To address membership concerns over the abuse of the “MLS Waiver of Benefits” form enabling “Coming Soon” listings to be marketed prior to being input into the MLS the Spokane Association of Realtors MLS Steering committee revisited the exempt listing policy required by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

NAR requires Realtor owned MLS’s to have a policy that allows sellers to opt out of participating thereby not listing their property in the MLS but marketing it for sale.  The reasons for this could be due to privacy issues such as celebrity status, domestic violence or other preferences for anonymity.  The original MLS Waiver of Benefits form required the seller to acknowledge the lack of exposure to the market but ultimately allowed them to publicly market the property until such time it was listed it on the MLS.

This dynamic was used by many agents to market listings for days or weeks before exposing the property to the MLS in an effort to gain an advantage in the marketplace.  The consequences of these actions were felt by consumers and members.  Frustration by both on the lack of information available was causing complaints to the MLS.  At this time about 20% of the listings available had a Waiver of Benefits form submitted to the Association.

The MLS Steering committee addressed the issue by submitting a proposed policy change to NAR which required several revisions between local and national counsel before being accepted.  The final policy adopted changed the timeline of “Exempt Listings” to have a 90 day moratorium before they could be listed on the MLS.  The existing rule that properties must be listed on the MLS within one day of being publicly marketed was more clearly defined to include social media and other online mediums.   Also, the status of Active-No Show was added to the list of Active sub-statuses to allow for those sellers who want market exposure but aren’t ready for showings.  The first offense of not having a property listed on the MLS within one day is $1,500 and graduates with every repeat offense.

The result of this policy change decreased the exempt listings from between 300-400 to less than ten including Active -No Show status.  The membership feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.   Our clients can now count on maximum exposure of their listings to the marketplace insuring the maximum sales price!

Eric Johnson MLS Steering Chair 2019