Some Questions from this Week…

We just wanted to answer a few common questions that came up this week. We hope this helps you navigate your membership obligations, the market and

Q. I don’t have to watch the Clear Cooperation video if I don’t plan on offering a coming soon listings, right? 

A. Wrong! The new Clear Cooperation policy is about how you market your listing and entry into the MLS. It affects all MLS users and all listings – you should watch it to keep out of hot water! It will also help answer many of the questions that Linda has to field everyday.  Pretty please, we’ve heard it’s a fast and informative hour! Video Link

Q. I got a call about a listing that isn’t on the market yet, but the agent shared with me info and encouraged me to have my buyers setup a showing. Isn’t this against the new policy? 

A. It depends.  If the broker has an exclusive right to sell agreement or an exclusive agency agreement, that is not allowed.  Clear cooperation means you give all brokers and buyers a fair opportunity to see and make an offer on the house – which is a fundamental purpose of the MLS.  But, the MLS governs only those properties that are exclusively listed, so if the broker doesn’t have an exclusive agreement with the seller they are not bound by MLS rules.

Q. An agent I know is advising all of their seller clients to add $10,000 to the price because of the hot market and all of their buyer clients to go full price or higher.  Is this ethical?

A. No, not exactly.  While some parts of the market are extremely hot, every Realtor knows that not every house is priced appropriately to being with and must bring in their professional skills to help their clients make sound decisions.   The Code of Ethics requires that you prepare valuations of property based on facts…. so for some homes, a full price offer or more might be warranted – but advice should be based on market conditions for the home’s condition, area, comps, inventory of similar homes, home style, and all of those details that help you properly price in a traditional market.  All pricing strategies should be rendered on an individual basis based on property attributes.  Isn’t that why we hate zestimates… They don’t take into account pertinent facts!? Now might be a great time to remind you that the code of ethics finds a violation if you attempt to secure a listing by misleading the owner as to market value.  But on that same note, some are concerned that the market is “too hot” and inflated prices are creating another bubble. In dealings, remember your duties are to your clients best interests – make sure buyer’s don’t have unrealistic exceptions about resale value and make sure you are working hard to get your sellers the fair market value for today.

Q. I just got a $10 fine for failing to upload my exclusive right to sell agreement.  I thought I couldn’t save the listing as active without it. What gives?

A. When the exclusive right to sell was set to mandatory upload, It was required for any changes to the listing… So a price change or status change required the agent to upload a copy (which had already been manually sent to the staff ) or it was placed in inactive status.  Last year, the MLS board agreed that we should keep the upload requirement, but that the technology should not make it required for that reason. Either way, staff was going to have to follow up on the listings without an exclusive right to sell contract … to either take it out of inactive status or in the case it is now, to obtain a copy. Both result in the same fine as well. We thought it was more beneficial to the agents who wanted to do a quick, important change to the listing but didn’t necessarily have access to the original exclusive right to sell agreement in the file back at the office. We would anticipate that as we get a year into it, most all of the old listings will have attachments and will be easier to make it mandatory in technology going forward.

Q. If I want to pre-market a listing before it’s ready for the market, I can do that as long as it is done quietly, right?

A. No. You can market is widely before it’s ready for showings if you list it as a coming soon property in the MLS and indicate that in your marketing (your broker has to sign off on that first). Listings that are off-MLS (called Office Exclusives) may not be marketed at all outside of the listing firm’s clients.  Delayed listings shouldn’t be marketed until available for sale. Each addendum lays out the requirements clearly – you can view them all in your forms provider or on our website.

Q. Aren’t drone photo prohibited in our MLS because they are not taken from the property?

A. Any photos are allowed that are taken from the property or OF the property, so drone photos are fine to upload and include in your listing.  There was confusion many years ago when beautiful view shots were included that were taken well outside of the property boundaries and weren’t at all visible from the home or yard.  the rules were redrafted at that time to clarify any photo has to be taken from or of the property for sale.