You might want to rethink that strategy

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage 531132

Last week I was working desk duty and got a call from an agent wanting showing instructions on a house. Normally, we use a showing service and those instructions are in the MLS listing.

He claimed they weren’t, so I looked it up in the MLS. Sure enough, the showing instructions are in there plain and CSS. That’s when he confessed he was on, and not in the MLS.

Strange for an agent, so I asked him why. He said he was cutting down on expenses and discontinued the MLS, and was using online sites to search for homes for his clients. Wow, how can an agent give up on the single best tool available?

Before he got off the call, I reminded him he may want to speak to his broker about this decision. I seem to recall that all offers of compensation are made through the MLS. If that’s the case, his decision could be even more expensive.

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 Richard Iarossi is a full time licensed REALTOR®, working in Crofton, MD. My coverage areas are: Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Howard, Calvert, Queen Anne, and Baltimore City and County. I specialize in residential real estate, working with both buyers and sellers. Use the registration free search on my website at If you’re not already working with a REALTOR®...I can help. Call me at 443-995-9595 (Cell) or 410-451-6255 (Office).

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All information is deemed reliable but should be independently verified. Property information is subject to change without notice.



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Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

WOW! In our area if our broker is on MLS then each agent under his brokerage has to be a member of HAR too. I wonder if he even is an agent.

Nov 21, 2012 12:03 PM #1
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Richard: We have a rule here where I am that if the broker is on the MLS, all his/her agents have to be too. If the broker isn't, the agents can't be. So in your case, I bet the broker doesn't know he cut out the MLS. 

Nov 21, 2012 12:06 PM #2
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

Richard, that is a good one, and to think there are folks out there actually working real estate this way. Did you ask him if he uses a smart phone or flip phone? Wow 

Nov 21, 2012 12:17 PM #3
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Richard. This story is incredible and very, very sad. You can't do business if you're not in the business. Happy Thanksgiving.    Sheila

Nov 21, 2012 08:44 PM #4
Christine Bohn
RE/MAX Professionals - Gainesville, FL
The Bohn Team, Gainesville FL

Hi Richard !   So, that guy is cutting down on expenses???  Guess he and his broker don't seem to think they have cut down their income!  I bet he was just being LAZY.   But hey....we can all be lazy to day  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Nov 21, 2012 08:57 PM #5
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

There's a guy around here that has the same strategy.  I'm with you.  I don't think it's a good one.                                          

Nov 21, 2012 08:58 PM #6
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I hear on good authority that many are behind on paying their MLS dues and fees...When you cannot make those fees, perhaps you got one foot out the door of this profession already. The other foot will follow shortly....good in the biz post

Nov 21, 2012 09:22 PM #7
Corinne Guest
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
The Choice of Professionals for Luxury Home Buying

Time for him to move over and let the active professionals take his client while he searches for a job. If you cannot pay it's a sure thing your business is all but dead. Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 21, 2012 09:27 PM #8
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Richard, I believe the MRIS rules state if the Broker is a member it is mandatory all agents belong. Not the place to cut down on expenses. How is he accessing lockboxes?

Nov 21, 2012 09:30 PM #9
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

You just can't be too careful these days... so much fraud. And as listing agents, we do have a fiduciary responsibility to keep our clients' homes safe.

Nov 21, 2012 09:30 PM #10
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Wo. That sounds more than a little short-sighted. MLS dues are high, but the cost of NOT joining seem higher.

Nov 21, 2012 09:32 PM #11
Gloria Laughton Allston

I assume the home of interest was out of his MLS area.  In his defense, I have been contacted by Leads who are interested in getting more info or viewing homes that are in neighboring counties that list on one of the MLS' not included in the 3 that I belong to (fortunately my Supra Key allows access to listings in 5 counties). If I am interested in accepting the Lead I have no choice but to contact the Listing office to find out how I can show it.   

Nov 21, 2012 09:49 PM #12
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

That's just mind-boggling. As you pointed out, there is so much useful information on the MLS. Isn't this agent opening himself up for possible legal action by his buyers if he is not in possession of complete information, which may only be available on the MLS in terms of all the listings and details? Tricky. As hard-strapped as any business might be, one always has to invest money to make more money.

Nov 21, 2012 09:58 PM #13
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

Really? In our area everyone in the office must belong to the local MLS. We actually belong to two of them. If they find an active agent who isn't on the MLS they will give a warning and then de-activate the whole company.

Nov 21, 2012 10:15 PM #14
Brian Kuhns
Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber - Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne Real Estate by Brian Kuhns

Wow....I'm assuming then that he uses Zillow to prepare a CMA for his clients too! 

Nov 21, 2012 10:19 PM #15
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Wow Rich! This guy must be almost out of the business and just doesn't know it yet. Have a Happy Thanksgiving Rich and to your family as well.

Nov 21, 2012 10:25 PM #16
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

. . and that's why I get these call so often. .I use CSS as well and it puzzled me they couldn't find it!

Nov 21, 2012 10:25 PM #17
Mike & Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

Nothing surprises me anymore and actually I feel sorry for him...if he thinks he cannot afford MLS dues, he probably cannot...

Eve in Orlando

Nov 21, 2012 10:27 PM #18
Chuck Mixon
The Keyes Company - Cutler Bay, FL
Cutler Bay Specialist, GRI, CDPE, BPOR

If you can afford that local dues , and business is that bad. Then it is time to look for a new profession. Yes the market is tuff today but only the tuff will servive. Giving up on the MLS will in improver his deal it can only hurt them.

Nov 21, 2012 10:42 PM #19
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

He should figure out a way to renew his mLS, or maybe he could partner with someone in his office? Although, I just read that there is a new app out now for i-pads where agents can enter a new listing without an MLS #.

