Are sellers bound by “mls rules”?

An interesting question on Trulia today:

Q for realtors in Seattle. We have a signed purchase & sale agreement on a home. 48 hrs later, property is still listed as Active. Is this legal? How long does listing realtor have to change the status from Active to pending after delivering a signed P & S agreement? Our realtor and his broker has made repeated requeset for the status to be changed to no avail. What recourse do we have. When selling broker/realtor refuse to change status of property, what action should one take? what possible pitfalls have you seen when selling agent refuses to act as we have requested for status change? Anxious about your reply.

My long-winded response:

There is another way to look it this, especially when you bring up the issue of “legal” rights of the buyer and the seller. The seller more than likely has the right to continue to actively market the property all the way to the day of closing.

Remember, mls status changes and the internal “rules” governing those changes are often (depending on which rule) only agreements between its member agents, and may or may not be binding on the owner of the property. The status change is merely an “alert” to other member agents. Is it fair to the seller to stop the marketing of the home? Is it “legal” for the mls system to command that the seller be inhibited in any way from the marketing of their home during escrow and prior to closing?

Can the Seller continue to have Open Houses? Likely yes. Can the Seller continue to receive other offers during escrow? Likely yes. Whether or not they can accept those offers, is not an “mls rule” matter. For instance, if an owner received an offer that is $100,000 more than yours, it is not “the mls” that determines whether or not they can negate yours and accept that higher offer. There may be something in your contract, especially if it is a bank seller and bank addendum, that allows the seller to accept a higher offer. None of us here know that.

There may have been something during the negotiations that is alarming the seller as to whether or not you will actually close. Or they may think you will be unusually demanding at the time of the home inspection, based on what transpired during the contract negotiations. Or they may simply want the agent they are paying, to continue to market the property until after the Home Inspection contingency is satisfied or even all the way to closing. All likely within the “legal” rights of the owner of the home, and likely not in conflict with the legal contracts in place.

I know of nothing in any contract that gives the broker the right to STOP marketing the property or stop trying to get other offers at any time prior to closing. It is just “common practice” and not a matter of law, as far as I know.

Is there something in your legal contract with the seller that says he must show the property as “PENDING” and dilute the possibility of receiving more offers?

The broker MAY be faced with conflicting directives from the owner of the home and the mls “rule”. Does the mls have the legal authority to dilute the effectiveness of a seller’s wishes for the property to continue to be actively marketed?

So when you raise the question as to is it “legal”, the question may be is it legal for an mls system to remove the property from active marketing before the Home Inspection is complete? Seems the rights of the owner may be in conflict with the mls rule.

I recently had a situation where the seller was exceptionally concerned that the buyers would not close. This for their own reasons that had nothing to do with my buyer clients. The owner insisted (and the owner was an attorney) that their agent continue to have Open Houses during escrow and that the SOLD strip on the sign be removed. The mls response to the SOLD strip was YES we have a RULE that it should go up. But if the owner of the home wants it DOWN…the owner has the final say in the matter, regardless of the mls “rule” for “members of the mls”.

It is possible that the Seller’s Agent and the Seller’s Broker can not respond to your request, or even tell you why, as that may be the result of confidential discussions between the seller and their agents.

So my best guess is if you went to an attorney regarding your “legal rights”, the answer would be that the seller has the legal right to continue to actively market the property, and the mls rule may be in conflict with the seller’s rights in that regard.

In many mls systems around the Country a property moves to ACTIVE-BACKUP status and not to “Pending”. So it really may simply be “local custom” and not likely a matter of law that the property move to a “pending” status. In fact I believe it is only in recent times that our system shifted from “ACTIVE-Subject to Inspection” to “PENDING Inspection”. In today’s market environment that likely is a bad move, and not in the best interest of the seller.

Perhaps every owner of every home should be objecting to a “Pending” status prior to the end of the home inspection period. My best guess is the “legal rights” weigh in more heavily to the seller/owner side in this question, than the legal rights of a buyer prior to closing. How “binding” are “mls rules” on an owner of a home?

Perhaps every buyer should make their expectations as to continued marketing of the home part of the purchase contract, if they no longer want other potential buyers to enter the home during escrow?

