Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights

Counter Intelligence has an update on an idea that has been around for a while–a real estate Consumer Bill of Rights:

Five years ago this week, a coalition of leading real estate consumer advocates nationwide — including buyer agents, fee-for-service consultants, and for sale by owner publishers — cosigned an petition calling for a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights which Consumer Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, echoed in their testimony in Congressional hearings on banks as brokers…
Bloggers, consumer advocates, and real estate innovators — not to mention the US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission — are renewing investigations into competition in real estate with a new urgency fueled, in part, by discrimination against flat-fee MLS listing services and their customers, plus industry-supported efforts to establish minimum levels of service for brokerages in an increasing number of states.

I love the concept of a Real Estate Consumer Bill of Rights, particularly the “minimum level of service” requirements that would have to be met by real estate agents.
As far as all of the talk of agents “holding the MLS hostage” as stated in a comment from one of my previous posts, it’s worth pointing out that unlike most of the country, New York City does not have a multiple listing service. We are a horse of a different color.
On any given day, if you peruse any of the major company’s listing systems, you will see similar, but not completely identical data. You will also notice that commissions range from 4-8% with the majority of listings being offered at 6%.
That said, I would welcome a “Bill of Rights” as I beleive it would foster more competition and force real estate professionals to raise the level of service that they provide to clients–thereby earning their commission, whatever it may be.
Perhaps it would even result in a change in the very structure of the real estate business. Maybe sellers who chose to work with an agent would pay a 3% commission for representation and buyers would hire their own agents for 3% to represent their best interests in a transaction. A fascinating concept that I believe would bring more efficiency and integrity to an industry that often gets a bad wrap. Here’s to change!

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