Robbie: ” I can’t help but wonder if the MLS placed the same kinds of restrictions on printed property listings 30 years ago that they are trying to place on digital property listing today.”
Yes, they did. MLS books had a huge WARNING on them “For mls members only”.
Robbie: ” Surely those all free real estate magazines at the grocery store are harming agents & brokers, by giving away valuable information for free?”
Only the listing broker can advertise a property in a magazine and/or give permission to someone else to advertise it. Ad copy for magazines is written separately from remarks and agent comments posted in the mls. The rules regarding the remarks section have changed due to the internet and Realtor.com being able to show these remarks ONLY on the internet. Agent remarks are still forbidden territory for public consumption, as they often include security alarm codes to enter buildings and homes.
Some sellers will not allow a sign on their property, nor will they allow the property to be shown on the internet, as they have valuables which can be seen in the photos. They are in the mls for agent use only. The seller may have opted not to post the interior photos of their home on the internet for thieves to see. So if you draw the info from the mls, the AGENT ONLY source of info, vs. an advertising source like Harmon Homes, you could be breaching the directives of the seller with regard to their home’s exposure to the public.
The mls download agreement for members only is restrictive, and does not permit the “free” flow of all mls data, which includes the alarm codes and other private information regarding owner’s homes. Often it tells agents when the owner will be at work, when he will be on vacation and when he will be sleeping (night shift workers). Agents need this info to know when they can and cannot show the property for appointment purposes. This is info robbers could use to know when the owner will not be home. It is not available for public consumption and is “agent only” info.
So when a bottom feeding, non LIBB member joins the mls for the sole purpose of getting into the mls data system for public display, they need to understand what the mls IS, and what it is not.