Clear Cooperation Policy FAQs & Other Resources - Effective May 1, 2020

This NAR mandatory rule has been adopted by KAAR. Simply stated: if a property is marketed publicly, the MLS must be one of your marketing channels.

Clear Cooperation Policy: “Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.”

Check out the KAARTOON video below for an explainer video regarding the implementation of the clear cooperation policy.

Check out this simple to follow flow chart regarding the steps for a new listing.


FAQs

What is the history of the policy and why was the policy approved?
With the increasing proliferation of off-market MLS listings, brokers and MLSs from across the country asked NAR to consider policy that reinforces the consumer benefits of cooperation.  For decades the MLS has created an efficient marketplace and reinforced the pro-competitive, pro-consumer benefits that Realtors have long sought to support.  After months of discussion and consideration within NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board, the policy proposal was brought forth for the industry to discuss and consider.  Many local KAAR members weighed in on the proposed policy, almost all enthusiastically in favor of it.  At its November meeting the NAR Board of Directors, comprised of hundreds of Realtors from across the country, overwhelmingly supported and approved the Clear Cooperation policy, mandating it for all local association MLSs.

Do all Realtor Associations have to adopt the MLS Clear Cooperation policy?
Yes. By NAR establishing a national policy, it is mandatory that all Realtor Association MLSs adopt the policy and have the same consistent standard.

What exclusive listings and property types are applicable under the new policy?
The obligations were specifically adopted to address concerns with residential “for sale” exclusive listing contracts required to be filed with the MLS.  The policy applies to Single Family, Lots & Acreage, Multi-Family, and Auction properties. The policy does not apply to Rental and Commercial listings.

Does the Clear Cooperation policy apply to New Construction/Builder Pre-sales?
The policy does not apply to New Construction/Builder Pre-sales.  However, if these listings are entered into the MLS they must follow the existing MLS rules that they can only be entered within two (2) business days of an accepted contract with a current valid listing contract.

What is the rationale regarding the Clear Cooperation policy not applying to New Construction/Builder Pre-sales?
Builders do not sell the lots unless they have a contract to build the house, therefore if the listing is entered into the MLS, the listing contract must be dated before or the day of the accepted contract.  These must be entered in the MLS within two (2) business days.

Can a seller or the listing broker “opt out” of the policy?
No.  The Clear Cooperation policy does not include an “opt out”.  Any MLS subscriber’s listing that is “publicly marketed” must be entered in the MLS and provided to other MLS Participants for cooperation within one (1) business day.

Does Clear Cooperation prohibit office exclusive listings?
No.  “Office exclusive” listings are an important option for sellers concerned about privacy and wide exposure of their property.  In an office exclusive listing, direct promotion of the listing among brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage, and one-to-one promotion among these licensees and the clients, is not considered public advertising.  However, if office exclusive listings are displayed or advertised to the general public, the policy requires these listings be entered in the MLS for cooperation.

If an office exclusive listing is shared with me by an agent in my brokerage, may I share it with my clients?
Yes.  You may share office exclusive listings from your brokerage with your established client list. You may not share the listing outside that list, such as emails to a purchased market and/or neighborhood farm list, nor any other forms of public marketing.

What if my sellers publicly market their listing?  Does the Clear Cooperation policy requirements apply?
Yes. If your sellers publicly markets their listing, the policy applies and within one (1) business day the property must be entered into the MLS.  Listing agents are strongly encouraged to discuss the policy with their sellers.

Does the policy require listings to be submitted to the MLS if they are advertised a select group of brokers outside the listing broker’s office?
Yes.  Private listing networks that include more brokers or licensees than those affiliated with the listing brokerage constitute public advertising or display.  Listings shared in multi-brokerage networks by participants must be entered in the MLS for cooperation.

Does holding a Broker Open for a Broker Price Opinion count as public marketing?
Yes. If agents/brokers from outside your brokerage are invited, then it is considered public marketing.  If it is restricted to only agents within your own brokerage, then it is not public marketing.

Does the Clear Cooperation policy require a broker to enter every listing in the MLS within 1 business day of signing the listing?
No. The KAAR MLS requires listings to be submitted within two (2) business days of a signed listing agreement effective date.  If a listing is not ready to be marketed or shown, then the broker may enter the property in a Coming Soon status.  However, if the listing is publicly marketed then the policy’s one (1) business day timeline goes in to effect.

Does the policy change the current Coming Soon rules?
No. The Clear Cooperation policy does not prohibit coming soon listings.  KAAR’s Coming Soon policy remains unchanged.

What is considered a “business day”?
Business days exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays.

What is considered “public marketing”?
Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

Is the new policy consistent with Article 3 of the NAR Code of Ethics?
Yes.  By joining the MLS, participants agree to be bound by the MLS Rules and Regulations.  Per the policy’s rationale, the public marketing of a listing indicates that the MLS participant has concluded that cooperation with other MLS participants is in their client’s best interests.

When will KAAR implement the policy?
KAAR will implement the policy May 1st.  To allow ample time for agents to comply with the policy and for all questions to be answered, KAAR will not impose fines for policy violations until June 1st.

What are the fines for violating the policy?
1st Offense - $1000 to the Listing Agent and one warning to the Broker
2nd Offense - $5000 to the Listing Agent and $5000 to the Broker
3rd Offense - Listing Agent and Broker must appear before the MLS Committee for discipline per Section 7 of the MLS Rules.

Why are the fines so large?
The amounts of the fines are not meant to be punitive, but rather to reflect the commitment of KAAR’s leadership to ensure all MLS participants have a full view of the inventory in the market and sellers have full exposure of their property.  As an FYI, other associations across the country have established initial fines beginning at $5000 for the first offense.