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Like It or Not, Brokers Have The Listings

Written by on Thursday, 20 March 2014 12:39 pm

When you're ready to buy a home, the first thing you want to do is start shopping for homes online. It's the best way to look at new listings, styles, features, amenities and prices in the privacy of your home and without talking to a real estate agent.

You can go to third-party real estate sites like Zillow and Trulia, or to real estate industry-endorsed and search for homes. You can visit city sites like in Houston, which is composed of real estate association members' listings. There are home search sites run by MLSs, franchisors like Re/Max and Realogy, and brands like Berkshire-Hathaway and Ebby Halliday, as well as those run by individual brokers and their agents.

You can even search homes that aren't listed by brokers or agents. Browse bank-owned homes on or bid via online auction at Homes for sale by their owners can be found at or Builders list their models and spec homes at sites like and

The point is you can spend just as much time shopping for housing sites as you can looking for a home. With so many choices, you may believe that you're seeing all the listings that are available for sale, but you'd be wrong.

Builders don't list pre-owned homes. HUD doesn't list equity homes. For- sale -by- owner sites don't list broker listings. Not all for-sale-by-owner homes are online. And many builders only show models and building plans on their own sites.

In short, there's not a single website that has all the listings available in your area for sale. Not one. Nada.

And what you do find online may not be up to date. Third-party listing feeds may not have refreshed data, which means you could be drooling over a home that's already been sold.

Avoiding real estate agents seems to be a sport for buyers, and it's one of the reasons why there are so many places to look for homes online. But sooner or later, you're going to have to refine your search.

You're going to need a real estate broker. That's where listings originate. Real estate brokers own their listings. They have the right to choose where to advertise their listings, which means they can agree or disagree to put their listings on other sites besides their own.

As far as the hierarchy goes, real estate associations, MLSs, and agents work for brokers. Lead generation companies can't get listing feeds from MLSs or brokers without permission from brokers.

Brokers also have the power to decide whether or not to include FSBO and builder homes on their MLS's listing feed, because FSBO sellers and builders don't guarantee sales commissions to brokers.

Recognizing that brokers offer the greatest pool of buyers, nine out of ten home sellers list their homes with a licensed broker, not a website. Even HUD lists foreclosures with approved brokers and won't allow HUD homes to sell to buyers unless they're also represented by an approved broker.

In other words, looking at listings online can be a lot of fun, but if you are serious about buying, the most expedient way to shop for a home and learn what's available in your market is to hire a real estate broker or a broker's agent.

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  About the author, Blanche Evans


  • Comment Link karen walls Tuesday, 25 March 2014 10:45 am posted by karen walls

    What turf? Are you unemployed and protecting your turf? We have jobs not turfs!! And I am doggone good at mine!! The stigma of agents not being resourceful is over. Try it yourself and the schemes and scams nowadays, not so much agents. There are as in ANY profession the good and the bad. Not much to comprehend in my opinion.

  • Comment Link karen walls Saturday, 22 March 2014 11:37 pm posted by karen walls

    I have plenty of buyers who are not in a hurry to sell. Somehow that is thrown out as if an agent is salivating for a commission of some sorts and trying to rush something. The point of selling a home is just that, selling a home. Which makes an agent 6 or less or more an opportunity to glean information that you can use yourself and waste our time, If you were a broker why bother with calling an agent period, if you could do this at a snail's pace? If you don't want a lockbox, agents work with that, All the sites you mention get their listings through OUR MLS and are agent geared not seller geared as they are not always IDX compliant. And as far as scoring features? We are in a market that you can also be the white elephant in the neighborhood. Hence appraisers. There are plenty of homes that offer bells and whistles and homeowners who kill deals because they want to do a dissertation of their home and lost the buyers at hello. The buyers only care about what the market will bear, what their lending institution will lend them and if over priced and a good deal. Buyers dislike a seller pointing out things that may be relevant and enjoyable for the seller but not the buyer/s. Agents usually have fielded these questions and I know when to fold, thank the seller for being in the way and get my buyer/s out. DOM mean nothing anymore, some sellers are obstinate and unrealistic, means nothing. A buyer will just wait or walk. Promotion can be the very deal killer you thought was the coup de gras. My buyer/s will smile (I ask for their politeness as most people are) but can't wait to bolt. Some don't like your friendly lil dog because they have gigantic allergy problems which the MLS can alert the buyer to. The thought is how much do we have to spend to get rid of that carpet you put down (new) or cleaning those returns for possible dander. Shed or no shed. Everyone has a story good bad or indifferent. It's like a story told again and again with a different outcome. Good Luck and have a stellar real estate attorney representing your deal.

  • Comment Link Jim Diehl Saturday, 22 March 2014 11:42 am posted by Jim Diehl

    While I don't disagree with this article and it provides some useful information, it misses what I believe my case is. I have a home, 41 years, that I would be happy to sell, but I don't have to sell it (I have two homes and am recently widowed). But, I am convinced from interviews and showings with at least 6 active selling agents, that our local, large MLS system does not score features, attributes in a way that highlights the unique value of my home. Also, I don't want to offer lockbox, anytime showings (inconveniences my pet) and I don't want to run up days on the market. So, I look for opportunity buyers who may be interested in making an offer. I do the showing and can promote the value of the house. I will offer to pay an attractive buyer commission so that the buyer is represented. And I won't agree to work with a buyer who is not represented. I guess you could call me a FSBO, but I am not advertising. I do have an active agent license but presently restricted to a referral status. I am not in a hurry and will continue to make my case to potential opportunity buyers who are or will be represented when I can. While not listed, I do have legitimate ways of letting interested agents know that I may be receptive to an unsolicited offer. My son bought his first home through a seller situation similar to mine.

  • Comment Link Leroy Nopen Friday, 21 March 2014 11:16 am posted by Leroy Nopen

    Totally agree with this article & Erika! Why wouldn't a Buyer work with a Broker? We match them up with listings that are what and where they want so their time isn't wasted. Once they find the home they want we negotiate price and term, help them find a lender if needed, arrange and attend inspections, manage timelines, even arrange for a mover if needed. And it's all done at NO cost to the Buyer.

  • Comment Link Erika Adoryan Friday, 21 March 2014 10:56 am posted by Erika Adoryan

    If you are a Buyer or a Broker, you would know, it is true.
    I am a real estate agent. Countless time buyers who I work with, call me, ask to check on a listing they've seen on some of those third party web sites. Some sold long time ago, some is in "coming soon" section as a bait-listing, some sale pending with contingencies, so it shows active for the general public.
    The worst is for Buyers without agents, who will miss out on some listings simply because of the delays in listings shows up on the third party sites.
    also there are sites like Zillow, where some listing don't show up in the actual city or zip search, even if they under that city and zip! So if buyers put in filters on searches, they miss a lot of listing what should be in there filter. An agent would provide them all within their criteria. Without us, real estate agents, there would be no third party web sites. remember, we put them into MLS, we pay to run the MLS and we pay to run most of those sites, like Zillow, Trulia,,, all real estate office sites and so on.
    HUD homes? you can't even bid on without an agent.
    So what is so wrong about wanting to work with buyers? It is expected. That is our profession and their benefit for no extra cost to them.

  • Comment Link John Pollow Friday, 21 March 2014 9:53 am posted by John Pollow

    Sounds like this article was written by a broker trying to protect their turf.

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