While consumers still value the REALTOR® brand and the reliability of its data, third-party aggregators like Zillow and Trulia have been able to move into new areas, particularly in markets where there are many non-REALTOR® practitioners. Allowing realtor.com® to give consumers what they want while still presenting the most accurate and reliable market data will further enhance the reach of the website and maintain the status of realtor.com® as a significant home sales space in the minds of consumers.
“Over the years, Realtors® have invested a lot of time and millions of dollars in building information technology to give consumers online access to real estate information, and we know that consumer demand for all things ‘home’ has never been greater,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., in a statement after the special meeting. “As the most trusted resources for real estate information, Realtors® want realtor.com® to have the resources and flexibility it needs to give consumers what they want while ensuring that today’s buyers and sellers can continue to rely on Realtors® for the most accurate, credible market data. We think the proposed changes achieve both goals.”
Although a deeper pool of listings brings greater opportunities and more accurate market data, it also brings greater challenges in terms of listing sophistication. For one, non-REALTOR® listings carry a higher risk of not adequately addressing such important issues as compensation for cooperating, co-broker, and referral agents.
However, any broker who has dealt with short sales, REOs, limited service or entry-only listings already knows that compensation issues are nothing new. Buyers’ agents have been dealing with these issues for years. But now more than ever, brokers need to stay on top of their game by educating their buyer agents on how to use buyer client agreements and a buyer contract to ensure that their buyers’ interests are protected and that they as the agents are adequately compensated for their time and effort.