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IDX, syndication battle in Austin may lead to sweeping national changes

IDX rules challenged in Austin

In recent months, a groundswell has begun of real estate professionals dissenting against major real estate search sites, IDX rules, local associations and even the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Most of the dissension surrounds how real estate listings are syndicated and shared, and reactions of real estate brokers have varied across the nation from pulling listings out of the MLS altogether to simply disallowing their listings to be featured on sites like Trulia or Zillow. The national scene is chaotic, but in Austin, tensions have risen and threats of lawsuits are flying from brokers on opposing sides of the issue of the use of listing data.

Several of Austin’s top luxury brokers have banded together to petition for improved opt-out provisions for their listings, as well as their contact information featured at the bottom of listings shown on other agents’ sites (where it currently says “courtesy of”), and are petitioning for a rule change to allow all photos to be watermarked with their contact information. The petitioners note confusion in the marketplace, as most buyers cannot understand who the listing agent is, and some brokers have already begun opting out of sharing listings through IDX. It was said in a meeting on February 13th that the petitioners may sue if their concerns are not met.

Opposing the petitioners is a group of brokers that say the petition reduces Realtor cooperation, decreases buyer agency and limits the development of new brokerage models, ultimately harming the consumer. According to emails obtained by AGBeat, the opposition may sue if the rules are altered, as they imply it would be favoring one business model over another, which has gotten real estate associations into legal battles in the past.

Months of waiting comes to a head

In an email obtained by AGBeat and confirmed with an executive staff member at the Austin Board of Realtors (ABOR), a letter was sent by lawyer Mitchell J. Savrick, retained by luxury broker Michelle Turnquist in November. The letter requested a meeting with ABOR’s Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service (ACTRIS) Committee which ABOR’s legal counsel responded to via letter within days, offering to schedule a meeting. No response was received until January when Savrick sent three possible dates, all of which were during the week of February 7th, as that is the week that worked for Turnquist and fellow petitioners Eric Moreland and Cord Shiflet. Several committee members were traveling during the week requested and unable to attend.

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In February, ABOR’s legal counsel addressed the concerns in a letter, and on the 8th, in a small conference room at the Board, 30 people showed up to the committee meeting which is typically a small group with closed doors. On February 10th, Cord Shiflet created a petition online and began collecting signatures from local real estate professionals.

On February 13th, Savrick presented their concerns to the committee which include that (1) Sellers must be able to opt out of participation in IDX, (2) Seller should be permitted to participate in sites such as, and/or other internet marketing and not participate in IDX, (3) an entire brokerage shouldn’t be denied IDX access due to mass opt-outs, (4) “courtesy of” should be replaced with prominent, non-tamperable field listing agent information as it is misleading, (5) Listing Agent should be permitted to ‘brand” all work (particularly through watermarking), (6) sites using IDX must comply with VOW rules, and (7) the committee should “implement a set of rules regarding so-called property “blogs.”

On February 14th, opposition responded with a letter to the Board stating that (1) IDX was never intended to provide access to listing agent information as it would harm cooperation and reduce the incentive for Realtors to use IDX, (2) the petitioners’ requests would encourage direct contact between buyers and listing agents, leading to decreased buyer’s agency which they see as a valuable consumer protection, (3) the changes would reduce competition and harm consumers, (4) listing agents are not required to display their listings on the IDX, as they can select listings to be featured on a case-by-case basis or remove all listings coming from the brokerage, (5) popular sites provide listing agent information already, striking a balance between petitioners and opposition. They also note that these petitioners are among the most successful in the city and after 10 years of using the IDX have not been damaged.

Earlier this year, ABOR underwent rule changes that clarified the IDX field so that sellers may opt out of Internet Display (Zillow, Trulia) but keep listings in the IDX which is set to be implemented in April. Additionally, according to the National Association of Realtors, Article 12 of the Code of Ethics which all Realtors are bound by, no one may alter or modify any information that offers anything other than a “true picture” of a listing or real estate professional. Both of these items answer to some of the petitioners’ requests.

Final resolution on this issue will be voted on in May by the Board of Directors at ABOR, and the date of implementation is unknown, should there be any rule changes.

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Protecting market share?

ACTRIS committee member, Cord Shiflet is seen by many as the leader of the petitioners’ movement – he has already pulled his own listings from the IDX, Zillow and Trulia while keeping listings on and, noting no impact on his business, positive or negative, and that his listing clients are on board with his decision. In an email obtained by AGBeat, Shiflet said, “I firmly believe my doing IDX does nothing other than allow others to poach on my listings and get leads/buyers. Maybe I’ve finally crossed the bridge from being innovative to being old-school.”

Seeking to “keep leads within [his] company,” Shiflet added, “I do expect my showings to drop as the internet flakes won’t find my stuff as easily and agents I’ve never heard of who are working on an internet lead they’ve never met won’t be landing on my properties. And that’s okay with me. I think we all agree that we want fewer, better qualified showings.”

One agent in opposition told AGBeat that petitioners Turnquist and Moreland account for 58 percent of all listings in Austin over $1M, according to RETS and IDX – a sizable market share to protect, which several note is what is truly at stake here, with Turnquist allegedly hiring Savrick to file an amicus brief supporting the Texas Real Estate Commission many years ago when Texas Discount Realty filed against TREC over new minimum services rules that limited discounters, with rumors of a fear of Turnquist’s losing market share. On the other hand, opposition could be seen by petitioners as lower producing agents that do not have the same marketing expenses or market share at stake, or as buyer’s agents that some see as unnecessary to the transaction.

Confusions, boycotts and elitism

Perhaps making the case for the petitioners is the fact that numerous agents that signed the petition were unable to offer any relevant comment to the story. AGBeat received several comments but they did not pertain to the actual petition, with one Realtor commenting on their dislike of the current MLS vendor, another saying that they should be able to watermark anything they want and did not understand that the petition was about more than watermarking, and yet another stating they believe ABOR should not allow any listings to be shared on Zillow, Trulia or

Opposition was more clear, yet mostly fear retribution for coming forward, as several claim they are being “silently boycotted” by the luxury brokers who have launched the petition who are aware that they have signed in opposition. Allegedly, the “silent boycott” includes entrapment calls over the phone, cancelling of fake appointments, slow paying offers and repeated scheduling mistakes, but we have been unable to independently verify any boycott.

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One broker told us they felt this situation was very similar to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Board of Realtors (MIBOR) cutting IDX feeds in 2009, calling Google a scraper due to indexing. The MIBOR situation was “effectively one broker who was mad about losing market share and tried to use MLS rules to hurt his competitors. This effectively established agents trying to change MLS rules to squash emerging competitors.”

Another broker notes the situation reeks of “elitism” and claims there is an “influence of the ‘old guard’ at ABOR/ACTRIS.”

Austin Realtor, Ralph Bell said, “All the changes they are requesting violates NAR IDX Policy and go against the intended spirit of the IDX. They are trying to punish Brokers who have high traffic sites and who bring qualified buyers to the sellers. I’m appalled by many of the unethical comments listed on the petition web page. It appears many of them would just assume do away with buyer agency altogether. The people signing this petition seem to have lost sight of the fact that their duty is to represent their seller…not their own interests.”

Sam Chapman, also a Realtor in Austin said, “Regarding the petition to have listing agent information on other agent sites, that is more than ridiculous. If a buyer is looking at a listing, the listing agent by definition can not have that buyer’s best interests at heart. So why in the world would the Board want that listing agent’s information to show on other agent’s sites? The whole reason, in my opinion, the IDX stream displays my contact information with listings on my website is because I can actually represent that buyer.”

Broker Jason Crouch said, “The proposed changes would likely harm buyers and sellers alike. Online buyers would be channeled directly to listing agents, which could result in less (or no) representation for them. Sellers would end up getting much less exposure for their properties online, which could translate to longer market times and potentially lower sales prices. Lastly, the changes would inhibit competition among agents, which strikes me as a very dangerous path. I think we should focus on working together to help the consumer.”

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In another email obtained by AGBeat, a committee member writes, “ABOR has fantastic legal council. We will be advised as to what we can legally do, which isn’t much because NAR has pretty strict or loose guidelines, depending on how you want to interpret NAR. ABOR has already been taking a look at what other Boards across Texas and the country are doing.”

Next steps – meetings and lawsuits

Currently, opposition is requesting that more than 10 representatives from each side be allowed at the next meeting on March 21, as they say the issue is too big to be decided by so few people, and many tell AGBeat that the issue has national implications as many look to Austin as trendsetters. In May, the Board of Directors will vote on any potential changes they are allowed to make which is limited to what NAR has agreed to in their final settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

This is not the last issue we will see with brokers pulling out of Trulia and Zillow or out of the IDX, and there are many moving pieces on the chess board, leaving agents in the field struggling to understand what each piece means and how it will impact their business. Petitioners see confusion in the marketplace while opposition sees the ability to compete being threatened, and both have said off record that they will pursue legal action against ABOR and subsequently the National Association of Realtors, who will be named pursuant to their settling with the DOJ.

Similar dissension is spreading across the nation in various forms as agents in the field become more aware of what happens to their listings, and what the consequences of syndication and sharing are, particularly regarding who is (and is not) making money on the data.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Jesse Friedman

    February 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    They seem like reasonable requests, mostly resulting in more choices for the brokerage on how they want their listings handled. Other markets give these choices already which should be how it is. If you want your property to get as much exposure as possible then syndicate or participate in idx. The changes to actual display are a bit overboard and I think would cause even more confusion on websites.

    A problem with what they are asking is that with more regulation on blogs and display means more work for the board. Policing blogs will be ridiculous.

  2. Israel Gutierrez

    February 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    As a listkng agent I believe that advertising a listing via IDX is essential in order to make sure a client's listing gets maximum exposure to online consumers. In today's market, most buyers are shopping for their next home online. Ultimately, it would be a disservice to a seller client to not advertise via IDX as they would be missing out on a very large (possible majority) portion of potential buyers for their home.

    Trying to keep "both sides" of the commission seems to be the singular goal for the anti-IDX movement. This is not only greedy, but also seems to hint at monopolization.

    I am Pro-IDX a.k.a. Pro-Client.

    • Ron Cullinan

      March 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Israel, your comments are right on. It is a few “elite” power brokers trying yet again to use rules and regulations to concentrate and enhance their power and control the segment. It is flat out anti-competitive and has no business in the Realtor world where cooperative efforts to assist clients in the home buying and selling process is the main goal, not making more money and becoming an oligarchy.

    • Scott

      March 9, 2012 at 11:48 am

      look there needs to be some adjustment, maybe not as drastic as they are requesting. I am a listing agent and I appreciate the exposure but I offer websites to my clients exclusive to their property. The problem is if you do an internet search for their property, the website is lost in a sea of other companies advertizing the property and the listing agent get no credit. Only in very small print at the bottom it does give credit to the Broker. That’s wrong!

  3. Romeo Manzanilla

    February 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I think that this ultimately comes down to the key fact that traditional, luxury brokers are losing market share to new and upcoming brokerages who employ the latest internet technologies to capture buyers. As the listing brokerage, the number one objective is to serve as a fiduciary to the sellers by promoting their property and bringing them a buyer either through a cooperating broker or another agent from within their own brokerage. This idea of only allowing the listing to be marketed with the listing brokerage's contact information is nothing more than a ploy for the luxury brokerages to double end transactions and create an elitist segment of the real estate market by diminishing the spirit of cooperation between all real estate brokerages.

  4. Eric Bramlett

    February 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    The request to watermark images and prominently display the listing agent contact information is absolutely ridiculous. IDX works extremely well because agents are incentivized through potential buyer's agent commission to advertise other agents' listings. Watermarking and featuring the listing agents' contact information reduces or removes this incentive, which would effectively break or damage IDX as a system. The requests made by these "luxury agents" are regressive at best and anti-competitive at worst. It seems more productive use of these agents' time to compete for market share, rather than lobbying for new rules in an attempt to maintain market share.

    • Jefferson Kimbrough

      February 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Well said!

    • Anonymous Realtor

      February 29, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Agreed! Well said indeed! I brought a Client to one of your listings who is an Internet lead the other day. They might not have found it if it wasn’t framed within our website…

  5. Jason Crouch

    February 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Lani – Thanks very much for the opportunity to contribute to your story on this issue. I sincerely hope the Board can see the scope of this in its entirety. It saddens me that it seems to have started a civil war among hundreds of agents in the Austin area already, with a sharply drawn line. I strongly oppose the recommended changes, as you know. If they move forward with these changes, it's like dialing back the clock 20+ years on the real estate industry.

    • Steve Shatsky

      February 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Jason… I couldn't agree with you more. What si being proposed is nothing short of insanity. The proposed changes are not in the best interests of consumers, they only benefit a select group of brokers and agents at the expense of the home buying and selling public.

