Proposed MLS Policy Would Ensure Brokers Receive Their Own Listing Data

May 8, 2020

A motion headed to the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors next week would require MLSs to provide brokers with their own listing data feeds when requested.

Most MLSs already provide the feeds, but a handful do not, which Council of Multiple Listing Services CEO Denee Evans attributes partly to lack of awareness. “There are so many [types of] feeds that exist – IDX, VOW, etc. But there’s no particular name for this feed.” As a result, she explains, some MLSs didn’t have any protocol set up to provide it.

CMLS represents more than 200 MLSs, ranging in size from 100 to 100,000 participants. Evans says the organization’s key priorities include shaping and promoting national MLS policy in concert with NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues & Policy Committee and being a partner to brokers and agents.

A national policy requiring MLSs to provide brokers with this data would “close a loophole” on an already widespread practice and ensure that brokers are able to get their own data back. “We’re solving broker pain points,” Evans says.

Without access to a feed of their own listings, brokers or their designees may have to manually enter the same data multiple times into their websites, marketing platforms, transaction management platforms, CRM databases, and other systems and reports.

In addition to creating efficiency, having listing information available in data feeds for any use allows brokers to seamlessly plug into new technologies and develop new ways of delivering services to consumers,” says Rene Galicia, NAR’s director of MLS engagement.  “The easier MLSs can make it for brokers, the easier it is for brokers to think outside of the box.”

There isn’t an obligation that MLSs provide any augmented or third-party data as part of these feeds, Galicia adds. “This is just about the brokers’ own data.”

For some small MLSs, however, there’s a concern that the requirement could be onerous, Galicia says. Processing and providing the feeds will add staff time and costs that may have to be passed on to member participants, Galicia says.

Here is the language of the motion that the NAR board will consider at its May 15 meeting:

A Multiple Listing Service must, upon request, promptly provide an MLS Participant (or the Participant’s designee) a data feed containing, at minimum, all active MLS listing content input into the MLS by or on behalf of the Participant and all of the Participant’s off-market listing content available in the MLS system. The delivery charges for the Participant’s listing content shall be reasonably related to the actual costs incurred by the MLS. The data feed must be in compliance with the RESO Standards as provided for in MLS Policy Statement 7.90.

Note: MLSs will not limit the use of the Participant’s listing content by the Participant or the Participant’s designee.

Should the motion pass as proposed, or in a different form, NAR will work closely with CMLS to create implementation best practice resources. The policy would be effective as of Jan. 1, 2021, though MLSs could implement it earlier if they choose.

The Board of Directors meeting caps this year’s virtual REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. The meeting will be closed to ensure the integrity of the online voting. However, many other sessions from the meeting are being streamed this week and next. To date, more than 16,000 members have registered to attend the free streaming sessions.