Property Q&A in Southampton>Question Details

Michael Daly, Real Estate Pro in Sag Harbor, NY

Why do agents NOT put their addresses on their listings?

Asked by Michael Daly, Sag Harbor, NY Sat Feb 28, 2009

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This question is about this property: http://www.trulia.com/property/1075544464-Single-Family-Home…

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As Vice-Chair of LIBOR Professional Standards last year, I can assure you Office Exclusive Listing are a common place in my neighborhood.... Douglas Manor, Queens. I do not personally understand the philosophy, but it is the same principal as not allowing agents from a specific real estate firm to show the property. Listings are a legal agreement with a seller, and they can make requests for the listing period that are within the scope of the law... You can also offer different compensation to different cooperating real estate firms... Imagine that.

As stated prior, becoming proficient and representing Buyers as Clients allows access to Office Exclusives as per Department of State. There are still many firms in the Hamptons that do not belong to The Long Island Board of Realtors, but there are more and more every day that understand the benefit.

Striving for Excellence....

Douglas Montgomery, Broker
HomeNY Corp.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
http://links.mlsstratus.com/mlsrules/mlsrules.pdf

Rule 203- Additional Offices

"In the event an Applicant or Participant has, or acquires, an interest as owner, partner or stockholder, directly or indirectly, in any other real estate office within the counties of Queens, Nassau or Suffolk, operating under the same, or any other name, the Applicant or Participant shall pay a separate initial fee for each office, and be responsible for the adherence by said Real Estate Office to the rules of MLS.
All such Real Estate Brokerages must participate in the service in order for the Participant to remain a Participant. The board of Directors may waive the requirements of this section if the nature of the office or geographic location would render the requirement inequitable".
(11/15/06)

Inequity is absent, so what is the reason for tolerance of ongoing violations from Hamptons brokerages at the expense of the majority of dues paying members?
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
@Michael Daly: You said, "1- Convert RealNet/OREX to an MLS compliant format. Currently this private system provides most of the listing data to Hamptons firms. The public portal for RealNet is HREO.com "

I actually think this is a very good idea, although I suggest it would have to be the reverse conversion, with MLS/HANFRA/Rappatoni making the running, adapting their own (antiquated) system to be able to take a feed from RealNet/OREX, then charging HREO for the privilege.

This said without knowing the details of tech challenges involved, or cost analysis, but we no longer live in an economy where we can afford to compete as we have in the past must consolidate resources to be more cost effective for the consumer. This is one way in which we could help ourselves.

The REALTOR landscape is going to look very different on the East End in 2 years time and anyone who wants to survive has to be flexible and put politics aside, REALTOR Boards included.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
Although I dont proport to have any understanding of the Hamptons and your association, I know that there have been efforts to include both NorthShore and your organization. I truly believe that it comes down to personality and politics.... It is obviously the right thing to do, across the region from fishing for Cod in Montauk to Blue Crabs in Jamaica Bay... There are many acquaintances that have tried to bring about a truce, all without fruition. What is the Answer????? It will benefit all in the future growth of our business......

Again.... Douglas From Douglaston.....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Hi All, I have worked in Westchester County and on Long Island real estate is truly local. There are circumstances when it is truly in the Seller's best interests to not be on the MLS. Some agents don't see that because they believe there is only one way to market and that is to make sure that all buyers are aware of the property. I have had owners who didn't care about that and yes I explained it fully, one homeowner was totally overwhelmed at the thought of being on the MLS. I was not withholding nformation, trying to double dip, and I was looking out for her interests. She did not want her address, a picture of her house, or any other information made public. She was willing to sell for less if need be. This is not against Nar OR MLS rules there are provisions available to accomodate a homeowner.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Except Douglas, MLSLI has permitted an ongoing practice of turning a "blind eye" to the requirement that if one office is an MLSLI participant, all offices (in Suffolk county) must participate- the rules are NOT being followed by large offices in the Hamptons, as they are permitted to routinely list houses with no seller opt-out required, and an intentional exclusion from the MLS...rule #203 (?)
Sort of defeats the value of the MLSLI for dues paying members- why isn't LIBOR stepping in to assure it's members that all companies are in compliance (after the receipt of complaints)?
The rules are right there in black and white.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Mr. Lerner,

I trust and hope that you are not answering for your broker. I am not at all disrespecting you, just informing you that office exclusives are allowed even with NAR MEMBERS. They have to be registered, forms are available to members on line. The question was why brokers omit adresses on advertisments, and I answered due to the possible status of the listing being an office exclusive.