    • Jack Armstrong

      March 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Nicely put Jason. and Eric B. above.

  6. Crystal Kilpatrick

    February 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Many of my buyers are relocating here from out of state. They want to see the listings online before they travel here to see the homes in person. I think that it would be a sad day to know that the listings are not available online for them. I am also a listing agent, and I am very glad to have the ability to market my listings far and wide. I welcome other agents to bring their buyers to see my listings. I don't know why that would be a bad thing.

  7. Bill Austin

    February 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    It seems to me that the brokers/agents that want this change are more concerned with keeping/creating a monopoly of their listings. Many of these agents are known to handle these sales without the buyer having representation. Does this practice treat the person with no representation fairly? I don't see how. Does the listing agent imply they will "take care of the whole deal" leading the unrepresented to believe their best intrest is being protected? Maybe. The listing agent/broker has a fiduciary responsibility to their client above all others including the broker/agent and the unrepresented buyer.

    How can intentionally "limiting exposure" possibily be in the best interest of the client/seller? The client seller would need a complete understanding of what they are being asked to do and consent to the limitations.

    A slippery slope is being considered. So if the new rules are implemented and others modify their practices to combat the change what's next?

    You can't stop the technology boom, you can only hope to contain it.


  8. Mike Homes

    February 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    “I firmly believe my doing IDX does nothing other than allow others to poach on my listings and get leads/buyers. Maybe I’ve finally crossed the bridge from being innovative to being old-school.”

    I thought the goal of using a real estate agent was to bring buyers and sellers together, not to try to get both sides of the deal or covet your own listings. Are you trying to tell me the sellers agent is going to represent both the buyer and seller equally?

    As a listing agent you should be overjoyed that buyers agents are bringing you buyers. It saves you days in not weeks of driving around tire kickers.

  9. Lisa Hill

    February 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Ask any seller: Do you want your property listing to receive maximum online exposure on as many websites as possible? Of course all sellers want this. This is absolutely essential in today's Internet-based, global, real estate marketplace. Maximum online listing exposure reaches the most buyers and provides the highest fiduciary duty to a seller. Pro-IDX, pro-client, pro-fiduciary duty.

  10. Steve Trang - Phoenix Short Sale Realtor

    February 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    This idea seems very hilarious to me. There is such an obvious negative impact to both buyers and sellers if these listing agents get their way. IDX serves as a tool for buyers to find properties on line. If buyer agents are forced to put seller agents' info on the page, then buyer agents will just stop using IDX. This hurts the buyer since they won't find the property, and it hurts the seller, because their home is also not prevalent online. As a strong listing agent, I still support IDX because I support my clients.

  11. Dori Garner

    February 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I am strongly opposed to the change of the IDX system. I think it is sad that jealous and envy really are to blame for this argument getting so heated to this point. The truth is the client benefits from having good tools and having options that the IDX system gives. There is no hidden agenda or evil plan that tricks the buyer in some way to think the listing is under the broker that is listing the home. Buyers really don’t care, they just want the information and work with someone that has their best interest at heart. The IDX system allows buyers better tools to find there home of choice and a connection with an agent that is representing them not the seller. A buyer is more protected this way and that is the bottom line. The needs of the client. I think some people have just focused more on their own interest where others just found a way to help better the system and benefit our industry as a whole. Like I said, this is sad that I even have to write this.

  12. Elle Klein

    February 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Buying or selling a home is already an emotionally charged experience for our clients. As agents, we are the ones who are supposed to be champions for our clients' interests, while also working together to negotiate without letting our own emotions get in the way. This adversarial attitude is a shame, and it pits agent against agent instead of focusing on the needs of our clients – to help them sell their home, or represent their best interests as a buyer.

  13. Mary Anne Payne

    February 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Here in GA our MLS will not let us change in any way the photo of the listing to have a watermark or logo or sign in the yard-they will kick it back to us-a policy they really enforce-the Buyer needs to have all options and typically Agent info is on the site-there has been some right click copying of nice homs on the internet to be put on other agents websites and the agents affected are sueing here for copyright infringement-a good photographer or an agent that knows what they are doing can embed this info in that photo when they process it…..

  14. Laura "Ole" Olesen

    February 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    This is a multi-faceted issue. For example, many brokerages and individual Realtors have spent years building websites around IDX. Because of NAR IDX policy, we had to get on board to have an online presence. If IDX were taken away, I'm sure someone would come up with a workaround to display listings and sell it back to Realtors. And so on. But, the crux of the issue comes down to what's best for our clients. An agent has a listing. Yes, the listing is a great way for the agent to market herself. But, first and foremost, that agent's responsibility is to getting her clients' listing sold with the most agreeable terms. Isn't exposure of the listing a huge part of that? And aren't we in the age of Internet? Achieving fewer, more qualified buyers does not come from reducing overall exposure; it comes from qualifying showings. The intermittent talk in the petition of "keeping the business to ourselves" and having an invite-only site for "our" listings sounds a bit like collusion, doesn't it? As a listing agent, I'm thrilled for anyone to bring clients. Even if they don't know the market, they're bringing a potential buyer. It's part of my job to work through what that means for my sellers…

  15. Lainie Ramsey

    February 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I don't see how making the changes to IDX is in any way good for the consumer or good for competition…and I can guarantee it would mean longer days on the market for sellers! It really does seem to me that the dinosaurs in our industry who have failed to keep up with technology are trying this as a last ditch effort. It's not about their listings or their sellers – it's about THEM. As a listing agent you are hired to represent the seller's best interest – I'm just not sure how longer days on the market, less offers, possibly lower offers (because there's little competition to buy the sellers listing) could at all be good for the seller! I think these agents need to give a little more thought about who they a representing here – the seller or is just themselves?

    • Danny Nappi

      February 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      I agree with you 100% Lainie!

    • Ken Brand

      February 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      I respectfully disagree. It seems to me buyers buy because they have a need or a desire, not because they see something on an IDX. When a buyer goes shopping they use an agent, who uses the MLS. Properties that meet the buyers criteria are shown whether they've ever been seen or are included in 10 IDX feeds or 1,000.

      Also, I don't think it's a dinosaur issue, I think it's a competition issue and treating business like business, which means helping your competitors without listings survive is kind, but not a wise business move.

      Of course I could be totally wrong, but I'm not in doubt.

      • Danny Nappi

        February 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm

        Yes Ken of course Idx is not causing buyers to buy it is a tool just like I am sure you utilized certain tools and websites to help you out selling real estate. Buyers begin their search online period and without Idx they would have to go to hundreds of different websites to find what they are looking for.

        I think it is pretty neat that I am able to offer an easy to use website to find listings and help "my competitors" out.. that is a win win for everyone involved including the consumer.. of course unless you want dual agency where you represent both sides?

        • Cal Carter

          February 28, 2012 at 12:00 am

          Exactly Danny! Sellers agents need tools. One of the tools they have the option to use is to enter their listings in the MLS for buyer agents to help bring them buyers. They are free to adjust the compensation to whatever they want, or not offer it in the MLS at all. Another option in the tool box is to display on other agents sites, purely optional, but a great tool to bring buyers via buyers agents. The listing agreement covers these things and the listing agent certainly can try and explain why the seller might not want to utilize those tools (I can't think of what those reasons would be though). However, the sites that IDX listings are displayed on are the tools of someone else and the whole idea of exploiting someone else's tools that were built and paid for by someone else and having carte blanch display of the listing agents contact information and watermarks is laughable at best. There is a reason signage is prohibited within MLS photos and a reason why branded virtual tours within the MLS are prohibited. The reason – it is someone else sweat, equity, tool, and asset. It is a trade off, display on IDX and thousands of other agents help find you a buyer! Don't want any help, then just toggle off the "help me find a buyer" button when the listing is entered in the MLS.

      • Nikki Buckelew

        March 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

        Part of my concern with this posting is that you see agents without listings as “competitors” that you are helping “survive.” The fact is that there are many agents in the market place that focus solely on assisting buyers because that is their passion and strength. If one of those agents brings a qualified buyer to your listing and helps your sellers achieve their goal…what difference does it make to you if that agent has listings or not? Seems silly that this is even a consideration. Nothing in the real estate law says that agents must carry listings in order to be effective REALTORS!

  16. Danny Nappi

    February 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Why is this all of a sudden an issue? The system is not broken it works perfectly fine, because of a few agents who think not having an IDX is best for the consumer and is going to benefit their pockets.

    Sounds like sour grapes… Not liking the way the game is played because you not getting your share so change the rules. Mine as well going back to selling real estate out of a black book.

  17. Geordie Romer

    February 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Austin- Thanks so much for having this bloody battle in your back yard. I'm so glad we're not dealing with this right now.

    The ridiculous behavior of ARG and Edina Realty was slightly amusing because it a few small brokerages making a loud announcement that not only did they not know which way the wind was blowing, but they didn't know where to find a weatherman either. If they want to bow out of syndication, fine with me.

    This assault on IDX was expected, but I don't expect it will get very far. Any major changes will need to be vetted by NAR and probably DOJ at a national level. Sounds to me like these luxury brokers need to improve their game instead of trying to change the rules just because they are down at half.

    I find it amusing that it is the "luxury brokers" who are anti- IDX. I'm one of the biggest IDX users and pro-IDx agents in our market and also the market leader in the luxury niche. IDX has been great for our business and brings us buyers and sellers from all over the world.

    This whole scenario reminds me of the ancient curse. "May you live in interesting times."

    • Ken Brand

      February 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      You just answered your own question "why" question with this "IDX has been great for our business and brings us buyers and sellers from all over the world."

      If you're attracting awesome business from listings that belong to other brokers, maybe they'd like to attract those clients to their brokerage, after all they invested the time and money to obtain the listing(s).

      This is probably why some listing agents and brokers are rethinking their sharing policy.

      Crazy and chaotic times are ahead.

      • Charlie Pitkin

        February 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm

        Danny, They are NOT getting paid 6% to attract more clients to themselves. They are getting paid to be that seller's AGENT. When I sold my house, I paid my agent 3% to put my house in front of as many potential buyers as possible. Buy contract, I paid an extra 3% to attract a buyer's agent which caused those agents to build expensive websites which serve their buyers and potential buyers. Listing agents are getting paid to market their client's damn house, NOT themselves. If they want to get a chance at earning the buyer agent's 3% they can invest in a fancy website to attract buyers directly.

        This is a very black and white issue. And they don't stand a chance of changing the system as it is. It works and the buyer/seller have never been served better.

    • Aaron Dickinson

      February 28, 2012 at 1:02 am


      Edina Realty has 2100+ agents and 20% market share in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota so I would hardly call them a small broker. Further, they are part of HomeServices of America, which is the 2nd largest brokerage system in the country. Their experiences will have great influence on the rest of their sister companies.

      Most of the concepts behind syndication and IDX haven't been changed since they were written. Given that times are always changing, a thorough debate about all aspects of both can be healthy and improve these systems for the future.

      Zillow's recent hiring of Bob Bemis and Trulia's additional outreach efforts I believe are intelligent responses to a growing frustration that the data exchange was becoming a more raw deal for listing agents every year.

      I have full confidence that as an industry we will be able to work out a solution that is livable for all parties – our industry is more reliant on cooperation than most any other… I don't expect that cooperation to end anytime soon.

    • scott swain

      March 8, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Spot on Geordle! This is about a few that don’t want to reinvent themselves. Seems to me they are looking for fools for buyers.

  18. Lainie Ramsey

    February 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Danny, that is exactly what those hoping for these changes want – they want to closely guard their listings like it was done in the old days where if you want to buy a house – you HAVE to come through them and they will decide what you can and can not see in their black book of real estate listings. "Back in the day" there was a company that monopolized a "particular" market, they would show only their listings, they were the only office in town…as a seller you had no choice but to list with them if you wanted your house sold… then along came competing brokerages that would show you any house you wanted to buy (as it should be)..Guess who changed their business model? And who was it good for? It was good for CONSUMERS! Anytime there is a monopoly with no competition no one benefits except for the "puppet master" who is pulling the strings, deciding who can view what listings and who can not. Competition is good – it makes everyone work harder and improve. Please don't let us revert back to the old days when we have progressed so far.

