More Than A PR Problem

Feb 9, 2008 Michael Wurzer

Following some conspiracy theory discussions I had this week with a colleague about the NFL (yes, he’s a Patriots fan), I found the comments to this post on SockedSite to be amazing. A home was listed for sale in San Francisco but was not put on the MLS, and several commentators (starting with the ninth comment) presumed that the reason it was not listed on the MLS was because the agents were conspiring to keep the inventory low in the MLS to keep prices from going down further:

To answer arlo’s question, the rationale is what I listed above. If the brokerages listed every home that was for sale right now, the prices of all homes would drop. And the two dominant brokerages tell the sellers that they can communicate to most of the buyers without the MLS anyway: it’s such a small community that there are other ways around the MLS.

Get this through your head: The MLS is a marketing tool that exists only to serve the interests of the realtors. It is NOT a public service. If the Realtors’ interests are served by misleading the buyers, then that’s how they are going to use it. Plain and simple.

Perhaps some education or better public relations could inform conspiracy theorists like these that such manipulations are not possible in the MLS, because the rules require members to submit every listing unless the agent provides a written request from the seller not to be listed. However, I don’t know that PR or education will ever overcome this negative attitude. What do you think? Is this type of conspiracy theory thinking common or crackpot? Is there anything that can or should be done to address it? Would it change if the MLS were more open to consumers? What would or could that look like?