MLS Clear Cooperation Policy

NAR's MLS Director Rene Galicia leads a panel discussion covering the MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy, approved in November 2019 during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco.



Recommendation: To adopt the following policy as new MLS Statement 8.0, NAR Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy:

Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

[updated 11/11/19]

Rationale: Distribution of listing information and cooperation among MLS participants is pro-competitive and pro-consumer. By joining an MLS, participants agree to cooperate with other MLS participants except when such cooperation is not in their client's interests. This policy is intended to bolster cooperation and advance the positive, procompetitive impacts that cooperation fosters for consumers. The public marketing of a listing indicates that the MLS Participant has concluded that cooperation with other MLS participants is in their client’s interests.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why was this policy approved?

Brokers and MLSs from across the country asked NAR to consider policy that will reinforce the consumer benefits of cooperation. The MLS creates an efficient marketplace and reinforces the pro-competitive, pro-consumer benefits that REALTORS® have long sought to support. After months of discussion and consideration within NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board, this proposal was brought forth for the industry to discuss and consider, then approved by NAR's Board of Directors.

Who made the decision that this policy was needed?

NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board is made up of brokers and MLS executives from across the country. Two dozen volunteers review industry concerns from a wide range of business and regional viewpoints. Potential policy changes are discussed within the group to create a positive impact on the industry and to address broker needs within the marketplace. These proposals move on to the 130-person Multiple Listing Issues and Policies committee for consideration, and if approved, on to NAR’s 900 member board of directors for final ratification.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 require listings to be included in an MLS’s IDX displays?

No. While listings that are displayed on the Internet must be submitted to the MLS and distributed to other MLS participants for cooperation, submitting a listing for cooperation within the MLS does not necessarily require that listing to be included in an MLS’s IDX display, if the seller has opted out of all Internet display. Per MLS rules, participants can work with their listing clients to determine an appropriate marketing plan, taking into account the client’s needs and full disclosure of the benefits to market exposure.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 prohibit office exclusives?

No. "Office exclusive" listings are an important option for sellers concerned about privacy and wide exposure of their property being for sale. In an office exclusive listing, direct promotion of the listing between the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage, and one-to-one promotion between these licensees and their clients, is not considered public advertising.

Common examples include divorce situations and celebrity clients. It allows the listing broker to market a property among the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage. If office exclusive listings are displayed or advertised to the general public, however, those listings must also be submitted to the MLS for cooperation.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 require listings to be submitted to the MLS if they are advertised to a select group of brokers outside the listing broker's office?

Yes. "Private listing networks" that include more brokers or licensees than those affiliated with the listing brokerage constitute public advertising or display pursuant to Policy Statement 8.0. Listings shared in multi-brokerage networks by participants must be submitted to the MLS for cooperation.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 apply to non-active listings?

Yes. Policy Statement 8.0 applies to any listing that is or will be available for cooperation. Pursuant to Policy Statement 8.0, "coming soon" listings displayed or advertised to the public by a listing broker must be submitted to the MLS for cooperation with other participants. MLSs may enact "coming soon" rules providing for delays and restrictions on showings during a "coming soon" status period, ensuring flexibility in participants' listing and marketing abilities, while still meeting the participant's obligations for cooperation.

What if the listing isn’t ready to be shown? Are “Coming Soon” or “Delayed showing” listings allowed under Policy Statement 8.0?

The concept of “Coming Soon” and “Delayed Showing” can be achieved within the local MLS. Listings which are truly not yet ready to be shown can be shared with the MLS’s brokers and agents to create exposure while the property is being prepared for showing.

MLSs can also add clarity to the coming soon and delayed showing process by defining specific statuses and showing requirements if these listings are to be included in the MLS. The most common implementations do not allow for showings of the listing until its status is changed to active, and any showings of the listing would immediately trigger that status change.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 require a broker to turn in every listing to the MLS within 24 hours of signing the listing?

No. MLSs have different local rules as to listing turn-in times. If a listing is taken and is not yet ready to be marketed/shown, longer timelines for turn in may apply in local markets. If a listing is marketed to the public, however, Policy Statement 8.0’s 24 hour turn-in timeline goes into effect.

Has this kind of policy been implemented somewhere already?

Similar policies have been enacted in some marketplaces. MRED in Illinois has a similar policy in place. The organization has produced a white paper explaining the benefits to the marketplace.

Bright MLS on the Eastern seaboard has a similar policy in effect.

Northwest MLS in the Seattle area has had a policy disallowing the pre-marketing of properties since 2013. Its intent could be viewed as similar to Policy 8.0 in terms of encouraging greater participation and inventory within the MLS.

How can an MLS address compliance?

Compliance is up to local determination. The policies in the markets previously discussed usually include an escalating process of warnings and fines. Reporting of non-compliance is often taken care of by the marketplace. When listings are publicly marketed, agents and consumers become aware and can report unsubmitted listings by MLS participants to the MLS.

Does this policy affect commercial listings?

Residential real estate and commercial real estate are transacted with significant differences. This policy only affects residential real estate.

How will the new policy affect listings not yet available for showing and the calculations of “days on market?”

These are factors that can be determined locally. Brokers should discuss with their MLSs the desire to submit properties which are not yet ready for showings in the MLS. Brokers and MLSs should consider whether a new listing must immediately become active, whether a temporary "coming soon" or "no showings" status is allowed, and when "Days on Market" will begin in these scenarios.

Why was the time-frame within the recommendation updated to 'one business day'?

The MLS Tech and Emerging Issues Advisory Board held a conference call on October 30, 2019. Based on feedback and concerns over the time enforcement, the timeframe was changed from '24 hours' to 'one business day.'

What is the timeline for this Policy?

  • The Multiple Listing Issues & Policies Committee considered it on 11/9/19
  • The proposal passed out of that committee, and it was ratified by the BOD on 11/11/19
  • The policy is effective from January 1, 2020 with local implementation required by 5/1/2020

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