I got an interesting phone call this week about a group that wants to stop listing syndication…
Let me tell you about a situation from yesterday that did not give me a warm fuzzy feeling…
I got a voice mail from someone Tuesday about a group called NAREP that is trying to change the way real estate listings are syndicated.
What is Listing Syndication?
First let me explain what listing syndication is for anyone that is not familiar. Listing syndication has to do with how real estate listings get fed to all kinds of websites. Websites such as Trulia, Zillow and many many more.
More or less, NAREP’s plan is to get agents that have 25% of the listings in US to join. Then they are going to pull all of those listings from all the syndication services/websites all at once. Which sounds like a boycott to me and might be something the FTC would have a problem with.
But it does sound good in some ways…
Websites, such as Zillow and Trulia, often make it very hard for a potential buyer to contact the listing agent. These websites make their money by selling ads to agents so they will appear on every listing in certain areas or zip codes. Or ads for other things that home buyers /sellers might be interested in.
Another problem is that these websites often have homes that are NOT for sale. I have to make sure the listings on my website are updated and accurate. Trulia and Zillow do not and I think they do not care. All they want is more visitors so they can sell more advertising.
The fact that over 30% of the homes on Trulia and Zillow are NOT actually for sale means nothing to them!
The third problem is that some of these websites insist on publishing inaccurate home values. And no matter how hard you try to convince people that these estimates are NOT accurate, people tend to trust the untrustworthy instead of the person that actually knows the local real estate market.
Obviously, I do not like the problems with these websites. So this voice mail intrigued me to say the least. Sadly, many of the phone calls I get are from shady telemarketers. I get phone calls & emails from people sometimes about something I said online or a link I shared on twitter.
Heck I even had a local TV reporter call me about real estate a few months ago. Also had someone from NAR call me about a link I shared on twitter to an article that was critical about how REALTOR.com is run.
So I thought maybe I was being contacted because of something I said or tweeted since this was not a pre-recorded sales pitch. I did not call this person back because I wanted to do some research first. Could not find much or figure out who is behind this group, where their money is coming from, etc.
Then I saw an article about this very group and several posts in private Facebook groups for real estate professionals.
And nothing I read gave me many details that would lead me to develop a warm fuzzy feeling…
There is no doubt that I dislike websites such as Trulia / Zillow and their business practices. I have tried all of them and they are a waste of money. They over promise and under deliver. Also, they hurt buyers and sellers in my opinion because of the reasons I mentioned above.
Often, when anyone criticizes these websites, these websites or their minions reply by attacking the messenger. They like to imply you are not doing everything you can to sell your client’s listings if you are not giving them money.
More or less, they say if you do not give us money, you are a bad real estate agent.
Not in those exact words of course.
But in a deceptive and manipulative way intended to embarrass the real estate agent or REALTOR.
Sleazy? Maybe. But I will not be shamed into giving money to these jerks.
Or they claim you want buyers to contact you so you can get both sides of the commission.
No, it is because I want these buyers to buy my client’s property. That is my job!
I always give buyers a copy of the SC Agency Disclosure Brochure ASAP. Heck there is a copy of it on this website!
I always explain to buyers that I am working for the sellers.
It isn’t just the law in South Carolina, it is the right thing to do.
I always tell buyers that the sellers are my client.
I always tell buyers that I am working for the seller to sell the property for the best price & terms for the seller.
So take your unwarranted accusations that I want to practice dual agency and go elsewhere (nicest way I could put that).
I do not practice dual agency.
I do perform ministerial acts to sell a property for my clients such as writing up an offer.
I simply will not give money to any of these syndication websites until they change their ways. That does not mean I am unprofessional or unethical.
Don’t get me wrong. I have to admit that I have a profile on most of these websites. My listings are syndicated to hundreds of websites. Honestly, I have my listings pushed out to as many websites as possible. I refer to these websites as a necessary evil because they are where some buyers think they need to go to find homes for sale.
For now, I am not joining NAREP.
The necessary evil of listing syndication is still…necessary.
Maybe more information will come out about NAREP from an unbiased source that will give me a warm fuzzy feeling.