  19. Brenda Underwood

    February 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    The primary obligation of "any" REALTOR luxury or not is to their client, not obtaining a the trust of a consumer/listing and concern ourselves about how best it will serve me then looking for way's to take control of who or who will not bring the buyer. The code of ethics and standards of practice starts with "Duties to clients and customers" not "Duties for the listing agent", the next sentance…REALTORS pledge themselves to protect and "promote" the interest of their client". All of the people I call friends are my client's, it is a lifelong relationship of service and that all start with trust knowing their real estate experience started w/ 100% full representation. Quoting the code of ethics once again…"Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the best interest of those who utilize their services, REALTORS urge exclusive representation of clients; do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over the competitors; and they refrain from making unsolicited comments about other practitioners. In instances where their opinion is sought, or where REALTORS believe that comment is necessary, their opinion is offered in an objective, professional manner, uninfluenced by any personal motivation or potential advantage or gain" It would do all of us great service to one another to re-read the 8 page NAR code of ethics. My client's, friends and consumer's start their home search online using IDX, they make clearer and better decisions because of it…I enjoy working with educated and tech savy consumers…this in a nutshell "is a qualified buyer". It's spring time! Let's all get to work.

  20. Steve Albin

    February 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Number 1 is the MLS is for commissions, agent dats and agent IDX to keep the agent in the center of a real estate transaction. The MLS system is not obligated by any means to cause or ways to be in the public facing web business of properties and should only show agent for consumers to choose.
    Number 2 YOUR REALTOR Association is in the business or should be in the business of promoting agents and the facts about home-ownership to the public.

  21. Blayne Vackar

    February 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    The idea of of someone else's face on my listing disturbs me a bit. The fact that collects leads and then turns right back around and sells that lead back to me at a monthly fee, down right makes me mad. None the less interesting topic.

  22. Marcela Alfonsin

    February 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    As a buyer and listing agent I believe both sides benefit from having properties marketed in as many websites and search engines as possible. Our goal as real estate professionals is to facilitate the process to our buyers and sellers not to hinder it or monopolize it. Monopolization is never a fair practice. Years of experience in the business and being a luxury agent does not equal excellence in real estate practices and services.

    • Cindy Darrell

      February 27, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Loved your last line. "Years of experience in the business and being a luxury agent does not equal excellence in real estate practices and services." Well said.

  23. Charlie Pitkin

    February 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Their case is less effective than a fart in a windstorm. We live in a buyer representation world. Driving buyers to listing agents is not protecting the buyer's interests! Dual agency in Texas is illegal, for good reason. The buyer would be left representing themselves, possibly without understanding the risks involved. Listing agents ought to be wary of such practice. They are just asking for litigation. Luxury agents trying to get double sided deals is the only motivation I can see behind this. Easy for them to cut say a $5,000 e&o deductible check on a $30,000 commission. These rules could be applied MLS wide opening the risks to all buyers in all price ranges. Especially dangerous as the average buyer may be more unsuspecting or savy than the luxury buyer.

    • Ken Brand

      February 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      I sorta get it, but what about For Sale signs. Should we remove the listing agents/brokers contact information so that we avoid the representation issues you describe? Or what about property promotion post cards and print advertising, should the listing agent/broker remove their contact information?

      Do you put your contact numbers on your For Sale signs?

      It's a hairball for sure.

      • Charlie Pitkin

        February 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

        Ken, All do respect, that's a irrelevant comparison because buyers no longer drive around looking at for sale signs. And obviously you couldn't have 100 for sale signs in every yard. Though I would not be opposed to something like that if it was possible.

        Fact: 90% of buyers start their search online. If they are only able to search listings on for instance, then they will likely contact the listing agent listed, rather than an agent who can represent their interests. We all know that is one of the worst search engines available so a very small percentage of today's buyers use it. Goes to show what the open IDX has done for search technology!

        That being said, our website is terrible. We do business by referral, not by web. I don't have a dog in this fight. However, I see how detrimental this would be to the success buyer representation has had over the past decade largely do to the open IDX.

  24. Ken Brand

    February 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I think I understand the pro's and cons, but I don't understand why so many believe that a listing is only properly marketed if it shows up on every IDX and 3rd party syndication site available – that's a myth.

    Sure consumers like to browse and dream online but when it's time to shop and "buy" they do what they've always done. They contact a trusted real estate agent and ask them to scour the local MLS and find properties that match their criteria. Whether the consumer has seen it on an IDX, Zillow, Trulia or doesn't have any bearing on what a pro quality agent shows their client and what they buy.

    Here's a litmus test question, if the rule were changed and there were no IDX sites, or Zillow or Truilia or, would housing prices fall? Would sales slow. Would Days On Market go up? Would buyers stop buying. Would corporations stop relocating people. Would people moving to Austin suddenly decide to stay put? Of course not.

    What would happen is that brokers without listings would be negatively impacted. Why? Because agents and brokers without listings don't contribute content to the IDX, what they do do is attract IDX generated opportunities from listings belonging to other brokers. Which of course has been the tradition since IDX, but today more and more listing agents and brokers are treating their business like a business, which means they may choose not to help their competitors compete against them. A sellers listing information would still be available to consumers, only they would find it on the listing brokers site. The property information doesn't have to be on 1,000 websites for Google to find it, does it?

    As for the argument that it's not fair to the buyers who only contact the listing agent, how or why is that any more objectionable than having a buyer prospect call or contact the listing agent/broker from seeing the For Sale sign. Nobody's up in arms about those calls, or calls from print ads, or radio ads, etc.

    • Jonathan Boatwright

      February 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm


      What you probably don't realize is that a very large number of consumers are using Broker IDX websites to search for their listings, many of whom are spending hours per day on these websites. Why? Because many of these broker websites are easier to use and have more local information than And smart consumers have figured out that Zillow and Trulia don't have all the listings. Also, the agents and brokers running these websites can answer the consumers inquiries about all the listings, rather than the consumer making 12 inquiries, getting 6 responses from agents who actually check their email, and then getting hammered with phone calls and emails from the other 6 listing agents who now suddenly want to be buyer's agents, too.

      Consumers are not going back to the days when they were waiting on their realtor to search the MLS for them. They are telling us which properties they want to see, and they are making an appointment with us to go and see them. If your listings are not on other broker's website, then I promise you a VERY large number of very motivated and very qualified buyers are going to miss them. The traffic to these sites vastly outpaces local searches on, trulia, zillow, and combined, and the consumers using them are spending hours doing their research and saving their favorites.

      You are right – the listings don't need to be on the 1000's of websites – just the websites where consumers are looking. Don't assume they aren't using,,,,, etc., etc., etc.

      They are.

      • Rob Hahn

        February 28, 2012 at 1:53 am

        Does Austin MLS not have a VOW feed? consumers using brokers' sites ought to be offered that, no?

  25. Eric Bramlett

    February 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I have no problem with listing agents opting out of IDX. That mechanism is in place, and has been in place since IDX's inception. My issue is with the proposal to feature listing agent's contact information & watermark images on IDX. Right now, the trade is "You get free advertising for your listings, I get a tool to attract buyers." The proposed changes to the Austin IDX agreement dramatically changes this value proposition, enough so that many agents would seriously reconsider featuring and advertising their IDX systems. The proposed changes also encourage dual agency. Both results are bad for the consumer.

  26. Erin Bara

    February 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    “I do expect my showings to drop as the internet flakes won’t find my stuff as easily and agents I’ve never heard of who are working on an internet lead they’ve never met won’t be landing on my properties. And that’s okay with me. I think we all agree that we want fewer, better qualified showings.”

    I am an experienced real estate broker, and my first encounter with qualified, serious buyers in all price points is often via the Internet and the result of voluntary IDX participation by other brokers.

    The insinuation that potential buyers requesting more information about IDX shared listings are just “Lookie Lou” types or “Internet flakes” is laughable to me. These are often smart, tech savvy, pre-approved buyers that initiate their search online, and who also desire to be represented by a buyer’s agent.

    Moreover, from a listing agent perspective, I can’t imagine how I could sell the benefits of not participating in IDX to my seller client. What is the advantage of limiting the amount of consumers that will have the opportunity to view your property listing? I want to cast my net far and wide.

    IDX participation creates a healthy balance in a competitive real estate market where buyer agency is allowed to flourish. Just like the Hippocratic Oath taken by newly minted physicians, one of the most important pillars ethical REALTORS(R) stand upon is their commitment to client advocacy.

    From this perspective, I do not see any merit in the petition and will continue in proactive opposition.

  27. Lucretia Pruitt

    February 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    What an interesting show down!

    Let me preface this by saying I'm not in the business of Real Estate nor have I been. My exposure to it started during my days of paralegal training and an eye-opening course in the laws surrounding real property in Colorado. Things I learned then that stood out 1) real estate laws vary from state to state (including rules surrounding agency, lawyer involvement, and process) 2) "agency" wasn't just another word for "business" – it meant legal and fiduciary duties and representation 3) there was such a thing as a buyer's agent and a seller's agent (although not then in every state – no idea about today) and just because someone was showing me the house it didn't mean that s/he was working for me or doing things in my best interest… in fact, back then in Colorado if you didn't pay a buyer's agent fee up front, you were dealing with a seller's agent no idea about now.

    So if you're in Real Estate? Everything I just said is laughably rudimentary. But if you're the average first time home buyer? Or even one coming from another state? Those 3 things might be eye-opening.

    As someone who has been on both sides of the buyer & seller table? Going to dozens of showings of homes that didn't really have anything to do with what we were looking for would've definitely been easier if we could've 'prescreened' them ourselves on the Internet. As a seller, having to evacuate your house for a showing by uninformed agents dozens of times as we were? Also less than pleasant.

    "Petitioners see confusion in the marketplace while opposition sees the ability to compete being threatened" is an amazing summation of this whole thing. Is there confusion in the marketplace? To the average home buyer, yes. Are the proposed solutions threatening to competition? Sure looks like it from here.

    Too bad the solution can't be both an informed, well-represented home buyer AND controls for sellers' agents that keep showings down to a minimum of actually qualified, interested potentials for the seller.

    This will be interesting to watch. Hopefully something productive comes out of it that benefits buyers, sellers, AND agents.

  28. Donna Yates

    February 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Absolutely oppose the idea of using watermark on listings that reveal agent contact information ! Smacks of monopolizing and that's a bad idea.

  29. Jim Olenbush

    February 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    In 2000 ABoR changed the MLS rules and sued E-Realty. The result was that ABoR lost, and the current IDX rules were created as a result.

    In 2005 ABoR changed the MLS rules to block flat fee brokerages. The result was the Federal Trade Commission charged the Austin Board of Realtors with illegally restraining competition.

    Perhaps MLS policies should not be determined by the squeakiest wheels.

    • Jason Edwards

      February 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Hi Jim! I was wondering how far I'd have to scroll down before I saw someone mention the e-Realty lawsuit in 2000. History sure does have a way of repeating itself.

    • Jeff Burke

      March 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Maybe we could get Russell Capper to weigh in…

  30. Paula Henry

    February 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Listing agents have always had the option to opt out of IDX and only display their listings on their website. Now that buyers aren't as likely to go to an open house or drive around neighborhoods and calling off signs, the internet has become the go to "open house" for buyers. Top listing agents will even bestow the virtue of great pictures, virtual tours, etc to attract buyers. But, what benefit will there be to the seller if the home can only be found online on the listing agent/broker site?

    My team and I mostly represent buyers, but we also have our share of listings. I can see me explaining to my seller that their home will only be on my site. Since I rank very well, that may not be an issue for them, but if I didn't they would assume their home will not get much exposure. So, while listing agents have chosen their niche, "listings", buyers agents have chosen theirs. The intent of the IDX was to form a cooperation. Was it based on the fact everyone would contribute listings? Originally, it might have been, but times have changed.

    There will always be those agents who want to move backward and stay "old school", just as one of the petitioning agents clearly said. Being concerned that "internet flakes won’t find my stuff as easily and agents I’ve never heard of who are working on an internet lead they’ve never met won’t be landing on my properties" is quite laughable.

    The highest priced home ever sold in Indianapolis was sold last year to an "internet lead" of an independent broker, who happens to have a great web presence. The client paid cash and I'm certain the seller could have cared less whether the buyer was a " flaky internet lead". Yes, the listing agent specializes in higher end listings, but for two years it never sold. Did the buyers agent deny the listing agent a buyer and therefore the right to double-end the listing? We should ask the seller if they care.

  31. Michael Reilly

    February 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    The original goal of IDX was to enhance REALTOR® cooperation to better serve the public. In fact, NAR’s very own F.A.Q. regarding IDX states, “Internet Data Exchange ("IDX")… is the next stage in the evolution of MLS as the primary means of enhancing cooperation between REALTORS® to facilitate the purchase and sale of real property. IDX gives MLS Participants the tool they need to display each others’ listings on their Internet websites.”

    If the listing agent contact information were forced on other broker’s websites, there would be a significant increase in the number of buyers forgoing representation and working solely through the listing agent. This completely violates the spirit and intent of cooperation that IDX has achieved.

