Young girl sitting inside of a car and reading fine papers, looking frustrated.

One of the regular complaints from brokers and agents relate to rules and regulations. Sometimes the MLS users do not understand the rules and regulations because they are complex, change regularly, and are different across MLSs. Sometimes participants and subscribers blow off reading and learning the rules.

The real issue is that nobody likes to get cited for a fine any more than they want to get a ticket for speeding. But MLSs need rules to operate effectively. The MLS can only operate effectively to support cooperation and compensation if everyone is on the same page. Listings withheld, not entered timely, not entered correctly, or any number of other infractions diminish the quality of the MLS. It is like dying the death of a thousand cuts. Every rule infraction hurts the MLS.

Having a great fine strategy is key to every successful MLS. Rules are monitored in three ways. Many MLSs use CoreLogic’s Listing Data Checker product to automate the process of identifying rules infractions. In other markets, MLSs rely on other agents and brokers to identify rules infractions and report them to the MLS. Some markets hire staff to manually check for rules infractions. And remember, this is not only to manage compliance with data in the MLS, but also compliance with rules like IDX website display, advertising, etc. Rules and compliance management are enormously important to the effective MLS service.

Donate MLS Fines to Charity!

The California-based Bakersfield MLS and the Bakersfield Association of REALTORS® has an awesome fine policy. To me, it feels like the fines that are levied at Rotary meetings around the world. All of the money collected from agents and brokers for rules violations are given away to charity. I love this policy in so many ways. Giving fine revenue to charity creates trust and pureness of intent. The MLS has no vested interest in fining a person for an infraction. The MLS simply wants to enforce the rules and maintain compliance. Moreover, local charities benefit!

What broker or agent could be mad about a fine that goes to charity?