Thinking of Making a “Z” Sale? Yesterday Was Your Last Day to Skirt The New MLS Sales Disclosure Rules

Published October 16, 2012 by Joanna England

Homes like Mount Vernon would be prime candidates for “Z sales.” That practice is a thing of the past as of yesterday.

I spoke to MetroTex Association of Realtors MLS Director Cathy Faulkner yesterday about “Z sales” coming to an end. In the luxury market, “Z sales” gave lofty sales prices a sense of anonymity.

I won’t bore you with the technical details of what a “Z sale” is exactly. Check out this site for a primer on the practice. The gist is this: sellers who were gun shy about disclosing what they paid for a home listed on MLS put a “Z” instead of a big number followed by a lot of zeroes.

Dallas Realtor Jeff Duffey says the death of the practice “will never affect approximately 99% of the real estate market areas throughout North Texas.” However, he estimates roughly 20 percent of the sales in high-end neighborhoods such as the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and Turtle Creek are “Z sales.”

Not anymore, though. Faulkner said the exception to the rule became problematic as “more and more people” were using “Z sales” instead of disclosing prices. This makes it difficult for sellers, appraisers, and agents, she said. “When people go to sell their home they’re going to need comparables.”

I asked Faulkner if she thought making “Z sales” verboten would just bring about more hip pocket listings and keep high-priced properties from hitting MLS all together. Part of the psychology behind “Z” sales was keeping your sales price from the Dallas County Appraisal District. But appraisers like D.W. Skelton say that doesn’t work, either: DCAD just takes last listed price.

“I certainly hope not,” said Faulkner, about hip pockets. “You are going to get more exposure … when you list a property using the Multiple Listing Service. This is for sellers to use to help buyers.”

But will it work? Will people who were previously skittish about sharing how much they spent on their home give in to the new MLS rule, or will they avoid the MLS completely? We are waiting for your comments…

— Daily Local Real Estate Dish By Dallas Real Estate Insider — Candy Evans at CandysDirt.com