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More DUH Moments in Online Real Estate

I don’t know about you, but we’ve been hearing about so many people getting scammed on-line with vacation and regular rentals and I hate to point a finger, but most of them are coming from Craigslist.

People finding agents and sending deposits to then find themselves with arms up in the air wondering what they were thinking.  DUH!!  In Miami we have another type of scam, this one not so serious, but very common nonetheless.  We have agents advertising our listings on Craigslist even if the MLS reads “do not advertise“.  We used to love for other agents to advertise for us until we found ourselves showing up to our listings and the clients would express feeling cheated thinking the listing belonged to the person advertising on Craigslist.

Today we hit a new high – an agent advertising one of our “do not advertise” rental listings, calling us to bug us about 15 times per day, doing everything wrong and after having an executed Lease loosing the client over amateur incompetency.  We found out because after the prospective tenant walked, they called us directly to help them out.  The prospect had been reading Miamism and didn’t know it was our listing, and after getting fed up with her agent, ended up finding out that the listing was ours to begin with.

I know the logistics can be complicated – but can’t we do something about these Internet scams?  Unqualified agents not only making our lives impossible, but making us and our clients loose time as well.  I’m so over it!  May listen to my friend now and open up Ineslist.com……NOT!

The worst part is that even though this is a rant about incompetency and wasting time, it ultimately is about misinterpretation of information which hurts the client directly.   I still try to understand the logic behind people who don’t want to work with agents, choose to be unrepresented and end up getting cheated.

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Rant over

Disclosure:  my dis is not against Craigslist directly, but those that choose to misuse the medium

Written By

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    October 13, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I guess the broker reciprocity rules must be different down there, Ines. Here listings have the option of “IDX share” yes or no. Not sure if that would prevent what’s happening there. Assume you’ve gone the regular route of complaining to the agents’ brokers, so I won’t bother suggesting that avenue.

    Is this something the Florida Real Estate Commission should be aware of?

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Mack Perry

    October 13, 2009 at 8:14 am

    If memory serves me correctly, and at my age that is somewhat difficult, I believe it is an ethics violation to advertise another agent’s listing without written permission from the listing broker.

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 13, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Joe, the rule here is to check the MLS and see if it reads “OK to advertise” or “NOT” and in this case it is a no and agent violated that. We have complained to the brokers in many instances but it is getting old, happens too often and don’t have time to police our listings on Craigslist. I do think it’s an issue the Florida Real Estate Commission should be aware of though.

    mack – you don’t need written permission, but need to check the MLS for what the agent allows.

  4. Keith Lutz

    October 13, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Just like there are all those social links and links for reporting spam, someone needs to come up with a link that reports back to the proper MLS board violatiors. Sounds do-able, but beyond any skill-set I have.

  5. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Keith, I think that’s exactly it – if they would make it easier to report, then more people would take the time.

  6. Paula Henry

    October 14, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Ines – I have had people call me devastated they were ripped off by someone advertising a rental and know Realtor’s whose listings are being used as bait. With all the advertising venues out there, it would be hard to track.

    In Indy, our board does have a report violation link on each MLS page, but outside the MLS, it’s almost impossible to catch everyone who might be advertising another agents listing. It really comes down to ethics. People are ethical or not, unfortunately.

  7. Matt Thomson

    October 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Seth Godin wrote a good blog about “What if Craigslist cost $1.” Would solve that type of problem, but I suppose they’d just find somewhere else to advertise. Here in the Seattle area, our MLS levies a pretty good fine if you advertise another agent’s listing without written permission.
    I’m all for advertising my listings in print or somewhere that I don’t advertise, but I want control over them online. I’ve been fortunate I guess in that I don’t know of any incompetent agents stealing mine.

  8. Louise Scoggins

    October 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Interesting read, Ines. I know here in Atlanta we have a “Broker Reciprocity Agreement” that allows other agents to advertise my listings via a MLS search on their website, but I haven’t heard of other agents advertising someone else’s listings on Craigslist. Sneaky. I personally advertise my resale and rental listings on Craigslist, so it’s something I will be on the lookout for from now on.

  9. Portland Real Estate

    October 15, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Its like having a site automatically try to guess and assign a value to a home that you are trying to sell. Thank you very much but no, I dont want you to advertise your estimated value of the home because the number is so far off of reality. It makes clients pretty irritated when other websites fill them with crap information and you get to be the one that tells them otherwise.

    -Tyler

  10. Marlow

    October 16, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Perhaps you need to urge your MLS to instigate stiff fines for those who break the rules.

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, advertising someone elses listing can result in a fine of $10,000.00 or more, and they are enforced. And then the MLS announces all of the rule breakers and fines on the front page of the website!

    Believe me, this tends to keep people in line.

  11. Terry@Charlotte Homes

    October 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Devils Advocate here – Isn’t not allowing other Brokers the right to advertise a listing one of the prime FTC complaints- ie if we are actually acting as an Agent acting in the Seller best interest, don’t we want all advertisement possible? Many home sellers think so.

    That said, I almost fell victim with my daughter to a CL scam… a rent too good to be true at college in Memphis. “Unfortunately just have to send you the keys because I didn’t leave them with anyone”… full of “God Bless you” and other colloquial English , it was quite believable,and my daughter exchanged 3- 4 emails before we discovered the fraud-andthey had “borrowed” a local new condo sellers identity.

    don’t know the answer on policing listings…

  12. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Terry, we actually allow for others to advertise our listings – when they are not rentals (somehow rentals are more open to scams) – and what’s the point to advertise the same rental in the same medium, like CL?

    CL has rules against double advertisement – so that’s a double whammy on those agents’ side. “buyer beware” could not apply more in these cases

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