21 Delight at Max & Nate’s

The ’50 cent’ tour resumed.

“East Pointe has the largest number of developments of any area but not the most units,” remarked R.M. “I keep track of all developments with at least four or more units. There are associations downtown with as few as four, and as many a hundred or more units. And some twindominiums, as well.”Chapter 21 Delight at Max and Nate's

“What’s a twindominium, or is it exactly like it sounds, two units just the same?”

“Half right. They don’t have to be exactly the same but there are only two of them, so more like fraternal than identical twins. Like twins, they are not for everyone! If each unit gets one vote in an association of two, it can be hard to break a tie. Anyway, they show up in MLS from time to time.”

“I guess I’m supposed to know this already, but can you explain more precisely what MLS is, please?” Michelle asked R.M.

“It’s an abbreviation for the Multiple Listing Service. It maintains detailed information about thousands of properties in our market, and it’s updated daily. It acts as a clearinghouse to provide member Realtors this newest information. There are other members as well, such as property appraisers. Members pay a monthly fee to access this information.”

“So, I can’t access all the information on my own, because I’m not a member?”

“Not all of it, no, although some sites now offer a search for MLS listings. But that’s all you get, just the listings.”

“But isn’t information what people want? Isn’t that enough?”

“Information is king, eh? Listings are only the beginning. There is so much more to know. There are other real estate sites you can access to see listings and make some comparisons, but none of them are as complete, or as accurate, as MLS.”

“OK, tell me more about the listings.”

“Let’s say a broker who holds a state-issued broker’s license has opened an agency, Driftwood Realty. The broker becomes a member of MLS. A licensed real estate agent working with Driftwood also is a member of MLS. As a seller of a property, you sign a listing contract with the agent, and his agency, to put your property on the market. They follow MLS rules, regulations, policies and procedures, and list your property in MLS. Every other MLS member has access to that listing, can send information about it to his own clients, can make an appointment to show it to buyers, and can write an offer on that property.”

“So what’s the difference between the MLS and Driftwood’s websites. Aren’t all the listings on it, too?”

“Driftwood’s site would typically feature Driftwood listings. You could find your property on it if you listed with them. Depending on the agency, a site might be more user friendly and offer more photos and other features. So don’t get me wrong, their site’s a great selling tool for you. More recently, there are agency websites that do broker reciprocity. That means that they show each others’ listings as well as their own. But if you were a buyer looking for a new property, you might not find all the listed properties available. MLS is still the most complete resource.”

“So if I’m selling, it’s to my advantage to have my property be in MLS?”

“Yes, because then it would have the widest possible exposure in the agent community. Any member could find your property. In the trade, all those other agents are called ‘co-brokes’ and we very often do sell each other’s listings when we match up the buyer’s desired search criteria. You can see from any MLS data sheet the large number of variables available for searching. And now of course, with all the bells and whistles available, there are multiple photos, maps, and even a dashboard, if you want.”

“And I can see all this too, but only if you send it to me?”

“Well, as I said, you could see some of the listings themselves, elsewhere. I can provide you additional information about those listings and others you might miss out seeing. More importantly, we have additional tools to use to interpret the data we see. Some information is private to members.”

“And that’s why it’s helpful to have a knowledgeable Realtor, I suppose.”

“Bingo! When I first started in this business, MLS printed books, big like old catalogs, with about five listings per page, each with only one exterior black and white photo and a very brief property description. Updated books were delivered about twice a month. It was up to the members to sort through them, page by inky page, and to build more sturdy shelves for them as they accumulated.”

R.M. pulled over in front of a rowhouse. “I don’t want you to miss seeing this townhouse style of unit. There are quite a few in this part of town. Is this something you like? Just wondering, as you mentioned a dog?”

“Oh, we’re just shopping for that, too.”

“Some people prefer to have a private entry, or be on a lower floor. It can be a long and messy ride down with a dog in an elevator.”

Maxine and Nate Benjamin, co-owners of Max and Nate's Deli

Maxine and Nate Benjamin, co-owners of Max and Nate’s Deli

Negotiating their way south along busy Farwell Ave., a street forming both an eastern boundary of East Pointe and a western boundary of the Gold Coast, Michelle noticed the sign ‘Max & Nate’s Deli’ over a restaurant window.

“What a great name for a deli. Ever been in there, R.M.? Please tell me it’s as good as it’s name sounds.”

*   *   *   *   *

Inside the steamy windows, business was brisk. The deli wasn’t a very large place and was often crowded. In the kitchen, owners Nathan Benjamin and his wife Maxine were catching up together over a pile of invoices.

“Maxie, maybe we should think about getting some help with this.  If I’m concentrating on this, I can’t do that…you know how it goes,” Nate groused. “I thought with both of us here we’d have enough time for paperwork.”

“It’s not such a bad problem to have though, is it, being cursed with success? Why don’t we interview that guy in our building, remember the one who sent round the flyer, a while ago? He’s the association treasurer. How bad can he be?”

“He said he’d come to your unit to do the work. Maybe we could ask him to walk the block over here instead, to make make our life easier.”

“Deal. I’ll ask Mrs. James about him first just to see if anyone else has tried him out. By the way, I keep putting her off, too. Have you thought any more about what recipe you want to put in the association cookbook? It’s not like we don’t have any.”

“Let’s say we do something with these ends of loaves of bread we have leftover every day. The freezer is getting pretty full of them. There’s only so many croutons we can use here. There are lots of people walking by who might stop in for a tasty, carry-out snack. Something like… how about ‘Day Old Delights?’

“OK, I’ll cook something up for us, and write a recipe for her. Two birds with one loaf.”