The Real Estate Industry standard in the Yucatan is for a property to be promoted by multiple agents. This means that it is every agent for themselves and they are responsible for creating their own content for the listing, finding their owner clients and promoting the property themselves.
It would be a clear ethical violation for an agent to use another agents work to make a sale. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. Sometimes the agent takes it upon themselves to copy a listing of another agent. Or the seller, unfamiliar of the rules and ethics of the industry, gives the content of from an agent to the new listing agent. The seller might be the owner of the property for sale, but they do not have rights to the content an agent has created nor does the seller have the right to freely give permission for another agent to use the content.
All agents are responsible for taking their own photography. It is their choice to invest in professional equipment or to rely on their phones. A basic professional camera set up to do real estate for an agent cost around 40,000 pesos and up. This price would include the camera, lense and additional cost for software license and online hosting. Not including classes or time to learn how to properly take photos and use the software. When an agent decides to offer quality photos to their clients, both agents and sellers should respect the copyrights to these photos. Sellers do not the legal right give an agent permission to use another agent’s intellectual property.
For a seller, inconsistent photography by multiple agents could be give buyers a negative opinion of the house. The buyer sees one listing of the house with dark, poor quality images of the house and another listing of the same house with bight, impactful images of the house.
With inconsistent representation of a property, buyers begin to ask:
Which agent is representing the property correctly?
Is the house bright, or is it dark?
Is it a high end home well worth the price or an overpriced dump?
Different quality photography can create two different opinions for the same house. This confusion could scare off prospective buyers.
Sellers of higher end homes should research the listing agent before contacting them. Even if they have a good reputation, do you want them throwing up poorly taken photos on the internet giving buyers a negative opinion of your home?
One solution for a seller to have multiple agents equally representing the property is to pay for a professional photographer to photograph the house and supply the listing agents with photos. This guarantees the house will be represented correctly by all agents. The investment of professional photography is about 3,000 to 5,000 pesos.
The description that an agent writes for the listing is also copyrighted. Each agent should create their own content. Again, unethical for agents to copy the description of another agency. Obviously the listings will be similar, but it is not uncommon for an agent to take “copy and paste” route.
Agents should be making themselves stand out. It is a fair competition. Each have their own opportunity to promote the property. They should take the time to show their professional skills and write original content about the listing.
For sellers, they should ask to review the listing once it has been posted. Be sure all the agents are accurately representing the property. Most common inaccuracy in Merida real estate is location. Home is described to be only 2 blocks from La Ermita when in reality the home is 6 blocks from La Ermita or a property in San Crisanto is described to be only 20 minutes from Merida when it actually takes over an hour to drive from San Crisanto to Merida. Again little white lies or factual variations in the data of the home among the different agents can put off potential buyers.
The incorrect price is a common in many agents listings. They want to get the upper hand on their competition, so they lower the price. Maybe you mentioned your lowest offer, so they decide to change their ads. Or the exchange rate jumps the decide to use the high rate instead of the average rate. Irregular pricing of your property in the market can again dissuade interested parties. Be sure to regulate the advertised price and maybe even the exchange rate used on the international market.
Advertising is very important. List with agents who have a good marketing plan in place. Ask the agent how and where they advertise. It can frustrating to list with an agent who puts your property on their website and forgets about it. How is the agent going to create new interest after time has gone pass after listing the property?
Agents will be responsible for creating their own content and responsible for paying for the advertising. Paid advertising can be powerful tool in selling your home. So ask about what kind of advertisement plan is in place to get your home sold.
4. Pirating listings
Some agents, and normally the ones who are considered disreputable, will pirate entire listings. Typically these agents are blacklisted by the industry and are desperate for listings. Agents needs listings to attract buyers. Even if this agent has NO access to the home, they advertise the property with the stolen content. They attract an interested buy and when the client is in the agent’s car on their way to see the property, suddenly a problem with the showing. Now these clients have developed a professional rapport with the agent. This agent has used your home to secure the business of the buyer and now this agent has encouraged them to find interest in another property. A bait and switch tactic has been used and you as a seller has lost a a showing with an interested buyer.
Sellers should keep an eye out for agents advertising their property who do not have permission to represent the property. Just as a buyer should, seller should also ask for referrals from agents and investigate their reputation in the community.
Baiting by there agent also make buyers vulnerable to various scams that normally lead to having a deposit or retainer stolen.
Either outcome is a scam. Seller and buyers should consider that there is two parts to every scam. The scammer themselves and the enablers who willingly/unwillingly enable the scam to take place. Allowing these types of agents to promote a property enables them to run their scams. Take action if you see your property being advertised by someone you do not know.
4. Ethics with real estate content
Again about ethics. The Real Estate Industry and the clients it serves have to behave ethically with the intellectual property created by agents.
Sellers are even known to use agent created content for sale-by-owner advertisements. Again, very unethical.
An agent may spend a 1/2 day up to a full day to list a property. That time and investment should be respected. That respect should be demonstrated by the industry and the owners who rely on agents to sale their properties.
As an agent, I have to submit over a dozen complaints to competitors in 2019 for stealing content and have already submitted several complaints in 2020. This is a very common and unethical behavior in the industry.
Agents are either honest 100% of the time or they are never honest to begin with.
Thank you for reading my blog!
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