Food for thought…and clearly blog-fodder.

34 thoughts on “Are sellers bound by “mls rules”?

  1. Great subject and summary of the topic. The motivation of the buyer here is what is interesting to me. As if the buyer has some sort of contract with the listing agent, they now wish to dictate how he acts. It’s a common buyer fear really, that another buyer will swoop in and steal their deal from out from under them. If their contract is typical, I doubt the seller can change their mind about selling it to them. Of course, what buyer would want the seller to have the option of a backup contract, especially prior to inspection. Perhaps if the buyer complains enough and to the right people, they may get the listing agent fined by the MLS, providing they actually broke a rule. In reality 48 hours really isn’t a long time without a change of subject. I believe my MLS (Denver) allows 3 days to change the status.

  2. Spencer, you’re right, if the contract was competently drafted, it is binding on the seller (absent some non-form, unsuual clause that benefits the seller, anyway). There is no risk to a buyer with a house under contract that the seller will change their minds and unilaterally cancel the contract to sell to another buyer. Well, I should say there is a risk of that happening, but one stern letter from an attorney would quickly cure the problem because sellers cannot sell the same house to two people without incurring liability. But the unfounded fear motivates the conduct at issue.

  3. When in the transaction, it is easier to see the motivations. The question is does the agent have the ability to represent their client’s best interest within the framework of the myriad of “rules” imposed on them?

    Sometimes after a grueling negotiation the seller is adamant that they will not give a DIME to inspection issues, due to the agreed upon price being negotiated to the point of “no more room for repairs!”. They then want every opportunity to find another buyer “just in case”, as their perception of it being a “done deal” is slim to none.

    In that case the seller is more likely to want to actively seek out other buyers, and the buyer is likely to want the leverage during inspection negotiations created by no other buyer in the wings.

    Can the mls impose a fine on a broker if their client, the seller, has given EXPLICIT WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS that the property is not to go into any PENDING status until after the Home Inspection Contingency is resolved?

    If the seller says NO! what right within the applicable contracts, listing contract or purchase contract, gives the mls the absolute right to refute the wishes and written instructions of the seller?

    In recent history rules have followed the convenience of agents more than the realities of buyers and sellers in transactions. I think we have crossed a line in that regard.

    • The listing broker can assume whatever contractual obligations he wants to assume, including specific instructions about his obligations as to changes in the listing status. However, if those obligations run counter to MLS rules, then the listing broker will either be sanctioned by the MLS or liable for breach of contract, or both.

      But its the MLS’s game, and it gets to make the rules, subject only to anti-discrimination and anti-trust laws. How it handles the listing status of a property post-contract but pre-inspection is entirely up to the MLS. Sellers have no right to contest those rules. They can, however, choose to market their properties elsewhere.

      And I take exception to your “recent history” observation. I think the MLS has ALWAYS put the interests of its members first, above the interests of its customers — and rightfully so.

      • Craig! It’s Sunday! What are you doing here? LOL!

        I’m making baked ziti and meatballs to bring to a client’s house while answering comments. I have 6 minutes until I have to refold the Ricotta Cheese. Let’s see what I can do with 6 minutes. 🙂

        1) We ARE the mls. Saying “It’s the MLS’s game” means you assume no responsibility for your industry as a whole. I do. I think if a change is needed, the mls will make the change. Sometimes they just need the members who are out on the street to provide needed feedback. But changing the mls is not as hard as you might think. It is owned by the Brokers. The Brokers do not bow to it. Quite the reverse.

        2) “Recent History” is relative. I have been in the Real Estate Industry for 21 years and can remember a time, and even a full HALF of that time, when rules better contemplated the impact on the clients we serve.

        Quite frankly, the alternative models have created a bit of an awkward focus for mls services. They are more involved in adding rules to counteract changes in brokerage practices in “recent history”, and that has caused them to lose sight of the ball, IMO. There used to be many “unwritten” rules that everyone followed. In the last 5 years, those unwritten rules have had to be nailed down in writing due to the addition of many brokerages who were unaware of many of the unwritten rules. Many of those changes do not serve the clients well, as it became more of a war of traditional against alternative models and in the mess someone forgot about the clients.

