Basically, there are two types of multiple listing activities used by associations of REALTORS®. The essential characteristics of each may be summarized as follows:

  1. A multiple listing activity available for voluntary participation, but requiring members (principals) who participate to submit all listings of designated types of property, is termed “a mandatory listing service.”

    The mandatory service permits each REALTOR® to decide whether or not multiple listing is consistent with the REALTOR®’s method of doing business. If a decision is made to participate in the activity, however, then all listings covered by the rules are required to be submitted.
  2. A multiple listing activity available to all members (principals), but the submission of any listing is an option of the member; this is termed “a voluntary listing service.”

Note: Any multiple listing activity in which it is compulsory that all members of an association of REALTORS® participate and submit information on all designated types of listings would be in direct conflict with the National Association’s bylaws, Article I, Section 2, which bans the adoption by associations of REALTORS® of inequitable limitations on membership. On November 15, 1960, the Board of Directors of the National Association officially adopted the following interpretation: “A requirement to participate in a multiple listing service in order to gain or maintain REALTOR® membership is an inequitable limitation on membership.” I