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Internet-Based Realtors Win Monster Settlement

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the disintermediation-works-eventually dept.

The Courts 337

coondoggie writes "Until today, most Internet-based real-estate brokers were considered second-class citizens, and their clients were left in the cold. But perhaps that will change with today's news that the Department of Justice has reached a proposed settlement with the National Association of Realtors that requires NAR to let Internet-based residential real estate brokers compete with traditional brokers. NAR has agreed to be bound by a 10-year settlement, under whose terms NAR will repeal its anticompetitive policies and require affiliated multiple listing services to repeal their rules that were based on these policies." Here's the whole settlement document on the DoJ's site.

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337 comments

Great. (2, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564119)

Now where is the nerd-bit to this article? Apart from the fact that there's the word 'internet-based' in the summary. I mean, not everything on the internet is nerd.

Re:Great. (2, Insightful)

deepershade (994429) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564363)

Or perhaps it is, but not everything on this site would interest a nerd like you?

News for Nerds. Nerds is a very broad term, and not everyone is going to have the same tastes in articles.
Just pass on by the ones you don't want to read.

Re:Great. (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565661)

Just pass on by the ones you don't want to read
Nah, half the fun of this site is to get annoyed and stamp one's feet at stuff randomly.

Re:Great. (4, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564369)

It's just one more example of Internet disintermediation changing economics.

Hard as it may be to believe, there are still a lot of businesses that think this "internet fad" is going away, so seeing yet another major industry be dragged into the 21st century economy is interesting to a lot of folks.

Re:Great. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564945)

there are still a lot of businesses that think this "internet fad" is going away
You mean like how Xerox thought that no one would ever want their own computer?

Re:Great. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565023)

so seeing yet another major industry be dragged into the 21st century economy is interesting to a lot of folks.
"Realtors" are a cartel, not an industry.

Re:Great. (4, Insightful)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565381)

I appreciate the views that others have of the real estate industry that are similar to what I saw while working as the IT grunt for a small real estate company. And yes, I heard the exact phrase 'the internet is just a fad' and IT was just a waste of money. The babysitting eventually got old for me, and I came to realize that I had to leave, because the people in charge just dont 'get it'. Not in a bad way, just in a 'my grandparents still listen to music on AM radio' kinda way.

There is no other industry I have seen that is so absurdly protectionist in its business practices. And the result of that type of worldview has led some real estate companies to be literal fossilized relics of their time.

This settlement gives me great pleasure to finally see, as the roadblocks setup by MLS are some of the most frustrating I have ever encountered, from the buyers point of view.

Having seen the industry from the inside, I would never have any part of buying or selling a home through a real estate agent. If I see a house thats for sale that I want, I am patient enough to let the rediculous 'listing agreement' expire, and then buy it right from the seller directly. It is amazing how eager people will become to sell to you when they realize that waiting a few months can net them a 7% larger profit.

And what ever happened to that small real estate company, you may ask? Well Caton Commercial [willcounty...tcourt.com] spends some of its time showing up to court cases brought against them by various old employees and business partners, and sending out threatening Cease and Desist [demystify.info] letters to other old employees.

Re:Great. (3, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564467)

It has as much to do with this site as "internet-based" retailers did a decade ago. It is forging ahead, changing an industry. I don't have time to go sit with a realestate agent, I want to look at the houses online, and narrow it down to one or two, take a look at them, and make an offer. I don't want to have to give 3-6% of the sale price to somebody, when I do most of the work. (And no, posting some pictures and some text into a MLS database is not "work"). If I, as a nerd, can make the standard 6% commission go down to about 3% by using "internet-based" real estate companies, who have less infrastructure costs to support, and can make a profit on volume, instead of "services", then I can save many thousands of dollars. In California, many houses in "average" neighborhoods sell for around 400k. The commission you are paying to an agent is around $24k for the privilege of buying that house.

Re:Great. (3, Insightful)

ShinyBrowncoat (692095) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564569)

The commission you are paying to an agent is around $24k for the privilege of buying that house.

Actually, the seller pays the commission, but the point is the same: why pay 6% to sell your house if a internet-based real-estate agency can get you in the same listings and attract almost as much interest at half the cost?

Re:Great. (2, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564901)

"Attract Almost As Much Interest"

The funny thing about this statement, and the business that we are talking about here is this: I fired up this browser in the search of homes, condos and apartments in St. Petersburg, Fl where I'm thinking of moving for a different job. The reason this is an issue, and the reason the traditional real estate agent is so afraid is because this newfangled Internet (and this is how it intersects with nerd news) gives me the ability to check those listings from my home in Cincinnati, Oh.

Re:Great. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565357)

Before careful. Look into property tax and insurance before jumping to Pinellas. Say you're buying a place for $300k (nothing special), expect $6k tax and insurance anywhere between $3k to $6k, if you can even get it. Don't forget the HOA fees which can wipe out another grand. You probably won't want St. Pete either, it's pretty shit and has a large black problem. Look further north in Palm Harbor, well within commuting distance, plus we have FiOS net/tv service. My 20/20mbps (yes, I get full speed both ways all the time) comes in about $65/month.

Re:Great. (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565513)

Let's simplify this shall we?

QuantumRiff

Real Estate Business is a scam.
There. See, how easy that was? /Waiting for my 6%

Re:Great. (4, Interesting)

Frizzled (123910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564879)

Unless you've gone through the hassle of buying (or attempted to buy) a house this wouldn't be very clear.

Right now it is almost impossible to purchase a house using internet based tools. Every housing market is controlled by the local realtors and they are VERY territorial. This means extra calls to look at houses if you aren't using a local realtor, extra time spent researching because tools are intentionally crippled for non-local agents, houses that aren't "keyed" properly for non-local agents (meaning even if you've done your research, then had someone call on the house, you still might not be able to get in and see it).

This makes it harder to find (and buy) a house if you aren't working with a local agent. Knowledge is power, and with current tools & rules the local agents wield a lot of power over non-local (internet) based ones.

Time will tell if this ruling bears fruit, but it is definitely good news for any nerd looking to buy a house in the future.

Re:Great. (4, Funny)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565285)

Unless you've gone through the hassle of buying (or attempted to buy) a house this wouldn't be very clear.
Did you really just say that he will become relevant when he moves out of his parents house?

