NAREP forms to fight abuse of the 'Big 3'
NAREP was just newly formed to address the widespread backlash among real estate professionals who are frustrated with controversial practices by a growing number of real estate marketing websites. These sites rely in large part on listing data syndicated to them from local multiple listing service (MLS) databases nationwide.
NAREP, a non-profit organization based in Texas, aims to challenge Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com with its own non-profit business model. Once NAREP achieves membership representing twenty-five percent of the real estate listings nationwide, NAREP intends to coordinate its members to cease all syndication and sharing of their listings to non-MLS websites.
"This action will eliminate a major portion of the inventory on Zillow, Trulia, and other such sites," according Ben Caballero, NAREP's co-founder and chairman. Caballero was the top individual real estate professional in the United States for 2010 and 2011, as measured by unit sales and dollar volume, with more than 4,500 home sales exceeding $1.2 billion in total value.
"For NAREP to achieve a critical mass of listings, we will need broad support among real estate agents and brokers," said Caballero. "We are just getting started, but our pre-launch exceeded our expectations. Our reception has been overwhelmingly positive."
"Businesses such as Zillow and Trulia, in their effort to profit from real estate professionals, display MLS listings, yet many of them are outdated or duplicated. Some listings on their sites do not even have addresses," said Caballero.
An industry study released last week by Redfin concluded that about 36 percent of listings shown as active on Zillow and Trulia were no longer for sale in the local MLS, compared with zero or near-zero percent for the listings shown on brokerage firm websites.
"This inaccuracy on Zillow and Trulia is a rather dubious practice," said Caballero. "They ought to remove the inactive listings as quickly as they insert them. They insert new MLS listings within days, but can take months to delete them when they are no longer available. Brokerage sites manage to purge them quickly, so why can't Zillow and Trulia? Of course, the more pages Zillow and Trulia have on their sites, the more opportunities they have from organic search engine traffic to generate revenue. I have no doubt their slowness to purge expired listings is a deliberate strategy. If you believe they have a different reason for doing so, then I have some valuable swampland in central Florida I'd like to sell you."
NAREP's position is that in their haste to generate income, Zillow, Trulia, and other websites have diminished the credibility of real estate professionals by "misleading, confusing, and frustrating consumers," said Caballero. NAREP aims to launch its own national real estate listing website, complete with all MLS listings nationwide, to resolve the controversial issue of listing syndication that has caused concern within the real estate industry.
Effective October 11th, 2012 NAREP is officially accepting registrations for membership on its website, www.narep.net. In coordination with its membership, NAREP intends to focus its energy to create a national website that will replace or greatly reduce the relevance of the growing number of real estate marketing websites that rely on MLS listings to generate income.
The NAREP listing website will conspicuously display the listing agent's contact information next to each listing at no cost, so that consumers can contact the agent with the most knowledge about a property. To ensure accuracy, NAREP's website will use and regularly update data exclusively from local MLS databases. To participate in the new website, NAREP will require its members to discontinue syndication and sharing of their listings to all websites that are not owned or operated by an MLS or their members. Zillow, Trulia, and REALTOR.com do not meet this criteria.