List - Cancel - Re-list.. Is it fooling anyone?

Real Estate Agent with VIA Group Realtors

Does your local MLS have a rule regarding re-listing properties in
order to "reset" the days on market?  Our MLS committee is considering
making a rule that prohibits an agent from taking a property and
cancelling the listing, only to re-list the property immediately with
the intent of pushing that listing back to the front of the daily

Almost every MLS I am aware of including our own tracks historical
Days On Market (DOM) data on a property.  In fact, our MLS even tracks
Accumulated Days On Market (ADOM) which takes into account this very
tactic.  If a property has been listed within a certain period of time
and goes off the market, whether it be expired, withdrawn, cancelled,
sale pending, and then comes back as an active listing again with a
new MLS number, the ADOM calculates this and displays the "true" Days
on Market.

Where the issue comes into play is that this "List - Cancel - List"
process skews our MLS statistics.  Let's look at this (unlikely)
scenario: An agent lists a property on a Monday.  The following Sunday
night he cancels the listing and re-lists it again Monday with a new
MLS number.  This triggers the property as a New Listing on the MLS
Hotsheet.  However, it also triggers some other "events".  1. Any auto
prospecting searches sees the listing as a new property sending it out
to buyer clients.  They would receive the same listing each time this
property was "re-listed".  2.  Any search engine submissions would be
re-submitted, depending on the method you employ, either manually or
automatically.  Either way it would result in multiple submissions to
search engines.  3. Monthly new listing statistics would show
inaccurate records as in a four week month, one new listing would show
up as four new listings statistically.  This is just a few examples,
I'm sure there are more.

While it is obvious this tactic doesn't fool many (if any) agents, it
is merely a way of attempting to appease a seller and make them think
that their agent is "going the extra mile" to get exposure to their
home when in fact, it can actually hurt their chances of finding a

So back to the question:  Does your local MLS have a rule regarding
relisting properties in order to "reset" the days on market?  If so,
how do they enforce it?  Is there a fine for violations?

Thanks as always to everyone's advice and responses!

Les Sulgrove

Comments (87)

Les Sulgrove
Wow..... I'm on the road and checked email from my phone. I can't wait to get back to my computer to read all these posts..... Thanks to everyone for chiming in! Les Sulgrove
Dec 22, 2007 05:13 AM
ActiveRain City and State Listing Group
Christiansted, VI

Ken Cook...

Did you mean "NOT" happy?

Dec 22, 2007 05:49 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Hi Les, here in NE Ohio our rules call for it to be off a certain number of days only, I wanna say ten. I've never really done the research but once we took it off because they thought they weren't moving after all and a week or so later the job offer came back through - so when i put it back in it was like a new listing. Plus we also have 'archive searches' right on the mls sheet so you can track and see how long it's been for sale in real life lol.  I showed a house today that appears to have been on the market for 122 days but in reality it's been several years.  But we can research that.  People game AR for pts and there isn't even any money involved so it of course makes sense that the gaming stakes are higher when money IS involved lol
Dec 22, 2007 10:01 AM
Jeanean Gendron
The Address Realty - Redding, CA
Specializing in Selling Unique Properties
Les, our Board in Redding has a policy against this process. I agree with the policy. DOM is an indication of the market trend and pricing to sell. It reflects some data that is helpful to the buyer and should not be messed with. Thanks for the post and congratulations on the feature. Happy Holidays and have a great 2008!
Dec 22, 2007 01:01 PM
Laura Testa
Nationwide Homes - Danbury, CT
Our MLS in CT has an autochecker progrqam that spots the cancelled/new listing & sends you & your broker a letter that asks you to revert back to the old listing or provide proof of the cancellation & New listing. They'll fine you & your broker if you don't respond.
Dec 22, 2007 05:13 PM
Jamie Friedman, RE.MAX Kauai

Aloha!  It is so frustrating! Our MLS actually will not let the same agent or the same office branch relist to reset DOM. In order to reset DOM, the property listing has to move to another company or be completely off of MLS for 30 days. This is automatic, so agents do not have control over it. Unfortunately, few (very few) Sellers want to reset DOM so badly that they resort to switching listing agents.

I think this is band aid on a broken bone in that the real problem is the illusion that DOM is a reflection of the property more so than the market. In a Sellers market, more DOM may mean that the property is "unique" but in this Buyers market, it doesn't mean much except that the market is slow and inventory is HIGH HIGH HIGH

I hope your Board comes up with a nice way to solve this!