Michael, you have gotten your moneys worth from your question...

Libor is always looking for new members Jonathan...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
Douglas,

Please do not disrespect me, I have of course read the Code, something that I am beginning to doubt of other agents after reading their posts here.

I have no issue with you and have attempted to answer the original question. However agents presenting “inhouse” as better for clients are just taking advantage…

There are several cases that you might wish to look up including the Justice Dept in CA back in 2005 which affirmed a decision dating back approximately 10 years prior of the whole issue of antitrust with the NAR.

Shall we just try to stay on topic in the future?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
Jonathan,

My company has never withheld listings from MLS, but that is not the question that was originally asked. Perhaps you should take some time and read the National Assoication of Realtors Code of Ethics. I would be happy to furnish you one if you have not had the chance to get one on your own. It outlines in detail what is allowed as per the guidelines of NAR.

Best of luck with your future endeavors...

Douglas Montgomery, Broker/Owner
HomeNY Corp.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
Joanna,

That was a funny post... I was born at night, but not last night... We here at Engel & Voelkers answer to a higher level of customer service.

If you honestly think that withholding a listing is in your client’s best interest then perhaps you really do need to further research in the matter. There are several very easy methods to protect client identity and yet still share a listing with fellow agents!

Oh...btw yes it might be the weekend to you ... I hope you do enjoy it relaxing. It makes it even easier for us to gain those additional clients that you are not around to help give such wonderful advice.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
@Jonathan Lerner. Sorry to disagree, but you are mistaken and I believe you and I work the same area. If my client doesn't want their property listed on MLS, I do not list it. That's called Obedience, one of the fiduciary duties we owe our clients. It is not a violation of NAR to hold an in-house Exclusive lIsting that is not shared openly on the MLS System and if you are not aware of the numerous agents around here that have private clients, then you are missing a lot of potential business. That doesn't mean to say they will not share the listing, they may, or they may not, according to their client's wishes. The duty required that is required of us by our local REALTOR board, whether you are a member of LIBOR or HANFRA, or both, is that we must explain the merits of the MLS system to our clients, and if they still do not agree to be listed publicly on the MLS system, then they must sign the appropriate opt-out form, which LIBOR provides. The Client has a right to privacy. This is the Hamptons remember, clients who require a certain amount of privacy and discretion are not unusual and I think that's all Douglas was alluding to. Chill out, it's the weekend!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
Douglas,

I am not sure how your area does business but keeping "inhouse" listings is a clear violation of policy of the NAR!

The National Association of Realtors - the organization whose purpose is to promote the interests of Realtors – NAR has made it mandatory for every one of its hundreds of associated MLSs to include all listings, regardless of listing type, in any feed to public and IDX websites.

It goes without saying that by holding back a listing the broker is hurting the seller!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
Michael,

In my area alot of properties are kept inhouse, and not included with MLS. Office Exclusive Listings tend not to have the address included with the advertisements. One way to get through the fence is to approach the listing agent as a Buyers Broker/Agent. They can not keep the listing information from you but they do not have to offer compensation to any cooperating real estate professional so make sure that your buyers agreement is complete...

Best of luck

Douglas Montgomery, Broker
HomeNY Corp.
Web Reference: http://www.HomeNY.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
More likely than security a professional real estate agent will look to create a dialog between a new client!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
Because you may be an honest person, but not everyone is. I have given rental address to people who have gone by the property and tryed to speak to landlord to cut their own deal and phase me out of a fee. Anything is possible, But I still put my addresses in because if somone wants to cheat me, then I don't need them either. I have learned to get get away from rubbish as quick as I can, but I always ask them would they work for free. You bet they wouldn't.
Web Reference: http://PaulMVPteam.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
Back to the address thing: out of curiosity, I searched properties in Aspen, Colorado; Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Southampton, NY on Zillow, just to locate justification for the annoyance of deleting addresses on listings. These are areas that, if the Hamptons mentality of "no address" is embraced, would be evident.
How annoying.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 13, 2009
If HANFRA makes the decision to compromise, facilitating any of the companies that have routinely broken the rules of the MLSLI (see rule below), they will be setting themselves up for potential litigation.
Two properties went under contract yesterday on the North fork; one selling agent was from out of area (Centereach?); the other is a local Riverhead broker (and non-Orex participant).
Unless the agenda of HANFRA is to continue to provide out of area agents with properties on the North/South forks, ethical, rules following, dues paying Realtors will continue to force the issue.
This area doesn't 'BELONG" to the real estate companies; this area belongs to buyers and sellers seeking to have a transparent, open real estate environment. A big element of that is inclusion of real estate agents outside of the east end. Second home buyers are entitled to have anyone of their choice represent them; to make it a gyration is absurd in 2009. Actually, everywhere else, it was absurd in 1990.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
If the "culture" is not understanding how to read and implement rules, what a bunch of dopes. I don't pay dues for a "culture", I pay dues for a system that is supposed to benefit the real estate community: sellers, buyers, real estate agents.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 3, 2009
@Joanna Lane. Daniel Gale is a franchisee, not part of Sotheby's Corporate Operations, which on the Sofo are not Realtors.

