HOUSTON – The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has approved a policy that would essentially put an end to "pocket listings," the practice of promoting real estate listings without posting them on a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for the public to see.
The new rule requires agents who sell through MLSs to submit their listing to the service within one business day of marketing the property to the public, whether that’s with a sign in the yard, an email blast, or through a Facebook post.
The rule change was overwhelmingly approved by the association’s board during its annual conference in San Francisco last weekend.
The rule goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, but MLSs will have until May 1 to fully adopt the policy.
Currently, some MLSs across the country compile listings on their public-facing websites that allow agents to promote properties as "coming soon" before they are ready to show or sell.
The policy does not prohibit agents from taking office-exclusive listings, those that are shared within a particular agency. But once a listing broker advertises a property outside their brokerage firm, it must be on the MLS the following day.
Penalties are to be defined by each local association. For example, the fine in the Washington, D.C. area, which implemented a similar policy last month, is $5,000.
While some say the policy is a victory for consumers, opponents of the NAR rule argued sellers should have a choice in how they market their home.
Estimates show as many as 10 percent of listings nationwide are pocket listings.
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