May 27, 2018

Notes From Readers: Breach of Etiquette?

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Notes From Readers: Breach of Etiquette?

Readers respond to our 30 Under 30 cover, and write in about issues ranging from pocket listings to third-party aggregators and more.

Breach of Etiquette?

The front cover of your magazine is great at showing the young REALTORS®, but the table is set incorrectly (“Feeling Right At Home,” May/June 2013, cover). The fork should be to the left of the plate, with the knife and spoon to its right.—Carol Van Hook, ABR, CRS, Mira Vista, REALTORS®, Ft. Worth, Texas

Creative Manager Julie Fournier responds: 
In regard to the silverware placement, I initially set the table according to standard etiquette. During setup, we took test shot after test shot. What I found was that separating the utensils was not as visually pleasing as was placing them together as a sculptural unit. Separated, they added a cluttered quality that detracted from the shot’s focus.

Moving Toward a Nationwide Data Source

I was thumbing through the May/June 2013 issue and saw Chuck Leathers’ letter concerning the Zillow effect. Consumers put their stock in [third-party aggregator] Web sites as being accurate data sources. Even worse, many agents and sellers believe they are a vital marketing tool, where in many cases, it’s the opposite. I often have to overcome the effects of “misinformation” coming from these sites. There are even sites that scrape the data from agencies’ public Web sites, and the accuracy in those cases is much worse. Still, I think the inevitable result is that we are moving toward one nationwide source for data display.—Adam Burk-himer, ABR, SRF, The Dean Agency, Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

Editor’s Note: Read about one MLS’s victory in a data-scraping case.

The Poverty Conundrum

Poverty is certainly an issue for millions of people (“It’s In Our Backyard,” May/June 2013, page 48). I felt the article was worthwhile until the sentence: “In a country as rich as this, no one should be poor and all people should have a roof over their head.” It seems Steve Liss feels the problems of the poor are also someone else’s problem. True in some ways, considering the cost of unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other programs that help keep people from doing something to better their lives. He didn’t mention solutions that would include having both a mom and dad at home for the kids, caring parents that are sure their kids get an education, parents who refuse to let their kids join gangs, and other solutions that help kids have a real chance to lead productive lives. Solving poverty has to come from men and women taking responsibility.—Carl Fischer, Prudential Alliance, Chesterfield, Mo.

Change the Tax Code

I do not agree with this tired drivel (“Not a High-Wire Act,” May/June 2013, page 38). It’s time to go to the fair tax and get rid of the existing system. See which would actually be better for individuals and the country. You’d be surprised.—Jim Ashenfelter, GRI, Realty Associates of Atlanta, Atlanta

Editor’s Note: In late June leaders of the Senate Finance Committee began a legislative push to simplify the tax code. NAR President Gary Thomas reiterated that while reform to different portions of the individual tax code may be warranted, NAR remains committed to preserving the current incentives for home ownership and real estate investment.

Are Pocket Listings a Threat to the MLS?

The number of homes for sale that never make it to the MLS is growing. During a discussion at the REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings and Expo, supporters of “pocket listings” noted that sellers seeking privacy are more inclined to avoid the MLS. The rise in such sales correlates with overall market improvement, but some worry about the threat to the current MLS model.—Posted on May 16 by Meg White, multimedia Web producer

Paul Johnson responded: The underlying motivation is nothing more than greed. The same agents that are holding pocket listings are often the same agents that attempt to shortcut everything.

Kevin Rushton responded: Pocket listings are not a threat; they go up and down in number as the market fluctuates. Selling our MLS data to every company out there willing to write a check is a real threat to our industry.

Join this discussion at the Speaking of Real Estate blog.

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Note: Letters and blog posts are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter doesn’t constitute an endorsement of the writer's views by the National Association of REALTORS® or REALTOR® Magazine. Submission of a letter constitutes permission to publish it in any form or medium.

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