  32. Crappy Non-luxury Agent

    February 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Collusion to limit competition, also known as "being old school"

    • Ken Brand

      February 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      It's a conundrum. What you say rings true. Yet, brokers who want to exclude their listings from IDX would say that it's a collusion of the new school camp, trying to limit the listing brokers ability to compete and crush those without listings. Collusion on both sides?

      Or maybe just differing strategies?

      • Cal Carter

        February 27, 2012 at 9:46 pm

        Ken, all they have to do is disable the listings from displaying on the internet. Problem solved! This is much more than that.

  33. Ryan Stewman

    February 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    The car dealers are facing the same battle against TrueCar just as Agents are fighting trulia and zillow.
    Zillow and Trulia are acting as brokers without all of the ramifications. Technology brings change and not always good. But if you can't beat 'em join 'em Zillow and Trulia do have their good points.

    Ryan Stewman

  34. Mark Washburn

    February 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    If these IDX changes come to pass, what will stop some enterprising entrepreneur from scraping luxury real estate websites, aggregating the listing data and selling it to agents via a REITS/IDX-like feed?

  35. Keri Chmelik

    February 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    At the risk of repeating what's already been well said, the removal of, or proposed change to, the current IDX system would in no way be an improvement on what we have now. What client benefits are outlined in the changes? Are there any? This business isn't about what's best for Realtors. Realtors are here to serve as client advocates so that buyers and/or sellers can be well informed about a business arrangement that is incredibly multi-dimensional and will most likely be one of the largest investments they'll ever make. I work with buyers and sellers and can see no benefits to my clients by these proposed changes. None.

    For sellers, it's imperative that all possible interested parties see their home for sale – it's a numbers game – more exposure, more chance of a sale. And yes, of course they should be qualified buyers. However proving that they're well-qualified could be accomplished on a case by case basis by the listing agent possibly requiring qualification information before setting a showing appointment if so desired.
    To insinuate that buyers looking online with an agent that the luxury agents haven't heard of before means that they 'know' buyers aren't qualified is not only insulting but frankly borders on unethical. As an agent that brought an internet buyer to a multi-million dollar home, I can speak from experience that VERY well-qualified buyers are searching online and shopping for buyers agents that will well represent their interests. And unfortunately, for less savvy buyers that might not be fully understand the ethics and real estate laws in Texas, they may be unaware that if they go to the listing agent directly, they won't have their interests upheld. It's simply not possible from an agent representing a seller.

    I honestly don't see how this issue could even have gotten as far as it has because I cannot find a real benefit to clients – buyers or sellers. Real Estate is a service industry – we serve our clients. The proposed changes seem to do precisely the opposite and I cannot support it. I hope ABoR realizes the same. I also hope this matter is settled quickly and decisively before the reputation of Austin agents is sullied.

    • Danny Nappi

      February 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      I agree Keri,, If this is best for the consumer where is the public outcry? Where is the outrage from the consumers telling us they hate the ways listings are being displayed.

      Who are the ones fighting over it? Us Realtors! It is actually pretty embarrassing to say the least in my opinion.

      How this is an issue and us wasting our energy over it is really sad.

  36. Perry Henderson

    February 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I think the issue here is Static Versus Dynamic Showing of listings to buyers on our websites… I believe Dynamic is the right spirit and Static creates a false picture to the buyer.

    Dynamically Generated Sites.. Examples 1. MLS Search 2. Wolfnet or 3. Spatial Match Are all NON SEO Optimized = OK.
    -When you run a search in mls to email via the client gateway, the results show every property without the name of the listing agent. We then send that generated list to the Client and set appointment to show the ones they like. This is a common and accepted way of doing business in Real Estate.

    Static Web Sites – SEO OPTIMIZED = TROUBLE
    -What I think REALTORS are complaining about are NON LISTING REALTORS creating SEO optimized static web pages WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION from the listing broker and the owner. They take that page and then via a blog or website provide content on their independent BROKER site that optimizes the address and listing information. This is where some people are saying REALTORS are now "tricking" the buyers to get a conversation started. Frankly, getting written permission from the listing agent and seller is really an easy thing to do. Any REALTOR who wants to do this on any of my listings need only send me an email asking and they can go take pictures, blog or video any one of my properties. in addition, the Agent who gets permission usually takes their own pictures or video of the property and the listing agent has final approval of the marketing material.

    I agree that only dynamic sites that are non-SEO optimized be used and that buyer representation is the right thing for the public. If you want to blog, video or web optimize, it's just so easy to get permission from the listing agent and go take you own pictures. Plus we have a long established history of this rule working.

    • Chad McBain

      February 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Well said Paul!

    • Sam

      March 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Isn’t written permission granted when the broker selects the IDX option when using the MLS? How does an optimized SEO site differ versus other search options than being more competitve and creative in the way it presents IDX information? How is that “tricking” a buyer? How is it violating the listing brokers intellectual property rights when they agreed to promote the listing via IDX? I’m just curious as to what exactly bloggers or static site developers are doing differently when making data searchable and how that creates and issue?

  37. Cal Carter

    February 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    A few comments following quotes:

    “poach on my listings”
    – toggle your listings to not display on internet. Be sure to disclose to your sellers what the impact from doing so will be.

    “I do expect my showings to drop as the internet flakes won’t find my stuff as easily"
    – Yes that will be a safe bet! I bet the "internet flakes" really want to be represented by the listing agent that called them flakes. But have you disclosed to your sellers that the "internet flakes" that represent well over 85% of buyers might have a little bit harder time finding or even stumbling past the property you have listed for them?

    "agents I’ve never heard of who are working on an internet lead they’ve never met won’t be landing on my properties, And that’s okay with me. I think we all agree that we want fewer, better qualified showings”
    – Who's properties??? Come on, it's not really your property is it? Have you told your sellers that "it's okay with you" that the 85% plus of buyers (the internet flakes) will be fewer, and since they are flakes and don't know you personally then they surely won't be qualified anyway?

    "petitioners Turnquist and Moreland account for 58 percent of all listings in Austin over $1M, according to RETS and IDX – a sizable market share to protect, which several note is what is truly at stake here"
    – Excellent! I bet they won't cut the IDX and send their sellers by to read this post and comments from the other agents that represent real buyers and lots of them! At least I don't think they will as I don't see anything about the intentions within the post that are particularly beneficial to either sellers or buyers, so who would the beneficiary be?

    "opposition could be seen by petitioners as lower producing agents that do not have the same marketing expenses or market share at stake, or as buyer’s agents that some see as unnecessary to the transaction."
    – What??? Snort, *sniff*, *sniff* – condescending sneer down the nose. Are you guys RECADing and explaining agency to buyers and sellers? Oh, did I understand dual agency wasn't legal in Texas? What are you guys doing when a buyer wants representation?

  38. Georgia Homes

    February 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I'm not sure which is more absurd, the idea that a buyer is best served by the agent who represents the seller, or the idea that less exposure and fewer shows is better for sellers. That is the end result of this laughable proposal. The proponents of this motion might as well just come out and say it, they oppose buyer agency.

    This is the very definition of crony capitalism; old-school businesses can't compete against more tech-savvy competitors, so they seek protectionist rules from regulators. These companies need to get over themselves and learn how to compete in the internet age, or die.

  39. Unwanted Buyer's Agents

    February 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Cord – I think the way you tried to push your agenda down ABOR's throat with your lawyer goes to show your true lack of character. As a member of the MLS committee you could have sent out a simple questionnaire to see what people wanted. Instead you pushed a one side petition that favors your cause only. This is abuse of your position on the committee. I do not feel you deserve to represent REALTORS in Austin at any capacity. You violated your duty to all of us by not gathering facts. Instead of opening this up for discussion you chose to hide behind your attorney. You, Cord, clearly represent yourself on this committee not the Austin REALTORS. Did you make it clear to everyone that what you really want is for YOUR name and number to show up prominently on everyone's website. It is clear you want to have your own listing service and you want to wreck ours as you get yours going. You, Cord, are very dangerous to the Austin REALTOR community. You do not bring anything of real value to the membership and you enjoy your divisive approach to trying to get your way.

    • Cord Shiflet

      February 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you for the comments. I hope you will understand that I do not have an attorney, I did not have an attorney, no attorney represents me. I look at this with a very open mind. The ACTRIS committee meetings are open meetings. I wish you would come and observe one of our meetings to see for yourself how each member participates. It is a great group of dynamic people that almost always come out ALL agreeing on what's best for ABoR members as a whole. While we all have personal opinions on issues and see how a decision can serve our interests one way or another, I truly believe everyone on the committee puts their personal interests aside and looks at the big picture. PLEASE come to a meeting and see for yourself. We would welcome you.

  40. Ralph Bell

    February 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    "Perhaps making the case for the petitioners is the fact that numerous agents that signed the petition were unable to offer any relevant comment to the story."

    I think that says a lot about the so called support for this petition.

  41. Kent Simpson

    February 27, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    In an industry struggling to dig itself out of the ashes of one of the worst collapses in history, the focus should be squarely on what is good for the consumer – plain and simple.

    Through the use of IDX and other aspects of the internet, today's consumer is better educated and able to benefit from the vast resources for information…including photos & tours of homes than ever before. Going backwards is a disservice to the consumer – and will be perceived as a slap in the face. Internal squabbles like this are seen as petty, vindictive and contribute to the poor image that the industry is suffering from.

    As an industry we need to continue to focus on being more responsive to our clients' needs, not protecting "turf" in a meaningless attempt to limit access to those deemed "worthy" of seeing what is on the market.

  42. Cord Shiflet

    February 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Hello friends. I'd like a chance to set a few facts straight.

    "Perhaps making the case for the petitioners is the fact that numerous agents that signed the petition were unable to offer any relevant comment to the story."
    CORD HERE-I wish someone would have reached out to me and asked to talk before taking a series of personal emails and cutting and pasting the sentences together that sounded the "best". Seeing as how I was named the "ring leader" in this, I'm surprised nobody reached out me. And for the record, this wasn't something I started. I think I just threw the gas truck on the fire. I joined a group of people in January for a discussion that was already years in the making and they asked everyone to go back and help, send an email to their office, etc. That's what I did and somehow I became the lightning rod! I'm truly sorry this all evolved in to this. All the group wanted to do was ask ACTRIS to talk.

    "Savrick sent three possible dates, all of which were during the week of February 7th, as that is the week that worked for Turnquist and fellow petitioners Eric Moreland and Cord Shiflet. Several committee members were traveling during the week requested and unable to attend."
    CORD HERE-Where do you get this stuff? I was not aware of the dates that were offered….I was notified after the fact and because this issue is important to me I attended. I actually had another appointment and had to leave early before the meeting was over. Eric Moreland wasn't consulted as to which date worked for him…he came in 90 minutes after the meeting started. And Michelle Turnquist was OUT OF TOWN….she wasn't even there. And "several committee memeber were traveling during the week…" the committee wasn't asked to the meeting. It was asked to meet with ABoR staff, Director of Member Services Beth Gatlin and ABoR's legal guy from Baker Botts.

    "he has already pulled his own listings from the IDX, Zillow and Trulia while keeping listings on and, noting no impact on his business, positive or negative, and that his listing clients are on board with his decision"….
    Did you guys study your stuff or just print whatever someone sent you? I believe my listings are on EVERY site and I am a BIG advertiser on and My stuff is on zillow but I don't advertise on there as I feel there site isn't good for Texas…we're a non-disclosure state and don't show sales prices so they look at tax records to come up with a valuation that a $500,000 house is worth $270,000 and it is horribly wrong. But again…my stuff is on ALL those sites. I appreciate journalism that takes a fair look at things and doesn't make something up to convince readers to "pile on."

    I have sent numerous emails asking other realtors to meet and talk about ideas for IDX. Nobody was willing to. Regarding the petition…the reason I did it was simply to get the ball moving to discuss the issue. ABoR told this group that ACTRIS couldn't talk about this issue for MONTHS….which was obvioulsy very wrong as they started meeting and talking about it 6 days later as a result of the petition. ABoR staff has a 15 year history of speaking out of turn and I don't appreciate it. As someone on the ACTRIS committee I took great offense to a staff member saying "the committee won't be able to discuss it for months"… The proof of that is that 6 days later the committee discussed it for over 30 minutes. I get upset when someone answers on behalf of an organization when that decision is clearly not theirs to make. I blew up over that, as a result of how ABoR has been run since I've been a member–15 years. I'm excited that our new CEO is dedicated to doing things differently and understands the he and his staff are there to HELP MEMBERS and answer questoins…and not to act as the people that make the rules.

