ECAR MLS Rules updated

Real Estate Agent with Engel & Völkers

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Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS® MLS Rules have been modified to allow website references in the Agent Notes and to extend Virtual Office Website (VOW) provisions.  The changes were approved at the February 19, 2009, meeting of the ECAR Board of Directors. 


Section 4.4, Note 2, of the rules was changed to better represent the rule's original intent.  The note was added several years ago to restrict references to real estate licensees who did not subscribe to ECAR MLS.  For example, if an ECAR member co-listed a property with a Realtor from Tallahassee who did not subscribe to the MLS, the rule prohibited entering information about the Tallahassee agent.


The original wording, however, was broader than necessary and inadvertently prohibited references to any third parties including homeowner associations and builders.  The Board of Directors narrowed the wording to specifically reference real estate licensees and their assistants.  This allows information and website links for third parties to be placed in Agent Notes.  The change does not affect the requirement to record a non-MLS selling agent's name in the Sales Notes.


Virtual Office Websites, or VOWs, are private websites used by brokers to provide services to their customers over the Internet.  They are password-protected sites that require visitors to pre-register, essentially making them customers, before accessing services on the site.  These services use active and off-market listing information and are similar to those offered face to face.


The National Association of REALTORS®, with help from the U.S. Department of Justice, established policies in December to govern the use of MLS information on Virtual Office Websites.  ECAR adopted the mandatory VOW language in January, but only recently determined which of the optional policies it would include in the MLS Rules.


ECAR's Board of Directors determined it would not place a restriction on the statuses used on Virtual Office Websites, but did decide not to allow confidential information to be displayed on these sites.  Because that policy required a similar restriction to be placed on all brokers, the Board also approved a rule prohibiting the sharing of Agent reports with any customers other than a listing's seller(s). 


Members should check to be sure that automated emails to prospects are sending Customer reports and that they are not using Agent reports for flyers.  Customer reports "with Contact Information" provide complete agent information if a listing agent wants to use a report as a listing flyer.  Prospect notification emails sent to agents always use the Agent reports which is not against the rules.  It is also okay to use Agent report when participating in an MLS Marketing Tour.


View a summary of the MLS Rules changes

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