Minnesota Consumer Alert – Edina Realty

Consumer Alert – We found the following problems with Edina Realty’s listing practices contained in a 2011 listing contract provided to us (we appreciate a newer copy if you would like to send us one). This list is not meant to be comprehensive.

1.  Anti-consumer Marketing Practices. Edina Realty excluded most of their clients’ listings from Zillow.com, Trulia and Realtor.com (the top buyer frequented websites in the country) for three years. We believe they may still be doing this on many of their properties. This practice increases the chance that Edina Realty will collect a double fee while likely sacrificing their clients’ interests in selling their homes for the highest price and in the shortest time possible. Click here to watch a short video from the Today Show on How Not To Market Your Home Online.

Edina Realty includes the following boilerplate language in the listing contract we have:

2. Pocket Listings. This is the practice of intentionally withholding listings from all marketing websites, including the MLS. Agents may advise their sellers that it is a good idea to test market the property just within Edina Realty for a few weeks in order to gain information about the price and how well it shows. They may provide other reasons. However, it is rarely a good idea to intentionally limit the market exposure of a property – especially the most valuable asset a client is likely to own. We believe Edina Realty routinely engages in the practice of pocket listings and we highly recommend that you avoid this practice. Here is a short article about pocket listings: Pocket Listings.

3. Closing Services Notice is incomplete and self-serving (in our opinion). Title companies investigate and examine title and make extremely important closing decisions. They provide consumers with an incredibly important safeguard service. Edina Realty wants you to use their title company and persuades many people to pick their title company by causing them inconvenience if they do not. Instead of providing their clients with a list of impartial title firms and their fees, Edina Realty provides their clients with a choice that puts the onus on the client to go figure out how to compare title firms: pick Edina Title or go find your own title companies the only two choices. Does Edina Title rubber stamp deals so that Edina Realty can collect their commission? Is Edina Title looking the other way and saddling their clients with title defects? Are they capturing their clients and charging them more than other title companies? We do not know, but the conflict exists and we suggest that you do an internet search to compare Minnesota title companies and find one that is independent of affiliations. 

4.  Edina Realty Home Warranties are being sold to clients in the listing contract. Home warranty products are often cited as generating more consumer complaints than any other service product on Angies List and other respected resources. Yet Edina Realty pushes them in its listing contract because they collect a portion of the fee. Here are links to two stories in Angies List about home warranties: Why Home Warranties are No Guarantee and Home Warranties.

5.  Edina Realty claims a copyright on their clients’ listing data. By taking a copyright on your data this gives Edina Realty the right to sue third party websites that include your listing information on their websites. We believe this is wrong and that Edina Realty should be doing everything they can to make sure your listing data is widely marketed regardless if they are to get a double commission. Here is an older clause that we saw in their contract. 

6.  A mandatory Arbitration Clause designed to eliminate class action lawsuits and binds clients to arbitration even in claims of fraud. Extremely harmful to consumers:

7. Junk Fees.  Many real estate brokerages started charging junk fees on top of their enormous real estate commissions (we recommend to not agree to pay these). In comparison these fees don’t seem like much. But an extra $400 or more is a lot of money and Edina Realty charges both their buyer and seller clients approximately this much.