America's Largest Social Network for Default Real Estate Professionals
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.
Heheheheh..... I printed a copy of this discussion board after my posting and emailed it to the Executive Officers of the Board of Realtors of CVAR, Tri-County Board of Realtors and West San Gabriel Board of Realtors who are also members of the board of our local AREAA Tri-County Chapter. I am still waiting a response. You can also discuss this issue to your own local board of realtors and see what they have to say.
I received this letter below by email sent by NAR President, STEVE BROWN and NAR CEO, DALE STINTON. All NAR members could have received this also.....
The Fault Lies not in the Stars …
This advice is provided as a way to emphasize that your listings, your data were acquired by you through tremendous work and effort, and a heck of a lot of money is being moved around in the marketplace predicated on you continuing to provide it. It’s seed corn – don’t squander it.
Ahhh well. I was writing similar stuff as far back as 1981 about 'being more professional' and trying to take the public opinion of us to a higher level than snake oil sales. I had several articles published in REALTOR TODAY, I believe that was the magazine name.
The letter above seems to be saying to just laugh it off and be a pro and these wont be problems for you. NOT. They are and will. Already we are (Preparing to duck for cover now) just barely needed in the listing process. In fact, an entire new batch of brokers are taking listings away by just charging a flat fee for MLS input and they do not represent the seller at all. Some even tell the sellers not to call them again. Double in fact---if someone with the money were to put together a nationally advertised PUBLIC LISTING SERVICE all the broker controlled MLS services would close down. The ONLY thing we have as an ace card is control over each local MLS. Almost all buyers now find their own properties through the internet. I see a future of a huge for sale database and real estate agents as semi paralegals just hired to help facilitate the paperwork. The main reason we even have this job is that lawyers dont play taxi, and they charge by the hour regardless of outcome. We prostitute ourselves and often receive no pay for hours of work when transactions do not close.
So we can stick our heads in the sand and ignore Zillow and data companies like it but we will hurt from it.
AMEN and AMEN. Ive been complaining about Zillow for years. They screw up the publics minds with their stupid estimations of value. They should not be allowed to do that. Are they licensed brokers? Appraisers? I know they have a disclaimer and its just an 'estimate' but I have to try and convince people that their $250,000 home according to Zillow is realyy worth $225,000 or sometimes $265,000. All they are is a giant SPIDER WEB. They are filled with mistakes.
And now they JUST BOUGHT TRULIA so there go the both of them---herders amoung the sheep. Can I have a big BAAAA BAAAAA from the crowd?
I believe the public should know about these false advertisement. You probably could mention this in a forum such as craigslist.org or BiggerPockets.com that you were solicited for business (does not matter if you are a Realtor. Consumers get contacted too.) and you decided to give them a test on those old listings. Maybe one of the consumers will decide to sue them for false advertisement as a consumer.
I think the MLS/board need to do a database check on those companies to see how often they update their website. There should be some kind of code within the MLS database for the listing information to disappear on those websites, when it is no longer available.
BAAAAAAAAAAA from me Marvin. But, Looks like Arnold's letter from NAR tells us how they feel about it. Would be difficult to fight that giant I think. Really is not not fair to us at all.
follow the money-
trulia was just sold for millions-what did they sell, public access to OUR listings. We do all the hard work of getting listings-they somehow get the information-then resell it-
this makes no sense to me-
how is it they make millions off of our listings?
Hi Neal - Because agents pay them to have their mug on our listings.
here is the thing- I am pretty sure they are getting the access directly from the MLS-how else would they be able to upload each listing? by hand? I doubt it-it seems top me the MLS's are selling the information and keeping the profit.
Julio - well written post. Just to add a correction. Zillow and Trulia are media companies (they are in the media category) and Redfin is an actual brokerage firm that marries technology with agents. I have been a full time agent for 11 years (5 in REO), am a Senior Agent with Redfin, and previously was with RE/MAX, so I know the real estate model. Just wanted to clear up any misconception. Thanks for the post.
Your right, but again as I mentioned before in a previous blog, NAR,CAR,BRE etc..etc.. and their attorney's seem to focus where there is more contributions and funds sent to them. So, In my opinion they are focusing on letting the banks,websites from and 3rd party bank asset management vendors get away with alot of stuff they should not be ignoring as well as with unethical practices from brokers/agents in the business. Anyway, websites like Zillow & Trulia etc..etc.. are always outdated and not to mention the private memberships that have "POCKET LISTINGS" which I see all the time that have half the information needed for a buyers agent to contact and know anything about the listing to put in an offer. NO CONTACT # AND NO EXTACT LISTING OFFICE LOCATION (specially when its a franchise that's when they are really hard to locate). This is unethical because it puts the listing agent to an advantage. They will only respond to consumer request and ignore buyer agent requests. Again, when these listings are outdated as they are, there is no way an agent can really do a good BPO. But these 3rd party bank vendors don't care, as long as you are accepting low ball BPO fee's. The people who really suffer at the end ARE THE CONSUMERS with all the false information.