Monday, May 14, 2007

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issues a statement: CBS Misses the Mark

The Monday morning debate around the proverbial water cooler at real estate offices all over the US today is not about football. After all it is spring, even in Minnesota. The talk today was about the 60 Minutes segment on how internet sales of property will change how Realtors do business in the future. Frustration was not about the topic as there are many types of business models for the sale of real estate. This is another example and most Realtors are aware that the internet has changed the market and new business models will come up which cause the industry to evolve.

What had my family upset during our Sunday night dinner was the errors that even my 13-year-old was able to point out. The whole segment was the inaccurate portrayal of the real estate industry. I was personally concerned that the business model being looked at was located in Seattle, Washington…Thousands of miles away from where I do business in the north and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities. Minnesota’s market is significantly different than on the northern west coast. Currently in the Twin Cities metro, homes are selling in 90-120 days, where in this segment they noted that homes on the market for 45 days were overpriced. Real estate is a local business. It is dangerous to make such generalizations.

NAR issued a press release response today regarding the 60 Minutes segment. Several inaccuracies were noted and some statements were flat out wrong. The following is an excerpt from today’s press release.

Here are some examples of the misinformation:


Error: The six percent commission is "sacrosanct."

Fact: All commissions are negotiable. The average commission rate is not 6 percent, but 5.1 percent, according to Real Trends.


Error: NAR is the industry's "governing body."

Fact: NAR is a trade association. It does not govern the industry.


Error: In 2003, NAR issued new rules of its own that threatened to block Internet discounters' access to the MLS.

Fact: The Virtual Office Website policy did not block access to MLSs for discounters or any other brokers who are members of the MLS.


Error: The MLS is the database that lists virtually every home for sale in the country.

Fact: There is no single national MLS. Rather, there are more than 900 local and regional multiple listing services. These are not simply "databases" but private exchange of offers of cooperation and compensation between real estate brokers.


Error: Eight states have "minimum service laws" that require REALTORS® to provide a level of service many Internet discounters can't afford.

Fact: "REALTOR®" is a trademarked term and should never be used synonymously with "real estate agent." The intent of minimum service laws is to ensure consumers receive a minimal level of service from licensees.


Error: The brokerage industry has a powerful lobby. Eleven states flatly prohibit rebates.

Fact: The intent of anti-rebate laws is to prevent kickbacks in real estate transactions, not to limit brokers' incentives to attract customers. The brokerage industry does not lobby for anti-rebate laws.

NAR is in communication with 60 Minutes about its unbalanced reporting and presentation of misinformation and will be sending the CBS network a letter demanding an opportunity to correct these errors and misrepresentations.


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


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