Editor's Note: A promotion of this article erroneously stated that listing brokers would be required to display compensation.They have the option of doing so, and MLSs must permit them to do so. We regret the error.
Aiming for greater transparency, the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors voted to adopt six policy recommendations from the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee. MLSs must now include the amount of compensation the listing broker is offering buyer’s agents on each active listing displayed on consumer-facing websites and in MLS data feeds. The changes also require MLSs to offer their participants a single data feed and a brokerage back-office data feed. Participants’ IDX displays must identify the listing firm and an email or phone number provided by the listing participant.
The changes prevent MLS participants from displaying that their brokerage services to a buyer client or customer are free unless the participant will receive no financial compensation from any source for those services. MLS participants also are not allowed to filter out or restrict listings that are searchable by consumers based on the level of compensation offered to the cooperating broker or the name of a brokerage or agent. MLSs cannot enable the ability to filter out listings on the basis of compensation or the name of a brokerage or agent. However, participants can still sort listings so their own appear first in the IDX displays on their own websites.
The changes come after nearly two years of debate among Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee members via virtual meetings, which culminated at in-person forums and committee meetings during the 2021 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego.
“We had a lot on our plate in San Diego,” said committee chair Jon Coile, who also is vice president of MLS and industry relations at Homeservices of America. “Regular committee business can be resolved on Zoom, but tough issues like these that really move the industry forward require debate, reflection, and thoughtful consideration over days. We persevered, and I’m proud of the accomplishments of the MLS committee and our staff.”
The adopted changes will take effect Jan. 1.
“This is another example of NAR constantly evolving to ensure pro-consumer, pro-competitive marketplaces for buyers, sellers, and brokers,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler. “NAR is proud to be affiliated with the hundreds of local broker marketplaces around the country and will continue to tirelessly pursue changes that improve the real estate experience for all Americans.”