@Laurie Options Realty. "intentional disrespect for rules" is where the rub is. I see it more as a cultural thing than a "willful" thing. It's going to take education and training. IMHO.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Here's a downside to offering HANFRA vs. working with MLSLI, Michael:

When I sold homes "up island" (Lake Grove), real estate agents that brought buyers to my site called the North fork (and east end) WEIRD.

These very agents had interested parties on the North fork (this was 2006-7) but refused to promote the area due to "weird" (exclusive) practices.
There is a "reputation" that needs repair, in order to encourage these very agents with buyers to experience a more "evolved" locale...

An intentional disrespect for rules is a detriment that shouldn't be tolerated.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
@Michael Daly: I hesitate to challenge you on anything HANFRA as I believe you're a past Board member, but you say Sothebys is not a member of NAR. How can that be? Wilfred Joseph is on the HANFRA Board and he's Daniel Gale Sothebys.

This thread has really gone off topic now!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Right Douglas,

It's more of a cultural thing and less of an intentional disregard for "rules". Welcome to the Wild Wild East!
Now, where do we go from here?

As I suggested in my Tom D's Rant post on my blog:
I see three options for moving forward:

1- Convert RealNet/OREX to an MLS compliant format. Currently this private system provides most of the listing data to Hamptons firms. The public portal for RealNet is HREO.com

2- Join the Hamptons and North Fork Realtors Association’s MLS provided by Rappatoni

3- Join and consistently employ Stratus, the MLS system provided by the Long Island Board of Realtors
Web Reference: http://www.beachamptons.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
It should only come down to sellers, and buyers. The rest is irrelevant. Until that's accepted, the agenda is effed.
You know that, Douglas- it's a reach out here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Joanna, thank you for the rest of your response- the commercial side, because we aren't experts or focused on that, would require a company well versed to understand the MLSLI shortcomings.
The thing about HANFRA is that I believe that (but not certain) their MLS was adjusted to be more rental friendly than MLSLI- perhaps someone well versed in the commercial need could spearhead that area on the HANFRA site.
I agree. The solution is sitting out here, completely underutilized. Agree completely (without the interaction that you have) that John Nickles is very special somehow. Not so convinced that the COMPANY that is currently president is ok. Not convinced AT ALL.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Joanna, I didn't get past your first point: is that actually happening too? Honestly, I get more and more horrified by the minute. Back to read the rest of your response, and thank you.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Well, this has certainly moved on from the "address on listings" issue. Maybe Laurie and Douglas can take this off-line and see if there is a formal process for a professional Standards inquiry?

I have found over the years of being in the East End as a LIBOR and more recently a HANFRA (Hamptons and North Fork Realtors) member that, while LIBOR and Stratus MLS technically cover the East End, there is overlap with HANFRA and that results in a "Board of Choice" option for brokers. There are also a fairly large number of agents who belong to no Board (I believe Sotheby's is the largest that does not belong to a Board).

Just this last year, HANFRA contracted with Rappatoni to offer an East End MLS system, but they are struggling to get participation in that system.

Thing is, it takes involved members to properly run a chapter and, unfortunately there are too few here on the East End that have been willing to participate in leadership for the LIBOR MLS that is based out of West Babylon, a world apart. Along with that, the agents and the brokers have not really bought into the "system", ie: the structure and the rules of MLS, formal procedures around the business of real estate practices, etc. And, lastly, the culture does not result in a great deal of formality around disputes and grievances which are typically handled by brokerage senior management and the "board" rarely becomes involved. It's that "less government" mentality.

