Realtor Magazine On-line reported that under an agreement with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, Redfin Corp. has agreed to stop posting its sometimes-irreverant home reviews on the Internet which has caused a lot of controversy.
If Redfin which is an online real estate brokerage did not agree, it would lose its privilege to participate in the Northwest MLS, which covers western Washington State.
Redfin's reviews were written by a team of 15 freelance reviewers who toured open houses in the Seattle and San Francisco areas and then posted comments about the properties. Although some reviews were flattering, others reviews were scathing and very critical of Redfin's home reviews. Should any site write reviews of homes they have not personally seen?
Regardless of their content, such reviews as Redfin was posting are not allowed by the Northwest MLS which has a rule preventing brokers from advertising details of homes listed by rivals. Redfin Chief Executive Glenn Kelman says he's disappointed by the disciplinary action. The goal of the reviews, he says, is to disseminate different perspectives on homes from what one might receive from a real estate practitioner. What better review is there than that from a real estate practitioner that has seen the home?
However, real estate practitioners have reported that sellers complained the reviews made it harder to sell their homes, says Jeff Coop, legal-affairs manager of Northwest MLS.
In April, Northwest MLS fined Redfin $50,000. Redfin is appealing. Northwest MLS also has told Redfin to stop posting information about the number of days each home has been listed, since without explanation that number could be misleading.
Although Northwest MLS doesn't have jurisdiction in San Francisco, Redfin has suspended its reviews in the Bay City to be consistent and to avoid expected complaints, Kelman says. MLSs in the San Francisco area haven't taken any action against the reviews.
This is just a tip of the iceberg. With many sites taking our listings from the MLS and placing the information on their sites many things have, can, and will happen. I personally have had complaints from buyers that found my listings on Yahoo real estate and the properties had been sold and closed long ago. This has happened numberous times to me.
When sites like Redfin start offering reviews and sites like Yahoo real estate take our information and then don't keep it up to date it makes for a lot of confusion and dissatisfaction with the consumer. Seems to me ther are a lot of hands in the MLS pot and it is only going to get more complex.
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