About Agents Who Swipe Sacramento Listings

Sacramento ListingIt’s hard, at times, to tell if a person is joking around or not when you receive an email. I am not a big of fan of smiley faces, but against my better judgment, I am also guilty of slipping them into emails. That’s because not everybody gets a wry sense of humor. And sometimes I’m so busy that I literally don’t have time to make sure my parenthesis is facing the right way. It’s easy to type a frowny face by mistake. I’m so happy that you sent me a photo of your adorable baby. Frowny face.

We can all make mistakes, honest mistakes. We’re only human. But what about the people who deliberately set out to deceive and then claim they made a mistake? Or worse, don’t rectify it? And those people are Sacramento real estate agents? I ask myself if I should report them. On the one hand, I pretty much leave other agents alone and don’t turn them in, even when I spot blatant, unethical behavior. I’m not the ethics police. I also don’t have time for it.

Whether to report a violation is one thing, but another aspect is whether one should one talk about it in public. If it’s information the public should probably know, I say, yes, even if it tends to taint the profession. Other agents may disagree and say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

So, I’m just gonna tell you what happened. Without naming the website, I tried to manually post a new listing but the site told me the home was already claimed. Not surprising; it was listed before. I clicked on the details and noticed the home was listed for sale by an agent other than the previous listing agent. But it had the old listing number attached to it.

I called the seller to find out if she had any knowledge of this agent. Nope. The seller called the agent. Immediately, the agent dove into bait and switch mode. The seller made it clear that it was her home she was calling about and she was not a buyer. The agent mumbled something about this being a very confusing situation and promised to remove it.

A few days went by, and the listing was still published under that agent’s name. Hmmm. I wondered how many other Sacramento listings were swiped and misrepresented.

Usually, people who would do unethical things do other unethical things. That agent had a couple of pages filled with some other agent’s listings. I ran the first 5 addresses in MLS. Not one belonged to that agent. What a good idea, the agent might have thought. I know how to get buyers to call me. I’ll just swipe a bunch of listings, who cares if they’re even for sale or not, and post them on a website as my own. Brilliant. No, it’s stupid. And it’s unethical.

I finally notified the staff at that website, and several people responded. It’s difficult to regulate, they say. Well, how about you make the poster check a box that says, “If this listing doesn’t belong to me, I authorize you to charge my credit card a $1,000.” I heard giggles. They must have liked that idea. And the website removed the listing.

Why should the public care? Because the Internet is unregulated. It’s difficult to trust some of what you read. You should not rely on information found on websites that download data directly from MLS. Ask your agent about it. And use a smiley face in your request.

While Elizabeth is on vacation, we are revisiting her favorite blogs from previous years.

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