Based on a decision by the ABoR Board of Directors last week, the organization will terminate its agreement with listings syndication provider ListHub after April 30, 2014, and intends to cease syndicating members’ listings to non-REALTOR® consumer websites at that time. This decision was made to protect the integrity of Austin-area property information, address concerns about the business practices of non-REALTOR® consumer websites and to mitigate issues caused by inaccurate listing data in the home buying and selling process.
Cathy Coneway, president of ABoR, stated, “Unlike REALTOR® organizations, third-party websites that receive syndicated data are not regulated to provide reliable property information or to protect consumers through the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. This lack of regulation has resulted in outdated, inaccurate property information being displayed online that disappoints homebuyers and frustrates sellers.”
In June 2012, ABoR formed a Syndication Task Force of nine REALTORS® from brokerages of various sizes to investigate syndication issues and increased reports of frustration from consumers and REALTORS® with publishers of syndicated listing data. After more than a year of research, the task force concluded that some syndication sources not bound by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics have business practices that are not consistent with that code. In addition, it was concluded that the inaccurate property information provided by these sources sets false expectations for consumers that inhibits homebuyers’ ability to make sound real estate decisions. Due to these concerns, the ABoR Board of Directors decided that brokers should have the ability to decide independently whether to provide listing data to non-REALTOR® consumer websites on a case-by-case basis as dictated by the best interests of clients.