That was very smooth!

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565699)

Of course.. Why would a local agent want to show you houses if you weren't "working" with them.
They only get paid when they close a deal. They don't get paid to show houses to bozo's paying somone out of state to right up the papers and give the buyer a kick back.

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564911)

Now where is the nerd-bit to this article?
Some nerds buy houses.

Re:Great. (1)

redtuxrising (1258534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565009)

I think it is great for nerds. As internet based brokers will now become more competitive, I suspect there will be more of them emerging in the near future. Now, who do you think will be building their web sites/services?

Outmoded Business Model? (0, Redundant)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564175)

The Department said that the policies prevented consumers from receiving the full benefits of competition, discouraged discounting, and threatened to lock in outmoded business models.


Apparently the Realtors didn't pay enough to their lobbiests and lawyers. Just look at how the MAFIAA has done at getting policies and laws to lock in a outmoded business model.

Re:Outmoded Business Model? (4, Funny)

flanksteak (69032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564583)

Apparently the Realtors didn't pay enough to their lobbiests and lawyers. Just look at how the MAFIAA has done at getting policies and laws to lock in a outmoded business model.
It's not just money that helps the **AA, it's movie and rock stars. Nobody gets excited about getting lobbying calls from a realtor.

Re:Outmoded Business Model? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565113)

Nobody gets excited about getting lobbying calls from a realtor.

Nothing a little makeup [aerosmith-...ickets.com] can't fix.

Realtors still work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564199)

With the subprime recession on the way, realtors still have work?

Re:Realtors still work? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564883)

Yes, now, they aren't getting as much profit as they used to, but some people are smart and are taking advantage of rock-bottom housing prices.

Re:Realtors still work? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565289)

I don't think "rock-bottom" means what you think it means.

Re:Realtors still work? (2, Informative)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565437)

I don't think buying a house that is still +60% of '00 values would be considered anywhere near the bottom.

Re:Realtors still work? (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565539)

But, compared to everything else, housing prices fell sharply. Just look at a gallon of gas back in 2000, it was $1.50-$2.00ish if I remember correctly, today it has nearly doubled to $3.50-$4.00

A boon for the Real Estate Industry (3, Insightful)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564233)

Protectionist policies usually only protect a handful of businesses. In the case of the Real Estate industry, a high cost to entry bars a lot of business from entering into the market without going into co-hoots with the "big brand" businesses. What this does is allow independent realtors to compete with the big boys, which will in essence force the big boys to be more competitive.

The internet helps small businesses expand as fast as they can handle, and forces big business to stay competitive or lose business. This is really good for everyone. Not a perfect solution, but a good start. Now, if this would only happen for all industries...

Re:A boon for the Real Estate Industry (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564437)

internet realtors might also 'benefit' by being small, anonymous and easier to abuse (through title fraud, etc...)

There are two sides to every coin, and increased competition isn't always better...

Monster? (2, Funny)

Mistah Bunny (1256566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564271)

When I saw "Monster Suit" I at first thought the article would be about realtors winning a suit against Monster Cable. What realtors would call themselves monsters?

Re:Monster? (1)

scrollios (604767) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564321)

I was hoping it was something of a Second-life/job hunter/you-cant-own-land thing...

Re:Monster? (2, Insightful)

kernelphr34k (1179539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564399)

I thought it was for monster.com. Maybe change title to "Internet-Based Realtors Win A Monster Settlement" . . . ?

Re:Monster? (2, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564441)

I thought it had to do with flying pasta.

Re:Monster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564861)

I thought it had to do with flying pasta.
How about a flying penis? [youtube.com] . Russia has those now...

recent advertising blitz? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564325)

I've heard the same realtor's ad on the radio here for a month now, and one of its catch-phrases at the end is "Only Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors.".

That always struck me as an "orly?" (/duh?) statement every time I heard their ad, but now reading this I wonder if they are trying to strengthen their "name brand" (NAR) so to speak since they are losing their lock-in? Since now merely looking for a Realtor doesn't necessarily mean they will get your business.

Re:recent advertising blitz? (4, Informative)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564447)

They actually have a trademark on the word "realtor", so you can't call yourself a realtor unless you belong to the NAR.

Yes, it's ridiculous.

Registered trademark (3, Informative)

wheatwilliams (605974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564697)

I don't think that part is ridiculous. There's a distinction between a real estate agent and a Realtor®. One is a person who has a license to sell real estate, and another is a person who pays dues to and is a member of the National Association of Realtors®. It's been that way for many decades, as far as I know.

Re:Registered trademark (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564993)

There's a distinction between a real estate agent and a Realtor®
Yeah, that's because Realtors® are real estate brokers, whilst agents are just people that are licensed to work under a broker.

Although, it's important to note that not all real estate brokers are Realtors®. Only NAR members are Realtors®

BTW-- the word 'realtor' is just a made up word. There was no such work until NAR came along.

Re:Registered trademark (4, Informative)

urbanrealtor (1295226) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565271)

That's actually not accurate. Realtors are members of the NAR. It does not have a bearing on their level of licensing. I am a Realtor. I have a salesperson's license. My broker is also a Realtor. By the way, while it can be beneficial to have a trade association (like the NAR) for the purposes of constructing a fair and organized market (though that is really a subjective measure), lots of the "benefits" (eg: code of conduct, pledge of fairness, listing services) are either redundant with existing structures or not implemented in a helpful way.

Re:Registered trademark (1)

pfleming (683342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565597)

Realtors are members of the NAR and you have to belong to the NAR to belong to the local MLS - while paying dues to the national and local RealtorTM associations. The whole purpose (from my point of view, of course) is to prevent licensed real estate agents who are not members from participating in the Multiple Listing Service. The MLS used to only be accessible by printout. Now it's available online locally or nationally but the "little guy" is still locked out of the MLS at least until this agreement. If it means that local agents are able to compete and "offer" properties to their clients regardless of whether the agent pays dues or not it could be a good thing; lessening the grip that the association has on the sales market. It could also possibly make things better for the MLS members - think about lifting restrictions on whether the online version of the local paper can show all local properties or not (importing from the MLS database for instance) and suddenly this could be a boon for agents who do pay their dues. Then they can go from minimum wage "million dollar producers" [rwcinc.net] to something worth writing home about.

