MLS Proposal Heads to NAR’s Board of Directors

November 10, 2019

NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee set the stage Saturday for an NAR Board of Directors vote on proposed MLS Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation policy.

The policy addresses issues surrounding the growing use of off-MLS listings. It would require listing brokers who are participants in an MLS to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public. It was approved by a voice vote of the committee; NAR’s Board of Directors will hear and vote on the proposal at its Monday meeting.

In a standing-room-only forum that preceded the vote, a panel representing NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board discussed the proposal, addressing a wide range of questions and concerns. Panel members included Sam DeBord, CEO of the Real Estate Standards Organization and NAR’s president’s liaison for MLS & Data Management; Jon Colie, vice president of MLS and industry relations for HomeServices of America and current chairman of the board for Mid-Atlantic regional Bright MLS; and Rebecca Jensen, president and CEO of Midwest regional MLS MRED. Bright and MRED are two of several MLSs around the country that already have a similar rule in place.

The panelists said MLS Statement 8.0 would not prohibit brokers from taking office-exclusive listings, nor would it impede their ability to meet clients’ privacy needs. It would simply ensure that all buyers have fair access to the full range of residential listings. Learn more about the policy and rationale for it.

“NAR doesn’t want to overly regulate,” said Coile. The policy wouldn’t eliminate private-office exclusives, “coming soon” listings, or even pocket listings, he said. Instead, it would address what he called “hybrids, meaning, ‘We’re marketing it everywhere except MLS.’ 8.0 eliminates the hybrid.”

Bill Lublin, broker-owner of Century 21 Philadelphia and a former chair of the committee, was among the majority of forum attendees who spoke in favor of the proposal, calling it a critical step in preserving cooperation in an increasingly fractionalized environment. “There’s no fractionalized market that is not exclusive, and that is not who we are,” Lublin said in a direct appeal to the committee prior to its vote. “I have had the honor of teaching real estate in many countries. They would open a vein to have the MLS that you are here to protect today.”

If NAR’s board of directors approves MLS Statement 8.0 without additional amendments, the policy must be adopted by all MLSs no later than May 1, 2020.