NAR Adopts Changes to MLS Policy

By Kim Shindle | Nov. 23, 2021 | 3 min. read

The National Association of Realtors® adopted changes to its local Multiple Listing Service Policy that reinforce greater transparency for consumers last week at its annual meeting in San Diego. The changes ensure disclosure of compensation offered to buyer agents, ensure listings are not excluded from search results based on the amount of compensation offered to buyer agents and reinforce that buyer brokers do not represent their services as free. The changes take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

“Grounded in our commitment to act in the best interests of buyers and sellers, we regularly review and update our guidance for local broker marketplaces to continue to advance efficient, equitable and transparent practices,” said NAR 2021 President Charlie Oppler. “These latest changes more explicitly state what is already the spirit and intent of the NAR Code of Ethics and local broker marketplace guidance regarding consumer transparency and broker participation.”

Pro-consumer changes adopted include:

  • Reinforce that local marketplace participants do not represent brokerage services as free. While Realtors® always have been required to advertise their services accurately and truthfully, this change creates a bright line rule on the use of the word “free” that is easy to follow and enforce. (There was also a similar change made in the Code of Ethics, to Standard of Practice 12-8.)
  • Ensure disclosure of compensation offered to buyer agents. The change bolsters transparency and Realtors®’ existing duties and practices to talk with their clients about what services they provide and how they are compensated.
  • Ensure listings aren’t excluded from search results based on the amount of compensation offered to buyer agents. This changes wording to reiterate Realtors®’ existing duty to inform clients about all relevant properties meeting their criteria.

“This is another example of NAR constantly evolving to ensure pro-consumer, pro-competitive marketplaces for buyers and sellers and brokers,” Oppler continued. “NAR is proud to be affiliated with the hundreds of local broker marketplaces around the country and will continue to tirelessly pursue changes that improve the real estate experience for all Americans.”

In addition to these changes, the committee approved two new policies about MLS data feeds to brokers and agents, as well as a change to the IDX and VOW rules about listing attribution. Under the new IDX rules, a participant’s display will need to include both the name of the listing broker and an email or phone number for the listing agent “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.”

Read more about the changes at: Additional details on the implementation of all of these changes will come from your local MLS as rules and policies are updated over the next several months.

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