Re:Registered trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565641)

This is most certainly not the case. Not all REALTORS® are licensed as brokers. The NAR tried to convince my Principal Broker to become a member, and one of the "benefits" was that for a token fee, sales associates would also be members with the right to style themselves as a REALTOR®.

We informed them that we weren't drinking their kool-aid.

There is not even any incentive for this. The only thing you gain by getting licensed as a broker once you're a licensed sales associate is that other sales associates can sell under you, and you can skim their commissions. In exchange for this you pay higher licensing fees, higher fees for errors & omissions insurance, and open yourself up to a metric buttfuckton of legal liability.

But Realtors are really in trouble now... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565141)

That "monster" settlement infringes on the trademarks of Monster Cable, Inc. [allheadlinenews.com]

Re:Registered trademark (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565739)

In the end, they're all just used house salesmen.

Re:recent advertising blitz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564699)

The idea that the term "realtor" is trademarked only sounds ridiculous because most people don't realize that the word was made up.

1. "Real estate broker" is the profession/occupation.
2. "Realtor" is the NAR's invented word.

It's like the difference between "tissue paper" and the "Kleenex" trademark.

Re:recent advertising blitz? (2, Insightful)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564779)

Why, exactly, is that ridiculous? You can't call yourself a CCIE unless you actually are (well, you could, but you'd be open to getting sued by Cisco and by your clients as well), you can't call yourself and MCSE unless you actually are (well, you could, but you'd be open to getting sued by Microsoft and by your clients as well), you can't call yourself a Sun Certified Solaris admin unless you actually are (well, you could, but you get the idea...).

And you can't call yourself a Realtor unless you actually are, either. There is a difference between a Realtor and someone just licensed to practice real estate.

And of course, if other copier companies put "Xerox" on their copiers, they'd get sued, too. The fact that a brand has become so successful that
many people informally but incorrectly use it to refer to anything in that generic class doesn't mean anything in that generic class should be allowed to call *itself* by that trademark.

Re:recent advertising blitz? (2, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564959)

The fact that a brand has become so successful that
many people informally but incorrectly use it to refer to anything in that generic class doesn't mean anything in that generic class should be allowed to call *itself* by that trademark.


Actually if you let your term fall into generic everyday use without defending it you can lose it. Companies that are in danger of losing a trademark because if common use often mix in their company name in all their ads.

Microsoft Office
Kleenex Brand Tissues
Ziploc Brand Zip-Locs (you never hear the ad say just "Zip-Loc")
BandAid brand Band-aids

The latter variant is the most common. The formula is simply "(company name) Brand (trademark in danger name)" Listen for that pattern and you'll be amazed how much you hear it. That's the sound of a company trying desperately to hang onto their trademark.

Some of them I don't know the status of, and will probably never know who if anyone ever had the trademark for them. "Duct Tape" and the like. I wonder who actually first marketed the magic grey rolls? I'd like to say 3-M but that's just because they're known for stuff like that. Whoever it is lost that round of the trademark game, badly.

Some words got defended heavily and as a result, the "next best thing" market invented name stuck better than the trademark. (sorry, you lose, please try again!) "CD" is my favorite. Who really calls it a Compact Disk(tm) anymore? This is basically the result of the combined marketing campaigns of all your competitors doing a better job of marketing than you.

Re:recent advertising blitz? (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565519)

Not only that, but as I recall from a website which does not exist anymore, they also prefer (maybe demand) it be spelled "REALTOR", complete with all caps. They even have a trademark out on the specific ALL CAPS spelling.

Well, okay, the site I was thinking of (TimmyBigHands, where one of the writers mentions that his spellchecker "caught" him "misspelling" it in lowercase) ended, but there's a mention of the fact at hand on the obligatory Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] .

Re:recent advertising blitz? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564521)

I've heard the same realtor's ad on the radio here for a month now, and one of its catch-phrases at the end is "Only Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors.".

That always struck me as an "orly?" (/duh?) statement every time I heard their ad, but now reading this I wonder if they are trying to strengthen their "name brand" (NAR) so to speak since they are losing their lock-in? Since now merely looking for a Realtor doesn't necessarily mean they will get your business.

That's exactly what they're doing. You can almost hear the "(tm)" trademark and the ALL-CAPSness in the word "REALTOR". That's because it is a trademark, and it's NAR's trademark. The generic term is "real estate broker".

Similar cases of trademark dilution have taken place in the past -- do you use a Xerox(tm) or a photocopier? Kleenex(tm) or facial tissue? Likewise, are you doing business with a REALTOR(tm) or just some random real estate broker?

All of which is, as you've surmised, bullshit. Much like used car salesmen, real estate brokers are basically weasels. Because houses aren't identical, they can't be bought and sold like stocks, bonds, or even consumer electronics, so buying a house is more like buying a used car; people have to interact, in meatspace, if for no other reason than to inspect the property, and that invites a whole food chain of people whose only interest in the process is in getting a cut of your transaction.

And as the president of the National Association of Weasels, we'd like to make sure that you do business with one of our WEASELS(tm). Only WEASELS(tm) are members of the National Association of Weasels. Would you risk your family's financial future with mere polecats, skunks, or other poor imitation? Demand professionalism! Settle for nothing less than genuine WEASEL(tm)!

The trademark has worked well for NAW^HR, but this court case is the thin edge of a very big wedge. NAW's de facto monopoly over the WLS data broken, there'll no longer be any advantage to being a Genuine Weasel. Any old weasel can work within the same set of databases, which means that NAW will be denied the fat fees that only WEASELS pay...

Re:recent advertising blitz? (3, Informative)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564659)

The way they phrase it (I'm a real estate licensee, in addition to my primary gig in IT) is awkward/duh, but what they mean is that Realtor is a registered trademark of the NAR, and that only members may call themselves a Realtor.