In the last several years, under the leadership of John Nickels Jr and more recently, John Halsted, the HANFRA board has become more robust and involved, providing leadership and education to the East End real estate community, however they don't "support" the Stratus MLS that is operated by LIBOR. SO, oversight of the LIBOR MLS is weak.

In the 5 East End Towns of Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island, East Hampton and Southampton, we have the HANFRA members, LIBOR members and the Non-members. We might need Hillary to add this region to her 2009 itinerary.
Web Reference: http://www.beachamptons.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Laurie,
I hear your frustration and agree that there are one or possibly more groups out here that enable their top agents to game the system. You can see this on the MLS occasionally when a property changes status from new to under contract or sold within a day, the data only having been entered after the fact to bolster that office's market share. Those listings never appear on your IDX feed, or mine, which compromises the integrity of the MLS system as a whole. Putting the onus on an individual agent for filing a violation complaint against another individual agent isn't the answer when the problem is the broker's office policy that allows an agent to do it in the first place, and that is something that only MLS can ensure is in place at the higher corporate level.

One other point that hasn't been made is about commercial listings. It can be argued with the seller of a 1 to 4 family home that it is in their best interests to reach all the other agents by listing on MLS, but the same argument doesn't work with the seller of a commercial business, when it is inherited wisdom that it can be quite damaging to customer loyalty and perceived value of a business if it's known that business is for sale. Customers may think the business is going under, the seller loses customer loyalty and they leave, bringing the value of the business down just as it goes on the market for sale. Not good.

The MLS system is clunky for some purposes, and commercial and business listings is one of them. It's an all or nothing thing - either the listing is public and reaches all agents and the general public or it is private and reaches nobody. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Otherwise it might help if there were a half way measure to enable agents to share confidential information with other agents through the MLS system, but without it also becoming public knowledge.

The MLS system as it's grown up, is still only geared for the 1 to 4 family house, not for land, commercial or vacation rentals, of which we have many on the east end. Heck, you can't even schedule an open house for commercial listings last time I looked!

I sense the reasons why LIBOR MLS doesn't do much about the east end situation is because we represent such a small proportion of the membership, they have other more pressing priorities, and also because they don't want to lose the membership they do have.

By the way, HANFRA (Hamptons and North Fork Realtors) is a great Board for anyone on the East End and has launched it's own MLS system, that could go a long way to resolving the east end problem, but it needs a concerted effort by everyone to cooperate to get it off the ground and I don't see that happening yet unfortunately.
Web Reference: http://www.hanfra.org
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Miriam, it has been specifically brought up to officers at LIBOR as well as MLSLI, including the president and president elect. There has been NO dispute that large companies are NOT following the guidelines, with entire inventories kept in-house- it's demonstrated on their websites, and this has been offered to MLSLI.
That they participate fully in the other areas is also not disputed, and they are aware of the problem, which brought up the "jurisdiction" issue that makes absolutely no sense, relative to the printed rules in the mlsli (which clearly indicates that they have jurisdiction over all of Suffolk county, including the Hamptons).

They are aware; they are doing nothing, and haven't since it was brought up a year ago, six months ago, etc.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Laurie, Douglas is asking you to be specific in your accusations. Pick a specific house, homeowner, agent, figure out which Code they are violating and bring the charges so that the MLS can investigate and persue the issue. Otherwise it is general and non-specific without proof, as you are not a fly on the wall during the discussions between these agents and the sellers. For the MLS to have the kind of support staff necessary to persue each piece or paper or to prove that a house is on the market and the seller didn't opt out is impossible unless the charges are brought. Prove it and follow through.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Douglas, that is exactly the response that I'd hoped might have been offered when several complaints were submitted. Instead, it was a run around that continues to this day, with several large companies leading the lack-of-ethics brigade, and the powers that be at both LIBOR and MLSLI sitting passively by, letting it "slide" on a BIG scale. Unacceptable.

Thank you for offering a response that indicates interest- and thank you for offering your time to better the experience for the agents in your area.
That is absolutely not the case in the Hamptons.

This will stop, but it would be nice to have it end based on the good judgement of the "powers that be" rather than legal entanglements that benefit no one, and give us all a black eye.