    The petition did what I wanted it to do. I admit I do things quickly and should have thought through it more carefully. Asking to have a listing agent's phone number watermarked on a photo is absolutely not possible. You all can stop hating on that idea as NAR won't allow it and it's not being pressed. I put together a petition simply to be able to hand to the ACTRIS committee and say "this issue needs to be discussed, there are a lot of people that care about it." I did it too fast, my petition was over-kill. I should have simply stated that "the undersigned want the ACTRIS committee to discuss IDX policies." Anyway…what I wanted to happen, happened, and we're at least moving towards talking about things. That's all I wanted, a discussion.

    For those of you in Austin that know me, I hope you know me as an honest, level-headed guy. I'm not some elitist trying to snub out my competition. For those of you that don't know me, let's go grab a P Terry's hamburger and talk! I think you'll find me an agreeable, nice, helpful guy. If anyone wants to accuse me otherwise, I welcome the conversation. Our business relies on agent cooperation. I make it my business to market to other realtors….I feel my fellow realtors are my customer as that's primarily who I'm catering to in hopes they will show my listings. I love sharing ideas and I want to have the best practices in place for us as agents and for the public. I agree IDX is beneficial to buyers and sellers….I'm not an idiot. The thing that bothers me the most is what seems to mis-lead the public. There are many sites that appear to use my listings and promoting them as their own. I don't know how that can be stopped but something needs to be done about it. I spend thousands of dollars on things like photography and some agents take that and promote it as their own. I take issue with that.

    Erin Bara said this above: Moreover, from a listing agent perspective, I can’t imagine how I could sell the benefits of not participating in IDX to my seller client. What is the advantage of limiting the amount of consumers that will have the opportunity to view your property listing? I want to cast my net far and wide.
    As a listing agent that meets every agent at my properties to show them the house, I can explain many benefits of not participating in IDX. While there are pros and cons, the seller has to decide which is more important. It's not always about "exposure" sometimes it's about safety and privacy, which for many homes come at a high cost when open to the internet.

    I can't pick apart every email above though I'm tempted to. I'd rather be reading Dr. Seuss to my 3 kiddos and tucking them in bed. Somewhere someone commented on the comments on the petition. Again….I didn't know you could make comments on the petition and reading through them I was as shocked as anyone. One of the comments said something like "I don't think new agents should have access to luxury homes." REALLY!? SERIOUSLY!? That person probably moved here from Jasper and dragged people behind a truck for entertainment. Do they REALLY think that statement is right!? That infuriates me and I'm embarassed they would put something like that on there. I can't be responsible for what others say but I agree with you…there are some extremists…and on both sides.

    So…bring on the hate mail. I'm just hoping my house doesn't get burned down over this.

    I love the discussion, I love hearing the sides, arguments and issues. This is how we make progress and make evolve. OPEN minds.

    I always remain open to comments and discussions. Just please don't make me out to be a jerk when we've never met and when you guys make references to things, please look at the whole picture and keep in mind the spirit with which it's written. I'm sorry certain people that I sent personal emails to (people I still consider friends) decided to forward those personal emails that were never intended for "everyone" to see. I will stand by anything and everything I've written and said. Where mistakes were make, I will apologize. Where boundaries were overstepped, I will humbly ask to retract those statements (phone number on photos). This is obvioulsy a heated topic on both sides and there are 2 sides to it. I hope we can each see the other person's perspective and have a mutually beneficial outcome.

    • Cal Carter

      February 28, 2012 at 12:12 am

      Nice rebuttal! A Terry's burger sounds good!

      • Cord Shiflet

        February 28, 2012 at 12:54 am

        Cal…i don't know you but I'd be happy to buy you and anyone else a hamburger and a milkshake and talk…like gentleman and co-workers about how we can all work together to make Austin the best MLS is the country. We have a great opportunity and the communication lines are open. Let's take advantage of it. PTery's house is on the market…I don't have it listed…maybe we could get him to host the party at his house. ; )

        • JNRIII

          February 28, 2012 at 4:17 am

          As cute and olive-branch-y as a hamburger and a milkshake sound…really? You didn't mean to "start this fire" yet you laid out the stipulations of your petition clearly? Now you are retracting said stips, and claiming you did not even know that a petition you started allowed signers to make comments? And you garnered the support of the 1% of agents who may join your cause, not thinking it would come to this PR nightmare for you and your cohorts? And nobody came to you to discuss your/their feelings? Really? But your aim was true, right? You didn't think that a "simple petition" to get ACTRIS to start thinking about this "new cause" would grow in to this? Now you are a martyr? What a struggle it must be to get an ACTRIS committee to start a conversation to get a committee on which you are a member to discuss a 12 year old battle. The #1 agent in town is upset because his listings are being broadcast to the world in search of a buyer. These sites are playing by the rules prescribed to them. Including listing your brokerage's name. Still not good enough? Sour grapes, if you ask me. Worst thing is that now you are trying to tell the rest of us that you are a "good guy" who meant no harm, yet your petition attempted to harm so many colleagues, their families, their CLIENTS, and their ways of life and income. Sorry, just don't get it. But what do I know, I am just a "regular buyers agent". And in Cord's defense, some of the comments made on that petition should not reflect his own thoughts. The agents who made those comments without the common sense to mask their names will suffer the most. My favorite was "I HATE BUYER'S AGENT's, they just mess everything up" or something to that effect. Then they had the audacity to insert their name. Good luck!

    • Georgia Homes

      February 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

      I don't know you from Adam, but you seem to be singing a different tune here than your quotes above. Here you say, "I agree IDX is beneficial to buyers and sellers….I’m not an idiot." But in the article you were quoted as saying, “I firmly believe my doing IDX does nothing other than allow others to poach on my listings and get leads/buyers." By that logic, you could say the same thing about the MLS. Buyers agents find your listings on the MLS and bring buyers in hopes of earning a commission off of YOUR listing! I guess that's "poaching" too?

    • Steve Crossland

      February 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      > I did it too fast, my petition was over-kill.

      I wondered about that. Though I was happy to see the discussion started and agreed in general with *some* of the points raised, it came across as a set of indigestible requests that left me scratching my head. Especially the watermarking stuff and the idea, intended or not, that buyer agents are a problem.

      That said, I'm glad the discussion is started. It's time for Realtors, as an industry, to take control of our work product and rethink whether it is in fact good for consumers and our industry to have listing data splashed all over the internet. I think it isn;t a good thing, the level of lost control currently in place.

      From a blog I recently wrote on this, I grabbed some data:
      "As of this writing, there are 63 Austin MLS listings flagged “No” for IDX of the total 6,643 homes listed for sale. That’s about 1%, or 1 out of every 100 homes for sale".

      So, already, Buyers using any source other than their buyer agent searching the MLS are missing out on 1% of available listing. Is 1% acceptable if you were a buyer? Maybe, but I think it will continue to grow as more of us say "wait a minute, enough is enough".

      "The percentage of luxury homes is much higher. Of 398 Austin homes listed for $1M or more, 28 are flagged “No” for IDX, which is 7% of the total. So, if you’re (a buyer) searching online for a $1M+ home, you’re only seeing 93% of the MLS inventory."

      Again, I don't think most buyers know this. The only way to know about ALL listings is to work with an agent who is a member of the MLS in which the home is listed. No surfing the myriad of websites.

      Even IDX sites can be restricted by the site owner to show only a subset of listings. On my Wolfnet site, I've cut out stuff I don't want to receive leads for, such as outskirt cities.

      I'm not ready to stop sending my listings to, but it pisses me off that they use our own listings to sell ads to other agents instead of displaying the listing agent. Not that I want to double dip, I don't care about that, but I do care about branding and name recognition.

      If a seller is searching for a listing agent in a certain price range or area of town, and see that some listing agents are very active in that area, then that can result in a listing appointment for that listing agent, as a direct result of the exposure. now hides the listing agent info at the bottom unless you pay the extortion fee.

      It's not just buyers surfing these sites, it's potential seller's too. Hiding the listing agent on non-IDX sites deprives potential sellers of that information.

      Thanks Cord for starting the scuffle. I signed the counter-petition letter, but only because yours was so goofy. None of that matters now, as you say, as the ball is rolling and I think we will all be better of for it in the end.

  43. Tammy Lankford

    February 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    What? They can't handle agents with great sites and great traffic bringing educated buyers to the table? I see no other reason not to allow responsible IDX exposure for your sellers. Have you discussed with your sellers the fact that when the listing agent sells a house it typically sells for less money? This has anti-trust written all over it and it shouldn't even be considered. Who are you kidding saying it's confusing for the buyers…. NO IT ISN'T. The buyers are bringing agents with them that represent them.

  44. Sherry Scales

    February 27, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Part of your fiduciary duties to a seller is to do everything possible to gain an advantage for the Seller. By opting out of IDX, you have violated your fiduciary duty to your seller. Buyers can't find our seller's listing, meaning much longer on market.
    Our code of ethics states: do not attempt to gain any unfair advantage over their competitors. By trying to watermark and copyright photos on the MLX, you have violated this code also I believe.

  45. Allison Allen

    February 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    It seems to me this should boil down to a question of how well the client and consumers’ best interests are served. The benefits of fulfilling the petitioners’ requests and limiting access are all on the listing agent side, certainly not the clients and consumers. The ‘confusion in the market place’ issue posed by the petitioners is more likely to be that most buyers do not understand that allowing a listing agent to handle both sides of a transaction means their interests are completely unrepresented. If the buyer’s interests aren’t unrepresented in such a transaction, the seller needs to be concerned about how well THEIR interests are being represented by their listing agent. That is a very tricky line to walk.

    If it’s true that these listing agents’ clients support their attempts, I question if they understand how much they are limiting the exposure of their properties to potential buyers. After all, luxury buyers are as tech savvy as anyone else. Hard to believe anyone wanting to sell their property would be willing to miss out on the chance of attracting a potential buyer online just so their listing agent could manage fewer showings and avoid the hassle of dealing with a sharp buyer’s agent. Last time I checked a listing agent was supposed to represent the best interests of their client and not their own self interest.

    Real estate certainly isn’t the first industry where entrenched interests fight to keep the status quo because they don’t want to exert themselves to figure out how to compete in this new online world. We see where that got the movie and music industries.

  46. Jolenta Averill

    February 28, 2012 at 1:09 am

    IDX opt-out already exists in my market. I can't imagine any seller agreeing to it if they clearly understood the ramifications of it in a marketplace where 90% of all buyers start their search on the Internet but so be it, the option exists today. As far as this debate goes, I will believe that these ludicrous proposals – to watermark images and prominently display the listing agent's contact information – are a great idea the minute I witness one of the petitioners passionately arguing these points in the presence of their seller clients. They can't and they won't. They wouldn't dare because they know damn well their motivation for these changes is based on the selfish desire to double-dip their listings and out of fear of losing market share to tech savvy competitors. How sad that in a marketplace struggling to recover from one of the worst episodes of mass consumer fraud in our nation's history, these arrogant bozos want to stifle competition and further hurt unsuspecting consumers, including their own sellers. While most of us work hard to attract buyers by offering the tools they want and demand, these bozos think they're automatically entitled to the whole enchilada just because they know the seller. Their sense of entitlement is outrageous. Personally I can't wait until dinosaurs like these folks have left the industry.

  47. Rob Hahn

    February 28, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Can someone at Austin MLS, or someone in the market clarify something for me?

    If a listing broker selects the "Do Not Display on the Internet" box, does that listing get removed from ALL "internet" feeds? There are three main ones: syndication, IDX, and VOW.

    Is it possible for a broker to select a listing for syndication to Zillow, but remove it from IDX, for example?

    I assume it isn't possible to remove a listing from the VOW, since that's directly covered by the DOJ ruling, but I wanted to be sure.

    • Cord Shiflet

      February 28, 2012 at 2:39 am

      my understanding is you cannot be removed from VOW. if you want to go in MLS, you go to VOW. no exceptions and you're right…DOJ took care of that one. ABoR just clarified its policy and when you put a listing in MLS you are eitner 'internet yes' or 'internet no'. It's either on ALL sites or on NO sites. That is how I understand it.

      • Rob Hahn

        February 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

        But it does appear that ABOR will allow brokers to remove listings from syndication on a site-by-site basis, right? So you can say Yes to Zillow and No to Trulia, for example. Is that right?

        So is the issue here that you can't say Yes to Zillow and No to IDX?

        I'm just trying to understand the exact policy problem here.

  48. Sebastian Barrett St.Troy

    February 28, 2012 at 9:19 am

    AMRS supports a Realtor's right to select where on the Internet their Listings are displayed and the right to clear identification of who has the Listing (Listing Agent identification). We also support strong Buyer Representation (Buyer's Agent) that provides clear Agency for both Buyer and Seller and the right of Buyer's Agents to search Listings For Sale to present to their buyers. We also support NAR and ABOR and believe that this should NOT be about protecting Market Share, but hopefully IS about doing what is in the best interest of the home Seller and how they desire for their homes to be marketed. There is a way for innovation in marketing to progress, and hopefully without harming the interaction between Realtors, which is needed to achieve the successful sale of a home on the market.