What, you may ask, is the benefit of that? Basically, it comes down to your rights if an agent screws you over. If that agent is not a member of her/his $STATE Association of Realtors (and by extension, the NAR), you can file a complaint with your state's Real Estate Commissioner and/or go to court. If the agent with whom you have a dispute is a Realtor, you can also file a grievance with your $STATE Association of Realtors and go to their arbitration panel. Those arbitration panels are fair, and the Realtor Code of Ethics is far stricter than what is required by state laws (and at least here in California, those state laws are fairly strict themselves). If a Realtor has violated the Code of Ethics and/or state real estate laws and you have some proof, the Realtor could be suspended and/or expelled as a Realtor, and may also face license suspension and/or revocation.

While more than a few of those reading this may doubt it, the majority of real estate agents, and particularly Realtors, are honest people who seek to do the best job possible for their clients. However, if you do have a legitimate problem with an agent, whether it's through dishonesty or just incompetence (and they are out there; it was through dealing with an incompetent agent when my wife and I bought our first house that I decided to get my own license; after joining a brokerage, I was amazed to find that a large number of my colleagues, including my broker had themselves gone into real estate for that very reason), you have a better chance of redress if your agent is also a Realtor.

Disclosers/disclaimers [1]:

1) I am not a lawyer, and none of the forgoing is intended as, nor should be construed as, legal advice. If you need legal advice, see a lawyer.

2) I hold a real estate agent's license but am currently not affiliated with a broker and so may not practice real estate. None of the forgoing is intended as, nor should be construed as, real estate advice. It is solely my personal opinion, and as such, may be completely wrong. Don't rely on it in any way.

3) I am not a real estate broker, and none of the forgoing is intended as, nor should be construed as, real estate advice. It is solely my personal opinion, and as such, may be completely wrong. Don't rely on it in any way.

[1] Why all the legal stuff? Real estate is very litigious business. If you're a doctor and the likelihood of a malpractice suit bothers you, just be glad you're not a real estate agent.

Won't change a thing (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564341)

"Real" realtors will still blacklist listings by online or DIY listings. Non local "real realtor" basically translates into negligible viewings.

Obviously this is pathetic. I happen to have three realtors on my doorstep, and they sing the same song, claiming colleagues will do the same. You cannot break this kind of cartel when grassroots will practice it regardless.

Re:Won't change a thing (5, Funny)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564523)

"I happen to have three realtors on my doorstep..."

Shit, is this a new fad like pink flamingo's and garden gnomes?

"...and they sing the same song..." Aww, a triplet, do they dance too? If I tickle the right ones tummy, does he give me the key to your house?

Now I want realtors for my porch.

Re:Won't change a thing (0, Troll)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565199)

Why do you want Realtors for your front porch when they bring the stink of monopolist pigs with them?

Re:Won't change a thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565243)

"I happen to have three realtors on my doorstep..."

Shit, is this a new fad like pink flamingo's and garden gnomes?

"...and they sing the same song..." Aww, a triplet, do they dance too? If I tickle the right ones tummy, does he give me the key to your house?

Now I want realtors for my porch.
You certainly can. But it'll cost 6.5% of $SOMETHING.

Re:Won't change a thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23564603)

The collapse of the real estate market will kill them anyway. They can blacklist all they want, the actual buyers and sellers won't be using them anyway - the idiots who don't care about paying someone 6% of the price of a house will all have been foreclosed on and won't be buying or selling after all...

Re:Won't change a thing (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565151)

"Real" realtors will still blacklist listings by online or DIY listings. Non local "real realtor" basically translates into negligible viewings.
This is true. In some towns (like mine), real estate agents will rarely show houses that aren't their listing, and as for out of town agencies, they are pretty much blackballed by default.

Out of about 20 agents I've met, I'd say one was not a slime ball or incompetent. The entire industry is scum.

Re:Won't change a thing (3, Insightful)

urbanrealtor (1295226) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565351)

As a realtor, I won't try to convince you that your experiences are rare. They aren't. I think saying that the entire industry is scum is a bit of an overstatement. It tends to cater to people who don't want a boss and want to get rich quick. That is true. It think a lot of these dynamics you mention will only be addressed effectively by actual changes in the market by innovative actors. A good example is redfin (I think that is the name). They offer limited services but kick a large portion of the buyer-side commission (which is paid by the seller) back to the buyer. They don't drive around with buyers but they give them full online MLS access (which is common in CA) and give them comps so buyers have an idea of what an appropriate offer is. Even the most bitchy, clickish agents can't stand against a moving market. Just a thought --resident scumbag

One anti-competative practice down, many to go. (3, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564361)

I'm glad to see anti-competative practice and brokers in the same sentence. I don't know if internet brokers are going to have any positive effect on the rental market in major cities though. Right now the only realistic way to get a new apartment in NYC is to pay a fee equivalent to 15% of the annual rent to a broker for the privilege of renting from the landlord who has given them the exclusive right to make the public aware of the apartment's availability. So that's easily $3600, just to be allowed to deal with the apartment management company. I once paid a broker's fee to someone who had an exclusive on all the apartments owned by the broker who shared an office with her. I was in the same room with the landlord, but I couldn't rent from him without paying her first. i would love to use capitalism properly and not give my money to brokers, but they control far to high a percentage of the real estate for that to be a viable option.

Re:One anti-competative practice down, many to go. (1)

grimw (1253370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564919)

Heh, you got screwed man. Make the landlord pay any fee, and if a fee is going to be paid, why the hell would you pay 15%? The going rate is 5-6%. Wow.... just, wow.

Re:One anti-competative practice down, many to go. (4, Informative)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565143)

The landlord will never pay the fee, because there is always someone who will step in and pay it for them, because of the permanent housing shortage in NYC. "As of April 2005, the rental vacancy rate in New York City was 3.3%, making it one of the tightest housing markets in the United States. (A vacancy rate under 5% is considered an official housing emergency under New York state law. Nationally, the rental vacancy rate is approximately 10%.)" [habitatnyc.org] The apartment scene in NYC is out of control, for $2000 a month which will get you a small studio in Manhattan or a small one bedroom in Brooklyn, this is what you pay: "In addition to a security deposit, some landlords also want the first and last month's rent. Tack on a broker's fee and a prospective renter for that $2,000 apartment is out of pocket nearly $10,000 just to get the keys to the place."

Re:One anti-competative practice down, many to go. (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565175)

Sorry here is a link to the second quote [nytimes.com] and a good article discussing the rental situation in NYC in general.

