The MLS is not just for advertising your property

[photopress:just_listed.jpg,thumb,alignright]Agent receives $5,000 fine for taking the key from the keybox, giving it to the electrician and allowing the electrician to remain on the property unattended.

Agent receives $5,000 fine for giving her keypad to an unlicensed friend to show property.

Agent fined $3,000 for changing the price by $1.00 or $2.00 to cause the property to show up on the agent hotsheet to get more attention and possibly showings.

Agent fined $3,000 for advertising another agent’s listed property in a real estate publication.

Agent waited in car while handing his keypad to his unlicensed assistant who showed the property. Agent did not leave a business card in the house. $5,000 fine.

$1,500 fine for not uploading a photo in a timely manner, not changing the status in a timely manner and not taking the keybox off of the property in a timely manner.

It is sometimes easy to forget that “The MLS” is not simply a data base for listed property to gain the eyes and interest of potential buyers. Reading the report of hefty fines being paid by members for, in some cases, what might appear to be fairly minor transgressions, is a good reminder of what “the mls” really is and is not.

I have to admit that as I am typing this, I am wondering if there is a fine for writing a blog post about fines.

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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

26 thoughts on “The MLS is not just for advertising your property

  1. Great post! I have no problem with the board enforcing the standard it set. If they do it regularly, they will weed out the bad apples and profession will be all the better for it.

  2. I’m wondering if other areas have fines this steep. Seems to me not. I clearly don’t remember having seen $5,000 fines from other mls services around the Country where I have been in the past. My recollection is that they were generally $25 to $100 fines and not $5,000 fines.

  3. Let’s not confuse Professional Standards and Ethical Conduct with MLS. On the other hand if you want to advertize how stupid you are the MLS is a great place to do it. Everybody is watching!

  4. Actually Larry, in NWMLS we have a double check system, as our MLS is not owned by the Board of Realtors, as it is in most of the Country. So our MLS has very strict Professional Standards and rules for Ethical Conduct in addition to REALTOR codes and standards for those who are members of both.

    In most of the Country the Board Office handles the SUPRA keys and rules for accessing property. Here it is the MLS that does that. So clearly it is not simply a system of data regarding homes for sale.

  5. A lot of the fines are just about not getting permission.

    If, for example, you obtained your client’s permission to give a contractor a key to the property, there wouldn’t be an issue. What gets the agents in trouble is using the keyboxes for something they are not supposed to be (general access to the property).

    The same could be sale for advertising other agents’ listings. Get permission and it’s okay, fail to do so and it’s a fine.

    Then there’s the fine for being annoying–multiple price changes. That I’m glad to see them doing something about.

  6. Wow! Those are much more serious fines than I see with our MLS in SoCal. I am on our MLS commitee and we just went over a proposal to increase our fines (that I think were set in about 1975). Larger fines would definitely get noticed.

    At the moment, we have a “warning letter” followed by a note to the file, followed by fines of $100, $250, then $500 for continues offenses. That is just from the MLS, though. If a complaint goes through Grievance, then Pro-Standards, they have the power to levy greater fines or punishment.

    Our anomymous complaint task force handles lots of complaints about agents claiming to be “top producer” or “#1 agent” ads, and sends out letter asking them to substantiate or stop their claims. There are a lot of agents who pick other agent’s listing to put on Craig’s List, but when the listing agent are asked if they gave permission, most just shrug it off and say that they appreciate the additional advertising exposure!

  7. The MLS upped the ante so to speak recently as they had found that prior fines just didn’t cut it in reducing violations – especially as the numbers of new agents swelled in the past few years. I personally welcomed the stricter standards although the size of the fines are hefty. Some fines stayed the same but the MLS stopped waiving or deferring as many 1st time offender fines. I think it’s helping to get brokers to keep agents in check and to do more training or at least updates of rules within offices.

    Nice post, Ardell.

  8. Those fines are significantly higher than ones typically imposed in the Phoenix area.

    “Agent receives $5,000 fine for giving her keypad to an unlicensed friend to show property.”

    Seems agent shouldn’t have just been fined. Revoking their license to sell real estate would be more appropriate.

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