Why You Need to Know Where Your Listings Are Posted
You might think that promoting your listings on dozens of websites is a good thing, even on sites that you did not approve or even knew existed. If so, consider the story of a real estate agent who discovered one of her listings was located right next to a video link explaining how to buy and sell a property without the services of a real estate broker. What if this same posting was one of your old listings that sold months ago? Or what if a listing ad did not contain information required by state law, such as the broker’s office location or telephone number?
Given that your professional reputation can be harmed by online postings, there is more reason than ever for REALTORS® to invoke their legal right to approve all webpages that run their listings. REALTOR® Magazine addressed this issue in a January article entitled “Questions to Ask Before You Share.” The following are some questions you should consider with any website BEFORE you authorize posting your listings therein.
Webpage Observations Look how a webpage displays content. Is the real estate broker’s identity properly displayed? Is the listing agent identified? Is the listing agent’s contact information included? Do links on the listing display go directly to the broker? Are agents who are not affiliated with the broker advertised on the broker’s listings? Does the posting display clearly distinguish between the listing content and advertising placed around it? Is the publisher’s identity readily identifiable on the website?
Questions for Online Publishers The webpage’s publisher should clearly post or be able to answer the following questions as well. Does the publisher accept information about an individual real estate listing from multiple sources? If so, do they have control over which data sources take precedence? Do they have a process to promptly correct inaccurate listing information? How often do they update the webpage, including removal of a listing when a property goes off market?
Keeping track of where your listings appear online is an important step in tracking this portion of your marketing communications initiatives. Doing so will ensure your properties are being promoted accurately and in the best possible light on your customers’ behalf. It will also protect the integrity of your reputation—and help you maintain the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in everything you do as a REALTOR®.