  49. Ed Neuhaus

    February 28, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Great article, I think this is pretty fair to both sides. I would have to say I am on the pro IDX side. Im all for competition and I really don't think I am much of a threat to any on in town. I work for people I know, and I built our IDX site, because i did not feel the options ABOR had was customer friendly enough. While we do get some leads form the IDX, most of the time those are no good. I need a way to protect what I have already built for my clients. They enjoy it, and I think it is good to have different approaches available to the community. If a broker does not want to have his listing on the IDX, that is fine, Im not going to sell it. I feel pulling your listings off the IDX is a boycott of my company and thus I will be boycotting yours.

    What sucks, is I have asked those at ABOR who would know three times when the next meeting is, each time they refused to tell me or show me where I could find it not the ABOR site, Thanks AGbeat, now I know.

    • Cord Shiflet

      February 28, 2012 at 11:28 am

      Ed…I think there is a meeting on March 21. I would think you can call ABoR and find out when the next ACTRIS meeting is but I believe it's that Wed. 3/21 from 9am-12:00pm. The meetings are open.

  50. Arn

    February 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This is a complicated issue. At the end of the day, it seems to me the proper decision should be based on what's best for the consumer – the buyers and sellers. In general, the public does benefit from all this market information on the web. That being said, a seller should have the right to decide how and where his or her property is marketed. I work on the SF Peninsula where average home prices are often $1.5M and up. Some of my sellers have started to express concern about pictures of their home being all over the web. They have no control over who sees these pictures and for what purpose people are looking. If a seller has privacy or other concerns, it seems to be seller should have a right to pull their house from the web if whatever way they choose fit. I support IDX as it provides a great service to buyers. Sellers should have the right to opt out. But this issue should not be settled on what is best for real estate agents.

  51. Frank Cavitt

    February 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I guess what I have to say is…Wow!… Having practiced real eatate in Austin for 14 years or so, I have never seen an issue that could potentially cause so much discord between "Realtors". Realtors being the key word here. In my experience as a listing agent I have never had a "client" that even asked about IDX. They must have assumed that I would do everything I could to get their listing sold. As a buyer's agent, I have sucessfully completed millions of dollars of sales initiated through contact on the internet with people I would have never known had they not found our site. These clients become friends and continue to use us for their real estate needs. This is the way my partner and I chose to build our business. None of the referenced sites are doing damage, and if there is any false information out there it is our job as realtors to sort through this for our clients. If we start hearing from our clients that they have major issues with IDX then we should address them. At this point, there is nothing to fix. My dealings with Cord have always been that he was a straight -up kind of guy. I know that he, like all of us, is proud to be practicing real estate in this great city of ours. Let's get back to the business at hand of representing our clients to the best of our abilities.

  52. Dave Hanna

    February 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    And all along I thought Austin was so cutting edge and avant garde…
    All of the "asks" that are roiling the waters in Austin are available and often the norm in other large metro area MLS feeds.
    Here in Chicago, we have all of these and more.
    Have someone from your local MLS reach out to Midwest Real Estate Data Services(MRED)and I am sure they would be willing to outline how they get all this done and how it has had virtually no effect in the market.
    You all should be jumping at the opportunities a competing broker in your market place gives you by trying to limit the exposure of their listings to the public.
    This is much ado about nothing, and this roar will soon be a whisper.

    • Jonathan Boatwright

      February 28, 2012 at 7:04 pm


      I'm not sure you get the real issue here. For example, I went to your Realty Executives website and searched for homes in your area. When I found some, it did not show the RE/MAX listing agent name or phone number or the RE/MAX logo on the RE/MAX listing that I found on your Realty Executives website. Instead, it showed your name, phone number, email address and headshot. This is how it currently works in Austin. The scenario I described above is what some are looking to put on our member websites.

  53. Jennifer | Panama City

    February 28, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Very interesting article and thank you for bringing this topic to the attention of Realtor's everywhere. I certainly hope no one on my mls board gets the idea this is a good thing *sigh*.

    What has always interested me when it comes to listings is: most of the time, listings are NOT sold by the listing agent but rather by someone representing a buyer (in other words a buyer's agent). This fact allows for not only fair competition, but also fair trade practices.

    Many listing agents are not represented well on the internet where as those with well known local real estate market websites bring not only local buyers to the market for these listings, but also potential buyers and investors from all over the world.

    By advertising and watermarking listings, IMO reduces the listings marketability significantly from being displayed on the top local market agents websites.

    Watermarking and branding are in many areas, infractions of MLS rules as they are considered advertising.

    I know I for one would not display anyone's listings if they "advertised" themselves in the pictures – visitors to my website want to see homes and condos for sale, not some agents logo or phone number obscenely imprinted on the picture of a home.

    I'm not sure about ABOR rules, but our local mls does not allow signs to be displayed in listing images – is that what we all have to look forward to – listing images filled with advertisements?

    This whole topic sounds like nothing short of a few brokers and lawyers who are having difficulty competing on the internet trying to give themselves an unfair advantage.

    Best wishes to all and please keep this to yourselves at ABOR 🙂 from the responses here, it appears the rest of us are glad we're not in Austin 😉

  54. Ruby Scholling

    February 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Whose interest will these changes protect? Even after all these years of having buyer's agency in Austin I still run across many buyers (especially 1st time buyers) who do not understand they have a right to their own representation. Are we trying to keep it that way?

    I find it offensive as a buyer's agent to be referred to as a "poacher".
    Currently, I've been working on creating a website that would provide useful information to potential buyers. My intention is to include tools that educate as well as answer questions most buyers would have. I could just as well say I will not continue with this if these proposed changes are made because my work would tunnel buyers back to the listing agent. Is this the type of environment we want to foster?
    What decade are we in? And which way are we headed?

  55. The Petition

    February 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Click on the my name to go to the petition that Cord put together.

    The reason I don't believe his intentions are for the greater good is because of the prevalent use of the word "I". He uses the word "I" eleven times in a 5 paragraph petition.

    You will not find one mention of, "Client", "Customer", "Consumer", etc. anywhere in the petition.

    In my mind, this says it all.

  56. Anonymous Agent

    February 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    As a facebook friend of Cord's, I have an interesting observation…

    From a quote of his posted above:
    "….as the internet flakes won’t find my stuff as easily and agents I’ve never heard of who are working on an internet lead they’ve never met won’t be landing on my properties. And that’s okay with me. I think we all agree that we want fewer, better qualified showings.” ”

    From a facebook post Cord put on his wall:
    "So if a buyer came to see your multi-million dollar home and brought his "CFO" with you you'd be excited right? what if you found out the CFO works part time at Wal-Mart? And what if the buyer pulls up in all these nice fancy cars, a different one on each visit…but you find out each one is registered to a different name and none of them are the buyer's name. Really!? This crap happens to me ALL THE TIME. What's the angle? What are these people hoping to accomplish by spending 2 hours walking through a vacant house? I don't get it."

    What is interesting about this? Apparently, Cord will run out to show his client's multi-million dollar property to someone he has not pre-qualified with the hopes of double ending the deal (note in the above quote he actually capitalizes ALL THE TIME). However, he assumes that an internet lead that a buyer's agent is working is a "flake" and not qualified to purchase the property. Don't you think that a company who spends thousands of dollars a month on generating internet traffic would qualify a buyer lead they get off a website before wasting everyone's time?!

    Actually, Cord, how is it in your client's best interest to run around catering to these tire kickers, scammers, thieves, etc., that you refer to in your facebook post above? Why would you show these pricey properties to unqualified leads?

    In short, Cord says that he does not want to work with unknown buyer's agents and their internet leads because they are not pre-qualified, yet he does this from other lead sources of his own ALL THE TIME as proven above…in attempts to double dip.

    What he is really trying to say is that he does not want to work with buyer's agents because he wants as many opportunities to double dip as he can…. I think we all realize this, but this observation shows it very, very clearly.

    • Cord Shiflet

      February 29, 2012 at 5:45 am

      Anonymous Agent:
      The buyer I referred to above absolutely has their own agent and has since the first time they came to my listing. They have looked at my listing 4 times. If I had to guess…I’d say on average I get at least 1 “flake” a month that comes through my listings–and they ALWAYS have an agent. It drives me nuts because I can’t figure out what they’re getting out of coming through a house and acting like they’re going to buy it.

      Last month I had a woman come through with her agent and look at a $6.5mil listing. It didn’t feel right and I asked the agent afterwards, privately, about her client and they assured me she had the money, etc. Turns out, after about 30 minutes of research I found out her $200,000 house in South Austin was foreclosed on last summer and she lives with her parents now. I suppose something could have happened between last summer and January but that would be one heck of a windfall. It was also suspicious to me that towards the end of last year she bought an $8,000 car and financed it (yes, I looked it up). Again…rich folks can be funny but I think it’s strange when someone’s looking at a $6.5mil house and wants to know if my seller can be out in 7 days with a cash offer…and they’ve just financed an $8,000 car. You can’t make this stuff up! I need to write a book on the crazy stories I have of the buyers that some agents bring. It’s just odd the things that happen.

      Out of respect for agents that call to show properties, I don’t think it’s nice to ask right out of the box “do you have a qualified buyer, how do you know, can you send me the financials, etc.” I like to think an agent does some kind of checking but I understand it’s often hard and uncomfortable.

      I’ve certainly met plenty of unrepresented buyers too…but I guess I like the fact that when it has happened, I’ve only wasted my time and not another realtor’s time meeting a new client for the first time at their listing.

      Sometime if you want to hear some good stories, I’d love to share ’em with you. From my “qualifing” a buyer, I’ve had one person arrested and put BACK in prison. I had another woman call me to get her $500,000 earnest money back….I had to inform her that I knew nothing about any earnest money. Turns out her fiancee “borrowed” $500,000 from her to put “their new home under contract” and the guy took the money and ran. I’ve got plenty more. All interesting on one level or another.

    • JNRIII

      March 9, 2012 at 3:40 am

      My lord. This is, as my Grandfather (who was not a luxury buyer or agent, just a “regular” guy) would say “enough to gag a maggot”. And remember,folks “you can’t take it with you”. Simply amazing…

  57. Realtor Scott

    February 28, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Well said Chad. I find this all incredibly interesting. While I find myself agreeing with the group that IDX serves our customers well, I want to thank Cord for his comments and "setting the record straight." This article was obviously written to slant the argument and I don't feel was written fairly. I don't know Cord, but I appreciate his serving on the committee and I think it's important to have people who care about an issue step up and give their time and help make decisions that are important to all of us. I will say that everyone on the ACTRIS committee's serving is more than anyone else on this thread does. Lots of people moan and groan but few step and and offer to give their time to serve. I'm proud to have Cord on the committee despite the fact that we may not agree on every issue. He seems to be honest and fair and that seems to be more than I can say about some of the comments I read above.

  58. Realtor Scott

    February 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Can someone tell me where I can see this petition? i see lots of references to it and would like to see what it says. Thanks.

  59. Tess Green

    February 29, 2012 at 9:24 am

    The vast majority of my real estate work is done with internet leads. I’ve incubated and serviced leads generated by our automated system for a year and a half. It is a long sales cycle and the clients enjoy reviewing all of the properties. Through this system clients are able to see property profiles which guide their choices until they are able to visit in person. I bring clients to the listing agent because they’ve romanced that property already through the magic of the IDX offerings. It has been a valuable tool for clients, for me and for the listing agents with whom I’ve worked.

  60. Steve Crossland

    February 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I think everyone, who hasn’t already viewed it, should watch Jim Abbott’s Announcement of why ARG pulled all listings from 3rd party syndicator sites.


  61. Elizabeth Stewart

    February 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    As a Listing Agent, I have a duty to sell my Client’s home for the highest net possible. To re-iterate, I represent the Seller ONLY. If ABOR votes in favor of the petitioners to change IDX rules, I will not be able to obtain as many showings and may miss out on some offers entirely because of limited Internet accessibility of my listings. As a Listing Agent, I would never limit my Sellers visibility simply because I want to “keep leads within [my] company”. This would violate my duty as a Seller’s Agent.

    On the flip side, as a Buyer’s Agent I want to send my Clients the most listings that I am able, based on their search criteria. Again, if I cannot do that because of proposed IDX changes, I will be less equipped to do my job as a Buyer’s Agent.

    This comes down to the ideology that real estate is a free-market, which some luxury brokerages don’t like. They want to keep their market share and net the most possible income FOR THEMSELVES. Notice that the companies that filed the Petition, have 51% of the Market Listings in Austin.

