BrokerageIndustry News

MLS changes tune on Web display of real estate listings

Metro MLS of Wisconsin withdraws 'exclusive agency' rule

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Metro Multiple Listing Service, based in Wauwatosa, Wis., has withdrawn a policy that blocked some property listings from display on popular property-search Web sites such as and, among others. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week that federal regulators contacted MLS officials earlier this year to inquire about the group's policy for exclusive agency listings -- a type of contract in which a seller can seek out a buyer without assistance from the agent. Also, exclusive agency listings provide that the seller is not obligated to pay the agent if the seller personally locates a buyer for the property. "We decided we didn't want to take on the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)," Peter Shuttleworth, executive vice president for Metro MLS, told the Journal Sentinel. On Oct. 12 the FTC announced a nationwide real estate "sweep" that included two lawsuits and five other actions against MLSs related to similar exclusive agency listings policies. While Metro...