A brokerage cut off from its MLS is like an office left dark by a lightning storm -- powerless until plugged back in. But the typical real estate office presumably doesn't operate in fear of an MLS blackout. The country's 800-plus MLSs, where brokers exchange property details and hat-tip one another in the spirit of competitive cooperation, pump the lifeblood driving movement in real estate deals. Bryn Kaufman So when principal broker of OahuRE.com, Bryn Kaufman, received a certified letter from the Honolulu Board of Realtors' (HBR) HiCentral MLS (HCMLS) stating that his firm had outstanding fees and, gone unpaid, would result in suspension of services, he was surprised by two things: the potential penalty and the short notice. "My first thought was, oh my god, this is like working with the mafia," he said. Timeline of billing, payment and notification The best things in business aren't free. Everyone who uses the MLS pays a fee to gain access, including a...
- It's not uncommon for local MLS policy to hold brokers accountable for any agents with outstanding fees, with MLS suspension as a consequence.
- The local boards create MLS payment and suspension bylaws, which are approved by NAR.
- HiCentral MLS (a subsidiary of the Honolulu Board of Realtors) sends initial subscription renewal notices 30 days before payment and reminders along the way. After 45 days, a single late subscriber payment can result in MLS suspension.
- To avoid losing MLS access, brokers can keep track of agent payments and, when online records are available, confirm them on their MLS member website when yearly dues come around.