Re:One anti-competative practice down, many to go. (1)

jonnykelly (663111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565043)

Those 'brokers' you refer to may not be Realtors©. In fact in the two cities I have experience with (SF & Boston), the vast majority of agents at rental agencies were not even licensed real estate professionals.

Re:One anti-competative practice down, many to go. (2, Interesting)

kenmtraveller (605717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565417)

I feel compelled to relate my good experience with a Manhattan broker. In 1998, I rented a 3K/month 1600 square foot loft in the financial district of Lower Manhattan. I paid the standard 15% of a years rent commission to the broker, a nice woman in her 30s. The landlord required a 9K dollar security deposit, which I paid. When I moved out 2 years later, after having the place professionally cleaned , I met the broker, who was practically in tears, to get my deposit back. It turned out that the landlord had left her an envelope with 6K dollars in it, saying that was the amount of my deposit he was returning, offerning no other explanstion. Then he got on a plane to Israel. She absolutely went nuts and swore that she would get me my money back. She called him (and secretly let me listen on the call) and asked him what the problem was, and he told her it was none of her business and to stay out of it. She told him that she couldn't do business with him if he was going to cheat people, and gave up his listing. She then got an ex-boyfriend of hers, a very prominent Jewish lawyer involved, at no expense to me. He resolved the matter by calling my landlord and threatening to make him persona non grata in the community for 'giving Jewish people in Manhattan a bad name'. I do not know whether or not he also threatened legal action. My landlord returned the rest of my deposit that week. So, in my case the broker earned her fee. Ken

Rent control laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565747)

The City of New York has had rent control laws for many decades, and so have a few other large US cities. Most of the apartment brokers are active in or near cities with rent control laws. Gee, I wonder why ;-). Of course NYC would be a vastly different place if the rent control laws were abolished. There would be great upheaval for a small number of years, but gradually most people would learn that NYC is not worth the premium it is used to charging, and that any of a few dozen other cities would do just as well for most people.

What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (5, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564565)

Wake me when someone acts against real estate agents who are supposed to be representing the buyers stop getting commissions paid by the sellers. This is an obvious and massive conflict of interest.

I saw an item on TV where agents were saying that sellers wanted to place their houses with agents on the basis that the buyer's agent got a larger commission. Now, why would they do that if they did not think it would influence the AGENT of the buyers? If the seller can influence the buyer's agent, there is something deeply wrong.

Can someone explain to me how this obvious conflict of interest has persisted for so long?

And before anyone tells me that a realtor is necessary -- I bought a house in the US (for several hundred thousand dollars) with no agents involved on either side of the deal.

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565027)

Wake me when someone acts against real estate agents who are supposed to be representing the buyers stop getting commissions paid by the sellers. This is an obvious and massive conflict of interest.
Real estate agents exist to match buyers and sellers. Technically, you both hire one -- and it's only a potential conflict of interest if your actual agent shows you a house she also acts as the seller's agent for.

Which is why you may want to hire your own inspector and lawyer.

And before anyone tells me that a realtor is necessary -- I bought a house in the US (for several hundred thousand dollars) with no agents involved on either side of the deal.
I bought a T-Shirt without ever leaving my home. Are you saying Wal-Mart is unnecessary?

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (2, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565339)

Wake me when someone acts against real estate agents who are supposed to be representing the buyers stop getting commissions paid by the sellers. This is an obvious and massive conflict of interest.
Real estate agents exist to match buyers and sellers. Technically, you both hire one -- and it's only a potential conflict of interest if your actual agent shows you a house she also acts as the seller's agent for.
And for this service of spending a few minutes on a computer matching their client's specifications with what's in the database, they're supposed to be given 3% of the house's selling price? And on the seller's side, 3% for keying the house's data and a few pictures into the database? Match.com does pretty much the same thing for a much more important transaction for less than $30/mo.

Realtors either should be liable for doing a lot more, or they need to be paid a lot less.

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (1)

genka (148122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565555)

You forgot one thing- someone has to open doors to the prospective buyers. I agree that 6% is way too much to pay for such service.

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (4, Informative)

jmv (93421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565087)

It's a lot more than who pays who. One basic problem is that agents are paid on a percentage of the sale. Let's say a property is worth $500,000 and the commission is 3% to each agent (seller and buyer). The seller's agent knows that if he can get the seller to sell for $450k, he only loses 10% of his commission and he'll make the sale with nearly no effort. Hence, the interest of the seller's agent (in terms of pay/effort) is to make the seller accept any price even if it's low.

On the buyer's side, it's even worse because if the buyer pays more, the agent gets more, so there's clearly no incentive for the buyer's agent to help his client bring the price down *if* the client is buying anyway. In the end, both agents' *only* interest is to get the property sold, no matter what the price and the interests of the clients. It's as simple as that.

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (1)

DougWebb (178910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565453)

So you're saying that one agent's self-interest is to push the asking price as low as possible, and the other's self-interest is to push the offered price as high as possible. That sounds like conflicting interests requiring negotiation that will wind up with a price in the middle that everyone accepts, which is exactly what you want.

Now, honest agents who are working for their client's best-interests will also wind up on opposite sides, but they'll be on the same sides as their clients, unlike the dishonest agents you described. But it works out the same either way; everyone's coming from opposite directions, and have to meet in the middle on a price, which sets the fair market value for the home.

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (2, Insightful)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565613)

So you're saying that one agent's self-interest is to push the asking price as low as possible, and the other's self-interest is to push the offered price as high as possible. That sounds like conflicting interests requiring negotiation that will wind up with a price in the middle that everyone accepts, which is exactly what you want.

That's not at all what he way saying... He was saying that they will both be looking to sell as quickly as possible and have no interest in getting the best deal for their clients. He used the price to show why..

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565383)

Can someone explain to me how this obvious conflict of interest has persisted for so long?
Probably because commissions help make better salesmen, which help make the company richer, which drives down their overhead (but that's pretty negligible). That, and no-one really complains about it.

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565517)

Err, Reatltors _don't_ represent the buyer, they represent the seller, that's why the seller pays them. In so far as they offer any service to the buyer it is to match them to a property that they the realtor are selling.

