This week a rabble-rousing brokerage started publishing commission data again, a mega MLS emerged on the East coast while another dissolved and got auctioned for $250,000 and we heard about the Zillow-VHT photo copyright lawsuit heading to trial. Here’s what readers had to say about all that and more.

Clear copyright breach

Melina Tomson · Commented on Zillow gears up for photography copyright trial

I think it is a clear breach of copyright. I know for me, I have to manually go in and delete listing photos on Zillow before I mark it sold on the MLS. My brokerage data automatically feeds into Zillow and when the listing sells they do not pull the photos off. If I delete them on Zillow while still active, it won’t repull them in. I had to email support to get them off after they sold. The solution is being forced to claim the house and then delete them. It is highly irritating.

I don’t think most agents realize that their sold photos stay on there when they have an automatic feed set up.

An absolute right to know

Consumer Advocates in American Real Estate 501(c)3 · Commented on Upstart brokerage outs commission offers — again

So the MLS is intentionally concealing from buyers the compensation being offered to their agents? Seems like class action material there. Trelora is absolutely right and there is simply no argument that makes any reasonable sense to argue against them. Buyers have an absolute right to know if their agent is being offered compensation from their adversary. We support Trelora.

Approach reform with caution

(response to comment above)

Loren Winter · Commented on Upstart brokerage outs commission offers — again

With very rare exception, commissions are negotiated between the Seller and the Listing Broker. This is going to remain a constant until more Buyers start agreeing to pay a fee directly to their Buyer’s agent. Its prudent to approach reform with caution, lest your goals backfire. Would you rather Realtors step back in time when nearly everyone represented the Seller, either as the listing agent or a sub-agent? I feel strongly most Buyers today would agree they are far happier with the services provided to them by a professional through an exclusive right to purchase representation agreement, as opposed to limited agent services provided by a sub-agent who technically is working for the seller. Clients have the right to ask their agent what they are getting paid, so there is no conspiracy to hide what a Buyer’s agent is earning. Everyone sees the exact commissions paid on their settlement statement so, again, it’s no secret held from clients. If you feel that consumers will have better purchasing power by eliminating Realtors, ask any FSBO if they feel their house is worth any less as a result of not using an agent.

Sound fair?

Jordan Ames · Commented on Upstart brokerage outs commission offers — again

Buyer: “Will you represent us for $2,500 like ‘Trelora Realty’?
Me: “Sure… you have a one hour showing window available on Tuesdays (not to exceed 5 home showings total), I don’t work weekends, allow 24-48 hours for response via email, I don’t accept calls outside of 9-5 M-F, you can find and schedule all inspections, your CMA will consist of the Zillow Zestimate, hire an attorney to negotiate for you, and I will not attend anything after your included 5 showings. Sound fair?”

What are the benefits?

Pete Thorpe · Commented on Bright MLS reveals giant six-state service area

I’m curious to see what the benefits will be. Since I’m an agent in PA & MD, a marketing pitch for me is that I have the ability to market in both the MD & PA MLS thereby increasing exposure for homes that are on the border….now, that edge is gone since there will be a single entry point even though some agents are only on one side of the line or the other. I also imagine there will be some retooling needed to update websites as the IDX feed will likely change down the road.

Coming together

Cindy Ariosa · Commented on Bright MLS reveals giant six-state service area

Leaders from MRIS, TREND and these important neighboring markets have come together politically, technically and most importantly “collaboratively” to make certain brokers and agents have a strong, consistent and accurate voice with the consumer. Very excited about Bright!

Professional agents have nothing to worry about

Hank Miller Team/Harry Norman Realtors · Commented on Will technology kill your real estate commission splits?

Between “commissions” and “millennials” my had is ready to explode. Here’s what I see from 28 years appraising and selling:

1. Buyers like experienced agents for all of the known reasons – buyers rarely pay commissions, the smart ones will use us.
2. Discounters have an will be in the water – best of luck to them and sellers using them. These sellers are not my clients, I never lose a wink of sleep about them
3. I use Weiss, Altos, Canary and many otehr appraisal tools. Data is useless if not understood and properly applied. Algorithums are just that.
4. Real estate is a singularly unique item. Fromt location, to condition, to design, to utility, to external, to functional, to buyers, to sellers, to market conditions….best of luck doing it with a discount hack.

If the point is to eliminate the 65% of agent dead wood then I’m all for it. Professional agents have nothing to worry about.

VR in high migration areas

Gary Hughes · Commented on 3 problems crippling virtual reality’s take-off in real estate

In general the VR experience may not provide local buyers enough incremental value to justify the price; however, in high migration areas the value may be present. Given that selection is a process of elimination, a distant client can begin shopping before arriving in the area. For example, a recent clinet could have experienced several properties while still in Germany and narrowed down the ones they wanted to actually see when they arrived in area. Given all that has to happen with an international relocation, increasing the efficency of home finding can add value to the relationship.

Consider also, the buyer who want to see everything. Just come to my office and lets look at them. That can provide an opportunity for genuine relationship building while eliminating homes without driving all day.

FHA loan holders

Jennifer Hicks · Commented on FHA opens door to homeownership for more borrowers

What about those who already have FHA loans and have been responible and never made a late payment? Where is the cut for those who have already proven they are worthy of the credit they received by receiving a reduced PMI premium for the life of the existing loan?

You get what you pay for

Andrea Gordon · Commented on Upstart brokerage outs commission offers — again
There is an old saying: You get what you pay for…

Can’t tell you how inept many people who cannot justify a reasonable commission for themselves are. If they can’t get paid themselves, how are they going to obtain a good price for their buyers? Also, if you have to work like a dog to get basically miniumum wage, are you really going to give the best service? Update yourself on all laws and regulations? Educate yourself and pay dues to organizations that help you to stay abreast of real estate trends? etc. etc… Firms that focus on “rebates” are really just ripping off both their agents and consumers in varying ways. As soon as you hear that a brokerage is focusing on this, you know they do not have a sophisticated, educated clientele, nor do they care about our industry. Just out to make a few dimes and then leave the business for the most part in my considerable experience.

750 to go

Kenneth Jenny Commented on MLS auctioned for $250K after years of infighting

One small step for the brokers, one giant leap for two MLSs. Well, sort of. And to that end, maybe it wotld be better to say, one down and only 750 or something MLSs to go

Email Caroline Feeney

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