Part One of at least Two.
I was looking at Google’s blog post about how they have taken their real estate search to Australia, and I revisited their real estate search here in the United States. They have the most boldly assumptive FAQ I think I have ever seen.
I’m an agent. How will my listings compare with those of a broker or MLS? Is it worth uploading?
Absolutely. We recommend that all members of the real estate industry upload their information. The important thing to remember is that you should include as much listing information as possible, and also include a link to your website. Your listings will appear alongside other listings that are relevant to a given user’s query; it’s ultimately up to the user to choose which link they click in order to learn more.
Translation: Of course you should give use your data! Why would you not want us to have it?
I’m a broker. How do I ensure my agent doesn’t upload?
We can’t prevent anyone from uploading content to Google Base; however, your agents will have less incentive to upload if you’re already doing so for the listings they represent.
Translation: Why would they if you’re already doing it? You are sending us your listing feeds, right? Right?
The fact remains that the best real estate search available right now is the one provided by your local MLS – in my case, the Charlottesville area MLS – but that’s probably going to change at some point. Not Trulia, Zillow, Cyberhomes (yet) … this is how to search for homes in Charlottesville …
More at Mashable.
Update: 06 July 2009: Google elaborates a bit on some of their more impressive and useful changes.
For now, I maintain that searching for homes (via the MLS) is not my core competency as a Realtor. I represent clients – buyers and sellers – and search is but one component in that representation.
Buyers (and Realtors) should search everywhere, but that’s often not reasonable or viable … and the wide range of disparate information
From the Virginia Association of Realtors’ Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer Agreement: (pdf) – bolding mine
(f) Buyer understands that Broker’s principal source of information about available properties will be local multiple listing services; however, Broker may from time to time become aware of properties for sale but not submitted to the local multiple listing service and that may be suitable to Buyer. Buyer’s obligation to pay the fee set forth in paragraph 6(a) shall apply to Buyer’s purchase of such property, and any property submitted to the MLS with an offer of compensation to Broker less than the amount set forth in this paragraph 6(a). Broker agrees to apply any fee received from the seller or broker thereof to the amount owed by Buyer under this Agreement and Buyer shall be responsible for any additional amount owed pursuant to paragraph 6(a). Broker shall have no obligation to search out such properties beyond those that come to the attention of Broker in the ordinary course of Broker’s business.
How does one define "ordinary course of Broker’s business"?
Part Two will cover this question.