        So yes…in the grand scheme of mls systems…RECENT history in the last 5 years has been less client focused because the membership has been…infiltrated if you will, with many who break long standing “unwritten” rules of play.

        Back to the baked ziti. I’ll answer your other comment on my next break or after dinner.

  4. This raises another point. I am hearing that in some markets a buyer is submitting offers on multiple properties, and then deciding which one they want by cancelling all but one at time of inspection.

    Does putting them all pending represent the best interests of all of those sellers, when the buyer’s intention is to only buy one of them and cancel the rest? What if that is a known fact at time of contract acceptance?

    What if the buyer has made it clear at time of offer that they are not committed to buying the house at time of acceptance? Sometimes a buyer asks a lot of questions that lead the seller to believe they are extremely iffy about buying it at all, even if the offer as submitted is accepted.

    Easy to see why in many cases a seller is not comfortable with moving to pending status while the buyer has absolute right to cancel for most any reason.

    We used to move to “Active-Subject to Inspection”. During the hot market when most transactions closed, we changed that status to “Pending Inspection”. Given market conditions have changed, I think it’s time to take a closer look at that change.

    • A great point. I would add only that a buyer who engages in this behavior is exposing himself to potential breach of contract liability. I think any of the sellers who have signed a contract with this buyer could easily allege that the buyer breached his obligation of good faith and fair dealing and therefore breached the contract, entitling the seller to the earnest money. In fact, I’d love that case! What jury would take the side of this scheming, manipulative buyer who gets over on every seller but one?

      • Craig,

        There are many ways for a buyer to do this ethically and without recourse. True our standard forms do not accommodate it, but that is because our forms do not truly represent the highest representation for buyers. My hope was that Alternative Models would HELP in that regard by being IN the industry vs AGAINST it…but unfortunately that has not been the case.

        We don’t even have a freakin’ rate cap yet for buyers in the Finance Contingency, as most of the Country has always had. There are many, many forms, and lack thereof, that lead buyers to buy & close vs representing them well.

        That is more the case here than any place else I have worked around the Country.

        Let’s fix that. BE the industry…not someone merely looking to capitalize ON it.

        Dinner time!

        • I disagree. This is a legal issue, not an MLS rules issue. I am unaware of any MLS rule — or form for that matter — that prevents a buyer from signing contracts to purchase multiple properties with the intent of actually buying only one.

          Is this an “ethical” issue? Beats me, I’m a lawyer, not an ethicist! 😉 Seriously, I am very cognizant of professional ethics, and I’ll probably chime in as to a personal ethics issue, but ultimately every person is responsible for and has exclusive control over their own conduct and whether it is “ethical” to their satisfaction. Ultimately, or at least absent gross variations from a reasonable ethical standard, that is not my concern.

          It is however squarely a legal issue. Every contract imposes on the parties an obligation to act in good faith and engage in fair dealing. If a buyer signs a contract subject to certain contingencies, the buyer has a legal obligation to make a good faith effort to satisfy those contingencies. If the buyer is committed to buying multiple properties but intends to buy only one, and indeed is CAPABLE of buying only one, I don’t see how the buyer could be acting in good faith or engaging in fair dealing. I think just the opposite is pretty obvious.

          I’m not kidding when I say I’d LOVE to take on a case like this. I think the buyer would have real exposure to a breach of contract action. And that’s true whether the seller is a bank or not. While the bank addendum may be “unfair” to the buyer, the buyer has no obligation to sign the contract. So while banks may be “unfair” in negotiations, they don’t engage in illegal conduct once there is a contract.

          I agree that the NWMLS forms fail to adequately protect each buyer in every case. That’s why its so important to have an attorney on board! 😉

          Finally, I have no idea what you mean with your last line. I’m pretty comfortable knowing that I am changing the industry for the better. I am most definitely not simply capitalizing on it — if that were the case I’d just leverage my law degree as a means of growing a traditional broker practice focused on lucrative commissions (the common model). Instead, I’m my clients’ lawyer and their broker, and I charge a flat fee that is cheaper than a commission — now THAT is “being the industry.”

