In a move sure to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy this holiday season, the San Francisco MLS will shut down public internet access on January 1, 2007. The closure is expected to drive potential or casual consumers to realtor sites for information, removing access to the listings of small real estate firms and generally tightening control of listing information.
Realtors saw what happened to travel agents (online reservations) and stockbrokers (online trading) and they're not going to let it happen to them, dammit. They've taken the position that the listing itself (the information about your house, or the house you want to buy) is proprietary; multiple listing services are mutual benefit associations, existing only for their members to share information, and as such are not required to share it with the public.
Aside from that, there's never been recourse to listing inaccuracies or ommissions, deliberate or otherwise. The listing agents have always controlled the content, so what may look like two bedrooms and a porch to you really looks like three bedrooms to them. And let's not get started on that other lump of coal, square footage. There's no Listings Police (except maybe bloggers.) So perhaps it's not such a big deal that you'll get steered to the properties "your" realtor wants you to see. They'll be positively giddy in 2007 with their new-found job security.
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