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The Truth About the Real Estate Industry #03


10. MLS Challenges – Not all agents belong to an MLS board because it costs quite heavily each year to be a member of an MLS board. The reason why agents would pay to belong is to work with quality agents who will have a Code of Ethics and more professional support to assist our clients.  However, the MLS too has shifted more and more towards self-interest rather than their first established purpose and promise.  For example, as a listing agent, we are not allowed to include our own branding or information on the photos that we ourselves pay for.  Many agents can save a lot of money by not using professionally taken photos when listing a property for sale.  Those of us that do, are then penalized if we include our logo, name, or information on the very photo that we, ourselves pay for.  When inquired why?  The reason is that the buyer agent would not be able to generate income if the listing agent’s contact information was in the photo.  Does that make any ethical or logical sense?  As a listing agent, when we pay for marketing materials to benefit our clients, at the same time, we are paying fees to the MLS for the purpose of upholding professionalism and fair practices.  However, it is the same Association that is demanding unfair practices.  Again, the more agents that are members of the MLS Association, the more they have funds for themselves.  Their priority is no longer the Code of Ethics and Fair Practices while they demand and financially penalize agents who do their job by seeking the best interest of their clients.  The reason for marketing is to #1 benefit their clients and #2 to brand and promote themselves.  There are more unethical guidelines like this that we agents and brokers are faced with.  While working diligently and professionally for our clients, at the same time, we need to be dealing with the MLS who we pay to belong does not make sense.  Real Estate clients need to know as our hands and feet are tied by these Associations sometimes.  Yes, belonging to an MLS Association has benefits, however, there are also unreasonable guidelines we must abide by.  MLS Association has shifted its original purpose and promise.  If this is not corrected soon, they too will not be sustainable with the current technology platforms out there.

11. Zillow Agent Reviews – Since Zillow has become one of the top nationwide platforms for seeking real estate properties for sale or lease, many consumers also utilize Zillow Agent Reviews. While some of the Agent Reviews seem to be legitimate, I’ve come to realize that many high-number reviews are not what people think.  In 2023, from my listings and offers, I’ve seen one completed real estate transaction with more than 5 people taking on Zillow Agent Review Credits.  What’s so crazy about it is that all 5+ of these people are from different Brokerages!  So, imagine you are not the main agent involved in the transaction, but able to take credit for each of the closed transactions, how fast can your Zillow Agent Review grow?  5X faster than everyone else!  In addition, there are many agents working for multiple Brokers.  So, the same agent in one transaction can be under one Brokerage and another transaction can be under a Brokerage at the same time.  The legal liabilities of this type of practice are very high while deceiving the consumers who are actually hands-on performing the transaction.  Since many Brokerages are involved, how is the responsibility shared with the clients?

12. Brokerage In-House Escrow – One of the main purposes of all service providers is to protect their own clients’ information and serve the clients to the best of their interest. However, in California, Real Estate Brokerages are allowed to have in-house escrows.  Over the years, there have been more and more Real Estate Brokerages that have in-house escrows.  There are much fewer requirements and oversight to an in-house escrow than a third-party, stand-alone escrow.  In 2022 and 2023, I encountered countless buyer offers I made not selected due to the listing agent requiring me to use their in-house escrow.  Even when I suggested the option for them to select a stand-alone, third-party escrow of their choice, they rejected it.  Many of these rejected offers are from large brand-name real estate brokerages.  Many of them are the ones producing the most transactions and income.  I really wonder if their own sellers know about them rejecting good, strong offers only because the listing agent demands to use their in-house escrow.  By using their in-house escrow, the Brokerage or Agents also gain additional income from the transaction.  In my opinion, California should not allow Real Estate Brokerages to have in-house escrows.  Imagine both sides of client information are fully disclosed to the other side.  If a Brokerage or agent would rather reject a good, strong offer because our client does not want to use their in-house escrow, what else might that Brokerage or Agent use the client’s information?  In New York, Escrows are required to be conducted by licensed Attorneys.  This is a much more secure and professional way than the way California is allowing open violations to potentially occur.

13. Petition and Suggestions – For over 20 years, I have taken time to share what I have learned to various leadership and organizations in hopes of improving and solving unreasonable or unethical issues to seek my client’s best interests. However, most of the efforts were wasted.  Most people do not want to hear their “deficiencies” by responding in a way that “brushes underneath the rug”.  The only way things can be better is by knowing what the problems are so we can develop solutions to improve and resolve them.  If we only focus on what is tolerable, then the deficiencies will worsen… dragging other areas with it eventually to a level that will be extremely difficult to change without extreme pain.  Graduated as a Registered Nurse, I like preventative measures instead of waiting until stage 4 cancer is realized.  With a counseling experience background, things can only be improved when we are willing to talk about our deficiencies for the purpose of getting better.  Without this basic desire, the greatest counselor in the world cannot utilize his or her abilities to help others get there.  Optimism can only be accomplished by seeking truth and reality so that there is hope for a better future.

14. Quality of Leadership – The quality of leadership is extremely important. The culture of an organization is closely reflected by the staff and representatives.  Most people would hire the type of persons they deem “acceptable”.  As part of leadership requirements, knowing every individual’s conduct is a must for the well-being of an organization.  How people behave and respond is directly or indirectly allowed by the leadership team.  The majority are usually accepted, and the minority are usually rejected.  However, many times, it is the concept of the majority that often causes problems.  Instead of focusing on what is the majority, we should have been following the concept of quality and the right ways.  For example, we cannot deny that “microwave” is convenient and fast (majority), however, the invisible side of it is that microwave causes more health issues in the long run and is rid of a majority of nutrients that the food originally offered.  Yes, it fills the hunger but starves the inner body of its needed daily nutrients.  Can we see that?    So, what are the consequences?  Faster deterioration of the organs, lack of self-producing needed hormones, increased synthetic medicine, increased negative side effects, working harder and longer to pay for the health issues we’ve created, cause more pollution with our synthetic solutions, cause climate changes as clearly manifested now with reduced water, increased heat, decreased soil natural nutrients.  Yes, what looks fast and simple can result in all of these and many more long-term issues.  Not having quality leadership is the same way.  Do we have “microwave” leaders, or do we have the root of the problem visionary leaders?  From my encounters, I’ve seen many leaders who should not be in leadership positions and those who are not in leadership positions should be.  True leaders are required to be minorities who seek the difficult road to travel, but the right ones.  However, minority-minded people are usually rejected.

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