YOUR PROPERTY AND THE INTERNET
McColly Real Estate has joined a growing number of brokers across the country who are taking greater care to protect our clients and where their properties are displayed on the Internet. While websites like McColly.com are required to operate within strict guidelines regulated by the state licensing authority and the National Association of REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics, other third-party sites do not have to follow these regulations. In fact, many of these sites put making a profit above ensuring the integrity and protection of the data. We feel that our clients are disadvantaged by these actions. We have prepared the following “Q&A” to help explain the risks associated with displaying property information on some outside third-party sites.
How current is the listing information displayed on the Internet?
McColly.com is required to maintain an accurate inventory of properties on the market. Changes to price, terms and status are provided directly from the MLS and displayed within hours of being updated. This includes the removal of sold/expired listings no longer available for purchase. Third-party websites may purposely continue to display sold and expired listings – for months or sometimes years - in an effort to appear larger than their competition so they can extract higher advertising fees. Unfortunately, some competitors know this is occurring and continue to send their listings to these sites in an effort to also appear bigger than they really are. The end result is that your home may get lost in hundreds or even thousands of old listings as well as creating frustration for buyers searching for active listings.
Does advertising on national websites increase traffic to my home?
While many of these outside nationally-based websites promote the millions of visitors they get to their site, it doesn’t mean that the visitors are looking for a home in your community. If 4 million visitors come to the site to view 4 million properties, that’s only 1 visitor per property. Compare that to McColly.com which gets an average of 80,000+ unique visitors per month.These are visitors specifically looking for houses in our region. You will get a wider pool of prospective buyers viewing your home on the region’s #1 real estate website. That is why we continue make continuous investments in McColly.com to improve the user experience.
How do I get my home exposed to potential buyers outside of the region?
McColly Real Estate is a member of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, the largest real estate network in the nation. We are linked to hundreds of brokers, most of whom are the #1 ranked broker in their community and maintain the prominent real estate website in the market. Just as McColly.com is seen as the “go to source” in Northwest Indiana and Chicago Southland for buyers and sellers, these sites also are the dominant real estate website in their market. And just as McColly.com can connect you to thousands of communities across the country and around the globe, all of our property listings are displayed on our partners’ websites…..websites operating within the rules and regulations of their licensing authority and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
How accurate is the pricing information displayed?
Some of these third-party websites do not display accurate list prices and changes to list prices. In addition, some sites offer “estimates” of value that are far from accurate. These calculations are often based on automated evaluation formulas that do not take into account property condition, local economic factors, and the supply of similar houses on the market. When these “estimates” are thousands of dollars different than the list price, it puts both buyer and seller at a severe disadvantage because the perception of value has been preconceived.
Who is best at presenting your home?
You hired your listing agent because you thought they were the best choice to help you achieve your goals. They have met with you, they know your home,
they know the neighborhood and the current market conditions. These third-party sites generate profits by selling leads to agents willing to pay for ad space. Often, it is virtually impossible to identify or find contact information for the listing agent. Instead, unsuspecting buyers are steered to an agent whose only qualification is their willingness to pay for the ad space next to your listing. These agents may or may not even know the neighborhood but it is almost certain that they have never even seen your home. Worse yet, rather than bother with your home they may attempt to steer the caller to one of their own listings or to a neighborhood they are familiar with. This provides absolutely no benefit to you as the seller.
How protected is the information about your house?
At McColly Real Estate, we have been closely analyzing this and have determined the end result is that the risk many of these sites pose to our clients is much greater than any potential benefit. Our goal is to get exposure for our sellers to the widest pool of prospective buyers. This doesn’t mean we won’t continue to syndicate listings to some outside websites but we are limiting syndication to the sites we trust, who abide by the same Code of Ethics and rules that we do and who will protect you and your property information. At this time, we will continue to share our listings with:
• Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and affiliated brokers (www.LeadingRE.com)
• Realtor.com which operates in cooperation with the National Association of REALTORS®
• Other participating Brokers in the Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland Multiple Listing Services.