The MLS or Multiple Listing Service was set up in the late 1800’s so that brokers could share information with one another and help sell each other’s properties with an offer of compensation.
Fast forward to today.
We all want or have feeds to our web sites, we all want them indexed, we all want Google to know. The data is out there, pretty much everywhere.
A buyer or seller can do plenty of research online to get familiar with an area they are thinking of moving or see how they “think” their home should be priced.
This is all good.
Accuracy of the Data
The issue that is not good, and as a Director for my local Board we encounter all the time and as a board have discussed to the death is the accuracy of the data.
The MLS is a way for Realtors in your board to share information on the listing and the Status of that Listing. When I go do a search for a buyer, or they have requested a showing on 123 Main Street, it is now necessary to check with the listing agent to see if that home is under contract and not reported.
Many agents in my area, if they have an offer will not report it is under contract. They do it for 2 reasons:
• They want a back up offer and know showings will decrease if reported under contract.
• They “say” it is in the best interest of their seller to keep it active.
The word fiduciary comes from Latin: fides meaning faith, fiduciary meaning trust. When we practice fiduciary we have a standard of care to the one we are representing. We have to be able to trust one another.
Is our fiduciary to the seller? Yes
By being a member of a board, we are told to abide by the MLS rules. Do we have any fiduciary to one another as members of the MLS?
Do we have an obligation to report the true status of the listing? Yes it is rule.
Nothing is more frustrating than to have a buyer fall in love with a home and then be told “sorry, that is under contract.”
So we have to call all the listing agents and ask, “Do you have an offer?” “Are you negotiating an offer?”
Rules are made for us to be able to communicate to one another in an honest and truthful way. I would rather make the call to the listing agent first then to have a buyer fall in love with a home that is completely not available.
The accuracy of the MLS data is only as good as the agent who has imported it and kept the data up to date. If we are going to have MLS rules then we need to follow them.
When attorneys practice law they cannot and do not represent two clients, they call it “conflict of interest”. They cannot give their fiduciary or loyalty to more than one person.
What do you do when you have a conflict of interest or two fiduciaries in conflict? Which comes first in your opinion the seller or the MLS Rule?
The chicken or the egg?