Are You Part of the Solution?

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Listing inventory has declined sharply. Where there were 33,743 active single family residential listings in the Atlanta metro area at the end of February 2011, there were only 22,726 at the end of February 2012 –approximately a 33% drop.

Buyer interest is up sharply, evidenced by a 26% increase in contracts pending for 2011 over 2010. More buyers trying to buy fewer listings means fiercer competition for the “good” properties. Sellers are receiving multiple offers, holding “highest and best” bidding contests and instructing their listing agents to keep the property “active” right up until the date of closing. This last item is dirty pool, unethical, illegal and unprofessional.

Of course, the sellers may not be aware that License Law (43-40-25-(b)(2)) and the Code of Ethics (Articles 1, 2 and 12) require that agents not misrepresent the availability of property and to disclose the existence of any accepted offer, but licensees are very aware of these legal requirements. Licensees may not break the law, even if their client requests that they do. 

The most strident complaints against listing agents today center on listing agents failing to correctly display the true status of their listings in the MLS’s. If an offer has been accepted, the listing should be displayed as “Pending Sale”, “Under Contract”, “Pending Lender Approval”, “Contingency – Due Diligence”, “Contingency – Other”, “Contingency with Kickout” or whatever the appropriate status for the relevant MLS is. The MLS’s actually REQUIRE their member brokers to display the correct listing status within 1-3 days of the Binding Agreement Date.

Are you aware that both FMLS and GaMLS have online, anonymous reporting links to let them know about listing violations? The MLS then contacts the broker and requires that the listing in question be updated properly. Too many infractions, and a broker endangers their membership in the MLS. This is a stick brokers respond to. 

How to Report Incorrect Listing Status

FMLS – Login, select “Support” on the left side of the screen, then select “Report a Violation”.

GaMLS – Login, select “Listing Issues” from the links in the top right corner of the homepage.

Each agent needs to step up and actively report listings which are not displaying the correct status. If they don’t, this will only get worse, driving up the blood pressure of more and more agents and brokers. Agents often complain, but “don’t want to get anyone in trouble”. Sorry, but it can’t be both ways. If the MLS’s are not made aware of the situations, nothing can be done. Please report these incidents when you encounter them. The integrity of the data is only as good as the integrity of the source.

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4 Responses to “Are You Part of the Solution?”

  1. Mary Ann Varner Says:

    To the point….and timely indeed….it’s quite a challenge to explain to Buyers the property is Under Contract when it continues to show as Active after more than a week of the “actual” status change.

  2. Nilsa Quiles Says:

    This is certainly something that I have encountered. It is good to know there is a way to report violations. Thanks.

  3. pviohl Says:

    As frustrrating as this is to me, the more important issue is that my buyers are becoming discouraged when properties listed as “active” are in fact under contract or [WORSE] about to close! I am so gun-shy now that I call agents for accurate status BEFORE I send listings to buyers to preview….. and I call again and confirm when we are ready to go see the properties. That’s an unproductive use of my time, but unfortunately necessary. I actually reported my first violation a couple of weeks ago and I am so glad I did. Both GAMLS and FMLS make it easy to do.

  4. David K. Scott Says:

    This is a problem that needs to be addressed! It’s very frustrating for the agent and the client, to find a listing for your client that shows active, only to find out that it is not available.

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