  5. I admit, the MLS rules do get in the way of representing our clients every now and then. Still, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t market the property in alternative ways. Following the MLS rules is the price of admission. The idea of honest representation to the public and to our fellow agents suggests that we should have some way to let them know that a property is currently under-contract or pending, at least in a reasonable time frame.
    I sometimes explain to my clients that the MLS is like the community pool. We get to take our clients to that big community pool and let them play with all the other kids. It’s not really our pool and now and then we may bend the rules a bit so our kids have more fun. Truth is, all the other kids want to have fun too. The rules keep it civil. No splashing or no p’ing in the pool 🙂 Our clients need to understand that the ‘pool’ isn’t theirs, or yours, it belongs to all the Realtors out there cooperating to get their home sold.
    I have seen the multiple offer buyers. I wonder how common it is. In the past, it used to be more common to disclose that in the offer. Few do that these days. The advantage is certainly with the buyer in that circumstance. As far as representing the buyer, I think dealing with the banks has hardened my thinking a bit. The banks don’t play ‘fair’, so it’s difficult to suggest to the buyer that they should.
    Interesting that you mention the rate cap, here they recently eliminated it entirely saying a buyer can exit the contract for any reason that they don’t like their loan. Big step back for a seller.
    Curious which of the practices of the alternative models you take issue with. Personally, I don’t get the ‘limited service’ listings and how it fits into our MLS. Thinking of my pool metaphor, it’s like some sort of pass that lets the kids in without their ‘parents’.

    • Spencer said: “I admit, the MLS rules do get in the way of representing our clients every now and then. Still, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t market the property in alternative ways. Following the MLS rules is the price of admission.”

      Personally I don’t agree that we should ever allow anything to “get in the way of representing our clients.” For most sellers, rocking the boat with a great buyer is not in their best interests. Noting the property as pending at time of contract works well for many sellers, as alarming the buyer unnecessarily by continuing to market the home is not in their best interests.

      But the agent and not the mls is in control of representing the client, and there are many ways to achieve that goal, within the mls rules, as long as you modify standard forms to fit the situation. I have done it many times, and it works well. Never accept a result that does not represent your client well in the name of “mls rules”.

      Spencer: “I have seen the multiple offer buyers. I wonder how common it is.”

      It is more and very common in areas where many and even most of the homes are short sale or bank owned property, or where the choices of a buyer are such even if the area is not. Short sales more than bank owned, since seller acceptance is subject to lienholder approval. No reason a buyer can’t offer on three short sale homes and buy the one that gets lienholder approval first or the one where the lienholder counter is the most realistic of the batch. Of course the contract language has to match the situation for a buyer to do that. But it can be fairly easily achieved.

      Spencer asks: “Curious which of the practices of the alternative models you take issue with. Personally, I don’t get the ‘limited service’ listings and how it fits into our MLS. Thinking of my pool metaphor, it’s like some sort of pass that lets the kids in without their ‘parents’.

      It’s not so much which I personally do or do not “take issue with”. The point is that the mls needed to take issue with them, and in doing so may have overlooked the impact on the client of the final result.

      A good example of one I take issue with, that has nothing to do with “alternative models”, is the amount of time from the seller signing a listing contract, to the mls time frame requirement to put it IN the mls system. Used to be 10 days, giving an agent and seller sufficient time to prepare the home, take good photos, design and print home flyers and do all the things needed to be done between signing a listing contract and doing a good service for the seller prior to the home being listed in the mls. Then it was shortened to 72 hours. Then it was shortened to 24 hours. 24 hours is not enough time to represent a client well, help them get the house ready and prepare good marketing materials including good photos.

      I think the current rule is by 5 p.m. of the next day, so if you have a contract signed at 7 p.m. you have less than 24 hours to do all that work. Clearly something got lost in there…unless someone thinks you can do all of those things well in less than 24 hours. The reasoning for the rule changes was agents griping during the hot market that the listing agents were selling the home before their clients had an opportunity to see it. A fair gripe…but an incorrect remedy when considering the seller’s needs and time to perform best service to the seller.

