Is It Wrong for the MLS to Make Money?

Back from almost two weeks solid of being on the road… although it was a truly wonderful time at every stop, there really ain’t no place like home, y’all. :)

in any event, a quick question/observation about one aspect of the crazy MLS world.

Is it wrong for the MLS to make money and be profitable?

Let me explain why I’m asking.

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Does the MLS = Listhub Now?

syndication

I’m writing this brief post here, as the Facebook group I got this from isn’t exactly the widest-read one out there. But the issue posed is both interesting and important.

Basically, the question is whether or not the most important function of the MLS in the minds of brokers is to simplify the sending of listing information to portals. This is new to me, so I thought I’d post this to ask my brokerage audience.

Some background follows after the jump.

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Zillow, The Industry, and Reading the Tea Leaves

SONY DSCThis is one of those posts I write from time to time to figure out what I think about an issue. For now, that issue is trying to discern the possible direction of the residential real estate industry in the U.S. If you’re an agent and only care about something that will have a direct, immediate impact on your day to day business, I’d skip this post and go read this and this instead.

Basically, what I’m wondering is if the bull case for Zillow — that it will someday be worth $50 billion, as its largest investor has suggested — has any basis in logic. There are a whole lot of very smart Wall Street folks who think that Caledonia and others are simply out of their minds. A lot of brokers, agents, and industry folks would agree. If I had a nickel for every time I read or was told, “Zillow is worthless without our data”, I could retire now and buy that ranch I’ve been wanting ever since moving to Texas.

So for this post, I’m going to look at what has to happen in order for Zillow to be worth $50 billion at some point in the future. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I am bullish on Zillow. (And I own zero shares of Zillow or any of its competitors, unless one of my funds owns it without my knowing about it.) I’m doing this because trying to make the bullish case for Zillow results in some really interesting thoughts/observations about the industry as a whole.

Let’s do this, then.

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Oh, California… Duty to Monitor Crazies?

Santa Barbara Mom Lawsuit

I ran across this disturbing story on the Interwebz related to the horrible killings in Santa Barbara last year:

A tearful mother of a college student slain in a rampage outside Santa Barbara last year said Tuesday that she and the parents of the first victims sued the county sheriff and other parties to prevent future tragedies.

You can’t help but feel sorrow for Kelly Wang and the families of other victims in that tragedy. There’s no question that the killer, Elliot Rodger, was mentally unstable and dangerous.

But… the lawsuit contends that landlords — and by extension, their property managers — have a duty to screen for disturbed individuals, and I have to say I’m wondering about that.

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Does an Agent’s Pricing Still Matter?

pricing

A while back, I wrote a post about some possible problems and concerns with a new Fannie Mae program, called Collateral Underwriter, which is aimed at helping lenders evaluate appraisals and appraisers. As is often the case, that issue went completely under the radar while everyone was too busy arguing about HomesForSale.com or some new Zillow thing.

In recent conversations — primarily with the extraordinary Linsey Ehle, Career Development Coach for BHG Gary Greene in The Woodlands who is among the best at what she does — something else to consider here came up. (Disclosure time: Linsey’s my girlfriend. :) )

We have always been told, because it has always been the case, that no one is a better source of property valuation than the local REALTOR. Think about the hate that Zestimates gets because “it’s totally inaccurate”. If you’re looking to sell your house, and want to know what it’s worth, call your local REALTOR. She can access the MLS, use her expertise, and pull comps that are appropriate for your house.

My question: Is this still true?

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