As the news rolls in every day so do our comments from readers, giving more shape, life and personality to the stories we publish. A change to MLS licensing policy from the National Association of Realtors and a new industry partnership added fuel to the debate fire this week, along with the (surprising?) home Zestimate for one of Zillow’s very own.

Here are our top comments of the week, in no particular order. Conversation threads are grouped together for clarity.

Cj Yeoman · Commented on 5 things your assistant is afraid to tell you | Inman

My real estate career began 31 years ago as a broker’s assistant. The woman would squeeze a nickel until the buffalo screamed, but I was naive enough to think she wouldn’t “mess” me over because it would hurt her bottom line tremendously.

I was wrong.

For a $150 A/C unit (long story), she probably cost herself $20K when I quit. It was a life lesson for me … and I will tell you this article is 150% correct! A good assistant can make you lots of money and a licensed assistant can transition you until you build a true team and still be a great team member.

Jonathan Wilhelm · Commented on NAR mandates brokers obtain and grant licenses to MLS content | Inman

WOW! One more example of how the NAR no longer works for brokers and agents but rather for the MLS’s.

Daniel Akerman · Commented on NAR mandates brokers obtain and grant licenses to MLS content | Inman

Your assessment is rather short-sighted since the MLS is the main tool through which brokers conduct business and a threat to an MLS is a threat to all its constituent members.

Furthermore, anything that clarifies rights and ownership/duplication rights actually protects brokers and agents from having their listing materials used without permission and helps them avoid costly lawsuits by clearly drawing a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

As an NYC agent (we are not NAR-affiliated) I can tell you that the problem of unauthorized use of listing information is HUGE. This helps address that problem. The only brokers this would hurt are the shady ones trying to use other people’s info and images.

Erez Yonatan · Commented on NAR mandates brokers obtain and grant licenses to MLS content | Inman

Breaking news : NAR set up the time in a day when agents can breathe. Real estate agents now need to get a special license from NAR to breathe between 2-4pm. We still live under the NAR inquisition era. What a Shame!

Kenneth Jenny · Commented on The ultimate way to disrobe Zestimates | Inman

Simply stated a Zestimate is by design — NOT a Zactimate.

Zillow provided a place for consumers to go to “better understand” what their property may be worth now. AVMs are not the last stop — nor were they ever intended to be — an absolute valuation.

But they do beat forcing a consumer to sit through a two-hour CMA presentation or having to pay a bank appraiser hundreds of dollars just to get an idea of a property’s value.

So use the Zestimate to start the conversation – and then apply other more exact forms of property valuation to be awarded business.

Demon Of Marketing · Commented on The ultimate way to disrobe Zestimates | Inman

Ahhhh, you crazy whiners are getting on my nerves now.

Zillow’s AVM is a MARKETING tool and the most effective one to ever hit the real estate industry since brokers were chiseling “4sel” into cave entrances while avoiding the occasional T-Rex.

This was pre-bronze-age so you didn’t yet have those ugly little square signs to bash into yards.

You either build something better [than] Zillow or get killed. The marketplace is NOT going to listed to you; they are going to Zillow — because they offer what they desire.

Let the broker whose site hits 100,000,000 visitors a month throw the first stone. Otherwise learn to compete.

Rod Smith · Commented on The ultimate way to disrobe Zestimates | Inman

Creed Smith, so “Influencing consumer behavior is what brokers must do?”

I would humbly suggest that Zestimates quite simply make our job that much more difficult. People DO go to Zillow and they believe what they see.

It’s always been the toughest conversation with a seller — setting the price. Seller’s get numbers in their head from neighbors, family, friends and now the “Official Zillow”.

It’s easier to straighten out the mess from neighbors and friends but the public sees you as a professional outfit. It does nobody any good to look at Zestimates.

If I’m going out to buy a new car and Auto-Zillow says the car will cost “x” that’s the number that sticks with me and ruins my day when I see the real sticker.

Drew Meyers · Commented on vs. Zillow: A nasty fight for home turf | Inman

What does the consumer/buyer want? If they don’t focus on solving that regardless of whether it helps their near-term business/revenue model, they are always going to be playing from a position of weakness.

Sue Langston-Ames · Commented on 5 things your assistant is afraid to tell you | Inman

Every Mega should read this and take note! There is a reason you hired someone who has different skill sets than you do. Relax, step back, and let your wonderful person take over and do the job you hired them to do. Learn to say “thank you,” “you are wonderful,” and “awesome job” over and over again. Thanks for another great article!

Kate Bowden · Commented on Granite ‘remnants’ may save you money | Inman

I am a stone fabricator and thought this may be helpful. For the most part, remnants are remnants — whether it is granite, marble, quartz, etc.

Most companies cut X amount of kitchen jobs a week and therefore whatever is left over from those jobs become remnants.

As a consumer, your selection of remnants really boils down to what jobs the particular fabricator has recently cut and what is left over as well as the size of the piece required by the homeowner or customer.

Remnants are absolutely a great way to save some money, but you have to find the right fabricator and the right piece(s) for you.

Consumers also have to keep in mind that you cannot use remnants for larger areas such as the vast majority of kitchens, master baths with more than 30-35 sqft. of countertop space and so on.

Charlie Ashby · Commented on Homesnap and Broker Public Portal form partnership | Inman

The Tiger changes to a vegetarian?

Founder Guy Wolcott of DC-based startup Sawbuck (HomeSnap) wants to change real estate.

“We saw how anti-consumer the real estate business was. Real estate brokers hoarded access to the secret MLS data to protect their old models. So we wanted to give consumers more control – starting with giving them easy access to more information and better tools than any agent had.”

Gloria Gomez Matthews · Commented on Is Zillow stupid, or is the industry fooling itself? | Inman

Doing a real estate transaction without a Realtor is a lot like going to court without an attorney.

You can do it yourself, but it’s better to have an experienced licensed professional on your side.

Email Caroline Feeney.

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