Searching Craiglist Makes My Stomach Churn-Real Estate Advertising 101

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Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate Group
http://actvra.in/gqF

Searching Craiglist Makes My Stomach Churn
Now most of realize that Craigslist has it's good points and it's bad.  Rental scams have been widely publicized and we all need to approach posting carefully.  However this evening as I was looking through Craigslist the advertising violations by agents actually made me feel ill.

In one case a single agent had posted at least 8 advertisements, cryptic at best, with NO identification of their status as a Realtor®, their brokerage or address.  They also had stolen borrowed 8 listings from other agents as well as their photos from the MLS.  Yet unlike a few other agents they made the mistake of using their name as part of their email address and it was an agent's name I recognized.  Just to be sure I checked our on-line real estate licensing information to see if they still had a current license.

Its tough enough in our current market to continue to show our value to buyers and sellers.  When agents blatantly disregard the rules we all agree to work by it makes us all look bad.  If you find major violations on Craiglist what do you do?  Do you contact the agent?  Do you call their broker?  Do you report them to your local association?  Just curious.


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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Hans J. Schindhelm 08/12/2011 12:30 AM
  2. Hosai Nasir 08/02/2011 05:03 PM
  3. Donald Bradbury 08/02/2011 08:39 PM
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Rainmaker
1,286,270
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I post my listings on Craig's list.  I leave off the street number, although anyone really clever could easily figure it out.  I did legitimately borrow listings to post on CraigsList at one time.  It was not worth the trouble.

Aug 04, 2011 01:28 PM #126
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Karen-if an agent is new I'd say it could be ignorance.  But when I look in our state licensing database and see they have been an agent for 10 years I start to wonder what their motivation may be.

Aug 04, 2011 03:54 PM #127
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Rob-I don't think our association has anyone looking but I'm in a class next week with the assocation attorney so I'll ask.  I just took a rental application from CL today that is terrific and I've found renters for my own investment properties that way as well.

Aug 04, 2011 03:55 PM #128
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Gary-a link is appropriate.  Trust me when I say the ones I ran across didn't have anything resembling proper disclosure.

Aug 04, 2011 03:56 PM #129
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Art-I've asked our association to look into the ads I saw to determine if there is a violation.  We will go from there as to what would be the right course of action.

Aug 04, 2011 03:58 PM #130
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Thomas-thanks for letting us know that there is a right way to use Craigslist and that your broker understands the value of falling required advertising guidelines.

Aug 04, 2011 03:59 PM #131
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Michael-I never advise any agent whether it is from Craigslist or a sign call to run out and meet someone without first meeting them in the office.  I'm sure the folks who called me from my most recent CL ad wonder why I asked 64 questions before I'd even schedule an appointment with them to come to my office.  Rather be safe than sorry.

Aug 04, 2011 04:00 PM #132
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Paul-unfortunately CL does seem to be a haven for the scam artists.  I guess free brings out the best worst in everyone.

Aug 04, 2011 04:02 PM #133
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Marte-it is not authorized for an agent to place a blind ad of your listing. 

"REALTORS® shall not advertise nor permit any person employed by or affiliated with them to advertise real estate services or listed property in any medium (e.g., electronically, print, radio, television, etc.) without disclosing the name of that REALTOR®'s firm in a reasonable and readily apparent manner. This Standard of Practice acknowledges that disclosing the name of the firm may not be practical in electronic displays of limited information (e.g. "thumbnails", text messages, "tweets", etc.). Such displays are exempt from the disclosure requirement established in the Standard of Practice, but only when linked to a display that includes all required disclosures."

And then:

"REALTORS® shall not offer for sale/lease or advertise property without authority. When acting as listing brokers or as subagents, REALTORS® shall not quote a price different from that agreed upon with the seller/landlord."

Yes if a a property is listed in the MLS then any agent who has an autorized MLS access key can show it without the listing agent.  In this case the agent appears to have violated both of the above standards in the COE.

Aug 04, 2011 04:10 PM #134
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Sylvia-thank you for your well articulated reply to Marte.

