MRED has raised its fine for agents who do not enter their listings into the MLS within 72 hours, pending an exemption from the seller.
Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), Chicagoland’s MLS, has raised its fine for not entering properties into the MLS within 72 hours of obtaining a listing agreement, upping the amount from $100 to $1,000, according to a report from Chicago Real Estate Daily.
The increase, explained Jeff Lasky, the director of communications and training for MRED, is aimed at “putting more teeth” into the 72-hour window and incentivizing agents to enter their listings into the MLS in a more timely fashion.
Self-Policing the MLS
Lasky emphasized, though, that the increased fine does not amount to a crackdown on pocket listings, of which there are exemptions for agents pursuing that selling strategy.
“This isn’t MRED aggressively going out there and policing pocket listings,” Lasky said. “The rules have been around forever.”
Those rules, explained Lasky and MRED CEO Russ Bergeron, are quite straightforward: agents can opt to not list their client’s property on the MLS, but they need to have the seller sign a waiver form acknowledging that by forgoing the MLS, they are missing out on the benefits of such a service.
The process for tracking listings that do not appear on the MLS, Lasky said, is largely conducted by Chicagoland agents.
“This is a cooperative,” Lasky said. “The agents police themselves.”
Typically, Lasky said, MRED’s compliance department will receive calls from agents who see yard signs for homes that are not listed on the MLS; then, the compliance department will contact the listing agent and see if they have the necessary exemptions to not list the home on the MLS – only then does MRED request a copy of the seller’s waiver form.
And not many requests, Bergeron explained, ultimately result in fines. In the last 12 months, he said, MRED has received 650 reports from members on non-listed properties, but just 140 of those reports resulted in a fine.
The Dilemma of Pocket Listings
We’ve covered pocket listings quite extensively in recent months, and for good reason – they remain one of the more consistently controversial selling strategies in real estate today, what with housing inventory remaining low throughout Chicagoland (inventory was down more than 28 percent in June, according to MRED).
But as Sam Powell, an agent with Dream Town Realty, explained in a recent Chicago Agent issue, there can be value in a pocket listing approach, which can amount to a “sneak peek” for a brokerage’s most valued clients.
“Some real estate companies have a tremendous database of buyers who have clearly expressed interest in certain properties,” Powell said. “So allowing them a kind of ‘sneak peek’ has been successful in driving traffic to a property before putting it onto the open market.”
Bergeron also said there are legitimate reasons for agents to keep their listings off the MLS, especially if the client has security concerns regarding the publicity of their home sale (if, for example, Mayor Rahm Emanuel were selling his home).
Are pocket listings something you pursue in your real estate business? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.