Dec 22, 2007 05:13 PM
David Swierczynski
Retired - Antioch, IL
Between re-listing, expired and cancelled listings the MLS stats are a quagmire. In no way are they are representative of what is actually occurring in the market. When performing a CMA I always include the former and when reviewing with clients they too see how inaccurate the numbers can be. As Dean Moss mentioned our MLS requires 91 days off market to reset the clock although there are ways to get around this (by being sneaky). I am a proponent off coming off market in the late fall if the home has been on market for more than 5 months and re-listing in the spring rather than having the additional market time when a lot of fresh inventory surfaces. This is also a good time to reevaluate the market and price accordingly.
Dec 22, 2007 11:30 PM
Robert L. Brown - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic
Are they not trying to represent their seller in trying to sell the home? I'm not 100% sure what our MLS rules in this situation but with so many homes on the market you try to get a leg up on the competition. Now if it becomes excessive then that's a different story altogether. But then who determines excessive?
Dec 23, 2007 03:00 AM
Kim Busk
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Woodbridge, CT

I think this quote pretty much says it all:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Benjamin Disraeli




Dec 23, 2007 04:57 AM
Jim Dunlap
Roberts Realty - Yucca Valley, CA
This practice, called "churning" is against our MLS rules.
Dec 23, 2007 09:53 AM
Justin Bishop

I don't believe our MLS has a rule against it, however, all listings show up with the active days on market (DOM) and CUMULATIVE days on market (CDOM).  It was recently implemented and our agents took notice!

Dec 23, 2007 11:06 AM
David Spencer
Keller Williams Northland - Kansas City, MO
Show Me real estate in Kansas City
Our MLS does not prevent it. However, the time on market for a property keeps on ticking no matter who lists it. You can cancel to try to create activity for a hot sheet listing, but time on market doesn't reset to 0. If some other office relists it, their time on market starts at zero but total time does not change.
Dec 23, 2007 12:09 PM
Taunya Fagan Bozeman Real Estate
ESTATE House, Bozeman Real Estate - Bozeman, MT
Bozeman Real Estate: Luxury Homes, Land, Ranches
Recently, our MLS system was updated. One change was the institution of cumulative DOMs; no matter how many agents had listed or how many times an agent had relisted a particular property, the DOMs just kept on increasing...very disconcerting for many, so the Board discontinued the practice...
Dec 23, 2007 01:57 PM
Serena Brown
Taylor-Brown Real Estate - Hammond, IN

As a Director on the MLS board with my local Realtor Association, we noticed the problem, and developed a short term fix by asking Rappatoni to allow us to use cumulative days on the market so that all parties will know that the property has been on the market before within the last 90 days.  Just an idea.


Dec 24, 2007 05:25 AM
Cathy Glass
Realty Executives Associates - Knoxville, TN
Realtor - Knoxville, Tennessee
I don't think we have this rule, but not many agents in our area use that tactic.
Dec 26, 2007 02:56 AM
Vito Boscaino
Parker Realty Associates - Dublin, OH

The games people play with the MLS are just mind-boggling.  Does any of it work? I would argue 99.9% of the time it does not.  If an agent does even the most minimal amount of due diligence when looking at listings, they will quickly see through the "De-list, Re-list" game, along with the "Lets change the price by a few dollars to show up on the hot sheet game", along with the "Temporary withdrawal and quick reactivation" game.  If people actually spent as much time and effort working on behalf of their clients instead of playing around with listings, the entire industry would be way better off.  By the way, cudo's to your MLS organization for utilizing the ADOM parameter.  This is a great idea and one which our local MLS is probably years away from implementing.

Vito Boscaino

Help-U-Sell North High Realty

Dec 26, 2007 09:34 AM
Joe Cline
Affinity Properties, Inc - Austin, TX

We used to have the same list, take off market, relist to reset the days on market counter. The cool thing that we had at the time was sequential MLS numbers. The numbering system made it easy to tell how long a listing was around (if you used a temp off the market to reset the listing). Now we have a rule in the system that if the property is off the market less than 90 days the days on market is cumulative. The policy worked and now we don't see as much thrashing to reduce days on market. 


Joe Cline
Coldwell Banker Austin Texas 

Dec 27, 2007 04:45 AM
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA
Adding to the WA agent comments, we also have a rule against trading in the listing for a new mls # by cancelling and re-listing, even though we have cumulative days on market.
Dec 27, 2007 04:10 PM
"Tommy" Decebal
HomeSpector Inc. 516-851-5833 - Farmingdale, NY
Adamescu Long Island NY MASTER Home Inspector

Wishing You HAPPY HOLIDAYS and Best Wishes for A GREAT YEAR 2008.

New York Certified Home Inspector Long Island NY Tommy   Nassau/Suffolk/Queens Home Inspections
Dec 28, 2007 04:16 PM
Sky Minor
Sky Minor Real Estate - Eagle Rock, CA

If it looks and walks like a duck...

Feb 12, 2009 05:34 PM