Pardon my rant…
ARMLS (Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service) drives me insane! There are “rules and policies” that every ARMLS member must follow. Failure to do so can (and should) result in a fine for each infraction. Here’s the thing that just drives me batty:
Real estate agent contact info in the public remarks section. It SHOULD be a flagrant violation. Why? Because I share a consumer version of the MLS listing with buyer clients and prospects. So I send a client/prospect an MLS listing, and right there plain as day it says, “CONTACT JOE SCHMOE at 555-1212 or SchmoeRealty.com FOR MORE INFO AND A SHOWING!!” So now I’m potentially driving my prospect over to Mr. Schmoe so he can then double-side the transaction.
It IS a violation to put contact info in a photo or virtual tour (ARMLS Rules and Regulations dated May 22, 2006. Sections 8.22 and 8.23). However, there is NOTHING in the Rules & Regs about placing such info in the public remarks section of a listing.
I placed a call to ARMLS about this in June 2006. I was told then, “Yeah, that was an oversight. It’s plainly wrong and violates the intent of the rules. You could successfully argue that it’s an ethics violation.” So I asked, “Then if I report it, you’ll notify the agent and make them remove that info?”
The response? “No, we can’t do that because it’s not spelled out in the rules. But we’re modifying the rules right now to fix this. We get lots of complaints.”
Five months later, the rules still aren’t modified. So much for “right now”…
I called ARMLS moments ago. Went through the same spiel. ARMLS’s response this time? “Please report these violations. We will send a courtesy letter asking for the contact info to be removed. Failure to do so will result in a fine”. I asked how they are going to enforce that, since it’s not clearly spelled out in the rules. “It is in the rules”, the young lady tells me. “Where?” I ask. “Well, it’s not in the current rules, but we’re in the process of changing them. In the mean time, please report these violations.”
How do you enforce a rule that isn’t there? People that are inclined to put contact info that clearly violates the INTENT will simply respond — “Show me in the rules where it says I can’t do that.” And right now, ARMLS can’t show them. So they’ll continue this ridiculous practice.
According to the ARMLS rep I talked to today, the new rules will be out, “sometime by the end of the year. Maybe February.” She said, “They are written and approved, we just need to post them.” SO POST THEM ALREADY! It would take what, 15 seconds to put a revised PDF file on their server. Why in God’s name does it take MONTHS?!?
It would be nice if agents would just do the right thing and not include their contact info in a publicly accessible area. But let’s face it, there are agents out there that don’t give a rat’s patoot about “nice” and seem to have no problem pushing the ethics boundary. Until there is a rule, IN PRINT, and ARMLS actually does something about it, the MLS will continue to be corrupted by these “professionals”.
It’s way past time ARMLS, to put some teeth into enforcement. And for Pete’s sake, post the currently approved rules and regulations for all to see and heed.
Ok, I feel better now. Thanks for listening.
EDITED TO ADD:
ARGH!! Stop the madness!! As I suspected, the young lady at ARMLS that I spoke with this morning was completely misinformed about this rule (or lack thereof). Here’s an email I just got in response to an email query I sent ARMLS shortly before I called:
I understand your frustration with issue. It is a well known issue and it has been one of several topics discussed by the Rules Committee. We at ARMLS however have no authority to make any changes to the rules.
Let me explain how the process works. The Rules Committee is made up entirely of your fellow Realtors®. They review the rules from, and make recommedations to the Board of Directors to change, add, amend or delete rules. The Board of Directors (also made up entirely of Realtors®, from each of the shareholder associations) review the recommendations from the committee, and then each member goes back to their various association boards to discuss how they should vote on the proposed change. They then vote at a subsequent ARMLS Board meeting on the change. It takes a unanimous vote to accept the proposal.
I am not in the Board Meetings and do not know the actual timetable for any of the proposals. I do act as an advisor for the rules committee and know that there are a lot of things currently being recommended to the Board.
Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service
[tags]ARMLS, Arizona Real Estate, Phoenix[/tags]