If you want someone to represent you as a buyer you get a buyer's agent, and you pay them a commission. This is not as silly as it sounds, particularly with commercial property as the buyer's agent is usually a much better negotiator than you and can often negotiate their fee off the top of the asking price. They also do a lot of legwork for you and are more interested in finding property that meets your needs than one that is on their books.

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565521)

They do have 'buyers agents' that you can use now. They have their own association and you pay them a flat fee to act on your behalf. They end up being your expert during the RE transaction.

Now, if you've gone through a buy or sell before you realize it's really not all that hard and start wondering wtf you need either a buyer or sellers agent. IMHO, selling is very easy. Just find a lawyer to draw up the papers and have the buyer's bank write you a bank check. Buying is a little more complicated since you need to make sure the house isn't falling down with inspections, etc... Again, just finding a lawyer (which everyone should have anyways) to draw up the papers and go over whatever you sign is probably all you need.

RE agents IMHO are mostly useless now. I'm glad to see their anti-competitive practices finally start getting dismantled.

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (1)

SirKron (112214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565697)

For example, before the advantageous use of computers, it was A LOT of work to compile an accurate Comparable Market Analysis of "like" homes sold in a neighborhood. My wife is a realtor and now for 90% of her inquiries it is a simple address input then "create PDF" on her company intranet. Additionally, marketing a property used to be a lot harder and more expensive. Pictures had to be developed, print media cost a lot of money, calls to someone in the next county were not free, and don't forget putting stamps on mailings. The commission rates have been around since this was more costly to the agent (advertising) and a lot more work, and just like senators giving themselves raises, they have been able to keep commissions up by restricting competition via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Don't get me wrong, there are reasons why you cannot automate this process. First, it is illegal, you need a licensed broker to complete the sale of property. Second, people are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and a little error could mean that you have to stay is a POS house for 10 years to reclaim your investment. Unless you are in the construction trade, you need the help of a real estate professional to ensure you are not getting yourself into trouble.

I myself have enjoyed the six figure income my wife makes and this ruling has be a little worried about her long-term employment as a realtor.

My favorite quote from my wife for being a Realtor: "I love being a Realtor as it gives me a flexible schedule; I get to pick which 80 hours I work in a week." (anonymous)

Re:What about Realtors' conflicts of interests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565719)

And when you get fucked because you know jack all about contracts, you'll wish you'd had a real estate agent involved.

I worked for years as a real estate agent (not a REALTOR). It was a rural area, and we had maybe 10 agents in the office, so we practiced nigh-exclusively as dual agents (buyer's agent AND seller's agent). There are legal mechanisms in place to do this, and it's something that's drilled into our heads constantly in continuing education. You have a fiduciary responsibility to both sides, and no reason to screw that up.

If you think agents are jacking around buyers to convince them to buy without looking out for their best interests, you may be right about 1 agent in 1000. This will be the same agent you'll read about in the monthly newsletter from the Real Estate Commission being sued into oblivion and ordered to paid megabucks for breach of fiduciary duty, and who is no longer allowed to practice the profession. (In my state receiving a commission for the sale of real estate without being licensed as a sales associate was a crime.)

You've obviously either had a bad experience with an agent, or you think you've got the secret line on what the Truth is, and that brokerage is a scam. You're welcome to your opinions, but you're just plain wrong. One example out of many I could give you is that a real estate agent (in my state, yadda yadda) is required by law to tell you if they know about a material defect in the house you're buying. Is the good ol' boy you're buying the house from on a handshake agreement likewise obligated?

From the Trenches (2, Informative)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564589)

From previous experience, any home in southern California for sale is not only on the MLS portal, but is also on someone's web site, usually the listing agent. I do not know of ANY listing agent that is going to tell anyone NOT to advertise their listing for free. Given the above, all it means is that the same address will get on the search engines more than once. The impact will be that other properties will be pushed down the list. I do not know if that is a win for the Seller, or Buyer, but this is going to be the outcome. There are going to be some legal problems about the listing, but I figure the folks that won the law suit already know how to side step it. Ya, I am a Realtor, if you have a question about homes ask me, my advice is always free.

Re:From the Trenches (4, Insightful)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564689)

Ya, I am a Realtor, if you have a question about homes ask me, my advice is always free.

What exactly do realtors do? Why would I want to use a realtor to sell a home rather than listing the home myself, and what is the benefit of using a realtor to find a home rather than just looking through the listings myself?

I'm not actually planning on buying a home any time soon, but I'd like to know. Usually I prefer researching major purchasing decisions myself, rather than trusting a salesperson.

Re:From the Trenches (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564795)

The thing about the "online realtors" is that they are offering their service at a substantial discount to traditional ones. That is what got the the Assn, in a bind, is that the discount realtors were competing on price.

Re:From the Trenches (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564849)

IANAR, but from what I understand, you're paying for the advertising for the most part.

You'll get much more traffic from potential purchasers with a realtor (ff spellcheck wants me to capitalize realtor. It also wants a space between 'spell' and 'check'). You also probably, but not definitely get someone who has a better concept of what you can reasonably get for the house. They can also show the house off to prospective buyers when you have somewhere else to be. I do know (anecdotally) though that you can get good agents and terrible ones, much like any other profession.

I don't know on average how much longer it may take to sell a house compared to how much you have to pay the realtor, but it seems to dominate the my local market.

This BTW is all from the seller's perspective. For the buyer, you pay nothing, the seller is the one paying the realtor's fees. At least in theory. What actually happens is that the realtor's fees end up being built into the asking price for the house. I don't know where you are, but where I am if you restricted yourself only to houses listed by owner, you'd have access to a miniscule portion of the market (as in less than 5% at best).

Re:From the Trenches (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565075)

IANAR, but from what I understand, you're paying for the advertising for the most part.
No. If you have a good Realtor, you are paying to resolve conflict between the seller thinking the house is $400k, the buyer thinking it's $300k, and the seller getting all mad when offered $300k. When negotiations take place, it's the Realtors who actually keep sanity around and make the deal happen. Remember, someone is selling their home - not some xyz property. There's a lot of emotion involved. The Realtor also protects the minority. The seller has no clue who he is selling to till the closing table. Yes, he can demand mortgage pre-approval etc., but that's just a letter from the bank.

Opening up the MLS is fine. Competition is good - ALWAYS. But a buyer & seller sitting across a table and making deals? Yeah right.

