A Response to Business Week, Part Two

This is part two of our Response to an article in Business Week entitled “How a Trulia-Zillow Merger Could Finally Change the Business of Real Estate.” You will find Part One here.

One of the “anachronistic” elements Mr. Stone claims the Real Estate business is saddled with is “Proliferating fees.”

Setting the vague language aside, there are costs associated with buying a home.  A look at the “Typical Expenses” section of the Rocky Mountain Home Team’s Guide to Buying Your New Home reveals the following:

  • Lender’s title-policy premium.
  • Recording charges for all documents in buyers’ names.
  • All new loan charges (except those required of the seller by the lender).
  • Interest on a new loan from date of funding to 30 days prior to first payment date.
  • Assumption/change-of-records fees for takeover of existing loan.
  • Home warranty according to contract.
  • Fire-insurance premium for the first year.
  • Home inspection.
  • Reserve account for taxes and insurance.
  • Flood-certification fee.

Once again, we aren’t sure which fees your choice of “online real estate web site” can help you avoid. Fees relating to your loan are due to the nature of taking out large loans from lenders. While you can avoid these by paying cash up front, they are unrelated to your choice of real estate agent.  Similarly, Insurance fees originate with insurance companies, not your agent.  It is the same story for state and local fees and home inspector costs.  Electing to “skip a step” to avoid a fee can be unwise, criminal or both. We have yet to find any broker, on or off the internet, who would advocate doing so.

The MLS “Stranglehold”

Mr. Stone also makes a rather glib reference to a Multiple Listing Service “stranglehold” on local housing data.  This is a strange idea.

The Multiple Listing Service exists because, as in any other marketplace, Realtors gather and share information on what they sell.  Part of an agent’s job is physically going to the property, learning about it, and putting that information together for dissemination.

“Online real estate web sites” can’t visit your home, verify and record information, and publish to themselves.  The limitation on who can publish to the MLS is to keep the data accurate, not to maintain a “stranglehold.” As the sometimes massive disparity between a syndicated online listing and a properly produced MLS listing reveals, it really does help to have your data verified by a licensed professional bound by a code of ethics.

Once it is acquired, this information is shared with other agents and with the public, who can search the Vail MLS using our free web portal any time they like.  Using our online portal, even after you sign up, in no way locks you into working with us.  To imply that we hold this information hostage is, at best, misleading.

In our third and final segment, we’ll discuss what Business Week actually got right.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.