ORLANDO — A white paper introduced during a National Association of Realtors committee seeks to clear up the murky issues associated with properties that are "re-listed" by Realtors.

The practice of re-listing for-sale homes — or temporarily pulling them off of the market and then reintroducing them as "new" listings — has been a controversial topic in the industry, and the white paper offers guidance for Realtors’ conduct while not mandating any new policies.

ORLANDO — A white paper introduced during a National Association of Realtors conference seeks to clear up the murky issues associated with properties that are "re-listed" by Realtors.

The practice of re-listing for-sale homes — or temporarily pulling them off of the market and then reintroducing them as "new" listings — has been a controversial topic in the industry, and the white paper offers guidance for Realtors’ conduct while not mandating any new policies.

The paper notes that a "new listing" can have very different meanings for real estate professionals and consumers. Agents may refer to a home that they are working to sell as a "new listing" even if that home had previously been marketed by another agent but did not sell, for example, while consumers may view a new listing as a property that was offered for sale for the first time.

"In (a) broker’s mind, ‘listing’ means house and contract. But to buyers, ‘new listing’ likely suggests a house that’s just come onto the market," the paper states. "That can result in confusion and misunderstanding. And confusion and misunderstanding can mean trouble."

"Some multiple listing service participants have taken advantage of MLS rules and policies … to draw extra attention to properties listed with them," the paper also notes, and listing brokers and agents sometimes re-list the same properties multiple times, causing those properties to appear as "new" listings over and over.

In these cases, "While the listing contract is technically ‘new,’ " each time "the relationship between the seller and the listing broker is ongoing and continuous, and the listed property — in the eyes of reasonable consumers — is certainly not ‘new’ to the market."

The paper, presented during a Professional Standards Forum and accepted by a committee at NAR’s annual conference, reminds members that NAR’s Code of Ethics requires all members to be "honest and truthful in their real estate communications" and "present a true picture in their advertising, marketing and other representations."

Realtors can refer to re-listed properties as "back on market," "price reduced," "reintroducing" or "recently re-listed," the paper suggests, and MLSs can choose to adopt classifications other than "new" for the listings of properties and use database technologies to automatically prevent the same for-sale properties from being identified as "new."

None of the recommendations are "intended to restrict vigorous, innovative or creative methods of drawing attention to clients’ property," the paper also states, though "client advocacy and promotion of their property must be accomplished using methods that square with the Code (of Ethics)."

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