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Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Etc. are taking away your business

For decades it has been a system that has worked flawlessly without any hold backs. Modern times and have change but people still prefer to do business with a live person and not online when it comes to making one of their most important decisions of their lives. Selling or buying their homes is one the most important decision people will make and we have always been more than happy to help them with everyone of those needs. Today we are facing a dilemma, one that should be addressed with urgency. Brokers/agents have always been able to provide prospects with current, accurate, & straight from the MLS market analysis, comparables, net-sheets, and so on. Today we are being undersold by Zillow, Trulia, & Redfin just to name a few of these companies. They have been obtaining our information once with upload our listings to the MLS by agreeing to send listing to the internet. At that time they will contact a random agent to purchase a zipcode  where he/she is farming and they will mislead prospects by showing them as the point of contact for that listing- making them appear as the listing agent.  Funny thing is that you will find the listing agents name and listing website at the very bottom of the page which we all know nearly no one will take the time to scroll to the bottom of the webpage. Which brings me to why is it that we have to obey by state and local boards thus pay hundreds of dollars to use the MLS while these rules and fees to these 3rd party companies don't apply. Moreover I was contacted by the above mentioned vendors wanting me to sign up and when I asked if their listings were up and current they declared they were, therefore I decided to test them. I made them search one of my listing's, they had it as active; note that same listing had sold 4 months prior. I did that with two additional listings with the same results, one of them had sold 6 months prior and still showing as ACTIVE. Moving forward, they wanted to charge to put me as the contact agent for my own listing, Why would I want to do business with any company that is misleading anyone. As an agent I feel that we as a community should make a stand and put a stop to any company that is willing to mislead anyone for a quick dollar gain. We pay and deliver high customer service to everyone in need of it. When I say we, I am talking about you & me (US). Everyone of us needs to let our congress, NAR, CAR, BRE, Etc. that we as brokers/agents want a halt to these companies that want to monopolize the Real Estate Market. I believe that the MLS should be the only way to provide anyone with up to date, current, and correct market analysis, comps, active, and so on information that can be provided by any active broker/agent in the nation via MLS portal. Sometimes things might not concern us because we are to busy to stop and look, today I am asking that you stop and look before it's to late. Make a stand contact your local boards about boycotting any company that is willing to mislead ANYONE doing Real Estate or any business in that matter. I am not here to sell my company I am here to make a stand for all of US. Finally I want to thank anyone that brings this matter up as this is a battle and war we should win if we stand united.

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You're right Julio, if you or I represented someone else's listing as our own or continued to advertise a listing as active months after closing we'd be in big trouble. The problem is our MLS/boards/associations are making too much money off selling these clowns our data. They are similar to politicians, addicted to the money and will never let it go.

If everyone who get a call from the public from a listing on one of their websites would give that person their local MLS website address it would soon solve all these problems. Also when someone calls or emails you get their email address and offer to help them find a house. I have been getting sales from doing this. 

You're right! I will be contacting our local board, MLS, etc regarding Zillow & Trulia's practices of "selling off" our listings. As professionals, we must object to this practice and cease the practice of adding our listings to these sites. Further, I've found Craig's list & several others are more effective.  

IDX, RET's, XML Feeds, these have become the  "Pandora's Box" for the real estate industry.  This is our fault as an industry, there was rush to put everything online and no thought put into the long term effects of having it all out there; now we have to find a way to deal with it.

Brokers control where their listings go by giving permission to exchange data, we directed MLS to open the flood gates when all  this came about.  

Does List Hub get feeds from your MLS?  They are one of the main distributors to Zillow, Truila and the 100's of real estate websites you now offer your sellers in your listing presentation.  They have slowly built themselves into a position where they now want to charge Brokers in addition to all the site they send your information too.  They want to control your listing information to these sites.

Local MLS systems are not Marketing to the public. at least ours isn't.  Since all these other sites are doing the marketing that is where Buyers go to search and where sellers expect to see their home.

Brokers will pay these companies for the leads generated from "your listing" and if you want the leads from your hard work you need to pay for it.

Brokers will take advantage of things like "coming soon" or "Brokers clubs" that undermine the MLS system.

MLS is becoming the modern age Dinosaur, the question we have to ask ourselves as an industry to we want to keep MLS or do we want to stop paying dues and rely on these other companies to market our listings. 

If we want to keep the MLS changes have to be made to our thought process:

Members have to demand that their local MLS be the main distribution point for all feeds to outside sites, not a 3rd party. 

Members have to demand that their local MLS develop an advertising and marketing campaign in the local area.  Do people in your area know that you have a public website? Do you have a public MLS website?

