Idaho Real Estate >> ID Real Estate Specialist


MLS Cracks down on Redfin which agrees to changes


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.



Native Idahoan and Boise Idaho Real Estate specialist serving Boise, Meridian Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell and the surrounding Treasure valley area of southwest Idaho. Specializing in residential, investment, land and commercial real estate. Search thousands of MLS listings at Boise Homes for sale and learn all about Idaho by visiting Search Idaho Homes

Comment balloon 12 commentsGeorge Tallabas • May 25 2007 12:49PM


George, good follow up on the Refin matter. I suspect that the outrage by the Realtor community helped bring this about after the 60 minute fiasco. There will always be those that try and push the envelope for that quick dollar, but, as Realtors, "we're watching" and hopefully won't let it happen.
Posted by Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor, AzLadyInRed (Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC) almost 12 years ago

Good fro Northwest MLS disciplining these sleazies!

Posted by Laura Warden Nordin, 30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate (Century 21 Camco Realty) almost 12 years ago

George - thanks for posting this update, and good for the Northwest MLS for taking a giant step toward cracking down on companies like this.  May it spread around the country!


Posted by Ann Cummings, Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent (RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine) almost 12 years ago
George, thank you for updating us on this matter. 
Posted by Dianne Barody, Pensacola Florida Real Estate (Century 21 AmeriSouth Realty) almost 12 years ago

Kim - Thank you my friend...I hope all is well for you

Teri - Yes the outrage took place and I hope other companies take notice

Laura - LOL...Get after them girl!

Ann - You are welcome and have a great Memorial Day weekend

Dianne - You are welcome...Have a great weekend my friend

Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

Complex is probably an understatement! Everyone has their hand in the pot. I would like to see more MLS's take action against some of the practices of these companies. If they want the rights to use our information, they should have to abide by the same rules we do.

Posted by Paula Henry, Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174 (Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group) almost 12 years ago
Paula, very true my friend.  They all want a piece of the pie and want to play by thier own rules!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago
As we continue to market our listing thru the internet, I can not see how Redfin is allowed to do business this way.  Kudos to the Northwest MLS.  Thank you for the update on Redfin.
Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX) almost 12 years ago
Thank you Kay...I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

Another form of deceptive advertising that should be disallowed is when Flat Fee brokers post a rider on the sign of a recently sold house stating, "I saved over $5,000 by selling my house with _______", a Flat-fee broker. 

The reality is, no one really knows whether saved money, or their transaction really cost them money!  For real estate in Des Moines, Iowa, we have enough homes on the market at any given moment that there is indeed competition.  This serves to drive the price down.  However, increased marketing from MLS-member companies can increase the demand, thus potentially driving up the price.  What if this Flat-Fee property was actually sold for $10,000 less than they could have achieved, with a full-service broker.  What if they had to pay more buyer closing costs than they might have otherwise, or had to make more repairs, etc.? 

These types of questions are not examined when the generalized statement of how much money they "saved" is made.   There is a lot more to the sale of the property than just the final sale price, and outfits like Next Gen are a lot like outfits like Redfin -- not giving enough information to be really trustworthy in their advice. 

Posted by Andrew Lietzow, MBA-Exec Dir Iowa Real Estate Investors Association - (IaREIA | Iowa Landlord Association) almost 12 years ago
Thank you Andrew
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 12 years ago

How about a buyer's perspective?  Maybe everyone wouldn't be so up in arms if they offered incentives to buyers as well.  I understand that you get what you pay for, and in the case, by sharing their commission with me, the level of service may degrade.  However, on a tight budget, getting money back after closing is exactly what I need to be able to make a house move-in ready (change carpeting, paint, purchase any necessary appliances, etc.)  And in today's market which has homes listed for weeks and months at a time, time is on my side.  So what if my Redfin agent doesn't respond to my call within 10 minutes?  I'm getting over $5000 back after closing.

Posted by Joyce almost 10 years ago