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Monday, December 17, 2007



How can we get the ABOR to reverse the choice to stop sharing basic statistical data about our housing market?

If ABOR keeps information from flowing, people will be much more open to competing possibilities when they first sprout. Consider what internet travel sites did to travel agents? Or what the internet has done to traditional phone/personal brokerages? Selling the benefits of what a realtor provides is the only way to stop technological advances from eroding the past model. Still, it is inevitable that business will change, and buyers/sellers will have lower cost options if they care to do more of the legwork themselves.

Dee Copeland

Thank you very much for your comment. I always look forward to hearing from others.

Here's my take. It's already been argued that agents will go the way of the travel agent. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas have many, many more agents than Austin.

Those Boards:
1. Provide more tools
2. Have better commercial resources
3. Have better international resources and connections.
4. More quickly adopt new technologies that compliment MLS, such as Top Producer's market snapshot.

I'm very tired of agents thinking we can capture clients if we keep a stranglehold on data. The more information you give to consumers, the more useful you are. ABOR does not own that MLS data. It belongs to the public and I'm honestly fed up with it appearing the opposite.

If you sell your home, you have a right to know what other homes sold for. You have a right to know how the market is doing...without having to work with an agent. It's YOUR data. It's your friend's data. It's your neighbor's data.

I know I sound like I'm on a soapbox, but long gone are the times where we think we can lock down MLS data in hopes of not being replaceable. The fact is that most agents can be replaceable if they don't provide value beyond opening a door or locking down MLS comps.

I challenge ABOR to open up MLS stats so we can show that we have value as agents beyond hiding behind MLS.


Apparently there is a petition to bring back tempo. I don't know if you've heard, but you can find more out here:

And here:


Also, were you aware that MLS data is somehow shared with county tax assessors (well, Williamson for sure). When I protested my taxes, it interesting to find out that they had my sales data from 2 years before and sales data for comps that I was going to use as evidence to reverse the new appraisal. Since they already had the data, it was easy to reverse, but I still don't understand why they had it. The assessor said the MLS shares data with them. Doesn't this go against the fact that Texas is a nondisclosure state? (Of course liens are public, but they only contain the amount of debt, not actual sales price, and other deal adjustments - closing costs paid, repairs paid, ect.) Were you aware of this information sharing?

Dee Copeland


Yes, we're a nondisclosure state, which means we can't give private owner information. Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio boards aren't breaking the laws by giving consumers detailed area information, including commercial, farm and ranch, and vacant land. ABOR finally approved the market stats tool through Top Producer, which provides street level sold data that's automated.

To be honest, I actually don't want TEMPO back, I just want everyone to have access to automated home reports. MLXchange has very cool features, such as the client website, but Mac users can't use it at all. Not only is that embarrassing, but it's slowing our business. If I didn't have MLSFinder, my Mac buyers would be out in the cold.

ABOR® was created by and for agents, so I think they'll do the right thing.


austinmlsonline.com seems like a great search tool, but I wish it had some more infomation/saearch options on the listings, primarily how long the listing has been on the market and what the price history is (e.g. if it started at $325,000 and is now $225,000). I would like to be able to run searches to show only listings that are new within the last X number of days, or that have been on the market X days or more.

Dee Copeland

Good news came yesterday. Looks like the pages are working on macs, which is great. I'd think it would be unthinkable for our board to completely ignore a user base. I can't take credit for helping put pressure on them, but perhaps they listened to what the community wanted.

There are still issues with MLXchange and I do think it would be a mistake to go back to TEMPO. The features far outweigh the detriments.

Dee Copeland

UPDATE: I received an email from Jim A. with a yahoo email address that stated "Dee, your use of the MLS acronym is against ABOR policies (and recent NAR policies as well). Please remove this domain, or I'll report you to ABOR".

I asked Jim for his name so I can quote him and understand how he thinks these rules are serving consumers.

Jeb Archer

What people dont realise is that green homes and buildings are not only worth more (resale value) but are creating more reveneu as well. Higher occupancy rates paired with higher rental premiums equals more money in VC's pockets.


Referring to Comment: Posted by: Dee Copeland | Monday, December 17, 2007 at 10:24 AM

A county tax assessor office has MLS data? That potentially offers an open records request (a.k.a FOIA or Freedom of Information Act) avenue to request that data from a citizen. Once information is held by a public entity it's really difficult for it not to be open to a FOIA request. I wonder what that board of Realtors was thinking when they permitted sharing the data they protect so well? I'd be curious if other board of Realtors are sharing such data with other public entities. I'm mean why pay for data when you can get it for free (or really cheap) via a FOIA request.

Side Note:
Referring to comment: Posted by: anonymous | Monday, December 17, 2007 at 09:30 AM
To the person who said that MLS data is not property of the MLS board and its respective brokers. You're wrong. Listing information is information generated via a contract from a broker and the client. It is information that (usually in contracts) is clearly defined as belonging to the broker upon entering the listing agreement. There may be some room for argument depending on the type of listing e.g., Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive or Open. This overall issue probably falls under intellectual property law, but I'm not a lawyer so I'd recommend exploring this issue with an attorney. If you want this to change then don't accept the language in Listing Agreements.

If you want to change the non-disclosure issue, which I understand refers to how individual sales are recorded at the county level, and said information is not public record like most other states. Then I recommend speaking with a State Representative and appealing to the state legislature to effect change on a state level.

I think I'll give that FOIA request a test run...

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