Has the NAR Ignored a Potential Fire?

Muses from the Man in the Park


It seems to me that one of the most cancerous events that has oozed into the professional real estate brokerage business since the beginning of time is the advent of the national FSBO web sites like Zillow, Truila and Refin.

And I frankly don't understand why the regulations of them hasn;t been more aggressive by state real estate commissions, and why the National Association of Realtors did not take a firm position as to how they could coexist with Realtors.

First and foremost is the FSBO companies' marketing that infers that by using their web sites to list homes, the seller will get the same benefits at no cost, that he would get by listing with a licensed agent, and even better, by listing with a Realtor.

Agents are encouraged to pay the FSBO companies a fee to be recommended as selling agents to those potential buyers who search the FSBOs' web sites.  So that whether the potential buyer contacts the homeowner or a selling agent, if a sale transpires, the owner's cost will be no more than one-half of a real estate commission; maybe nothing at all.

Mixed in with the FSBO listings are actual MLS listings.  In those cases, potential buyers are encouraged to contact one of the FSBO agents to see the homes rather than the listing agent.

National TV ads by the FSBO companies encourage buyers and sellers to use the FSBO company when buying or selling their home.

Meanwhile, the NAR ads are not only few and far between, but do nothing to explain why the representation buyers and sellers get from the FSBO companies in no way compare with those who list with a Realtor.

Zillow encourages potential sellers to use the Zillow web site to immediately determine the market value of the seller's home.  How does that work? It doesn't, and it can't. Does that, in itself, violate some or all state real estate laws?

Another of the FSBO companies assigns listing numbers that they claim are MLS numbers.  They are nothing of the kind.  Are MLS and Multiple Listing Service not registered trade marks?  If they aren't, why aren't they?

I wonder if there won't be a time where either the NAR will become totally irrelevant, or if the NAR won't "merge" with one or all of the FSBO companies, say Zillow, Truila or Redfin?


Since 1966


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Comment balloon 2 commentsBILL CHERRY • January 02 2017 04:45PM


Paying for better positioning of your own listings makes no sense unless all you have if the option to throw money at the recycled portal and get knee deep in the synidcation of your own listings.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) about 1 year ago

Interesting concept of Zillow acquiring NAR.  The NAR does put out their talking points about why not to FSBO.  NAR loses credibility though when they imply brokers/agents can generate up to $60k per sale.  The NAR is trying to maintain membership levels.  The real estate commission compensation system is a legacy system, struggling to stay relevant.  FSBO's exist because the sellers do not see the value of the commission payment.  Change is inevitable. Alternatives exist to the commission model; Flat Fee Listings, Hourly Fee For Services, and Real Estate Consulting are being used every day to help sellers retain more of their equity compared to commissions.  Zillow is just one of the agents of change.  NAR would be wise to embrace change rather than fighting to maintain a legacy compensation model.  People want choices, recognize it and meet their needs. 

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) 8 months ago

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