Most people don’t know this and they would never guess but there are a lot of rules that Realtors have to follow. We can’t for instance list a house and put a sign in front and keep it off the MLS because that violates the “clear cooperation” policy.
We can list a house and get the owner’s permission to withhold it from the MLS but that means it can not be advertised publically, which means it can not have a for sale sign or be put on the internet for all to see.
We can not put a for-sale sign in front of a house if we don’t have a signed contract with the seller to put the house on the market.
There are rules about providing accurate information about the houses we list through our Multiple Listing Service (NorthstarMLS)
The MLS really is the source of information about homes for sale. All of the real estate company websites like Zillow get their data from the MLS as do websites like Realtor dot com. The data is also used by appraisers which is another reason why accuracy is important.
We police ourselves. If we find that a rule is being broke we can click on a link send an email or make a phone call to a compliance department that evaluates the complaint and then fines the offender if applicable.
NorthstarMLS® is responsible for fairly enforcing MLS rules and regulations for all NorthstarMLS® participants. MLS rules compliance is important to our business:
- Ensures the offer of compensation, making sure you get paid.
- Ensures you have current, accurate, and complete property data.
- Ensures professional data sharing and cooperative behaviors.
It is against the rules to increase the square footage of a house or to call a room a bedroom if it isn’t a bedroom. One of the more common violations I have seen is calling a story and a half house a two-story house.
Sometimes people make mistakes and there isn’t a fine or disciplinary action. The agent is asked to immediately correct the mistake.
There is a statement at the bottom of the page for information shared with consumers: “Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed. Copyright (c) 2021 Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota., Inc. All Rights Reserved”
Most of the rules are easy to follow but it can get complicated because there are so many rules.