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2 part question: 1. Is Zillow or Trulia directly regulated at all by legislation and/or NAR? 2. If tomorrow, every agent decides to ditch their MLS and list directly on Zillow or Trulia; how would the answer to question number 1 change?
On the east coast, seeing buyers choose a random agent is common. Even after working with an agent for a while, it's not uncommon for a buyer to abandon an agent with whom they were working because that isn't available at the moment the buyer has a questions or wants to see a property. I am concerned about all the hype of "the first agent who answers the phone" that I see so heavily promoted. I wish for more consumer education about the value of the agent, and choosing a representative to be receive greater weight. Currently, many buyers, once they locate a property on a website, assume that the agent name that appears next to the online property display is the actual listing agent. IMO, the next gen of buyers grasp how the IDX system work and will seek out the actual LA. They believe that the actual listing agent is better able to answer their specific questions. The next gen may not be familiar w/ industry jargon of IDX, but they understand how it works. Many want the LA, and do not place high value on buyer representation. IMO. Others may disagree, and I am curious to hear any thoughts on this whether in agreement or disagreement.
Back to the original question..... TZ not regulated by any state regulatory body or NAR, but definitely subject to fair housing laws as a publisher. In absence of an MLS, would TZ be regulated? IMO, not regulated, but subject to an increase of complaints, lawsuits, etc in an attempt to hold them accountable for what they publish. Consumer Fraud Acts exempt publishers in most instances. TZ are digital publishers, not real estate companies. Real estate licensees, however, are subject to Consumer Fraud laws, which vary by state.