms. This neighborhood is a different beast to the homogeneous suburban landscape. True, some people have said that the homes here are somewhat cookie cutter in appearance, but I guess they haven’t been to an actual suburb lately. The size and price range of the neighborhood certainly isn’t cut from the same dough. My imaginary Camacho home is worth five times more than some of the homes on the market right now, so seeing the sales data aggregated together really doesn’t do me any favors, or lend any insight. The two pending homes in the $700-800k range on Camacho aren’t shown. Surely these are the most comparable data and they’re omitted.

Even the snapshots I ran for other sellers in the middle of the Mueller market didn’t fare much better. For one thing, the immensely popular Mueller House Condominiums aren’t all in the MLS, so don’t make it onto the screen. Sure, I like the TPMS interface, and that I can quickly get sales price info on a given listing at a click of a button. So that is one saving grace. The statistical portion is a waste of time in my opinion though, and the fact that it doesn’t include all the data is misleading.

Overall I would say that the snapshots are useful in more consistent neighborhoods than Mueller Austin TX, and that the most useful part of the TPMS is that as a seller, I can click on other listings in the area and see what they sold for without any additional login.

Garreth Wilcock is a Mueller Austin TX Realtor with Austin housing market reports available at some of his websites. Just treat the statistical portion with a grain of salt. He doesn’t like spam, and can be contacted at 512 215 4785

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