This video is presented by Real Estate Risk Management, a Facebook group for real estate professionals.
Get updates about Real Estate Datagate here.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch spent $950 million to aquire Move and Realtor.com last year.
He wants to close the gap between Realtor.com and Zillow, who is leading the pack in real estate
Sadly, some of Rupert's select new data partners are biting him in the ass.
... and inciting an online brawl down on the southeastern shores of Florida.
Let's take a look and see what's going on in Miami.
Realtors Are Uploading Totally Screwed Data To Realtor.com
I know, some people like to say the data is manipulated. That sounds more polite, and more genteel.
But let's face it.
When hundreds of millions of dollars of property listing data is manipulated, that database is totally screwed, baby, and that's the long and the short of it.
Murdoch likes to say Move has the most up-to-date and accurate listings in the market. But listings are only as accurate as the information spit out by the local multiple listing service.
And one look at the way Miami spits out luxury listings data is enough to make a grown man cry.
Somebody please pass a hanky to Rupert.
You know, Miami is the largest local Realtor association in the country.
And a local Realtor team there, a single team, mind you, is accused of sabotaging data attached to hundreds of millions of dollars in listings, and that's the data that's sent to Realtor.com.
Bottom line, real estate data in the luxury market in Miami is fundamentally flawed.
Data they knew was flawed very early this year.
Data nobody ever fixed.
This team has lots of Miami real estate agents and brokers hopping mad.
So mad, in fact, they collected hundreds of names in an online petition to take that real estate team, The Jills, to the proverbial woodshed.
In fact, hundreds of agents in Miami have joined a very vocal grass roots initiative and signed a petition demanding, in their words:
"...the Miami Board of Realtors take immediate and effective disciplinary actions of the highest severity against “The Jills” and any other offender for intentional violation and manipulation of the MLS.
"We hereby demand the immediate enforcement of The Miami Association of Realtors Inc.
Multiple Listing System 2014, Policies and Procedures, section 9.4.1 (g) termination
of rights with no right to apply for 3 years."
They make a good point.
They also say,
"The Multiple Listing Data is the cornerstone of our industry. We depend on the accuracy of our Multiple Listing Systems (MLS) database in our everyday business. The data drives pricing, market trends, and appraisals; the impact of inaccurate data is far-reaching and affects the consumer as much as it affects
the Realtor community.
"As such, any manipulation of the MLS system must be dealt with expeditiously and efficiently.
"The recent coming to light of the “The Jills” manipulation of the MLS is a well-known fact to many inside the Realtor community. It is now a fact that is well-known to all Miami Board of Realtor members and the general public. This clear act of blatant, continuous, purposeful manipulation of the Multiple Listing Data is an egregious violation of the MLS rules.
"This manipulation of the MLS affected and hindered every Realtor, seller, buyer, the general public,
financial institutions and data aggregators’ collective ability to market transparency by eradicating pertinent, crucial listing-related information.
"This manipulation created a break in the history of a property’s listing, thereby affecting the ability to clearly interpret the accuracy of the market and a property’s listing history as it relates to price, time on the market, the accuracy of days on the market prior to selling or many other related listing data points."
"According to the Real Deal “All the properties listed in the MLS that were manipulated by The Jills were actively for sale at the time, and the number is significant. In 2014 alone, 30 active listings were manipulated, amounting to more than $228 million. There was a total of 353 data manipulations for an average of 11.76 manipulations per listing, according to findings in the MLS records.”
"Majority of 'The Jills' listings were altered prior to expiring, so that they would show as expired in the city of Alaphattah. They effectively disappeared as brokers do not search for the history of Miami Beach luxury properties in the city of Alaphattah.
"This continued and consistent manipulation of the MLS information as it relates to their listings, over the course of at least 4 years, was deliberate with the intent to obliterate, manipulate, obtain an unfair advantage, exploit and deprive their fellow Realtors, buyers, sellers, clients and financial institutions of important crucial listing-related property information.
"We the undersigned Realtors and active due paying members of the Miami Board of Realtors demand that our Board of Realtors ensures us that all bylaws, rules, regulations and other governance provisions complying with all the mandatory multiple listing polices of the National Association of Realtors are upheld and enforced against “The Jills” for the violation of the rights and privileges afforded to all the members of the MLS.