      I think the seller got lost in the shuffle there. Whether or not it hurts the seller is an agent to agent issue. Some rush to put any old crap up in the mls required time frame. Others find a better “work around” to the rule. Next time you see atrocious listing photos, you may wonder if the agent put the rule ahead of the client and the work at hand. 🙂

      No, I don’t have a problem with “the kids in the pool without a parent”. Even a pool allows that, depending on the need of “the kid” to have supervision based on age. Usually a pool says kids over 12 CAN go to the pool without a parent, the same as a seller has the right to a limited service agreement with their Listing Broker. Your analogy to a pool is a good one. All sellers are not in need of the same services just as all “kids” are not in need of the same supervision. Unless you are comparing all sellers in the Country to 3 year holds, allowing for some to have a limited service is a good change.

      The issues that alternative models have brought to the forefront are many. A few of the most notable are:

      1) Can you have a limited service for buyers that does not include a service to show them the home?

      2) Can you talk about other agent’s listings on the internet, or is that tantamount to “advertising another broker’s product without their consent”?

      3) Can you have a business model that does not provide for the service of being AT the home inspection with the buyer?

      In the past few years, cost cutting measures have met with opposition due to the nature of the service, vs the cost of the service. Some things can be carved out for lower cost, others not. The companies and mls systems are handling these things fairly well. But the best rule or rule change should be made with a buyer and a seller (not just one or the other from an mls rule standpoint) in the room, and not just the two brokerages involved. A best answer for brokers AND buyers AND sellers…not just one that resolves a broker issue.


  6. Ardell,

    I absolutely agree that nothing should get in the way of representing your client. Still, we have rules. I can’t shake down walk-ins at an open house to help determine how qualified they are. You know, check clothing labels, look for their money roll. It would certainly be fun and certainly in the best interest of my clients, though I think it breaks the rules. 🙂 With some foresight, most common situations can be spelled out in the listing contract or with the purchase contract making it almost unnecessary to break any rules.

    In Colorado, our sellers are allowed to opt out of listing in the MLS if they don’t wish us to play by said rules. I believe the some rules are good as they keep our practice from being run like the wild west. Of course, it may benefit my client if we broke a rule regarding whether we disclose are listing status as under contract on the MLS. Unfortunately, it’s too late for me as I agreed to the rules when I joined the MLS. When my client listed with me, he agreed to them as well.

    Out here, there have been lots of changes to the MLS and state forms to keep up with the changes in the market. For example, there is a standard short sale addendum here that addresses the fact that the 3rd party is involved and an amendment will be needed for final acceptance of the dates and terms. Because of this, the MLS now requires brokers to disclose approval conditions and current status such as ‘offer submitted for approval’ right on the MLS. What this means is that the buyer is free to move on if they wish, and the seller knows it.

    Thanks for adopting the pool analogy. It’s true that different clients have different levels of experience and thus may need less hand holding. The MLS is setup like a community pool with one main rule, no kids without a parent. We have limited service listing brokerages out here that essentially put the client in the drivers seat to controlling the listing. Often times, information is misrepresented because the agents never actually visit the property. They simply transpose what’s stated by the seller. Sometimes the status is misrepresented as well. Maybe the 12 year old with the pass should be allowed, but I would argue that maybe the requirements to get the pass should be a little tougher than that. At the least, anyone in the pool needs to play by the rules or be prepared for the consequences.

    I understand your frustration with the time limit to put something on the MLS. That is too short of a timeframe. We have 3 business days which is a little easier. I understand the rule though, we have agents that like to keep pocket listings for weeks until the home is ‘ready’ to be listed. Like I mentioned earlier I could care less either way regarding whether the rule should exist or not, but until the day is doesn’t, I want everyone playing by the same rules. Level playing field.

    I guess the limited service question may be beyond the scope of your post, I wouldn’t want to go to far off topic. But in my opinion, I’d answer;
    1) Sure, as long as they’re not getting paid by the listor. Reduced service by the buyer’s agent is usually shifting more work to the listing agent. The listing agent should be compensated for that.
    2) I don’t know if it would be advertising technically as some have suggested. I have seen where it might amount to libel though. Be interesting to see how that goes.
    3) Good question. Same could be said anytime an agent isn’t doing everything in their power to represent their clients interest.

