Archives for January 2011

Multiple listings, Real Estate Agents, and REALTORS, Do you know the difference?

As I receive offers to join new statewide multiple listing systems, touting as benefits to:   1. save money;  2. not be required to be a “board” member to join;  3. not need an active real estate license to participate;  and   4. be able to list a house hours away; I think agents and the public do not truly understand the purpose of REALTOR Associations and their multiple listing systems.

Unlike real estate agents, REALTORS are members of the National Association of REALTORS and their state Association of REALTORS.  REALTORS subscribe to a code of ethics, use a grievance and professional standards system, including mediation and arbitration, to uphold those ethics.  REALTORS suppport private property rights, education and professionalism, and REALTOR  political action to promote home ownership and to protect and support housing nationwide.  Their multiple listing service is more than just sharing information, it is about protecting clients rights, reliable and correct information, and the offer of cooperation and compensation. 

I do not think it is in the best interest of the public to list property or seek to purchase with an inactive agent, ie, one whose license is not active, who is not taking education updates, being supervised by a broker in charge, subscribing to a code of ethics, or legally allowed to list and sell real estate and receive a fee for doing so.   I do not think it is in the public’s best interest to list a property with an agent hours away from that property, who is not actively involved in the area to know values, local planning and zoning issues, or able to monitor the property on a regular basis.  I do not think it is in the public’s best interest for an agent not to subscribe to a code of ethics and hold themselves responsible to one.

The National Association of REALTORS provides REALTORS with the REALTOR Property Resource, RPR, with information on property nationwide, as a member benefit.   REALTOR.com provides the public free access to all REALTOR listings nationwide.  To pay to join a statewide multiple listing system as an additional venue to promote a listing and as a source for property for buyer clients may have some value.  To join a multiple listing system to save money, that may or may not offer cooperation and compensation, that may or may not have a platform to enforce rules and regulations,  that does not require members to  subscribe to an organization with ethics and professional standards systems, or even require active licensure,  to the exclusion of membership in the National Association of REALTORS and state associations is not in the client’s best interest.  It is the public interest that a real estate agent should promote, not their own.