Re:From the Trenches (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565161)

You also probably, but not definitely, get someone who has a better concept of what you can reasonably get for the house
Most counties have property records online; or another pay for service has the information cheaper than 6% of property value. I just entered "%%% foobar dr" into my county appraisal district; and listed the sale/appraisal of 57 residences on my street. No realtor required. Previous to the Internet, it was more effective to pay a realtor and their support structure to obtain this information either thru proprietary services or manual property records searches.

Yes, realtors provide other services. But, providing transparency to pricing enables a level playing field for all persons in the transaction: buyer, seller, government,house inspector, in-laws, yada yada.....The Internet also allows the parties to also contact each other anonymously as part of the discovery process. Realtors acted as implicitly trusted communications intermediaries; the Internet allows us to use free email accounts instead.

Realtors are going to need to learn and use a different skill set with these erosions of their legacy operations. Just like the RIAA/MPAA/bar association, the government monopoly needs to aggressively intervene to prevent the scared, sacred old dinosaurs from stomping the new species to death.

Re:From the Trenches (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565609)

You still need (and will, for the foreseeable future) a real appraiser. Looking up neighborhood appraisals online can give you a ballpark figure, but it can't account for the specifics of your house. What condition is it in? How big is the kitchen/yard? What work have you done? And a million other questions to ask.

They'll also tell you something slightly different than an appraisal: What they think someone will pay for it.

Re:From the Trenches (4, Informative)

DougWebb (178910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565047)

My wife is a Real Estate agent (not a broker; there's a difference) and there is a ton of work she does for her listing clients, often including spending hundreds of dollars of her own money, sometimes over a thousand, to pay for preparing the house for sale and marketing the home. I've also donated many hours of my own time ripping out old carpeting, taking down wallpaper, painting, and doing various light carpentry jobs for her clients.

Her clients also get her experience. I've seen a number of For Sale By Owner homes, and they never look as nice as my wifes listings. People just don't realize that you have to clean your home and make repairs before you try to sell it. Otherwise, it looks like run-down junk, and buyers will treat it accordingly. First impressions are everything, and you need an agent who knows what to spend money on and how much to spend, so that you get the best return on your last-minute fix-up dollar.

All of that is before the house even goes on the market. Once it's on, there are endless phone calls, viewing arrangements, and follow-ups that have to be performed; it's definitely a full-time job. Once an offer is negotiated and accepted, there's even more phone calls and work to do meeting with inspectors, dealing with lawyers, and making sure the deal doesn't fall through. It's just a steady stream of work, and if you've already got a job, you don't want to do the agent's job too.

Finally, all of the buyers know that you're not working with an agent, and since they're probably selling their home as well, they know just how much you're saving. 99% of the time they'll deduct that amount from what they would otherwise offer you, figuring that you wouldn't have gotten the money anyway, and why should you get a free ride? It can't be for your time; agents don't do anything, right?

Re:From the Trenches (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565573)

Her clients also get her experience. I've seen a number of For Sale By Owner homes, and they never look as nice as my wifes listings. People just don't realize that you have to clean your home and make repairs before you try to sell it. Otherwise, it looks like run-down junk, and buyers will treat it accordingly. First impressions are everything, and you need an agent who knows what to spend money on and how much to spend, so that you get the best return on your last-minute fix-up dollar.

This is just common sense. I don't need to pay someone 3%-6% to tell me that cleaning my house will make it sell easier. I didn't need to hire a Used Car Agent for me to know that cleaning my car and taking nice pictures would help it sell. You better tell your wife she might want to start thinking of her next career because the $50 listing on housetrader.com isn't very far away into the future.

Re:From the Trenches (1)

cheebie (459397) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565535)

Here's a reply from a non-realtor who once tried to sell a house, then gave up and had a realtor do it. You get . . .
  1. Your house listed in the MLS that all the local realtors are looking at. This is where a LOT of people are looking for houses.
  2. Someone to show the house off in a professional manner. A good realtor know how to emphasize the good parts, and downplay the flaws, while not violating due disclosure laws.
  3. Someone to be there when the potential buyer wants to see the house. Never underestimate the value of not having to take time off of work only to find out the buyer isn't even vaguely serious.
  4. Someone to fill out the legal papers. This is doable by a layman, but it's nice to know someone who has done it a few times is taking care of it.
  5. Someone to smack you in the back of head and remind you that it's not going to be your house. Swallow your damn pride and paint over that mural of Gandalf dueling Obi Wan you put in the dining room.
  6. Contacts. You don't know the realtors in the area, or the people who are looking to buy. Your realtor does (if they're any good).


Now, you have to ask yourself if all of that is worth between 5% and 7% of the sale price of your house. If you're a good salesman, and are willing to put up with the hassles, selling the house yourself will save you some money. But if time is not on your side or you just don't want to deal with the process, hiring someone can be a good deal.

Re:From the Trenches (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565663)

1) I think it depends on how old you are and how old the area is that you are buying/selling in. The younger the area, the less important an MLS listing is. I also think sites are going to start popping up that are similar to autotrader.

2) Clean the house up and let people look. I've looked at houses and hate when some realtor is standing over me. If I have any questions, I the buyers have always been in the best position to answer.

3) This is going to be true with anything you sell. I've managed to sell a few used cars without too much hassle in showing. I guess I could've gotten an agent to show the car for me and give them 6% of the sale.

4) Get a lawyer! Your lawyer is the one who should be filling out any legal documents anyways.

5) Common sense!

6) Like #1, as the younger generation starts buying houses they are going to be using the internet more and more and these personal contacts mean less and less.

Re:From the Trenches (1)

keepingmyheaddown (767900) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564781)

You're a realtor (surprised you didn't use your little R sign) and you don't understand this settlement? Well, let me explain it to you. The problem is that the MLS is THE dominant real estate listing service. If your desirable property is not listed on the MLS it has about as much chance of selling in a reasonable time as a sinkhole. Those friendly, helpful, smiling realtors were blocking agents from listing their properties on the MLS unless they were charging the seller the standard realtor cartel set high commission rate. Agents discounting the commission rate were blocked from listing on the MLS.