    As Realtors, I would hope that we all want to represent our Clients the best we can. For me, this includes putting my listings on as many websites as I can. As long as I get my Sellers the highest net, keep them educated and follow the laws of ABOR, NAR, TAR and TREC, I have done my job well. I don’t need to feel threatened that another Agent might get commission for bringing a qualified buyer to the table. In fact, I encourage it.

    The source of the Buyer does not matter to me. Its about my Sellers. I will not support narrowing my Seller’s chances to net a higher profit and decreasing showings. Nor will I be greedy and keep my leads in-house. It is unethical to me.

    My Buyer deserves the most listings that I can send them. Favoring the Petitioners of change to the IDX System will make me a less effective Buyer’s Agent.

  62. Anonymous ABOR Member

    February 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Here is a link to the embarrassing idx petition. You will find some rather outrageous remarks from people who want the good ol boy system to continue.

    This is the petition Cord started just before Cord, Eric Moreland and Turnquist decided to drop a bomb on on ABOR which did include legal counsel.

    Cord I think it is time you were honest about who that attorney was accompanying, YOU.

    REALTOR Scott;

    Cord did not step up on on an issue, he tried to force his point of view on ABOR.

    I think Cord Shiflet, Eric Morlenad and Michelle Turnquist owe everyone an apology for their complete lack of respect for the members of ABOR.

    Their intention was to dictate to the members how they should behave and is has clearly backfired.

    Although I disagree with their side to me that is not the issue. The real issue in my book is the complete lack of character of Shiflet, Moreland and ?Turnquist by their attempts to bully the membership.

    A special no thanks to Cord for abusing his position on the committee and demonstrating that he represents himself and the “elite”

  63. Michele Turnquist

    March 1, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I have one question for all the agents that have commented on this issue. What are you so afraid of? If the listing agent wants to watermark the photos that they have paid for and have their name shown on the listing property profile, which they have a contract with a seller to sell, what difference does that make to the buyer? It does not affect the buyer at all! The only person that it may affect is the agent trying to pick up the internet buyer lead!
    Unfortuntely, this is not about the buyer, its about agent’s that want to use other agent’s inventory to sell Real Estate!
    Everyone is missing the point, the seller has the right to decide where he wants his property advertised….. He is the inventory, and without the properties that are entered into our MLS sites, then all of the agents without listings would not be able to survive!
    So there is the real problem, so don’t pretend that it is about the buyer, its about protecting a business model that needs some changing!
    The agents that are concerned about IDX, don’t want to abolish the IDX system, we want some changes that work for the good of all agents…..HAR is the number one website in the country…That stands for Houston Association of Realtors…Check it out! Many boards across this country are looking at changes… this is NOT the old guard against the new guard…..This is about doing what is right for the consumer, both the buyers and sellers..Information needs to be correct, all consumers need to be protected, and knowledge is power!
    I appreciate Cord standing up for the good of all agents… It is not easy being in the line of fire.. It is also NOT about money or greed!

    • Perry Henderson

      March 1, 2012 at 11:34 am

      what a minute…
      1. Its agreed that no agent post branded photos.
      2. Agents should be asking permission from you and the owner to post a blog or video of the property on a non listing agent website. Plus they should be taking their own pictures
      3. For years we have been “doing mls searches then emailing those results to the buyers”. Those results don’t have branded photos or the listing agents information. Using correct idx policy, the results seen by buyers are no different.

      I agree that SEO optimized static web pages of listings should not be allowed but what you are asking is a major change from policy.

      Why is it all of sudden, the top performers in the city, by top meaning the next 2 (#2 & #3) combined don’t equal the sales results of #1, want to change a policy that has been working for years?

      • Michele Turnquist

        March 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

        We are asking that they interpret and enforce rules as written, make full and honest disclosure to consumers, and protect agent copyright and work protect.

        • Austin Agent

          March 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

          That’s factually incorrect. You’re threatening to sue ABOR & NAR to change existing rules. Current MLS rules result in a $100 fine if you were to publish the listing agent’s contact info.

          Michele Turnquist vs. the Internet

          • Michele Turnquist

            March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

            You obviously do NOT understand the disagreement. This is not just Michele Turnquist verus ABOR and NAR,it is in fact a larger movement with brokerages across the nation..Having discussions is a good thing, we all pay the same dues, right! So getting angry and not being well informed on the issues is a serious problem with these on-line conversations.

        • Austin Agent

          March 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

          Michele, you’ve retained counsel, who has threatened to sue ABOR, so it technically is “Michele Turnquist vs ABOR”.

          The larger discussion between brokerages around the country was instigated by you. What you’re presenting here and what you say and do behind closed doors are two different thing.

          Question for you: Do you want your name and contact information to be featured prominently on all IDX participating websites in Austin?

          • JNRIII

            March 9, 2012 at 4:21 am

            Again, go to and it all makes sense. “My rich friends and garden/country club connections are all I have left now. I live in Austin,TX in the year 2012 and yet I have no model to enhance my brokerage besides saying I am a “luxury brokerage” who knows people who know people, and only those people should know about my precious listings. F-the rest of you all! And F- Sherman Anti-Trust Laws. I AM A LUXURY AGENT! Snobbery!!!! Jeesh, I may as well move back to West Palm, or maybe up 35 to Dallas!

    • Austin Agent

      March 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      This is absolutely about money, greed, and the fear of losing market share. You’re threatening to sue ABOR & now NAR for the same reason you actually sued ABOR & Texas Discount Realty in 2005 – you don’t like emerging business models, so you want to sue them out of existence.

      Michelle, if you don’t want agents using your inventory to get buyers, then opt out of IDX. The problem is that you don’t want to opt out of IDX because IDX SELLS LISTINGS. Instead, you want to advertise your listings on your competitors websites, but you want the LEADS TO GO DIRECTLY TO YOU. So, you’re suing to effectively make ALL AGENTS IN AUSTIN ADVERTISE YOUR COMPANY ON THEIR SITES.

      Here’s an idea: Start competing online!

      I heard you’re banding together with luxury agents across the United States to sue NAR for these changes. That’s definitely not old guard vs. new guard! It also begs the question “What are you so afraid of?”

      • Michele Turnquist

        March 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm

        What you just wrote is incorrect. where do you get your information! Wow!!!

        • Austin Agent

          March 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm

          Which is incorrect?

          1) Do you want to feature your contact information on all IDX participating sites?
          2) Did you tell your agents at a meeting that you plan to band together with other luxury brokers across the US and sue NAR?
          3) Did you sue ABOR & Texas Discount Realty in 2005?
          4) Did you retain counsel who threatened to sue ABOR over IDX listings?

          Really, the only thing you can CLAIM is incorrect is what you told your agents, since there’s no written record on that. It does sound like your MO, though. There’s written record of everything else.

        • JNRIII

          March 9, 2012 at 3:25 am

          Not only does Michelle not seem to understand IDX rules, she apparenlty has no comprehension nor concern for “regular buyers agents” and their “common folk” clients. This is good old fashioned snobbery, folks. It can be masked and defended ad-nauseum by the gentry, but it all comes down to elitism and snobbery, and entitlement.It’s all laughable, honestly Shiflet wins #1 agent of the year at ABJ awards ( roughly $53 million), Michelle’s daughter/daughter-in-law?? finishes 3rd (nearly 30 million and didn’t even show up to get her glass). She must have been really busy. As has Michelle, who seems to just now be piping in and has seemingly sent in henchmen to do her dirty work. Not sure of politics involved here, as I am pretty new to Austin, but seems a little odd to me that she is just now chiming in. Obviously, us “regular agents” are really hurting their income and bottom line by advertising their listings to our client base. Shame on us! Curious as to how much of that 83MM in sales came from buyers rep’d by the Old West Austin group vs. buyers rep’d by us peasant/poachers who are not privy to this “Secret MLS” society that I just heard about yesterday. And who really claims other people’s listings as their own? If they do, then they should have their license revoked. Any scumbag who tries to claim themselves as a listing agent for a listing that isn’t theirs should be banned from NAR. Is this really who we are talking about? Keep Austin Weird, I guess. Or is this Dallas? Been in business for 22 yrs now from Florida to Texas and never seen such silliness.

    • Austin Luxury Agent

      March 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      From HAR website:

      Leads Generated on IDX Listings are Yours
      Leads on listings that do not belong to you are a result of IDX. Here’s a quick explanation of IDX: IDX stands for “Internet Data Exchange” commonly called Broker Reciprocity. IDX gives MLS participants the tool they need to display each other’s listings on their Internet Web sites. Under the IDX real estate system, brokers exchange consent to display each other’s listings on the Internet (HAR offers free IDX solutions to REALTOR® members with HAR Member Web Sites).

      Members who are not aware of how IDX functions have complained to us regarding IDX leads that they believe were delivered to them erroneously. When you display IDX listings on your personal Web sites, you are entitled to the leads generated for those IDX listings. And those leads belong to you and should be incubated.

      Scenario: Joe Member recently set up his personal Web site, He elected to utilize the IDX solution offered by to display all MLS listings in Houston on his Web site. He received an e-mail from an online consumer for a request to view a property at 1234 Rolling Rock Dr. He noticed that this listing belongs to another agent and decided to ignore it since it wasn’t his listing.

      What Joe doesn’t realize, as well as some other members, is that those leads generated from IDX listings are yours.

      HAR’s IDX is almost identical to the way ABOR’s is. So what is your point about HAR?

      • Michele Turnquist

        March 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

        Har is a public Real Estate website. Consumers love it! It is not misleading to the public. I told you I do not have a problem with IDX!

        • Austin Agent

          March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

          Michele – you clearly don’t understand IDX, other than that you’re losing sales because of it.

        • Austin Luxury Agent

          March 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

          So you have no issues with IDX? Your not wanting watermarked photos or the listings agent information to be displayed on the IDX feed?

        • Translator

          March 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm

          Michele Turnquist said,

          “Har is a public Real Estate website. Consumers love it! It is not misleading to the public. I told you I do not have a problem with IDX!”

          So you are advocating a redesign of AustinHomeSearch, and you are ok with IDX??

    • Translator

      March 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Michele Turnquist said,

      “Unfortuntely, this is not about the buyer”

      So let’s forget about what is in the consumer’s best interest and focus on protecting your business model.

    • Translator

      March 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      Michele Turnquist said,

      “its about agent’s that want to use other agent’s inventory to sell Real Estate!”

      So it is about buyer’s agents??

    • Austin Agent

      March 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm


      What world do you live in?
      According to your comment, the listing agent’s work in obtaining a listing entitles them to the buyer’s business.

      What makes your work so much more important than the money and hours a buyer’s agent puts in to providing good websites to potential buyers? These website do not succeed just because of photos you’ve paid for – they succeed because they provide valuable tools to buyers.(And btw why did you have the photos taken? To sell the house!)

      Your arrogance is outstanding. The more you try and defend this outrageous idea, the more your greed comes across.

    • Austin Agent

      March 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      What’s really sad Michele is that you probably really believe you are the injured party. Despite all these responses you can’t see the extreme damage these proposed changes would cause because they would only benefit those who are like you.
      You can say it’s not about money or greed all you want but your actions say otherwise. Your say you are not old school but you act like a used car salesman.
      You say that this is to protect the sellers and it is their choice but it is all about you. Your attitude screams “I am beter than you low-life buyer agents”. Well Michele it’s a new world.
      I’d be interested to see how your reputation will be affected in the year to come. Who knows? Maybe you can run for public office?

      • Rob Hahn

        March 2, 2012 at 12:47 am

        At least she’s using her real name. What reputation impact are you afraid of? Seems a bit cowardly to be flaming the hell out of someone using an anonymous handle.

        I’m a total third party, but some of you guys on the other side of this need to clean up your act, or start posting with your real names.

    • JNRIII

      March 9, 2012 at 3:49 am

      I am no spring chicken, but if I was a broker/owner living and operating in the year 2012 and this was my website, I meet be agreeing with you, Michelle…

  64. Don Sembera

    March 1, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I was one of the signators of the petition, but, after thinking it over, I wish I hadn’t. There is one big problem that I’d like to see fixed, otherwise the current IDX rules are probably good ones that do indeed serve the public and our industry well. (Well, there is a smaller problem about the IDX information not always being reliable, but this seems fixable; there could be standards aggregators must meet or pay penalties, for instance).

    The big problem is that some agents’ websites suggest to consumers that the listings being displayed are theirs. THAT’s what induced me to sign the petition, but I realize that I really can’t defend other aspects of it.

    The agency problem could perhaps be solved with this verbiage being required to be displayed by any website that is displaying an IDX listing:

    “ABCD Realty does not represent the owner, but can help you in getting information about this property.”

    That does it for me. It solves the basic deception of the websites that generate business by tricking the consumer into thinking he is contacting the listing agent, but it leaves the system intact otherwise.

