The New MLS VOW Rules
As part of of the Department of Justice settlement with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) regarding the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) content, the following has taken effect for all MLS participants ... by the way VOW is Virtual Office Website.
Effective Monday, June 15, 2009, in accordance with the settlement by the US Department of Justice and NAR several fields will default to "YES" for new listings and existing listings ... which means all listings will be sent to the Internet/VOW unless the Seller specifically states that they do not want their property to show on the internet. Note: these rules do not allow for Broker Opt Out of listings. If the Seller does not want tehri listing on the internet, they must complete a Seller Opt-Out form.
Now I guess I can understand the first two which were already in place, but they did not have the "Seller Opt-Out procedure." They allowed internet display and address of property. In my opinion, they would benefit the Seller in terms of reaching out far and wide to potential Buyers. In other words, I did promote that on behalf of my listings already. However, the two new procedures may be taking "democracy" too far. I'm certainly in favor of everybody knowing almost everything about sale listings. But I draw the line where someone out in cyberspace can simply make a random statement about a sale listing without very much justification. Let me explain.
The third section allows the internet to place a market value on any given property ... quite random and based on data out there, but not a visit to the property, not location factors, not renovations, etc. A market value simply gets placed on the property.
The fourth section allows for consumer comment ... written and displayed next to the property. Again ... a bit too much for my taste.
Therefore, I will have to review and recommend to my Listing Owners that they opt out to the last two sections. I do not think that is fair to them. It is too random and misleading for any reader. It is simply way too open to be a valuable resource for anyone.
Final thoughts: this is obviously a controversial topic and settlement; and there are certainly a wide variety of fairness issues and openness involved. But the saw cuts both ways. The Seller has listed a property ... and there are many ways to obtain market value via the internet, the city tax information, an individual agent, etc. But at least we know how and why that valuation came about. Simply to have one appear out there in the internet can be clearly misleading. And as well, customer and consumer comments are important ... and they are sought out by all agents, even Sellers. But once again, random comments, like other comments must contain a frame of reference ... where does that appear on the internet.
Clearly, I understand and will support the settlement, but I must recommend to my clients, to those listing owners working with me, that they indeed opt out to the last two sections. Dap