CFAH

Well, so much for our request to “keep your comments on-topic; resist the temptation to flame, troll, and spam; and avoid personal attacks.” From today’s comments on Checking In On 300 Sea Cliff Ave:

Adam, how is it that you decided to publish a blog about San Francisco when you’re a licensed agent but not a member of the San Francisco Association of Realtors? Isn’t your ‘conditional’ license held by a broker in Los Altos? Shouldn’t you focus on those areas that you really ‘know’? Or if you feel like SF is really your home, shouldn’t you join your local association and perhaps a local company? At the very least, your readers should know who you are and what your qualifications are.

Imagine, if you were actually a Realtor and member of the local association, you could get legal access to the MLS! If you have the access now, you’re doing so illegally…
Posted by: Anonymous

As we first commented: Great question. Poor form. But since you asked…

I first moved to San Francisco in 1994, and yes, I very much consider it home. As I first wrote a year ago, “Interested by, intrigued with, or invested in the Bay Area real estate market? So are we. Looking to make sense of all the stats, cut through all the rhetoric, and get the inside scoop? We’re on it.”

And (gasp!) it’s true. I am a licensed agent (along with 476,244 other Californians). And although I’m not actively practicing, my real estate license is being held by a fantastic broker in Los Altos just in case (and who is not affiliated with SocketSite) .

I earned my license to gain a first-hand understanding of the inner workings of the real estate ‘industry’ (and to be able to selectively represent friends and family). But my understanding and observations of the ‘market’ are based on data, facts and trends.

A couple of other ‘qualifications’ that ‘Anonymous’ failed to mention: I hold a BS in Economics from Wharton, and an MBA from Dartmouth. In fact, some people might say I have a decent understanding of both economic theory (sorry folks, it’s really not as simple as just ‘supply and demand’) and the principles of investing (yes, you should be concerned about the trend in property ‘P/E’ ratios).

So why don’t I bother to highlight any of my qualifications or experience on SocketSite? Because it’s bigger than just me; and unlike numerous other real estate blogs, I’m not trying to sell or promote myself. But if you like our content, insight, and perspective I’d be happy to have you Plug In.

Adam Koval
Editor in Chief

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by diemos

    It seems that some Realt-[removed by editor] is unhappy that you’re rocking the boat. If all these bloggers would just shut up real estate would keep booming forever.

  2. Posted by mad_tiger

    “One last thing, I’m also somewhat tech savvy. As such, SocketSite logs the IP addresses of all our commenters (yes, including “Anonymous”). So if anybody would like to step forward and take credit for their comment, now would be the time…”
    That is uncalled-for.
    [Editor’s note: mad_tiger’s right. I am retracting (and removing) that paragraph.]

  3. Posted by MLS Cop

    Adam – As the poster of the original comment, you can choose to call me out or not, but the post was anonymous because I was commenting only as someone who polices the use of MLS data by unauthorized sources.

    Perhaps it could have been worded a little more pleasantly for your readers, but the fact remains that although you only post links to the public MLS site, you imply in many cases that you are accessing the full MLS. The MLS is for members, and as a licensee you are welcome to join the local board of Realtors anytime.

    And as to the first comment, I’m more than happy when people blog about real estate. They should just do it using legit access to their information, IMHO.

    And just for the record (which caused me to do this research in the first place), there has NEVER been access to the dates that properties are listed in the publicly available MLS data. You only ever saw those dates if you were accessing the full data.
    [Editor’s Note: Unfortunately “MLS Cop” is wrong – listing dates used to appear on San Francisco’s public MLS site (Proof Of Listing Dates? Inconceivable!). And although we’d love to analyze the data, we’ve never had access to the private site.]

  4. Posted by diemos

    Power to the people, baby! Vote yes on the OpenMLS initiative.

  5. Posted by godzillow

    Typical. Try to talk about the little frauds that keep the realtor cartel up and running and they come after you personally. It will be a welcome day when they are disintermediated once and for all.

