The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is proposing a series of changes to its multiple listing services (MLS) in the new year, according to recent reports.
NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board passed a bundle of motions focused on sprucing up the transparency and functionality of its association-operated MLS for participants and subscribers.
“The advisory board moved forward with these recommendations because we think they ensure that MLSs are up-to-date with advancements in technology and consumer preference, operate with transparency and maintain policies that make the consumer experience better,” said Greg Zadel, chair of the advisory board in a statement following the committee’s Sept. 9 – 10 meeting.
If accepted by the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee and NAR Board of Directors in November, the policies will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and MLSs will have until Mar. 1 to adopt the changes locally, according to NAR reports.
Zadel, who is also the broker/owner of Zadel Realty in Firestone, Colorado, suggested the proposed policies would serve the interest of consumers while also strengthening NAR policies and its code of ethics.
Based on the list of recommendations, the advisory board wants to eliminate filtering features that show MLS listings based on the level of compensation offered to the cooperating broker or by the name of a brokerage or agent.
The advisory board recommended amending the language in the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) policy and the Virtual Office Website (VOW) policy to make it consistent with the prohibition on filtering and restricting MLS listings.
Another motion would restrict MLS participants and subscribers from advertising their services to buyers and sellers as “free,” according to the list of recommendations.
“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,” read an excerpt from the advisory board’s recommendation list.
Along with improving transparency, the advisory board recommended a batch of best practices for the MLS Standards Work Group that it claimed could “deliver a higher level of service and engagement with MLS participants and subscribers.”
The suggested best practices include:
– Disciplining participants who violate MLS rules
– Informing participants about the data feeds and technical support available to them and their vendors on the MLS site
– Sharing aggregated data with state associations and NAR for statistical and advocacy purposes
– Clarifying MLS officers’ and directors’ fiduciary duty
– Developing an annual MLS strategic plan with specific consideration to leadership training, partnerships, technology, participant outreach, financial independence, diversity, equity and inclusion
The group also suggested creating a written plan with a timeline and cost estimate for complying with the Real Estate Standards Organization’s (RESO’s) Data Dictionary by July 2022.
Other recommendations included adding listing broker attribution in the IDX and VOW policies and requiring MLSs to offer participants or their designees a single data feed and a brokerage back-office feed.
The list of potential changes could grow as the advisory board prepares for another meeting in October.
The MLS Issues and Policies Committee and NAR Board of Directors are set to vote on the policies on Nov. 13 and 15, respectively, during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo.
Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email him your real estate news to [email protected].