The member leadership of the National Association of REALTORS® will be considering a policy change related to MLS designed to eliminate pocket listings. The policy is 8.0 – called the Clear Cooperation policy. This topic was discussed in great detail at the 2019 Council of MLS meetings and met with widespread industry support.
A number of brokers have developed innovative platforms for sellers that fall under a commonly understood policy called Coming Soon that may be wiped out by this new policy change. This has many in the industry concerned about repercussions the 8.0 policy change could have for these coming soon programs.
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This is an absolute must do for the sake of the profession.
We all made promises when we joined our MLS and it is time we show some integrity and do what we have committed to each other as MLS participants.
This new policy should clear up the problems seen in our industry with the coming soon listings. It really seems like the coming soon has just really another form of pocket listings for firms and agents but a disadvantage for the general public and a misuse of the MLS.
I have been against “Coming Soon” as just a reckless nonsensical marketing ploy that can easily backfire on the agent with a less than loyal seller. It’s just plain gimmicky. It creates angst for some buyers and mistrust among some agents. As for “pocket listings”, it’s part of our industry. It has absolutely nothing to do with integrity which to suggest it is a cheap shot and screams envy toward those who may just be a little more in tune with their market and the needs of some principals. Some sellers may simply want your individual brand of service and not be involved with anyone else. That’s allowed in America at least for the time being… Your business is your business, no one else’s. No other broker or agent has any right to interfere with your broker principal relationship which is just what this type of regulation does. Just because you are a member of the MLS and follow the code of ethics does not mean you are obligated to provide proprietary information exchanged between the principal and the brokerage until the principal instructs the brokerage to do so. The principal is paying for a customized marketing service. If principal only wants limited service, that is what the principal should be allowed to receive. If seller wants a particular brokerage service but not be exposed to the proprietary data sharing monster today’s new idealistic industry has created, then it should be the principal’s choice. It’s a free market and a free society for everyone, for those who produce and for those working at it. It’s not a level playing field and this business is not right for everyone just because they passed a licensing exam. This new sense of entitlement to another broker’s work product is positively exhausting Free market and MLS membership doesn’t mean free ride or free access to proprietary broker/principal relationships. I am sick and tired of the NAR and FAR dictating policies that do nothing more than bite into the opportunity for hard working full time professionals to satisfy a customer’s needs and potentially get both sides of a transaction which more often than not, I suspect, might just be the goal of every hardworking agent who really is making their living in this industry. We are hired to do a job, not hired to make sure everyone has an equal chance at making a sale. If you hear of a pocket listing, pick up the phone and call the seller or your fellow agent and communicate your customer’s interest. If it’s not in the MLS it’s open season. We are still obligated as Realtors to abide by the code of ethics. Go out and find your own business. This type of micromanaging our industry will lead to more independent real estate sales groups popping up and marketing outlets that diminish the role of a provider of professional real estate services, ie; Realtors, in the buying and selling of real estate processes. It also encourages Thompson Listings and clearing house real estate services that minimize the need for a hands on real estate professionals. It’s time for Realtors to take a more conservative approach to the business of buying and selling real estate and focus on the importance of hiring a hands on professionals at the local level.
Actually, MLS membership does require that you share every listing in the MLS unless the seller agrees to an exclusive listing (and signs a document that the brokers in the MLS have agreed to). The MLS agreement between brokers is a mutual agreement for 100% sharing. If you have a listing that is going to be advertised, it must be added to the MLS.
Coming Soon listings are a bit different and it is a common practice in many areas around the country. There are times when the agent and seller have agreed to do some work on the house. Between the time when the listing agreement is signed and the work is complete, the listing is communicated as Coming Soon status in the MLS. This is only allowable in markets were the MLS has added a coming soon policy to allow the listing to be added into the MLS, but not as an active listing.
Thanks for clarifying, and since our MLS does offer Coming Soon status, I can say we have used this precisely when a home needs work and it may take up to 21 days to get the work done and make it safe for showings. It’s very useful as agents and the public can drive by and take in the setting before deciding if they wish to see inside and make offers. We have also seen this abused, with one agent putting Coming Soon on his signs, but not adding it to MLS.. This clearly is designed to get direct calls without competition from Buyer’s Agents in the market.
Coming Soon is certainly not perfect – but to outlaw it in markets that does not have a program might anger many firms who deliver these services to consumers. I am all for 8.0 as long as a market has coming soon that meets the needs of brokers in the markets that provide these services today.
So, what do members think of the PLS – Private Listing Service which some associations have come up with to list 1) Celebrity Homes, and 2) occupied foreclosures where tenants block or don’t cooperate with showings? In our market, an uncooperative resident, and even a celebrity situation can be handled under Showing Instructions where “Appointment Only” is one option, and “Call Listing Agent” is another. We’ve had properties that are in such bad shape that no one can safely view all parts of the property, but all these situations can be handled via notes and then personal conversations between the listing agent and potential buyer’s agent and their client. If an MLS membership votes to create a Private Listing Service I suggest they had be prepared for a Justice Dept inquiry on why it is not meant to block certain segments of the public from viewing the home. I think listing notes are more productive. As in commercial real estate, a requirement can be ” must submit financial information before showing” to prevent wanna be lookers from trying to get inside a celebrity home which they can not afford but simply want to get inside. Coming Soon – is good; Pocket Listings – not so, in my humble opinion