    I guess the takeaway is I feel that it’s important to recognize that the MLS is a cooperative relationship built on trust. Sometimes it gets off track when the MLS gets too corporate. Sometimes the MLS rules may not benefit a seller, then again, down the road when that seller is the buyer they may want that rule. Either way a level playing field is important to maintain competition among brokers.

  7. Spencer said: “When my client listed with me, he agreed to them as well.”

    Really? Did he get a copy of all of those rules prior to signing the listing contract?

    Spencer said: “At the least, anyone in the pool needs to play by the rules or be prepared for the consequences.”

    Agreed. We have pretty much worked through those issue here and most mls services have established a minimum standard. That minimum standard cannot be a complete boycott of newer alternative models. But minimum standards are appropriate, as long as they are not done in the spirit of preventing new models from access to the mls.

    Spencer said: ” I understand the rule though, we have agents that like to keep pocket listings for weeks until the home is ‘ready’ to be listed.”

    I had one that took me five months to get ready for market and that long for the seller to be ready to be on market. As long as I am not showing it to prospective buyers before other agents and their buyers have the ability to see it, I don’t see why that is a problem. The rule should be about advance showings…not about the time it takes to get a house ready for market. I work without a contract until the home is ready to list, and then have the listing contract signed when I am done all of the work. Only way I have found to comply with the rule.

    Sometimes people call WAY before they are ready to list. I have one now like that. Sometimes you know you are going to list it after the people find the house they are going to purchase. Sometimes I work on the house a bit while we are looking at homes for them to buy. Rarely…in fact never…am I ready in 24 hours. The agents who do comply with that rule, and my guess is there are very few, have the crappiest photos. 🙂

    Spencer said: ” Either way a level playing field is important to maintain competition among brokers.”

    Did you mean cooperation? Competition is not “level”, pretty much by definition.

  8. Ardell – “Really? Did he get a copy of all of those rules prior to signing the listing contract?”

    No copies. They also don’t get a copy of all the laws pertaining to real estate for my state. Sooner or later they have to rely on me. In exchange for that trust, they get to sue me if I screw up.

    Here’s how the Colorado listing contract reads; “Seller has been advised by Broker of the advantages and disadvantages of various marketing methods, including advertising and the use of MLS and various methods of making the Property accessible by other brokerage firms (e.g., using lock boxes, by-appointment-only showings, etc.), and whether some methods may limit the ability of another broker to show the Property. After having been so advised, Seller has chosen the following….” — This is where they get my pool speech.

    Ardell – “I had one that took me five months to get ready for market…” Five months with your sign out front would be the problem for me. No sign, no problem.

    If it’s ready for market, put your sign out and list it. If it’s not ready for the market, no reason to put your sign out other than to start collecting buyers. If you’re collecting buyers, can’t you let your fellow agents in your MLS collect buyers? Can’t you list and say no showings until…some date? Don’t forget, nothing stops you from negotiating a future listing period right? Also, many MLS rules state that you don’t have to list until all paperwork is signed by the seller. Some paperwork, like property disclosures, may take a while if the property is going through a rehab. There’s always a work arounds I guess. In my opinion playing fair will work best for everyone, including my client. I get the contract signed. I list it in the MLS. If I have to make multiple trips for photos, I make multiple trips and my photos look darn good. Either way,I always have something to start with.

    Yes I did say competition. 🙂 And no, competition is never fair in the sense that we don’t have ‘weight classes’; heavy weight real estate agents go against light weights every day. A competition often has rules and a point in time when all is equal, an attempt to make things fair for all involved. It’s not a necessity for a competition but why cooperate at all if fairness isn’t the point? I was meaning the competition among brokerages really, though I said brokers. Large brokerages with lots of listings like to stifle competition by not putting there listings in the MLS. Make the buyers come directly to them. That’s fine too as long as that is what the rules are going to be.