  6. Posted by thrillhouse

    Keep it up Adam!
    Haven’t been reading the site for that long, but am sure to check it every day now.
    I’ve really got nothing against realtors.They’re just trying to earn a living. But with so much at stake for the buyer and seller, having unfettered access to the relevant data is important. Seems borderline criminal to me that people make the one of the most important financial decisions of their lives while at such a severe information disadvantage.
    Hope to god that Open MLS inititiative comes to pass.

  7. Posted by Derek

    As a fulltime SF Realtor, active member of the blogsphere (ReyEstate.com) and daily reader of SocketSite, I applaud Adam’s insights and reluctance to marketing himself.
    I’m all for opening the MLS and I tend to be the antithesis of the information hoarding realtor. The more information my clients have, the easier my job gets. Obviously there is a science in interpreting the data; nevertheless I’m competent to take on the task.
    Buying real estate is similar to fly fishing. If you know the river, the season, the hatch, the bug, the pool, the rifts, the techique and the right spots, then you’re in good shape. Otherwise, work with a professional because unlike fly fishing, a snag or bad catch in Real Estate could cost you big $$$.
    I’m use to all the criticism and anti-realtor rhetoric, but at the end of the day, when I’ve either made or saved my clients a ton of money, all propaganda goes to the wayside.
    Thanks Adam and SocketSite for the daily feeds!
    Derek Rey
    Pacific Union GMAC Real Estate
    blog – ReyEstate.com

  8. Posted by drwende

    I’m puzzled by MLS Cop’s comment that listing dates were never available in the public MLS for San Francisco. I remember seeing those dates and discussing them with people until a few months ago — and the public-side MLS is all I’ve ever seen, except for one 2003 trip to a realtor’s office, when the realtor looked up past sales for me.

  9. Posted by Damion

    Open MLS, huh? But just because you would be able to see everything on the MLS that we, as agents, have access to (it’s not that much different), you still wouldn’t have the ability to put listings there, and that’s really where the power is, isn’t it? And that will NEVER be open, in my view.
    Damion

  10. Posted by ryan

    Adam – You ROCK! I discovered your site 5 days ago (don’t know what I was doing with my life before that)and have wanted to write you ever since to commend you on the truly needed service you are providing. As someone who can nowhere near afford the housing prices in SF ($600k for a house in the Bayview? I rather get shot without the mortgage, thank you), I have turned scanning MLS and reading the Real Estate Times, then pulling the assessed value info. and past sale prices of these same homes into a full-time hobby. I’m always shocked. I just can’t understand why Realtors do this to people?
    I finally feel like there are like-minded people in this city to share my views on the Bubble. If you ever need any help with the blog, Adam, I’d be there in a second.

  11. Posted by Brian Barringer

    This is a really great blog. I kinda am doing the same thing except on a much smaller scale in my small town of Tracy about 1 hour from San Fransisco but unlike you. As a realo* I started mine for shamless self promotion. I dont think of myself as a typical realtor though. I am glad I read this because I was curious about using MLS data.
    I got a call from a listing agent who threated to sue me because I put a up an artcle about a bankrupcy sale I saw through the MLS. He did not like that the title of the artcle was “bankrupcy sale in Tracy” it was listed about 60K under market and thats why. He said it was illegal that his client saw it and was mad. I took it down not to cause drama. I am a member of my MLS and the CVAR though.
    My though on MLS data is once the listing agent puts infomation on the MLS its public infomation. The only info that is not public is the line that says “agent only remarks”. You could have recived the MLS info from many sources that mirror the mls like realtor.com
    With so much data on the inernet now-a-days I think that an open-MLS would just add to the confusion. Craigslist is a good example of a free for all where anyone can list any house for sale and they are getting sued for housing discrimination.

  12. Posted by SF Bubble

    Great site you have here. In the end your truth will win out over the naysayers.

  13. Posted by anonymous

    I’m not sure if this was covered under “listing dates” but if you do an open house search in the public MLS there is a “DOM”, days on the market indicated on each listing.

  14. Posted by Ebayj

    Knowledge is power, and in something as huge as a home purchase at a price point in San Francisco, I’ll take all the knowledge I can get. Adam’s site is a huge service, and has been very valuable to me.

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