Risks in private Facebook groups (social media groups) comprised of real estate professionals from different brokerages/companies:
1. NEVER discuss commissions, compensation, setting a “standard” commission, setting a “standard” referral fee, business practices, not working with some real estate professional…all of these can get you sued and facing federal ANTITRUST issues.
No conspiring to PRICE FIX or BOYCOTT. ANTITRUST RISKS!
Remember, make your own private brokerage business decisions, do not discuss business decisions with people outside your brokerage, and all money issues are market priced set by negotiation and never a “standard” amount discussed by competitors.
2. NEVER discuss other real estate professionals in a negative way. This can get you facing NAR ethics issues (Article 16) and or sued. While truth is a defense, truth is difficult to prove in an ethics hearing or slander/libel lawsuit. Best to follow grandma’s advice “If you cannot say something nice about someone, don’t say anything about them.”
3. NEVER violate FAIR HOUSING. New MLS rules combatting “coming soon” abuses were designed in part to combat the fair housing issues with “coming soon” where certain protected classes never were given an opportunity to buy the property. MLS and feed websites provide more information and greater opportunity to a wide range of consumers.
In most cases, wide public marketing via MLS and feed websites can be in the seller’s best interests, possibly resulting in shorter days on the market and better terms and higher sales price for most sellers.
The US Department of Justice which enforces ANTITRUST laws has demonstrated that they believe wide public marketing and fair competition benefit consumers.
4. NEVER post other people’s intellectual property (e.g., photos, listing content) without written authority from the intellectual property’s copyright holder.
If you see such comments or posts in a private Facebook group (or any social media) that you are a member, alert the administrator…consider reminding everyone of these issues…and make a noisy withdrawal from the group.
If you are an administrator of such a group, consider incorporating these issues into your group’s rules and enforcing them.
Contact the SCR legal hotline with questions at (803) 772-5206. or firstname.lastname@example.org.