The New York Times reported today a rise in fake or “ghost” listings created by real estate professionals to capture new leads.

The trend has been around for quite some time now, I remember being victim to exactly the same thing when I went to look for my apartment. Seems like the second the real estate person answered the phone they knew it was me calling again for a 3-bedroom rental in my search area. I always had a feeling its because we have two young children in my household that it was happening but it seems like I was wrong.

 “Of course this happens, the bait-and-switch,” said Nikki Field, a longtime broker with Sotheby’s International Realty. “Brokers are looking for all ways possible to pull in clients.” [1]

The call-to-action is apparent, a national MLS? Uniformed listing code? No way. These listings will go on forever even though they are more apparent in less expensive categories (under $1million) and in rentals. The site with the worst oversight was listed as CraigsList as there is no one actually monitoring the status of anyones listings.