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In a landslide vote, the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors approved the MLS Clear Cooperation Policy at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo this week, requiring brokers to enter listings into the MLS within one business day of marketing them publicly.

Clear Cooperation, also known as MLS Statement 8.0, centers on “Coming Soon” and “pocket” listings, as well as private listing networks, which can exclude homebuyers unfairly, according to policymakers. Importantly, it applies to out-of-office private listing networks, but not exclusive in-house listings.

The complete policy, as NAR outlines:

“Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. 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.”

According to NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board, which introduced the policy, the approval cements its commitment to equal opportunity. Ahead of the vote, however, brokers debated the proposal, with a common concern emerging pertaining to privacy.

“The [policy] still allows for private, office exclusive listings,” noted Sam DeBord, CEO of the Real Estate Standards Organization and NAR’s Liaison for MLS and Data Management, in a prior RISMedia story.

During a REALTORS® Conference & Expo session this week, HomeServices of America CEO Gino Blefari reiterated, “We should expose a seller’s property to as many buyers as possible.”

“We believe in consumer protection and transparency,” added Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX, at the session. “All of us in the industry need to get our act together and do the right thing for consumers.”

The Clear Cooperation Policy becomes effective Jan. 1, 2020, with a deadline for implementation in the MLS of May 1, 2020.

In addition to approving the MLS policy, the NAR Board of Directors approved a change in its Code of Ethics requirement, extending it to every three years, instead of two, after 2021. To maintain membership in NAR, the association mandates members participate in Code of Ethics training.

For continuing coverage of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, please visit RISMedia.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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