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September 29, 2009

The battle lines have been drawn…

The players? Online real estate services such as Zillow, Trulia, blogs; and, the MLS system.

This fight took a turn in Washington State, where new blogging guidelines have been set… new players must adapt to these new rules, or be prepared to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

If only the MLS met the needs of the public, then maybe this war would never have been started. It seems that the public is in a losing situation, and transparency of information is not the MLS’ prime directive. On Twitter, @mistersterling says “If all real estate agents TRULY understood the power of social media, we wouldn’t need the MLS anymore.”

Check out what the Puget Sound Business Journal has to say:

Starting this week (Oct. 1), the Northwest Multiple Listing Service is introducing new real estate blogging guidelines that will let homeowners decide if they don’t want other agents to write about their homes. That means they’re no longer in danger (well, in as much danger) of someone trashing their property online or writing snarky comments about how their lovely abode is much overpriced.

If agents break the rule, they’ll be fined by the NWMLS — perhaps thousands of dollars. (There is a grace period for them to get their blogs in order, though).

Perhaps more interesting is that sellers can also choose not to have an automatic valuation (think Zillow) placed next to their property online, which saves them from the embarrassing situation of having that value differ dramatically from the listing price. Seems like this could really affect Redfin, the Seattle online real estate brokerage that has very active community forums.

Seeing as I am not an agent, I wonder what would happen if I set up shop in Washington that allows for comments, blogging, and price valuations?

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