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Answer the question, Rob

Feb 5, 2018 Michael Wurzer

Rob Hahn wrote a blog post today in response to my post last week, and seems to suggest that I’m either exaggerating the intent of his earlier post or sticking my head in the sand. Neither is true.

Most importantly, despite writing a lot of words, Rob never squares to the original question, which is whether a federally mandated database would really strip away from sellers control over where they can or must advertise their home for sale. That was the point of my post, because, unless the government were to go that far, the end result wouldn’t be substantively different than today. Sellers are in control today of how and where their homes are advertised either on their own as a FSBO or through a listing contract with a broker. The question I posed is why would the federal government take this right away from sellers?

With regard to Rob’s point that he was just tossing out “Black swan” ideas to encourage folks to think strategically, I applaud him for that. However, such “Black swan” thinking takes on an entirely different character when it is linked to and quoted in a news article that’s headlined by news about federal review of the real estate industry. Andrea’s reporting was excellent on the facts about DOJ and FTC but I very purposely wanted to counter the idea that the two things (DOJ/FTC review and Black swan ideas) should be linked.

I understand the desire to be provocative and get people thinking, and I understand the need to report the news and create compelling stories. But I think it’s equally important to think about the issues past the headline. Instead of thinking about the federally mandated database, my point is that you also need to think about the permissions for accessing that database, because stripping sellers of that right and allowing their house to be advertised all over the place without their right to control it seems incredibly unlikely and counter to the overall goals of accuracy and completeness proposed. Instead, some control is likely and the most logical place to put that control is in the hands of the seller, exactly where it sits today.

Lastly, Rob implies that I’m somehow sticking my head in the sand or being an apologist for the MLS industry. I’ll leave it to readers to decide whether I’m providing substantive analysis or being an apologist.