Agents "Hoarding" mls info

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 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.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

10 thoughts on “Agents "Hoarding" mls info

  1. How many agents can access this info? Just the one sellers agent or every bone-ified agent on MLS? With all the sudden licensed real estate agents it would seem silly to think that some aren’t corrupt.

  2. Many mls structures have always had different “types” of membership. For instance there are “associate” memberships for ancillary functions, like appraisers, with limitations.

    You are correct that given the rise of people who have real estate licenses, we may need to change with change. We as an industry may have to change a lot of things, given the rise of those who wish to have licenses for their own investment purposes, or to access data, like Redfin and the like.

    It is a fairly new development for people to want real estate licenses and mls membership, who do not sell real estate. So change creates change. But then why does the public view our need to change, as dishonest, deceptive and hoarding? Seems like a natural flow of events from my side of the fence.

    Every mls member agent has access. Now how do we sort “bona-fide” agents from non-“bona-fide” agents? This is a relatively new dilemma. Agents who affiliate with companies must answer to the Broker. But now many “Brokers” are simply data collecting machines with a Broker License permitting them entry, who do not know or care about the “Rules” of play. Others are allowing people with licenses to “hang” them, without supervision for a price.

    Buyers are being sold to agents by bottom feeding sites. Agents are being sold “access” by brokers who make money on desk fees and don’t supervise activity of the agents.

    The world is certainly changing, as Robbie says. Now what do we do to change with it and why are we criticized for seeing the need for change?

  3. I enjoyed your article Ardell. You inspired me to write about what MLS is on my blog… not getting into lawsuits, ownership of data, VOW, IDX, VOX… just a simple what is MLS. I quoted you.

    You wrote: “Most mls systems are owned by NAR and State Boards of Realtors.”


    I know you have sold in more markets than anyone I have ever, ever known but does NAR own individual MLS systems? If it owns some … it does not own all boards…IMHO or from my limited experience.

    The board I belong to, the Columbus Board of REALTORS® owns our MLS. CBR is not owned by our state association of REALTORS®, OAR or NAR

    CBR members belong to OAR and NAR. I always assumed things were pretty much the same everywhere.

    You’ve sold in CA. FL. PA. NJ? Others? Were the local boards in the markets you sold in owned by NAR or the state associations?

  4. It’s not a state wide issue. For instance in PA, most mls systems are owned by the Board, meaning you have to be a member of the Board to be a member of the mls and get a Supra Key. But a small area in Montgomery County has an mls system owned by brokers, like ours here in the Seattle area.

    Tell me Maureen. Where do you get your forms and Supra Key? From the Board Office or the MLS office? Do you have an MLS office that is separate from the Board Office? If your forms are “Board Forms” and the Board Office is where you get your Supra Key, you are likely a Board owned MLS, which is the norm in most of the Country.

  5. When your local Board owns your mls, then all members of the mls are members of both the local Board and NAR, as a rule, making you subject to the DOJ suit. It’s a trickle down effect.

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