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NAR Just Made a Ruling that Consumers Should Understand

Consumers of real estate services may not know their options. 

Click here to read a recent article in Inman, an industry trade publication. 

The article states a recent ruling made by the National Association of Realtors, our governing body, whose mission is to assist its members in "becoming more profitable and successful."  The ruling is known as the Clear Cooperation Policy, which will require listing brokers to submit a listing to the multiple listing service within one business day of marketing a property to the public.

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. 

How will this change the way we do business? It shouldn't change things drastically. Right now, if a seller doesn't want their property listed in the MLS that is their choice and the Realtor must abide. However if this is the seller's decision, under the new rule the listing cannot be marketed to the public if it's not marketed in MLS. The best example I can think of is the "Coming Soon" sign. So, if you want to put a "Coming Soon" sign out that is fine, but the listing must now be in MLS within one business day of the sign going in the yard. 

Why? NAR board members took the position that if the property is not in MLS but being marketed in other ways then the listing agent may not be meeting their fiduciary responsibility to their client because, for example: what if the sign is in the yard and an offer comes in. And the seller accepts the offer. But the property was not fully vetted by the public. How can the listing agent assure the seller that this offer was the highest and best terms? Only with maximum exposure can they be sure. 

The opposing position is, what if a client wants privacy and therefore wishes to not list in MLS. This is fine. And it's also fine to market within a firm, an exclusive, if this is what the seller wants and understands it's not a public offering. But in this case it can't be marketed to the public, in the ways described above, without being marketed in MLS. 

The privacy concern seems a non-issue since there are public deeds, tax records, Google Maps, etc. and the MLS will not provide any additional information about the owner and location than what's already deemed public. 

As a consumer, you need to know what your options are and what your broker intends to do as a Fiduciary. Not to mention there is the option of the broker NOT being a Fiduciary.

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