Aug 04, 2011 04:10 PM #135
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Marte-guess I should have read through all the comments before responding :-)

Aug 04, 2011 04:11 PM #136
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Sean-this is one reason I have a separate email account that any responses to a CL ad go to.  I can shut it down when I'm done or if it is overrun with spam.

Aug 04, 2011 04:12 PM #137
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Ruby-I'll know more about the response to my question to the association attorney soon...I hope.

Aug 04, 2011 04:13 PM #138
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
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Gene-this person didn't include an address but they did have a zip code.  It took me less than 30 seconds to go to MRIS put in the zip code and find the properties they were advertising.  Helped that they had stolen the pictures marked with the MLS copyright so I could match them up.

Aug 04, 2011 04:14 PM #139
Rainmaker
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Georgia Perez
Windermere Real Estate / WSI - Seattle, WA
Broker, ABR, CNE, Seattle, WA 206-356-9872

I have a love/hate relationship with Craigslist and only a hate/hate relationship with agents who repost my listings without permission and especially those scammers that steal from unsuspecting people who respond to their fake rental listings. I have a family member who found themselves desperate for a rental in a new city, to accomodate 6 months of their son have cancer treatments at the childrens hospital there. She saw a rental listing that was too good to be true (because it was) and if the person had not been so pushy about $$$ up front she might have given it to them, she was under such stress. I found out about it, looked up the listing (FOR SALE not RENT) in that area and called the agent who was horrified to hear that her listing was on Craigslist for rent. 

Aug 04, 2011 07:01 PM #140
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Georgia-horrible experience for anyone caught in a scammers web.  I had a client contact me about a rental he found.  I knew it couldn't be right and contacted the agent immediately.  CL took it down quickly when notified.

Aug 04, 2011 07:07 PM #141
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Gerard Gilbers
Stingray Performance Marketing - Waldorf, MD
Your Marketing Master

In Maryland ANY AD must contain the Agency's Name and phone number so that they may contact your broker if they have an issue with you. You, of course would want to have your name and contact information so that they could contact you. While I do not go on Craigslist much, I would email them and CC the broker/office manager - if it is not corrected then I would report it to the board. My board has even put out the the identification requirements are still needed in a TWEET!  

Aug 04, 2011 11:39 PM #142
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3,626
Emily Mintz
Long & Foster, Realtors - Bethesda, MD

The local board of Realtors may or may not pursue this violation, but the Real Estate Commission certainly will. If the violator has done this 8 times that you know of, this is intentional, not an error. An anonymous complaint to the REC will result in that agent and the broker receiving a warning with re-education, which is what we all want; that the violator learns what is and is not legal and acceptable and understands that others are watching his/her advertising practices.

Whenever I advertise on Craigslist (or anywhere else), I include not only my name, company, office phone number and direct line phone number, but also the statement Equal Housing Opportunity (or the logo, on sites that support it). All of this (except the direct phone #) is required in Maryland for all real estate advertising.

Aug 06, 2011 08:15 AM #143
Rainmaker
211,705
Patty Mortara REALTOR, ABR, CRS | Hunterdon County (NJ)
Hunterdon Realty Group - Flemington, NJ

It seems to be most apparent on Craigslist, but I see it in PayPerClick, in Newspaper Ads, the fact of the matter is that way too many agents do not understand or even have a copy of the licensing laws - which here in NJ outline what every ad must have.  I can see that some agents might want to use Craigslist to generate buyer leads, but then the ad has to be written about a type of house rather than a specific house. But using the MLS photos that are' yours is a major NO-NO -- another option is you can FLAG the ad on Craigslist. 

 

Aug 10, 2011 09:37 AM #144
Rainmaker
289,793
Kasey & John Boles - Jon Gosche Real Estate
Jon Gosche Real Estate, Boise ID - Boise, ID
Boise, Meridian, Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I'm sorry if this has already been addressed, but how do you know that they stole the listing?  I advertise other agents listings with their permission and I give them credit for the listing, but the link goes to my website.  I agree though, if they are blatantly misrepresenting or not advertising themselves as brokers or agents that is not right.

Aug 22, 2011 01:44 AM #145
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