When I first got my real estate license, “dumb” terminals were used to access picture-less listings. MLS books (w/ pictures) were published every two weeks, and the day the books were delivered, they were already 5 days old. Oh, and sharing the book with the general public resulted in a fine! So, basically, the consumer had to use an agent to find a listing or to sell a home. Business for REALTORS was easy!!!
The Structure of NAR
Today, I know the truth about being a REALTOR. In our market, to be a member of the MLS, you must also be a member of the local board, the State Association, and NAR (or pay a much higher MLS fee) to have access to the MLS. In neighboring markets (not the same state), the local MLS board owns the lockbox system, so in order to get a lockbox key, you need to be a member of that local board and therefore, a member of their State association, and NAR. In the eyes of many, the local, state, and National Association provide NO services of value. Better stated, the only service worth paying for is the local MLS.
Pay to Play
Agents don’t mind paying for services, but DO NOT want to feel like they’re being taken advantage of (which many feel they are.) Local & State Associations, and NAR see it differently. You see, it’s the MLS that funds everything else that the local Board does. And because you MUST also be a member of the State REALTOR board and NAR, it could be said that the local MLS’s fund State and NAR. So, if NAR is to exist, NAR needs the local MLS to flourish financially until NAR is able to morph from being a service organization into technology firm/data aggregator (RPR, AMP, UpStream.)
Who Moved the Cheese?
NAR’s metamorphosis is being funded by member dollars. To NAR, members like Deridder are a necessary evil until NAR becomes a “butterfly” and no longer needs local dues. NAR supports members like Deridder, for the time being. Deridder doesn’t want to change the way he’s been doing business for the last 30 years.
Having exclusive access to the MLS data has “enabled” Deridder. Deridder has become complacent and slothful. To him, life is good so “please don’t make me learn something new!!” Heaven forbid that he have to go out and “work” for a living!!!
That being said, what did steam engine mechanics do when the diesel locomotive was invented? They either had to adapt or get out of the way because the industry was changing with or without them!
The Nationwide Real Estate Portals
Portals like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Realtor.com, etc. are changing the way REALTORS must do business if they are to survive. Most brokers are not fans of Zillow and the other nation-wide real estate portals. No longer are agents the “gatekeepers” of the MLS data.
Real Estate data is everywhere so in order for the agent to survive, they must become and market themselves as “interpreters” of the data. Agents need to sell their interpretation of the MLS data and not simply access to it! Deridder does not like this because that means he needs to change the way he’s been doing business.
REALTORS like Deridder use the excuse that Zillow’s “Zestimate” is wrong or inaccurate as a reason for not wanting to place their listings on Zillow! What a shame as the reality is that Deridder does not even know the difference between an AVM, CMA or BPO – much less what it is used for, how it works. God help them when it comes to explaining what an AVM really is to his Seller!
The REALTOR Code of Ethics
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics’ Article 1 requires REALTORS® “to promote and protect the interests of the client.” Even beyond the Code of Ethics, state law generally dictates that real estate agents owe a fiduciary duty to their clients, meaning:
Real estate professionals must place their clients’ interests above their own and act in the best interests of their clients at all times.
How can anyone argue successfully that placing a home for sale on the largest real estate portal in the world would NOT be beneficial for the home seller?