Hot off the presses at Inman last week is a piece about Edina Realty’s decision to drop their relationship with third party websites, particularly Realtor.com.
Since I both ghostwrite for an Edina agent and have recently written a blog post about this very situation, I found the piece, and the comments from readers, fascinating.
Now, before I go on, I feel the need to disclose my utter contempt for the National Association of Realtors. When I was a working agent I disliked being forced to become a member, and to this day feel that they do nothing for anyone but themselves.
A recent study of homebuyers only proves this point. All of the homebuyers interviewed said:
Sadly, all these two items mean is that a real estate agent is wasting a lot of time taking classes and a whole lot of money.
But, I digress. Let’s take a look at the reasoning behind Edina Realty’s position. While several reasons are outlined, the lag of integrity in listing information seems to be the sore point for Bob Peltier, CEO of Edina Realty Home Services. “The inaccuracies we’ve seen on third-party aggregator sites give us cause for alarm, and the reality is that we are no longer willing to surrender our business – or the consumer’s real estate experience – to third party aggregators, who are not required to operate under the same rules and laws as brokers,” he says.
He also mentions a Trulia.com study, the results of which are posted at Inman, that proves that erroneous information on third party, non-MLS sources, is “pervasive.” In fact, 69 percent of errors in online real estate listings come from these sites.
Peltier goes on to say that these sites also create confusion for real estate consumers. “Inquiries to these sites are sometimes routed to agents who know nothing about the property and may not even be familiar with the neighborhood. These agents may not have the support, ability or desire to respond to a property inquiry within 30 minutes.”
The NAR thinks nothing of charging Realtors tons of money every year for exclusive membership in their little club. After the agents then spend gobs more money to photograph and compile info on their listings and diligently load them into the MLS database, their trade association then tells them that all that info is going to a competitor. And, no, they won’t share the fee they get from that competitor with you.
NAR then offers to enhance your contributed information for a large fee so that Realtor.com remains competitive with the very sites they sold your information to in the first place!
If you miss the audacity implicit in this situation you aren’t paying attention.
Hats off to Edina Realty. Maybe if others follow suit, individual agents will have a crack at Google’s golden first page of search results.