Can two brokers list the same property and put it in the same MLS?

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Real estate firms occasionally work together in marketing a listing of a seller. The term "co-listed" is often used to describe such listings, where more than one real estate brokerage firm can be described as the "listing broker." At least two issues crop up in these cases, one where both brokers are participants in the MLS and one where one is a participant and the other is not. (I won't trouble everyone with discussions of where there are three or more co-brokers.)

If both brokers are participants in MLS, one question is whether both may put the listing onto the service. I think the National Association of REALTORS's (NAR) policies are silent on this issue, for those of you in MLSs governed by NAR policy.

I have generally advised MLSs not to allow it. Here's why: Theoretically, at least, each listing broker who puts the listing into MLS is making an offer to compensate the broker who is the procuring cause of the sale. If I am the procuring cause, under the MLS rules, I might seek compensation from both listing brokers. Let's say the listing brokers anticipate this, each putting in about half the compensation cooperating brokers typically receive in the market. In that case, how is the cooperating broker to know how much she will be paid and by whom? An arbitration panel cannot rely on "average commission" levels or other numbers to establish what the cooperating broker should be paid; it will not know whether to require both listing brokers or only one of them to pay.

I usually advise the MLS to tell the co-listing brokers to decide which of them will put it in MLS and then require that broker to indicate in the public remarks the identity of the co-listing firm. I suggest public remarks, because the identity of the co-listing broker may be material to buyers and their brokers in a number of ways.

Where the co-broker is one who is not a participant in MLS, we have to be concerned about another problem: free-riding. A participant in MLS could essentially be acting as a conduit for non-participant brokers to get their listings exposed through MLS. There is a host of good business reasons for brokers not to want to do this, but brokers do not always make good business decisions. Thus the MLS will want to prevent a participant broker from "selling" MLS to non-participants.

I usually recommend that the MLS require the participant broker on a co-listing to identify the co-broker in the public remarks (as above) and that the MLS require the participant listing broker to provide to MLS a copy of the listing agreement, showing both the participant and non-participant as listing brokers. In this way, we ensure that the only listings getting into MLS are those where at least one of the listing brokers involved is actually identified as a listing broker on the listing agreement. The possibility of certain forms of free riding remains, but it is much reduced.

Some MLSs prohibit listings that are co-listed with non-participants, because accepting them is more complicated than not accepting them. Until now, I have not seen a problem with my clients choosing to do that. On the other hand, accepting them makes the MLS database more complete and arguably more valuable.

Have you witnessed any problems with this sort of thing in your market? Do you see agency law or other implications of permitting this? Would you do it differently?


(To the extent this sounds like legal advice, it ain't. Retain your own legal and business advisors before acting on the information in this post.)


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James Lowenstern
Castles UnlimitedĀ® - Newton, MA
Castles Unlimited. Newton MA Real Estate
I was a memeber of the Palm Beach Real Estate board years and they allowed it...but that was before MLS became computerized...
Aug 17, 2007 02:24 AM #1
Springfield, MA
I don't understand- how could 2 agents post the listing in the MLS when you sign an exclusive right to sell?
Aug 21, 2007 02:04 PM #2
Brian Larson
Larson/Sobotka Business Advisors, LLC - Minneapolis, MN


The theory is that both brokers sign the exclusive listing agreement jointly, agreeing either with the seller or between themselves how the duties and compensation will be divided.


