NAR board votes to remove MLS subscription requirement

by Rincey Abraham

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors Board of Directors voted on four major MLS adjustments, one of which will allow agents more flexibility in MLS choice.

A new broker-backed policy that is being called “MLS of Choice” prevents MLSs from requiring agents to pay for their service even if they don’t want it, as long as agents prove that they subscribe to a different MLS. Instead, MLSs will offer no-cost waivers to agents who want to opt out and can prove that they are already affiliated with another service.

The highly debated policy was said to hurt agent recruiting and retention, forced brokers and agents to pay for MLS services they did not want and discriminated against newer, tech-enabled business models. The rule, which goes into effect on July 1, 2018, also stipulates the use of the term “service area” in place of “jurisdiction” or “territory” to distinguish MLS areas from association ones.

Other changes for 2018

  • Brokers will now have access to MLS historical sales data from January 1, 2012 onward. Until now, data had only been available for three years prior to the current date. This allows brokers who utilize the MLS to compete with third-party listing tools that don’t have a three-year limitation.
  • Additionally, the NAR board amended a policy to allow brokers to raise the minimum number of listings available to consumers to 500 listings or 50 percent of the listings in an MLS database, whichever is less. This will expand the current search parameters and provide greater search functionality.
  • Finally, the board is requiring MLSs to make remote training options for MLS orientation available to agents and brokers.

The above changes will go into effect on January 1, 2018.