Will the REAL listing agent please stand up?

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Seriously,  finding out the name and contact information of the actual listing agent of a property  should not be an enigma wrapped in a mystery.  But that’s what its becoming.

Sites like Zillow and Redfin are turning what should be a rather simple process into a monster of complexity. Finding the listing agent on an IDX site or a major real estate portal should be a piece of cake, no?  Hardly. There is no way this isn’t creating confusion for the general public.

Large Portals Such as Zillow –  Pay to Play:

You see all those wonderful portals such as Trulia and Zillow that agents happily used FOR FREE are now demanding pay back for all that free exposure.  I have no problem with entities like Zillow monetizing.  However, the way in which they are doing it marginalizes the listing agent unless they pony up the big bucks.   If they don’t, those with fatter wallets get “credit” for the listing.

Zillow now happily puts  the mug and contact information of any agent alongside their listing data as long as they cough up the dough.   The implication to the public is  that the agents listed have something to do with the listing.  Most of the time, they have nothing to do with it whatsoever.   They simply paid to be a “premier agent” or an area “specialist.” As I stated in my previous blog about “premier agents” and area “specialists” they often are nothing of the sort.  Some have had no sales (either on the listing or sales end) in the geographic area that they supposedly specialize in.  Where is the actual listing agent in all of this?  At the bottom of the page. No photo, no contact information – tossed off as an obligatory afterthought.

Oh! Those Wonderfully “Creative” IDX Sites!

Then there are the uh….”creative IDX sites.”Although there are several IDX sites like this, but Redfin has the most Google support.  They at least mention the listing agent underneath the photos.  But once again, the actual listing agent is an obligatory afterthought.  In their place  is another agent’s mug and contact information associated with the listing.

I took a sample listing from outside my state to illustrate how confusing this muxt be to the public.

I randomly found a listing in Cambridge MA for 31 Linnaean St.  First I found the listing on Zillow: As you can see from the picture…there are four agents to choose from on the right.  But which one is the listing agent.  What’s a buyer or potential seller supposed to do with this information?
31 Linnaean St. Zillow 1

Maybe they might hit it right by going eeny, meeny, miny, moe….But that still wouldn’t cut it because the listing agent isn’t even there!  If you go to the very bottom of the page – look for the name without a photo under “Listing Provided by”…..Well that was about as clear and simple as mud!

31 Linnaean St. Zillow 2Now let’s go to misleading IDX’s. This happens to be from Redfin, though I’m not singling them out specifically. There are other IDX’s that are doing this.   There are other offenders, but Redfin has the most google juice,  and the price of  having large amounts of Google juice is that you face more scrutiny.

Here we have yet ANOTHER agent complete with photo and contact information.  He is easy to contact, all you have to do is point and click to work with him…Trouble is – he has nothing to do with the listing either.  The listing agent is mentioned in small print under the photos.  There is no way to contact her. No phone number, just the name and the brokerage.   Now that was clear, wasn’t it?  No it wasn’t.

RedFin 31 Linnaean St

So I counted five featured agents associated directly with this listing…Ironically none of them had anything to do with the listing.

Yes, I DO Mind:

Look, I don’t have a problem with people using my listings in their IDX. And I expect that people would call the agents who gave them access to their IDX.  My sellers and I would benefit by having a larger pool of buyers.  I don’t even mind large entities such as Zillow and Trulia creating large portals for consumers – although I find these portals to be of dubious value to the consumer.  But I expect said IDX’s and portals  to keep it honest and not implicate other agents  as the source of the listing.  To have specific photos and contact information of specific agents associated with specific listings does just that.  And yes, I mind.  I mind very, very  much. I also think a line has been crossed and that this practice needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.

It does nothing to inform the public.
It is deliberately misleading.
It is a not so subtle attempt to glom on to another agents listing.

I know the DOJ was after transparency and for “opening up” the real estate industry to new models.  But I seriously doubt that they intended for the black box that was the real estate transaction to become a black hole of confusion for the public.

I want to thank Andrea Swiedler for her blog “HEY, thats MY LISTING!” (https://activerain.com/blogsview/1657380/hey-thats-my-listing-) for influencing my decision to write this blog.  Although I didn’t agree with why she was so steamed, but she made me define and pin-point what really does raise my hackles.

Further Reading:

Who Is Zillow Really Targeting? It’s the AGENT stupid – not the consumer….

Zillow named in patent infringement lawsuit

© 2010 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – https://thewestchesterview.com – All rights reserved.

Please feel free to contact me anytime to request additional information or to set up an appointment so we can explore your listing or purchasing needs. I am easy to reach by phone, text or email. Or, if you just want to continue your search online, the links below will help you get started.

Phone/Text: 914-374-5529

Email: Ruthmarie@TheWestchesterView.net

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