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Guiding Principle: To empower REALTOR® MLSs, brokers, and agents with a modern service structure that recognizes evolving business needs in the real estate industry, provides flexibility in light of emerging technology and workplace trends, and encourages value-driven competition among MLSs.

How it works today: Current policy utilizes REALTOR® association jurisdictional boundaries as a basis for assessment of MLS fees. Presently, MLSs have discretionary authority to assess MLS fees based on all offices of a participating firm located within the territorial jurisdiction of the association (or associations) that owns and operates the MLS. This policy was adopted in 2002 after several MLSs expressed concern that a rule prohibiting such assessment was overly-broad and unnecessarily restrictive of their ability to require, as a matter of local determination, participation by all branch offices within their jurisdiction.

How it could work tomorrow: The idea is to empower brokers and agents with a nimble MLS service structure that allows for innovation and competition amongst MLSs. The new concept would allow agents a choice in subscribing to any MLS in which their broker is a participant, and it would require MLSs to only assess Brokers a fee based on their affiliated licensees who chose to subscribe to the MLS. However, MLSs will have the discretion to assess fees to agents affiliated with a participating office jurisdiction, if those agents have not subscribed to another REALTOR® MLS. This would result in a value-driven service structure that encourages competition amongst MLSs, responds to the evolving business needs and varied structures of brokerage firms, and, therefore, is in the best interest of brokers and their affiliated agents.

The Fundamentals:

With brokers and agents serving increasingly expanded markets, and cloud based (or similar) business models gaining traction, it is prudent to reevaluate MLSs service structures to best meet the needs and interests of brokers and agents

The new concept would allow licensees in an office to be assessed per MLS they opt into and would not allow MLSs to charge all offices within the shareholder association’s jurisdiction, which can result in brokers and agents being assessed for services they do not use

Licensees under a broker must belong to a REALTOR® association MLS in which their broker is a participant.

Topics for discussion:

What challenges does this concept place on MLS administration and operations?

How do MLSs overcome the unintended consequence of unauthorized access to MLS by licensees that do not subscribe to the service but are affiliated with a Broker who is an MLS Participant?  Are there technological solutions to prevent the misuse of MLS information?

What impact will this have on an MLSs ability to provide cost-effective services?

Provide your feedback: You can share your thoughts about this new concept at

Reference: Multiple Listing Policy Statement 7.42