Before NAR members debate a controversial pocket listing policy Saturday, the trade group addressed some common questions gathered by MLS executives.

SAN FRANCISCO — Before members of the National Association of Realtors debate a controversial pocket listing policy Saturday morning, the trade group addressed some common questions gathered by multiple listing service executives.

Rene Galicia, NAR’s director of MLS engagement, spoke at the MLS Association Executives Session of the Realtors Conference & Expo Friday afternoon on the Clear Cooperation Policy, which would require listing brokers to submit a listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing a property to the public. Session Chair Shelley Specchio and Vice Chair Kathy Condon lead the discussion.

Q: Does the proposed policy affect current MLS rules on mandatory submission of listings?

A: No, the policy is not a ban on any existing policy, according to Galicia. Under current NAR policy, once a broker takes a listing, the broker has a period of time — typically 48 hours or one or two business days — to deliver a listing to the MLS.  If the seller has instructed the listing broker not to submit the listing to the MLS, then the MLS can require the filing of a certification with the MLS. The proposed policy won’t change this, but rather will lay “on top” of those requirements, Galicia said.

Q: Why did the MLS advisory board that came up with the proposal decide to change the time frame for submitting a listing to the MLS from 24 hours to one business day?

A: There were concerns about the potential for delays at particular brokerages if there is a specific person that submits listings to the MLS on behalf of an office, according to Galicia. That person may not work over the weekend.

Q: What constitutes public marketing?

A: “Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital [c]ommunications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public,” NAR said on a web page about the proposal.

Q: Does the policy prohibit brokers from taking “office exclusives” (listings solely marketed within a brokerage)?

A. No. Celebrities or other high-profile clients may want the privacy offered by an office exclusive — but “public marketing is not an aspect of an office exclusive,” Galicia said.

Q: Does this policy benefit larger brokerages over smaller brokerages?

A: “The MLS is pro-competitive and pro-consumer. It’s [a] neutral marketplace” where a brokerage’s particular business model does not matter, Galicia said. “This just reinforces the fact that putting the property into the MLS really serves not only participants but the marketplace in general.”

Q: Will the policy prevent a seller from opting out of displaying their property on the internet via IDX or VOW?

A: No, “a seller can still provide that instruction to the broker not to share their listing on the internet,” Galicia said. “If it is shared on the internet, though, then that opens it up to the public market.”

Q: Does this policy limit seller choice?

A: Specchio said, “I’ve been wracking my mind trying to figure out … what would possibly be a reason that a seller would want to list with a Realtor, withhold from the MLS and then advertise it across the world outside of the MLS. The only thing I can come up with was just lack of information.” She said she would want NAR to help members articulate what happens when you put your listing into the MLS and the benefit of that.

She presented a promotional flier that NAR just created touting the benefits of the MLS:

Q: What if a seller doesn’t want to offer compensation?

A: “There’s no requirement of how much compensation is offered,” Galicia said. “You can put in as little as $1.”

Q: How does the policy impact commercial listings?

A: It doesn’t. It only impacts listings subject to mandatory submission requirements and commercial listings are not included in that category, Galicia said.

Q: What will be the impact on “Coming Soon” or “Delayed Showings” listing statuses that some MLSs have adopted?

A: “This policy is not inconsistent with those statuses,” Galicia said. “In fact, if you really look at what a coming soon is, a delayed showing, it really is more of a showing instruction.”

Q: Would the policy be mandatory for MLSs or optional?

A: Mandatory.

Q: Why did the Council of MLSs (CMLS) suggest delaying the implementation deadline to May 1, 2020?

A: To allow an MLS’s governing bodies time to make modifications to their rule set and potentially work with an MLS system vendor to implement a Coming Soon or Delayed Showings status, if they haven’t already, according to Galicia.

Q: Will this have any impact on auction listings?

A: There is no exception for auction listings, Galicia said. If an MLS currently requires submission to the MLS, the new policy would apply.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.
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