Broker-owners / Designated REALTORS® / MLS Participants all have different needs, concerns and interests from the general membership. With our market dynamics changing, we understand that the decisions you have to make on a daily basis are more complex than ever before and the profit margin for the average office is shrinking in this competitive market.
Here then, are the tools and latest news about risk reduction practices to help keep your office operating at peak efficiency and in adherence to local, state and national laws as well as structures and resources to help you succeed!
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- First, know that access to MLS photos can made available ONLY to brokers, agents and appraisers who are members of our MLS. In the edit screen, you can make all photos private when they are off-market. This will remove all but the main photo from IDX, syndication and public facing sites. It will retain the photos only to users of the MLS and assist them in running comparable sales reports that are accurate.
- To remove photos from the hundreds of websites that the sellers may have used in marketing their home for sale is a tedious task, but the owner can request all sites remove their photos quickly and easily in most cases. By asking the listing agent to mark them private, they will be removed in the feeds coming from FlexMLS. If that doesn’t work, the owner can also request any site remove their photos as well
- For properties under agreement but not yet sold, the listing broker can change the broker distribution to “Seller Directs Listing to be Excluded from Internet” and that removes the listing AND photos from sold searches on all IDX sites, broker websites or public displays that get an MLS feed beyond those mentioned above.
- Despite the above, if owners find other sites displaying their home photos, they should request to have their photos removed directly from those websites, because likely they didn’t come from the MLS.
Photos are incredibly important to Realtors and Appraisers using them for comps and/or valuations purposes and it diminishes the MLS service to have this historical data removed. Especially when it does not achieve the buyer’s end goal. We do recommend you change the listing entry to show the listing should be excluded entirely from the internet on the “Broker Distribution” tab whenever asked and encourage the buyer to ask for removal where appropriate.
On a side note, did you know that you can pretty easily get your home blurred out in the Google street view maps as well?
- Enter your address in Google Maps and change to “Street view”
- Go to “report a problem” in the bottom right hand corner
- You will get a page labeled “report inappropriate street view.”
- Adjust the image so the house is inside the red box.
- Fill out the form
- Check back in a few days to see if the image has been blurred.
You can also get license plates and faces blurred. For example, if you want a picture of your business on Google Maps but don’t want the license plate number of your vehicle parked in front on Google, you can get that blurred. You can also get your car blurred out as well if you want.
Thanks to our legal gurus at the state and with Mike Shepard for the following information about the proper handling of wire transfer fees. [Register for the Member Meeting Legal Update next week!] With our recent shift to handling transactions online and virtually when possible, we have seen a rise in buyer’s seeking to wire their deposit payments to bind a Purchase and Sale agreement. For the listing broker, aka “escrow agent”, there may be fees associated with receipt of wired funds. The escrow account needs to be made whole, in some manner, to match the deposit indicated in the P&S… if it says $1,000, then the amount at closing needs to be $1,000. Solutions (in order of preference by legal counsel):
- Talk to the bank requesting no fees: Banks may agree not to charge for incoming wire fees for properly setup real estate escrow accounts.
- Talk to the bank about fees: Some listing brokers have arrangements with the bank to take the fee out of their operating account instead of their escrow account. The deposit amount remains whole. Before agreeing to accept a wire, you can make a reimbursement agreement, if desired.
- Some listing brokers direct the buyer or the buyer’s agent to increase the wire by the amount of the fee. If the P&S calls for $1,000, they request that the buyer wire $1,018.95, to include a bank fee of $18.95 for receipt of wired funds. MUST BE EXACT! NOT GUESSING NO ROUNDING
- If all else fails, the Escrow Agent must put the wiring fee into the escrow account to make it whole. The broker has to understand that once it is deposited that money is no longer theirs and is part of the deposit.
Wiring fees can be cost of doing business to receive good funds immediately. Alternately, the broker could tell the buyer there are bank fees that must be reimbursed in order to receive the buyer’s wire – or ask the seller to reimburse the fees because there is clearly value to have the money immediately.