"We the undersigned Realtors hereby demand the Miami Board of Realtors take immediate and effective disciplinary actions of the highest severity against “The Jills” and any other offender for intentional violation and manipulation of the MLS.
"We hereby demand the immediate enforcement of The Miami Association of Realtors Inc. Multiple Listing System 2014, Policies and Procedures, section 9.4.1 (g) termination of rights with no right to apply for 3 years."
Who is this team, The Jills, and how did all this ruckus get started?
And who is really responsible when agents do something wrong?
Let's think about this for a minute because accountability issues.
There are a lot of characters in play here, and lots of thorny legal issues.
Is NRT Dishing Out A Double Standard And Is That Fueling The Datagate Controversy In Miami
At the top of the food chain we have NRT, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company. They own and operate companies in more than 50 of the 100 largest metro areas in the US.
In 2014 they closed $157 billion in sales volume and they have about 45,000 sales associates.
They own Coldwell Banker, home of The Jills.
They also own Sotheby's, former digs for Datagate whistleblower Kevin Tomlinson.
Kevin Tomlinson was an executive vice president at Sotheby's earlier this year. He filed a complaint with Miami Assn. of Realtors against the Jills and Coldwell Banker, alleging massive data manipulation.
The drama that unfolded after that is unbelievable ... he was arrested and beaten and there is a felony charge pending in the courts.
OK ... crazy, right? I don't believe for a minute that Kevin Tomlinson is a felon. I personally spoke with him on numerous occasions in the early part of the year when he was gathering his data for his complaint and he told me way back then that The Jills were likely to offer a substantial sum of money to make this whole thing "go away."
He was never amenable to that. I personally believe Kevin Tomlinson was framed, but that story
will wait for another day.
He lost his job at Sotheby's immediately following his arrest. For alleged wrongdoing.
Mind you, he was not convicted of anything wrong. He did not admit he did anything wrong.
He was still fired.
And I get that.
That seems to be a totally appropriate response by a real estate brokerage when wrongdoing
stakes are so high.
Sotheby's made a prudent, appropriate call.
NRT's other property, Coldwell Banker, did not make a similar call, did not fire The Jills, or the Coldwell Manager broker, even when they admitted publicly they were guilty of sabotaging listings in the multiple listing service.
Does this sound like a double standard from the real estate company who touts ethical standards on its home page?
Is NRT Dishing Out A Double Standard And Is That Fueling The Datagate Controversy In Miami
How does nobody lose their job after admitting they altered so many listings?
Their publicist, Bruce Rubin, spokesperson for the Jills, issued the following statement to TRD:
“The MLS issue was absolutely unintentional. It had nothing to do with properties for
sale; it only concerned off market, expired listings."
The problem with that admission is that the team does not have access to the data after a listing expires. After a listing expires, only the MLS can executive changes to a listing. Coldwell Banker loses access to that data when the listing expires. The Coldwell Banker team only has access to change information while the property is still on the market.
Kevin Tomlinson explains ...
“All the properties listed in the MLS that were manipulated by the Jills were actively for sale at the time, and the number is significant. In 2014 alone, 30 active listings were manipulated, amounting to more than $228 million. There was a total of 353 data manipulations for an average of 11.76 manipulations per listing, according to findings in the MLS records,” he continued.
“This seems to me like a long-term, consistent manipulation for personal gain."
The next time you hear a Realtor.com ad remind you it updates data every 15 minutes -
What that really means is that faulty data is updated at Realtor.com more often than bad data is updated by its competitors.
So much for accuracy ...
... for Sellers who might like to know the going price for properties in their necks of the woods.
So much for accuracy for Buyers who like to analyze data before they make an offer on a property.
And they are usually making the most important financial decision in their lifetime, and there is a lot hinging on the information they get online.
So much for accuracy for Banks who want to know how much a property is worth.
And so much for accuracy for appraisers who use that data to come up with the magic number for the bank.
Too bad that data is not as good as people think.
Get out your hankie, Rupert. And start to re-think your USP.
This one is not working.