    Watermarks and posting direct contact information basically destroys the cooperative nature of the MLS, and will, without a doubt, lead to unexpected results.

  65. Richard

    March 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm


    If you don’t want your listings to be displayed on other broker’s websites you can simply opt out of IDX.

    If you don’t want to deal with buyer’s agents you can withhold listings from the MLS, and refuse to offer a buyer’s agent commission to anyone outside of your company.

    Instead you have threatened ABoR with a lawsuit, and stirred up a huge mess just as you have done in the past. This isn’t California, and the constant threats don’t go over well here.

    There is a shift taking place in our industry, and old fashioned companies are facing some tough competition. Older companies have a choice to make… Innovate or Litigate. Your answer appears to be the later.


  66. Sebastian St.Troy

    March 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    As I have clients on both sides of this now clearly divisive issue, (Divisive – mostly because some do not understand the entire context and are making accusations purely upon a limited knowledge or very fear-based platform) I encourage two things:

    1. If you’re going to respond to any comments within this article’s forum, then why hide behind anonymity, Use your real name! Why hide? (I applaud Michelle Turnquist, Jim Olenbush, and the others for using their real names, as they are not hiding and are only presenting their views for discussion.)

    2. Know what it is your talking about before you continue to present yourself as a cretin. Learn what it is that everyone is really seeking and what is being discussed. Both sides have valuable viewpoints and the solution lies within these views/stances. And, please show respect! All this ‘attacking’ does is cause further division, which isn’t what any of us need or want.

    As one of the ones who may loose out if the rules change for the “so-called property blogs”, then so be it. However, the one respect shown for all of my clients is to clearly identify who has the listing. It is up to the reader to determine if they will contact them directly or call their own Realtor for information. After all, shouldn’t the Listing Agent be allowed full credit for the work they put into obtaining and promoting the listing? And, why should Buyer’s Agents fear such identification?

  67. Paula Henry

    March 1, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Jonathan – Then we become them, putting ourselves before our client. I can only imagine what the general public must think if they happen upon this. My bet is, they would scratch their head and say, “just sell my house”.

  68. Jonathan Boatwright

    March 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    The comment above that was posted under my name was not posted by me, and in no way reflects my point of view.

    I firmly believe we all need to work together in this business and do not wish to create an ‘us vs. them’ environment.

    I find it incredibly sad that someone would stoop to impersonation to stoke the flames of this already heated argument.

  69. Luxe Agent

    March 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I am a listing agent and do see the benefits of IDX. I think there is in many sites, misrepresentation on the transfer of information and delay in removing sold properties. Also, I do find many agents who are buying leads via these 3rd party sources, are often not qualified buyers reps, with minimal certifcation training and I do find in qualifying the buyer prospect with questions to the agent, they often times have not qualified the buyer and are wanting to show property they themselves have not previewed or turns out is not even a fit for the client. It would be nice to get notice of all sites that will post, so we can provide due diligence on the advertisement of the home for the seller and make sure representation is adequate and factual. It is our fiduciary right to our client.

    • Steve Crossland

      March 3, 2012 at 10:00 am

      I think Lexu Agent’s comment properly summarizes one of the biggest problems. I had an agent call me yesterday to ask “what if” questions about a listing.

      I asked: Have they even seen the house yet? No
      I asked: Have you seen the house yet? No
      I asked: Have you even met them or qualified them? No
      I asked: Have you viewed the listing in MLS and read the info provided? No

      I said: Go show the house after you qualify them, then call me with these questions once you know more about the property and the people you’re trying to help.

      He said to me, and I quote, “this is just a lead I picked up from our website, I haven’t even met them yet. They just wanted me to ask these questions before we waste our time looking at the home”.

      I guess it’s ok for a dipshit agent to waste my time asking stupid questions about a listing he hasn’t even looked up in MLS yet, on behalf of an internet lead he hasn’t met nor qualified.

      That said, the above is a training and professionalism issue more than an IDX issue. I don’t have a problem with IDX, but I think it does enable stupid agents to be stupider, and we all suffer for that, including the consumer who probably doesn’t even understand what’s happening or who they’re dealing with.

      Steve Crossland
      Crossland Real Estate

      • Nikki Buckelew

        March 4, 2012 at 11:35 am

        This is well said Steve. It is still the responsibility of the agent to make sure they know the market and become familiar with the listings for which they are fielding leads. IDX aside… agents fielding leads via internet must master buyer consultations and the market just like any listing agent marketing a property. Changing this IDX system will not change the fact there will always be poorly trained and unethical agents.

  70. Bobby Brooks

    March 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    How is this any different than the SOPA/PIPA argument? People using links to content created by or owned by a third party on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter etc, in order to drive traffic back to their own site. Every Realtor on this post has done this on these and many more social media sites.

    If I post a link to a youtube video and receive click throughs as a result, did I steal business from the YouTube originator, or did I extend the reach of that content?

    I wouldn’t object to a link back to the originator of the content, in this case the listing agent, because I counsel my clients that in Texas, unless they sign an exclusive buyers representation agreement they may receive less than adequate representation from a subagent of the seller.

    my 2 cents, albeit a week late 🙂

  71. Anne McKee

    March 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I will tell you why this is important. When purchasing our home in Santa Fe, NM we first began our search online. When going from to look more closely at a particular property, the IDX listing information and availability was on their home page. A visitor to their website filled out search criteria as members of ABOR do.I felt it gave an unfair advantage for that web site providing brokerage to work as an MLS provider for the Santa Fe Association. That brokers website was the frame for this IDX and it was meant and worked to appear to Joe Q Public that these were his listings – whether they were watermarked or not. Not a good idea. Realtor. com yes. IDX useage on website NO.

  72. Mark Menefee

    March 7, 2012 at 9:19 am

    My view is more about protecting the public after 20 plus years as a fraud investigator before becoming involved in real estate. Allowing realtors to restrict their listings to only their sites is a disservice to both sellers and potential buyers. The seller’s property would not be shown to the widest pool of potential buyers. Research shows that most buyers are starting their search online by visiting and searching various sites. This would potentially increase time on the market and possibly a decrease in the sales price because potential buyers could not necessarily locate the particular site where the property was listed. Potential buyers would have to visit numerous sites to possibly see all of the homes for sale.
    Prominently displaying the listing agent’s information would often lead to the listing agent being contacted, which appears to be the desire for the agents pushing this change. However, the public does not generally realize that using the selling agent does not provide them any representation in the process because the selling agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the seller. Long term this will probably cause more law suits and increased E&O coverage.
    These proposed changes appear to only serve the interest of realtors and not the public or clients they presumably serve.

    • Steve Crossland

      March 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

      > Allowing realtors to restrict their listings to only their sites is a disservice to both sellers and potential buyers.

      This is already allowed. It’s the seller’s choice and a decision made between Broker and Seller.

      > The seller’s property would not be shown to the widest pool of potential buyers.

      I think the operative phrase here is “potential buyers. There are no stats or metrics to indicate that plastering a listing across every possible site on the internet causes a faster sale.

      > Research shows that most buyers are starting their search online by visiting and searching various sites.

      Yes, various sites instead of a trusted, authoritative source, such as a local board MLS site.

      > This would potentially increase time on the market and possibly a decrease in the sales price because potential buyers could not necessarily locate the particular site where the property was listed. Potential buyers would have to visit numerous sites to possibly see all of the homes for sale.

      That’s already the case, and getting worse, not better.

      > Prominently displaying the listing agent’s information would often lead to the listing agent being contacted, which appears to be the desire for the agents pushing this change.

      It’s not clear what the agents who started the petition want. They back peddled somewhat.

      > However, the public does not generally realize that using the selling agent does not provide them any representation in the process because the selling agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the seller.

      I think the public is smarter than you give credit. Many actually do want to make initial contact with listing agents during their tire kicking and info gathering phase, before pledging loyalty to a specific buyer agent.

      > Long term this will probably cause more law suits and increased E&O coverage.

      I disagree. How?

      > These proposed changes appear to only serve the interest of realtors and not the public or clients they presumably serve.

      Disagree. Third party syndication is (different from IDX) causing more confusion that Realtors.

      Everything starts with a seller deciding to sell. It’s the seller’s listing, noone elses. If the seller wants to hire a listing agent, it’s the seller and listing agents sole decision as to where the listing will appear and in what format, within IDX guidelines. The listing and the photos, virtual tour, etc. do not belong to the public.

      I have a listing at present that is check “No” in the listing agreement for MLS and we’re doing not website promotion at all. The seller wanted it this way initially, for a number of reasons, but we have a pool of prospective buyers we’re working with already. Do you think my seller “owes” it to anyone to be plastering the listing all over the internet? No, it’s his house, his listing, his decision.


      • Sebastian St.Troy

        March 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

        Steve; Very well stated. For the last three days I have had to work with homeowners who did not want their homes showing up on the 3rd party sites that are not actually in Real Estate or represented/owned by Realtors (Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, etc.). Isn’t that part of all of this?

        Limiting listings being available to actual Realtor owned websites would prevent these 3rd party websites from publishing their often bad opinions about real estate and negatively affecting how homes are presented.

        Realtors should be in control of where, who, and what is presented and should have the option of NOT allowing their listings to appear on any NON-Realtor owned/operated website.

  73. Kristal Kraft

    March 20, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Funny how the idea of putting up “fences” to protect listings comes up every decade or so. Yes, the Internet has changed the way we do business, it has given the consumer the ability to look at the inventory without having to “go through” an agent.

    I think the best thing we can do to aid the consumer is to provide good, correct data to them. That should be done via the MLS, IDX where we can regulate how the data is input, correct mistakes and withdraw sold properties in a timely manner.

    Third party aggregator sites should not be allowed to take our data because they cannot be held accountable for its accuracy. Consumers need to be able to have a reasonable amount of trust the data is correct. Sadly, on sites like Zillow and Trulia this is not the case. Countless times I’ve had to explain to a consumer that the house they want to see is not available and hasn’t been on the market for over a year or more.

    As per the agents who do not want to “co-op” their listings, I can’t think of a more backward way to do business. Most informed consumers prefer to do business with an agent that represents them. These same informed consumers know that by law the listing agent represents the seller and cannot represent them. Buying a home take negotiation and a duel agent cannot truly serve two masters!

    A wise owner who discovered his listing agent was cutting out the co-op agents who by 95% were the most likely to sell his home, would probably FIRE that listing agent!

    Realtors need to also recognize that the MLS is a valuable tool that not only provides us with a cooperative way to facilitate sales, but also insures that both sides get paid. If we continue to allow 3rd party sites like Z and T to take the data and resell it back to us as leads, we will essentially dig the grave for our MLS’s and the way we get paid.

    If that happens, it means we will all have to look to the side we represent and ask them to compensate us for our efforts. I wonder how many agents have the guts to do that?

  74. Tony Gilbert

    April 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Wow… talk about living inside a personal “bubble.” The whole idea that internet leads are “flakes” is just offensive (not to mention, 100% incorrect). I also take issue with agents taking “ownership” of their listings in the manner they all too often do… as though they actually own the home. No, no, no… the CLIENT’s wishes and best interests are the priority – NOT the agent/broker. It’s this elitist attitude which tarnishes the entire industry.

    All of these proposed changes are clearly harmful to the consumer. I realize, the “internet flakes” and their agents may be irritating “pests” to some luxury agents – but that’s just the nature of the business. Heaven forbid… one may have to work with people they don’t like, or clients and their buyer’s agents who may ultimately be a “waste of their time.”

    Obviously, some agents/brokers need to more thankful for the business and relationships they have, rather than spend their time and money attempting to limit the legitimate business activities of their competition.

  75. SpecialAgent

    December 1, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I hope I’m able to remain anonymous here while posting this…..I m located in the Midwestern portion of the United States and our local real estate board has received more than 7,000 signatures from real estate agents around our state demanding that they have an option to remove their listings from IDX Syndications (3rd Party IDX Feed providers). The specific petition calls for the actual “Local Real Estate Boards” Indianapolis, Cleveland, etc… to get rid of the middle man (IDX Solutions) and use portion of fees to create their own IDX Solution either framed for those with little knowledge about code or CSS version that can be optimized and wrapped cleanly into your website.

    • AGBeat

      December 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      @SpecialAgent please email me (Lani) directly? We protect all anonymous sources, and are very interested in learning more about what’s going on in your neck of the woods. Thanks!

  76. Pingback: Pros And Cons Of Using A Mortgage Broker In Ellenwood Ga | Mortgage Broker Atlanta

  77. Daves1997

    October 7, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I agree we need to stop zillow from stealing our hard work as agents, and using our listings for profit. What is wrong with our MLS boards? Oh that’s right, they just care about their jobs.

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