Hopefully this is the first crack in the cartel's carefully constructed wall and the FTC deserves a big one for this action.

Re:From the Trenches (2, Informative)

jacqdesign (1274478) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565583)

It gets even worse then that. We have been sanctioned to do a new brokers site, and the MLS data feed tie in, so that you can list houses in MLS on a website is a racket in itself.

1. There is no national data, feed, it's thousands of regional MLS systems.
2. Though they are all very similar, they are not standard.
3. Even worse, not only do you have to be a member of the local realtor association to get access to them, you may have a lot of additional restrictions or requirements. Some make you pay 10 bucks, some make you pay hundreds a quarter, some only allow you access if you physically host your site on a dedicated site/server that is located on site, or in a dedicated data warehouse. Basically no standard web hosts. And some, only allow a specific MLS web listing application provider to be who you hire to make your website display MLS data.
4. Also there is a lot of rules and restrictions about how you display the data.

The article seems to make it clear that the NAR is essentially being forced to atleast "loosen" it's access to the MLS data. Frankly I think we also need standards, and the ability to get aggregate feeds, and honestly, be included in a brokers association fees, cause the add on fees are all over the place depending on what the local association decides.

Government and Business both need to realize that streamlining things like this, sales tax rules, etc are worth it for both brick and mortar companies and internet companies. The old world regional, everyone do their own thing, is a little more problematic now days.

HUH ????? (2, Interesting)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564591)

I do not understand the point of this.

Were on-line realtors outselling people standing in the property?

Was the internet better for buyer/seller?

Did the online agent get a better commission?

I thought real estate agents were all about follow the money$$$?

Testing (-1, Offtopic)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564681)

Just ignore this, I'm testing out an input validation issue I'm seeing with Slashdot's comment system... :hello :() :() :hello :test

: hello

: ()

: ()

: test ... interesting. The four slapped on the first line are a : without a space (i.e. :hello etc) on their own line; the second set was entered identically (each on its own line) but with a space after the : ....

What is this written in, Perl? Need to look up string processing subroutines in Perl... something ill going on here...

Re:Testing (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564693)

That '... interesting' started on a new line too, in case you're wondering. Curious.

Posting in "Plain Old Text"

Re:Testing (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565065)

test :() :test
:
: hello

Re:Testing (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565083)

Interesting.
:hello

Uh oh... (1)

no1home (1271260) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564763)

"Internet-Based Realtors Win Monster Settlement...", soon to be sued by Monster Cable.

Be careful, Monster might sue you for the summary! (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564825)

I was confused, thinking it was a settlement from a lawsuit brought by Monster, as they have continued [crunchgear.com] to launch Cease and Desist [monstervintage.com] threats and lawsuits against companies with little to do with their audio wire and cable product business, even though they themselves claim they dont [audioholics.com] ...

tm

It must be said... (3, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23564939)

Welcome to the 21st Century, Century 21.

Texas and NAR (2, Interesting)

787style (816008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565071)

Someone I work with buys and rents out houses as a side hobby, and in an attempt to save money is on her way to get her brokers license. Along the way she needs her agent license, which is being refused to be given to her until she joins the Texas NAR.

Realtors ar eon the way out (1, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565215)

You heard me right. Realtors are going the way of the dinosaur. I am already seeing it happen.

Consider, anyone in my generation (20-30 years old) who is looking for a new home. What is the very *FIRST* thing you do when you are even considering it? Do you call an agent? No. You go to the web. You look on Facebook, on Cragislist, on Google even, and yes, MLS too. but the only reason you go to MLS is because it is on the web to begin with! Consider now, if you are selling a house and aiming for this market. Why would you pay someone 2.5%-5% commission to list on just one of many websites, when all others are free? Why not try it with the other sites first? Also - consider the number of *very heavily targetted* Face book ads one can buy for the price of an agent's commission!

I know personally of three different people who have bought or sold houses in the past month *ALONE* who did not have an agent involved at all in at least one side of the transaction. The trend is already there... it will only accelerate.

The legal side of the transaction is usually handled by an attorney - all an agent really does is bring bodies in the door. If you can get the bodies in the door via your own means there is no reason to pay for an agent.

wow (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565257)

I actually work for a MLS vendor that supplies a MLS solution to these aforementioned real estate broker companies. I wonder how this will affect our business. It seems to me that with the Internet-based brokerage companies out there, it would enable more expertise to enter the MLS business.

mod dOwn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23565443)

Terrible Writeup and Terrible Links (2, Informative)

slamden (104718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565497)

first off, here's the actual proposed final judgement that actually came out today [usdoj.gov] , the actual news part of this, as the links above seem a few months old.

secondly, both the submitter and the linked article seem to have absolutely no clue as to what this settlement means. it is in no way about 'enchancing competition' or 'opening up the industry'. it merely clarifies rules that allow brokerages to limit this data.

specifically, this has to do with VOW (Virtual Office Website) data. if you don't know anything about MLSs (Multiple Listing Services) here's a quick rundown: most regions of the US are served by one or more MLS. real estate brokerages pay to be a part of the MLS, and in return they are granted access to the full database of current property listings.

(now, before some of you go screaming that this database should be simply open to the public, like i initially did when i first learned about the MLS system, please realize that there is information contained in it that people may not exactly what to be in public hands. part of the job of the MLS and the traditional brokerage system is verifying the character of the agents)

for many years, the NAR had a policy allowing brokerages to restrict VOW data. through this, a real estate office could block their listings from appearing on a competitor's web page. the obvious point of this is that the listing brokerage would also like to be the selling brokerage (capturing both ends of the commission.) the not so obvious point is that the MLS prefers to have brokerages in it that contribute listings, not just 'leech' off of it in order to captured leads, and make money off of referrals.

a few years ago, the DOJ ended this practice, calling it anti-competitive. NAR came up with other policies, and contested the original DOJ order. this settlement allows NAR to reinstate VOW practices.

this settlement also has some other interesting pieces, such as giving a seller the right to not have a blog post or home estimate displayed next to the listing data, which will probably hurt sights such as zillow.

Probably won't help much (3, Informative)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565551)

Here in TN, the NAR just bought a piece of legislation making it illegal (you read that right: illegal) to give a purchaser a rebate. They have a lot of power, and they'll use it.
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