MLS public sites need to provide the same information as Zillow, Trulia, etc but with more accuracy.  Internet users want information even if it is just for curiosity.  The should not have to go anywhere but your local MLS to get it.

MLS systems need to combine into one statewide system (strength in numbers) and quit the petty, greedy thought process of thinking you are protecting your business, it's not working. 

Realtor.com is a joke, I used to be pay for enhanced listings, now they want to raise my monthly to $150.00 because of my volume. Listing Brokers are the ones who keep these people in business,  I don't get all the leads from Realtor.com but people in our industry pay it because they are afraid to say no.  I said NO, and it has not changed anything for my business.

I don't pay Zillow, Trulia, or anyone else trying to sell me leads from my listings.  If Brokers wont pay them they won't be around long.

 

Julio - The Trulia idiots have asked me several times in the past month if I had sold a listing in Hawaii and Wisconsin - HELLO! I am in Arkansas, dumba$$. I keep emailing them that those are not my listings.

Send those scoundrels and money? No way, Never!

Zillow shows me with 4 listings, none sold. HEY dumbuttzs,  I always have more than 30 listings and have closed 10 this year.

Just goes to show that any fool with a bucketful of money can make more money on the internet when stoopid, going broke, lazy agents will send them money.

Hey "dumbuttzs"...you as the selling agent have to go into Zillow and enter your past sales. They will show the last 12 months worth.

as far as listings, unless you are a premium member they will not show all your listings under you. You will have to manually add those as well.

Every singled one or past 345 sales for 12 months shows up and so do every single one of our 110 listings. But we are a premium member. (I still add all our closed sales the day they close just to make sure, it takes 1 minute to do)

Hehehehe... what is funny here is if you do not update your listing to pending or sold on time when status changes occur, the MLS penalizes you as the listing agent big time in $$$. But when these 3rd parties advertise the listing still as active for many months, no penalty? And when the homebuyers see these inaccuracies in listing status, then the blame is on the agent. We as professional Realtors are getting a bad reputation online this way. It is high time that the MLS and NAR should develop as statewide/nationwide public version MLS online where homebuyers can get information and call the listing agent direct when they need to get more info. After all, we are also paying membership fees to these organizations for their existence. When these 3rd parties start catering to listing agents to submit their listings in their portals even for a small fee but with a promise of huge marketing exposure online nationwide, this could spell the end of the MLS. The direction of these 3rd parties is towards that line. You may notice that Auction.com may have started (if not still on hold) marketing to home sellers to list their homes direct with Auction.com  In the future, we as agents may have the flexibility to list our properties direct for a fee to these 3rd parties for online marketing when they open that option and the MLS is gone or half gone. The big problem here is when these 3rd parties start marketing to home sellers to list their homes direct to their portals for marketing without paying a Realtor's fee. IT IS HIGH TIME THAT MLS and NAR DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS TO PRESERVE THEIR EXISTENCE.

Yes! I agree 100%. Buyer's get upset with us if they see something online and it's been sold for a month. Even Realtor.com is a mess.

I'm glad I'm not the only agent out there that recognizes a crucial time in real estate. Our very own organization is not helping us out. Perhaps if we switch local boards they will lose money on membership & start noticing that without us they will lose. Here is suggestion; use the same/similar system/platform as Zillow, Trulia & redfin. give them a taste of their own medicine. The down side to it is that it appears like our boards have been bought out by them already. Just look in the MLS where is now required to have your seller have a signed agreement not to list their property on 3rd party websites. I think they did this to prevent us from doing so. Our strength is on numbers and our voices. Let us be heard so we can make those necessary changes.
julio..I am in. This will be a huge row to how. We could not possibly fight this fight without ALL Realtors standing up. Perhaps petitioning the NAR would be a good start. Letting them know that hundreds of thousands of us are passionate about this issue. It would absolutely require the Realtors from all states participate. Also, is it legal? We could use the Causes website to secure the signatures. Spread it utilizing social media. It might be worth a try. You know yourself that agents aren't going to write letters. It's needs to be easy. Short and sweet. Sign and click...done. Let's brainstorm. We have all considered those websites unfair to us for a long time but we just sit back and say..oh well it is what it is. Should we rock the boat? If you will look into the legal consequenses, if any. I will help draft the letter of complaint. I myself are tired of paying for MLS privledged while it's freely added to those inept sites. It's our listing, we work long and hard....I would like the phone call from the potential client. Comments please.
Excuse the typo's. It is late here. I'm interested to see the feedback from other Realtors!
Let's try to bring In as many brokers /agents nation wide to this much need discussion to mastermind & put a solution to it ASAP.

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