A newly proposed rule from the National Association of Realtors would require agents to post “coming soon” listings to the MLS within 24 hours if the listing is publicly advertised.

The proposal would seem to create a special category of listing that would be visible to MLS members, but not available to the buying public via IDX or VOW.

The change would significantly erode the listing agent’s upper hand in marketing listings to a limited audience solely for their advantage, a potential anti-trust concern. Under the MLS Cooperation Proposal the listing agent would be required to post the listing to the MLS and offer cooperation within 24 hours of marketing the property publicly.

The MLS Roundatable recently listed non-MLS marketing as two of the biggest challenges facing MLSs nationwide:

  • the persistent, and increasing, presence of off-MLS home marketing as a top reason why MLS are struggling to maintain relevance.
  • a proliferating large broker strategy of marketing homes exclusively on company websites before marketing in the MLS.

NAR is expected to discuss the policy further at Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee meeting in San Francisco this November.

Below is the language of the proposed rule.

That the following policy be adopted in the NAR Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy as new MLS Statement 8.0:

Within 24 hours 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 (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

Rationale: Distribution of listing information and cooperation among MLS participants is pro-competitive and pro-consumer. By joining an MLS, participants agree to cooperate with other MLS participants except when such cooperation is not in their client’s interests. The public marketing of a listing indicates that the MLS Participant has concluded that cooperation with other MLS participants is in their client’s interests. This policy is intended to bolster cooperation and advance the positive, procompetitive impacts that cooperation fosters for consumers.