John's Florida Real Estate Blog

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Beware of Free Listing Sites That May Not Give Your Company's Name and Therefore Violate State Law

I am a big user of many of the free classified sites out there that allow us to list our properties for free, Craig's List is one of the most well-known. Nowdays most of us have less ad money, but perhaps more time. And these free sites allow you to do multiple ads for a property for no investment except your time. I tell customers it is like putting a sign on every corner in a subdivision, if it were legal to do so. A searcher driving around is more likely to see that the seller's home is for sale. In the same way, using many free sites increases the probability that a Google or Yahoo searcher will come across your ad.

However, I recently used a site (Postlets) that not only posts on their site, but sends the ad out to several other sites. Great, right? You do the ad once and it appears on 5 other sites for free. It is very good, no doubt about it. However, when I checked how the ad was appearing on one of the feeder sites, I saw it did not pull out all of the information that I had put in the main site. One important item that was missing was the name of my broker's company. I believe that most, if not all, states require that any real estate ad contain the name of the listing company so that it does not appear to be a private sale. So technically, that secondary site (which was Kijiji.com, by the way) was showing an illegal ad for my property. I was able to go into kijiji and manually add the name so it now complies, but I bet a lot of other agents do not realize that they may have ads out there that are in violation of their state laws, and probably the NAR Code of Ethics. The two sites I mentioned above said they would try to correct this issue and were unaware of the requirement for company identification that most of our states have.

So when using free sites, especially those that feed ads to secondary sites, it may pay you to check out all of the feed ads to make sure they comply with your laws and ethics. Keep in mind that there are people out there just looking for a way to trip up the competition.

John Elwell - REALTOR

CENTURY 21

Bill Nye Realty, Inc.

813-783-4444

Licensed in Florida

 

Comment balloon 4 commentsJohn Elwell • February 02 2008 04:23PM

Comments

Hi John, I use Postlets too along with a wide group of others.  After reading your post I went and found the same thing.  I had to correct a number of listings too.  Thanks for the heads up.  Nice post.
Posted by Gary White~Grand Rapids Home Selling Pro Call: 616-821-9375, Real Estate Services You can Trust! (Flexit Realty "Flexible Home Selling Solutions") over 11 years ago

Great Post and tons of information

 

Thanks

 

Tim Corcoran

Posted by Tim Corcoran, "A Name You Can Trust... Results You Can Count On" (Keller Williams Realty) over 11 years ago
Good advice.  Understanding the business model of the free site is important as well.  They aren't always a friend of the real estate professional.
Posted by June Slusser (Coldwell Banker High Country Realty ) over 11 years ago
Thanks for the comments guys. Like Gary, I was able to go in and manually add the company name, but if I had not checked, someone could have reported me. I do not need those hassles. The Kijiji site seems to pick up the first part of the text description, but not all of it. I am considering putting "CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc. -" at the beginning of the Postlets ads and see if that makes it into the Kijiji site. The contact info would still be mine, but at least I would be covering myself legally. Not sure yet how to handle it. On Postlets you can of course elect not to have any ads fed to Kijiji, but Kijiji does seem to come up pretty often in searches. Oh well, keep an eye out for these things so your competitors do not take advantage of your honest efforts to serve your customers.
Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

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