Aug 22, 2007 01:46 AM #3
Does anyone have a co-listing agreement example I can take a look at?  I've looked all over the internet for one and I can't seem to find one for California or any where else.
Aug 23, 2007 01:26 PM #4
Springfield, MA
Oh- I am so sorry I misread and misunderstood. I know with say team members in our office they take turns who has the listing and who will be the team member.
Aug 31, 2007 05:50 AM #5
Brian Whitfield

I have a copy of a co-listing doc. Please let me know if you need one for two agents of the same brokerage or interoffice for two separate offices of the same brokerage. There is also one for Two brokerages

Contact at

Nov 08, 2007 04:00 AM #6
The All Pro Team
EXIT Realty Leaders - Crystal River, FL
Brian it is not allowed in my local MLS.  That is a rule in our policy and procedures. 
Nov 13, 2007 04:37 AM #7
Matt Owens
Owens Real Estate Group, LLC - Pembroke, GA
To make this work would you need one Exclusive Agency Listing Agreement per Broker or just one agreement and have both Brokers sign?
Mar 23, 2008 09:00 AM #8
Jean Powers
Kane & Associates call 510.908.9002 - Alameda, CA
CRS,e-PRO,HAFA,SFR Broker, Northern California
In our MLS, Northern CA, we can only have a property listed once.
Mar 25, 2008 02:15 PM #9
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Brian, I believe it is allow here in the Greater New Orleans MLS. I have only run across one listing in recent times. What is the advantage of Co listing Brokers?

Jun 06, 2008 12:44 AM #10
Brian Larson
Larson/Sobotka Business Advisors, LLC - Minneapolis, MN


I'm not really sure where it is likely to be valuable. Maybe some other readers can describe when they find co-listing useful. Two circumstances that I can imagine: (1) two agents from same firm functioning as a team (no really co-listed in the MLS, sense, though, as there is only one listing broker); and (2) case where a seller wants to work with a particular broker because of the relationship between then, but they agree that the expertise of another broker would be helpful.

Anyone else want to share circumstances where it would be useful?


Jun 06, 2008 09:44 AM #11
Freddy Solis
Carrington Real Estate Services - Fairfax, VA
Your Real Estate Coach

One reason might be when an agent has a client a bit too far from his selling area and would like to find an agent near the property being listed to show it and to have someone near by to meet with the client face to face if necessary.

Jul 23, 2008 12:53 PM #12
Bob Cumiskey
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL
US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor

Frank, I don't think that's allowed in our board. Now, I'll have to check and make sure. 

Jul 23, 2008 11:45 PM #13
Alena Goldfarb

The home my husband and I purchased was a co-list because the couple selling were divorcing and they each wanted representation on their own separate behalfs.  I'm in a similar situation, trying to obtain a listing for a woman in the midst of a divorce whose husband will be represented by another agent.  Interesting...

May 28, 2009 04:47 AM #14
Kenneth Rossman
Appraiser, Ken Rossman - Boynton Beach, FL
FL Certified General Real Estate Appraiser #RZ3504

I am curious if co-listing with two different firms is allowed in the Long Island, NY MLS.

I am primarily an appraiser, but have been a Realtor/GRI MLS participant for many years. I am thinking of co-listing my wife's house, if permissible with an active local firm to obtain additional exposure. It is not cost effective to do certain types of advertising for just a single listing. On the other hand, I am available to hold open house every weekend & would gladly capture and pass along anyone not interested in my wife's house to a potential partner. Seems to me like a win-win situation. I also already created an in depth virtual tour.

Jun 13, 2009 09:33 AM #15
ANSH@homes in yuba city


Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts. You have posted very interesting post.

Thanks for sharing again.

Jul 28, 2009 10:51 AM #16
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX

Our MLS (Dallas/Fort Worth) will not allow an open or net listing to be put into MLS.  Also the Texas Real Estate Commission rules on net listing is that additional disclosure must be made.

Sep 17, 2009 12:06 AM #17

I needed an agent to co list with me to get a relcoation listing.  My clients wanted to work with me on the listing, however, I had limited relocation experience and didn't qualify under the relo company's policy.  So instead of just sharing 37% of the commission with the relo company, I got to share an additional 10% with an agent in my brokerage that did qualify under the relo policy.  Nice huh?  I had been meeting and discussing things with this client for months before the relo company stepped in. 

Sep 14, 2010 06:36 AM #18
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