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National Association of Realtors takes aim at Pocket Listings

By Thomas C. Schultheis
2019 President 
Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® 

The National Association of Realtors’ Board of Directors approved Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation policy, at a meeting this week. The policy requires listing brokers who are participants in a multiple listing service to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public.

NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board proposed the policy as a way to address the growing use of off-MLS listings. The advisory board concluded that leaving listings outside of the broader marketplace excludes consumers, undermining Realtors’ commitment to provide equal opportunity to all. The policy doesn’t prohibit brokers from taking office-exclusive listings, nor does it impede brokers’ ability to meet their clients’ privacy needs. MLSs have until May 1, 2020, to adopt the policy. 

The full text of MLS Statement 8.0 reads:

Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays, digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

As one can imagine,  this rule will come as a shock for certain markets.  While the intent behind this change is honorable, there will be growing pains for markets around the country that utilize pocket listings or feel it is actually in their client’s best interest to market in a manner inconsistent with this ruling.

Local MLS providers will have some discretion on how to enforce and manage this new rule in an effort to find a balance between supporting differing business practices within the industry and ensuring that our clients are being represented professionally and fairly.  
The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors urges you to contact your Realtor to learn more about this new rule.

Thomas C. Schultheis is a Santa Barbara native and a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. In addition to his work on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Thomas holds a Broker’s license and additional designations. Thomas lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and their two-year old son. He can be reached at 729-2802 or SBRealtorTom@gmail.com

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