    The point is that the other agents participating in the MLS should have a reasonable opportunity to sell my listings. The goal is that you would have an opportunity to bring a buyer when I have the listing and vice versa. As far as using the term competition, the term cooperation is often misused as well. Getting people to cooperate doesn’t mean they’re equal and it doesn’t mean it’s fair or level. It just means they’re cooperating. Consider the statement, “They’re cooperating with the police”. Semantics. 😉

  9. “Here’s how the Colorado listing contract reads;”

    Interesting. One of our rules is we are not allowed to quote our rules or our contracts. “Proprietary information”.

    ” If it’s not ready for the market, no reason to put your sign out other than to start collecting buyers.”

    Totally agree. But the rule isn’t about the sign…it’s about putting in the mls from the time the seller signs the contract.

    ” Can’t you list and say no showings until…some date?”

    We used to, but it seems to me the wording “no showings” is a violation and the fine is automatic when the computer picks up that wording. Not 100% sure, but seems to me I tried that and got an auto fine notice. I didn’t get the fine as I was only saying no showings until 11 o’clock to give me time to get a lock box on. When the time frames are ridiculously short, you need a magic wand for everything to happen simultaneously. 🙂

    “Don’t forget, nothing stops you from negotiating a future listing period right?”

    It does. Here the time starts when the seller signs the contract. So signing for a future date doesn’t help as the time to enter in the mls starts when the seller signs. Crazy.

    I think our rules are a little too tight.

    Given the most attention by buyers is as soon as it hits the mls, putting something in temporarily and cleaning it up later is not in the best interest of the seller. Even 3 days laters, some buyers will have seen it and crossed it off their list, as they get auto emails the minute it hits the mls and won’t get a new one when new or better photos are added later.

    You lost me on the competition thing…but that’s OK. I appreciate your taking the time to comment!

    Back to entering the property in the mls before the best photos are available. Really? Why? Isn’t that like letting people in before it’s clean?

  10. Why is it that your MLS system sounds like some sort of dystopian state? It could be the state laws too, who knows. We don’t have an automated system that fines us…as far as I know. In most cases a warning letter is sent on a first offense if there’s an issue. There are several Realtor associations that have came together in the Denver front range to form our MLS. There are two other competing MLS services close by as well, though they now all share listings and allows us to cover most of the front range. Recently, the rumor mill had it that the Denver Board (the largest of them) was threatening to leave and start their own service. That caused some rapid changes in the system out here in order to keep the peace. Still not perfect, but not as much to complain about lately.

    We get 3 business days so it’s pretty easy to have photos in that time frame. Usually I get good photos at the listing appointment or the following day, at the very least these are better than the average.

    I take good photos. It took awhile to get to that point though. Lots of practice with professional level equipment taking lots of photos with bracketed settings. I like looking at Pottery Barn magazines and seeing how they took the shots. I think the point is I take a lot of photos I can pick from. It’s hard to not have a good shot to use if you take a lot of photos 🙂

    By far the best thing I do for myself in my business is to set up a less formal appointment usually couple weeks prior to taking the listing, prior to actually signing paperwork. More of a chat really. From that appointment, I can see if we’re a good fit. I bring my camera to that, it helps in emphasizing the importance of the photography. I take reference photos and refer to them when I make suggestions for changes. When the listing appointment comes up, it’s runs like more of a formality. Hopefully, most of my suggestions have been implemented. All that’s left is to decide what price to list at. In this way, I show up, we sign, I shoot pictures and go back to the office and get the property listed. Fewer headaches by far and having a firm understanding of the sellers expectations make them easy to exceed. ~finis

    I have been reading this blog for years. It part of a handful of high quality real estate blogs that help me with my business and keep me up to do with what’s going on in the greater real estate community. You do a great job, keep it up. 🙂

    • Thanks. Don’t fall off your chair, but quite often our fines are $5,000. The system is huge. One of the largest in the Country.

      The most talked about was the $50,000 fine to Redfin for blogging about other agent’s listings, as I noted above. It was in the paper. Not sure if they had to pay it, but they did have to shut down Sweet Digs here. Pretty sure they still have that blog in other parts of the Country.

      I think the auto fines are small, but I see one where the agent got $100 fine for not putting a lockbox on in a timely manner and another fined $5,000 for not putting two lockoxes on. Perhaps the second was more deliberate.

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