Open Letter to ARMLS

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentDear Bob Bemis, Gary Cumiskey, et al.:

Two days ago I attended one of your focus groups on how ARMLS can improve. Since I have a blog I was in the technogeek focus group, which often left me searching for a dictionary because I don’t have a background in technology. I’m good with Dreamweaver, very light HTML and I can manipulate WordPress. But most discussions about API is TMI as far as I’m concerned.

Most of the suggestions that came from the group dealt with opening up the technology to allow other vendors to come in and provide their service. IDX was a big thing.

But my one suggestion … nay, plea … only tangentially relates to technology because we’re lying to the consumer who searches for real estate online.

Get the short sales out of the MLS. Or, if nothing else, shunt the short sales into their own category. Call it “Fantasyland Real Estate” or “Mythical List Prices” or whatever you choose.

Save the consumer from wasting their time looking at homes where the list price is $100,000 less than what actually is owed at the home – unless, of course, the seller can bring in cash to cover the difference.

Save agents like me from having to explain that what the public is seeing doesn’t really exist; that they’re looking at a bait and switch approved and endorsed by the Arizona Regional MLS.

The public doesn’t have the “Lender/Corp Approval” filter and it doesn’t really work anyway. It eliminates the short sales but also removes all of the corporate and bank-owned homes. Those homes actually are listed at real list prices, though, and shouldn’t be in the same grouping.

Please, Bob and Gary. Make this change. Do it yesterday.

And then we’ll talk about time shares.


Jonathan Dalton and Tobey

[tags]ARMLS, short sales[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Bob Bemis 10 years ago

    Your points are ringing loudly in the ARMLS community. We have been wrestling for some time with how to handle short sales. Gary Cumiskey, ARMLS president, appointed a task force to recommend changes to the ARMLS board and I expect they will report at our January meeting.

    Besides the excellent point you make about exposing short sale listings to the public, the board is also considering how the lender review process should affect the status of a listing. In a listing where both the buyer and seller have agreed to terms, but where the lender must approve those terms (despite not being a party to the purchase contract), should that listing be in an Active status, or AWC (Active With Contract)? There are strong, persuasive arguments on both sides.

    The other major contention point deals with broker commissions paid in such a deal. Often the lender, as part of the review and approval process, will ask that the agents adjust their commissions, but our rules currently do not allow for such a change AFTER a contract has been submitted (such negotiation can be done only before the offer is written).

    Look for notice on the and TEMPO sign-on screens when the board makes the decisions. We will try to get the word out to everyone as quickly as possible.

    Bob Bemis, CEO

  • Bob Bemis 10 years ago

    By the way, the focus group (one of many we did this week as part of a larger strategic planning exercise) was composed of not just “technogeeks” but more importantly BLOGGERS, and there were many who participated (and we THANK YOU heartily for giving us your valuable time). I firmly believe that we have just seen the tip of the iceberg that is the social networking phenomenon. I don’t think we even vaguely understand the monumental impact that blogging, YouTube, Facebook, My Space, Twitter (I can’t keep up with all of them) will have on how we conduct the business of real estate. As you and the other bloggers in our area have already shown, this tool alone can rocket you to the top of the search engines and generate much more business than any other web based prospecting method yet developed. I applaud all the bloggers for pioneering the trail and look forward to your input as we build the next generation of tools and services that will allow ARMLS to better serve your needs and the needs of all our agents and brokers. Thanks for your help.
    Bob Bemis, CEO

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    Great stuff all around, Bob … and trust me, the room was filled with technogeeks. Well, and also Dru Bloomfield. 🙂

    I’d vote for AWC on the first issue but that’s just me. In general, though, there ought to be a degree of truth in the list price. Some are unhappy with range pricing as it appears here (rarely) and elsewhere but this strikes me as a larger problem.

    Thanks for the information and for taking the lead on this!

  • Cindi Lene 10 years ago

    I put an offer in on a house for a buyer. there were two Muliples They bank took the other offer and wants it still marketed on MLS until it closes? They do not want it in Pending status.
    My buyer doesn’t understand Will the banks finally get what they want to get into the Real Estate Businiss>>>and Is the bank more powerful than MLS????Cindi

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    Here’s my two cents, Cindi …

    It’s not up the bank to decide how the property stays in the MLS. Unless it’s bank-owned, the listing agreement is between the broker and the seller and the broker is bound by MLS rules.

    Is the bank going to pay the fine when I hit the rat button to report the home being listed as Active when there’s an accepted offer? I doubt it.

  • Jay Thompson 10 years ago


    Another thing that needs to stop yesterday is the ridiculous practice of listing a home at $1 (or $150,000 on a $400K home) with the note “this is an auction” type of thing. You know damn well the seller isn’t even going to consider 150K, so why is the home listed that way? It’s deceitful and bait & switch practice and it needs to cease and desist.

    And don’t get me started on time shares. Do you know how many calls I get about “the $12,000 Scottsdale condo”? Why time shares are grouped with SFH resales boggles the mind.

    As for MLS status for short sales under lender review, I’d go with AWC also. Better yet would be “ALA” (Active in Lender Approval). There are enough happening to warrant their own category…