If companies don't want to follow the rules, they should be immediately removed from the privilege of utilizing a system that's in place to benefit the real estate community as whole, paid for by members that expect simple ethics to be maintained as diligently as possible, as is done all of the time in many, many states.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
I will only vouch for the area that I have been extensively involved with, The Professional Standards Committee. We oversee all of the Grievance, Mediation, Ethics Complaints and Arbitration. There are of course various degrees of differences between LIBOR and the other associations within our geographical area. The East End is just one, North Shore another. I honestly can not defend the much of the politics that goes on from above... But I will promise to keep trying to make the organization better, which is why I continue to volunteer to serve....

Im sorry you have run into issues with the powers above... If you ever want to discuss more in detail, I would be happy to listen..

Very truly yours,



J Douglas Montgomery
HomeNY Corp.
Web Reference: http://www.HomeNY.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
And Douglas, with all due respect, compared to the majority of the US of A, LIBOR and MLSLI don't come close to being at the top of ANY game. Opinion, having experienced other Realtor boards.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Douglas, I HAVE asked. The response was, "we don't have jurisdiction over the east end of Long Island."
Oh, really? If you read through the MLS rules, you'll note that in fact they make VERY clear their areas of jurisdiction- including ALL of Suffolk County.
Excuses, excuses...at some juncture, someone at either LIBOR or MLSLI needs to acknowledge that they are facilitating a practice that is VERY damaging to east end brokers that pay dues only to watch this reprehensible behavior continue, creating buyers that see the deception- Tom D. certainly has a good grasp on the issues. How embarrassing for the rest of us.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
The Long Island Board of Realtors is the largest of its kind in the nation. As an organization we make every effort to bring about a level playing field for all members. Are there companies that do not play by the "rules"? Of course. Real Estate is conducted very differently in some areas than others. Change is sometimes very slow in coming around. That being said, we have one of the best Professional Standards Committes in the nation. I have now been involved for over 6 years, and we are at the top of our game. Take advantage of it, you are paying for it. If you truly belive a member is in violation of any of the articles of the code of ethics, take them to task. If you dont, its as much your fault for letting them continue in their practices. As we see so often now on our public transportation system, "If You See Something, Say Something".... It will be better for our organization in the long run..

If you are unsure about the violation, call the legal hotline to get thier perspective on it.

Douglas Montgomery, Broker
HomeNY Corp.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Miriam, the issue is less about the sellers that on occasion eschew the MLSLI, as it is about the companies that not only don't provide to the MLSI the seller waiver, but consider it something that isn't needed, despite clear guidelines. No question but that the rule permitting an occasional opt-out is needed.
The MLSLI is as complicit as the companies themselves; to imagine that they are exempt from imposing their rules for a select group of large companies (members that use the MLSLI in other areas of Long Island) is shortchanging the dues paying members who expect an ethical level that would provide the oversight promised as we write out those checks each year for the service.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
This is an appallingly self centered method on the part of agents in the Hamptons.
If a member of the NAR and MLSLI (which many of them are) is unable to convey to sellers, in the presence of a fiduciary relationship that requires the objective to get the seller the "best possible price", that engaging the real estate community as a whole is indeed a good plan, with cooperation and full exposure, I shudder to consider their negotiating capacity overall.
The MLSLI is common sense; if you doubt that smart buyers and sellers are catching on in the Hamptons, check out the first comment on this post http://www.optionsrealty.com. Skip the post and just scroll to the comment.
I'll delete the link in a day or two- self promotion is NOT the agenda, but it's a comment very worthy of a look.
Clearly, it's not a sellers choice, in the MAJORITY of cases, to eliminate mls exposure; it's the listing agents deficiency of common sense/ethics. Opinion, of course.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
See, folks, this question brings up lots of issues!

There are owners out there that truly do not want their home address advertised and there is a proper way of noting that, getting the paperwork signed and fulfilling their wishes.

That being said, there are still agents and brokers on Long Island (certainly in the Hamptons) who do not even give their clients a choice, who are not even members of MLS, but rather put their listings on other websites and don't publish the addresses because they want to capture the customer for themselves, regardless of whether or not it's in the best interest of their client.

One would think that agents and brokers would be looking for ways to more clearly promote their listings and see that publishing the address would be one sure-fire way of doing that, but so many of them continue to believe that "this market" is temporary and "things will get back to normal soon".

Check out the 1000Watt post Losing a race with progress at
http://www.1000wattblog.com/2009/02/the-illiteracy-of-progre…
and read between the lines.

Are you going to be part of the steamroller or part of the pavement?
Web Reference: http://www.beachamptons.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
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