What You Need To Know About The New NAR MLS Rules & Policies

Three Major Changes

Disclosure of Buyer Agent Compensation - MLSs must include the listing broker’s offer of compensation for each active listing in MLS data feeds provided to participants and subscribers and must permit MLS participants or subscribers to share such information through IDX and VOW display or through any other form or format provided to clients and consumers. The information about the offer of compensation must be accompanied by a disclaimer stating that the offer is made only to participants of the MLS where the listing is filed.

Why this is important

Disclosure of the offer of compensation to buyer agents (including non-agency relationships defined by state law) will reinforce transparency for the clients and consumers working with MLS participants and subscribers in a real estate transaction.

Listing Broker Attribution in IDX and VOW - The updated rules will include language requiring the display of an email or phone number provided by the listing firm in addition to the current rule that requires the identification of the listing firm in a reasonably prominent location and in a readily visible color and typeface not smaller than the median used in the display of listing data.

Why this is important
Listing broker attribution with contact information could provide a more accurate representation to the public about the listing and improve the public’s ability to seek additional property details.

Services Advertised as “FREE” - MLS participants and subscribers must not represent that their brokerage services to a client or customer are free or available at no cost to their clients unless the participant or subscriber will receive no financial compensation from any source for those services.

Why this is important
While REALTORS® have always been required to advertise their services accurately and truthfully, and many REALTOR® services have no cost to the recipient, this change creates a bright-line rule on the use of the word “free” that is easy to follow and enforce. These benefits outweigh the fact that this bright-line may result in REALTORS® being unable to use the word “free” for some services they provide at no cost to the recipient.

We are waiting on guidance from NAR in order to implement some of these changes by the March 1st, 2022 deadline.

Rule & Policy Updates That We Currently Have Implemented

Allowing One Data Source - At the request of a participant, MLS must provide a single data feed for that Participant’s licensed uses to that participant’s designee. The designee may use the single data feed only to facilitate that participant’s licensed uses on behalf of that participant.

Why this is important

One data feed will create efficiencies for participants, and their designees when authorized to use MLS data for multiple purposes.

Providing a Brokerage Back Office Feed - “BBO Use” means the use of BBO Data by participant and subscribers affiliated with the participant for the purpose of broker management systems that display only to the participant or subscriber, CRM and transaction management tools that only exposes data to the participant, subscriber, and bona fide clients as established by state law, productivity and ranking tools and reports that only displays data to the participant and subscriber, and marketplace statistical analysis reports that are in conformance with NAR MLS Policy, which allows for certain public distribution.

BBO Use may only be made by participants and subscribers affiliated with the participant, except that at the request of a participant, MLS must provide BBO Data to that participant’s designee. The designee may use the BBO Data only to facilitate the BBO Use on behalf of that participant and its affiliated subscribers.

There is no option for participants to opt-out their listings from the Brokerage Back Office Feed Use as defined.

Why this is important
Today’s brokerage community utilizes many productivity tools, and proprietary reports and resources that call for enhanced access to and use of MLS data. This policy empowers participants with the information they need to better serve their clients and customers.

Prohibiting Filtering out of Listings - MLS participants and subscribers must not, and MLSs must not enable the ability to, filter out or restrict MLS listings that are searchable by and and displayed to consumers based on the level of compensation offered to the cooperating broker or the same of a brokerage or agent.

Why this is important

These changes reflect the recent developments in real estate brokerage services, evolving broker business models, and how online marketing and searching of listings have evolved.