Nov 21, 2012 11:04 PM #20
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I can't imagine.  I do have one agent who doesn't have a ekey because she's a REO agent and uses combo boxes and is only a listing agent.  And she just got tired of paying for it when she never used it.  But like someone before menationed here if the brokerage is a member all agents must also be members.

Nov 21, 2012 11:04 PM #21
Gary Frimann
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Our MLS makes it mandatory for all agents of a Broker who is on the MLS to join the MLS.  You are correct though as to the offer of compensation, as it is extended only to those other members of the Multiple Listing Service.  We've seen quite a few wash out in our area.

Nov 21, 2012 11:14 PM #22
Mike Cooper
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro

Rich, I can't even imagine how you could be in this business without using the MLS.  What about docs that are loaded on there?  Or special instructions?  Or notice of a buyer's agent bonus for . . .   *-)  Have a great Thanksgiving.

Nov 21, 2012 11:57 PM #23
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Just amazing how some people do business. I agree with most of the comments above.  Congratulations on Featured Post.

Nov 22, 2012 12:01 AM #24
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Penny wise pound foolish

Nov 22, 2012 12:23 AM #25
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Richard, something tells me that his broker doesn't have a clou! He is not saving money but it might be too late when he realizes it. I've heard from clients that their previous agent could only show them homes on combo lockboxes b/c they couldn't afford the Sentri-key! This one is new to me .. but just as disturbing.

Nov 22, 2012 12:44 AM #26
Jon Karlen
Finish Line Realty - Shelbyville & Louisville Ky Real Estate - Shelbyville, KY
Louisville & Shelbyville Kentucky real estate

Great and amusing story.  If you aren't willing to invest in the #1 most important tool for you to do your job, what kind of service can you really provide your own clients?

Nov 22, 2012 12:44 AM #27
Harry F. D'Elia
Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

I cannot imagine not having access to MLS as a real estate agent. That is like going on a journey without a GPS. Come on people-cut back on going out to eat or other expenses. Pay down the debt.

Nov 22, 2012 01:00 AM #28
Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-966-3200 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Richard:

At the is agent 'fessed-up rather than spinning a yarn about MLS being "down" or his computer was on the fritz.

Nov 22, 2012 01:04 AM #29
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


Well that's a new one. I can't imagine trying to find homes for clients that way on an on-going basis, and given what we know about all the portals you know that this strategy is not very reliable. Cost? Ours is $130 quarterly. I guess I don't see that as a huge expense given the value - other things cost more. And I guess he does not list property.



Nov 22, 2012 02:04 AM #30
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Those sites can have really stale information, no?  It's not just finding listings, but setting up showing ... howe does he do comps for his clients?!?  Oh brother that's sad for his clients. 

Anyway -- Happy T-day

Nov 22, 2012 02:21 AM #31
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Makes it kind of hard to obtain a key card without being a member of the MLS.

Nov 22, 2012 02:36 AM #32
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I just wanted to stop by and wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving, Richard!  I hope your day is special!

Nov 22, 2012 03:22 AM #33
David Grbich
Realty One Group - - San Juan Capistrano, CA
Orange County Real Estate - 949-500-0484

Wow - sure his buyers would be impressed to know he does even have MLS! Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 22, 2012 04:13 AM #34
Sharon Kowitz
Fonville Morisey-CRS-SRES-ABR-GRI-E-Pro-CREN Cary, NC - Cary, NC
Cary, NC Relocation Specialist ~ Buying or Selling

I see this post got a lot of attention...GOOD! I have had the calls from "agents" from out of our area wanting codes to my homes/listings....i always offer to meet them at the property but never-ever give out the code ....we have a $1500 fine! Now that is more than our MLS dues for 2 years! 

Nov 22, 2012 07:17 AM #35
Ernie Steele
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty - Lebanon, PA
Call me, let's get started!!! 717-273-3774

Rich...I'm a little behind in my reading...Glad to see you still do desk duty as well...I feel sorry for the guy because he's close to finished in this business and grabbing at straws...Enjoy your day friend.

Nov 22, 2012 08:08 AM #36
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

In our area all agents of a broker must belong to the MLS. You cannot just drop it. So is the broker a member?

Nov 22, 2012 08:53 AM #37
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Every broker I've been with required MLS participation. I'm surprised he's able to do this.

Nov 22, 2012 09:17 AM #38
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore

maybe he is an "out of area" agent. I have no choice but to belong to the MLS and to do so I must also pay the bandits at the NAR and the state association. however, there are three other MLS that I at one time or another belonged - sometimes I've belonged to all four at the same time. maybe that's what the agent was doing and stopped.

Nov 22, 2012 09:26 AM #39
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Wow, how can he work without the MLS?  That is a colossal mistake and one he will be sorry for.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 22, 2012 09:31 AM #40
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Richard - I dont know how you can effectively sell real estate without being a member of MLS.
Nov 22, 2012 10:32 AM #41
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Is he really an agent?

Could he just be a commoner just trying to gain access?

Nov 22, 2012 10:54 AM #42
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Glad that you have recognized the problem and I know you will resolve it,.

Nov 22, 2012 11:24 AM #43
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
I would think it might not be an agent...maybe someone posing as an agent to get access.
Nov 22, 2012 01:04 PM #44
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

He needs to NOT be in the business....I think agents need to outline to their clients HOW they will assist them and if they are not members of MLS, that should be disclosed before their clients sign on for their services.

Nov 22, 2012 08:46 PM #45
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Richard....I now some companies taht will not pay a co-op fee if they don't belong to the MLS.

Nov 23, 2012 10:38 AM #46
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