Pocket Listings and the CMLS

by | Mar 31, 2017 | Legal Tips

One of the most misunderstood rules of the Consolidated Multiple Listing Service (CMLS) pertains to advertising the listing before placing the property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Rule 1(b)(2) states that “all listings must be entered into the computer within two (2) business days upon acceptance of the listing by the Member (i.e., Broker).” Furthermore, Rule 7 holds that a licensee may not “advertise, market, or offer to conduct a real estate transaction involving real estate owned in whole or in part by another person without a current written listing agreement from the owner.”  Rule 7 mimics South Carolina law, which also prohibits a licensee from providing client services to a seller without a written agreement.

CMLS recognizes that a seller may need to seek advice from a licensee prior to placing the property on the MLS.  For example, the seller may need advice on possible prelisting inspections and repairs. Because state law requires a written agency in order for the licensee to provide advice, CMLS developed a document known as the Withhold Listing Temporarily Form. The licensee would complete and execute an Exclusive Right to Sale Form thereby establishing agency. Then the licensee can either enter the property information into the MLS system as a partial listing or wait to submit the data until the Withhold expires. During this period, which may not exceed 30 days, the licensee may advise and counsel the seller. However, the property may not be advertised for sale or published/offered for sale through any medium until the delay period has ended.

When the period ends and the property is ready to be published on the MLS, it is important for the licensee to remember to change the “date submitted” to the current date before publishing. By changing the date, the “Days on Market” will start with the day the listing goes live on the MLS. If the licensee does not update this date, the “Days on Market” will show as when the information was originally entered into the system.

The reason for prohibiting licensees from marketing properties not in the MLS is two-fold. First, if larger brokerages were allowed to withhold listings from the MLS it would give them an unfair advantage in the marketplace. Smaller agencies would rarely get the opportunity to share popular listings with their clients particularly in areas of the market where sales are brisk. Secondly, since South Carolina imposes a duty of disclosure upon the licensee, the licensee would be tasked with explaining the benefits and risks of selling property before placing it on the MLS. As David Tobenkin recently wrote in an article in The Residential Specialist, “It will take only one good lawsuit from a seller who learns that he or she may have gotten more dollars or better terms on the “open” market” to regret doing pocket listings.

Historical Fact: The Elite Epicurean operated at the corner of Main Street and Laurel Street from 1932 to 1997.  For over sixty-five years, presidential candidates, music stars, celebrities, judges and governors broke bread at the 1736 Main Street restaurant. The Elite was where the “power brokers of South Carolina” met for lunch.  Many deals were made over pork chops and rib-eyes. The Elite was located in the Boyne Building that was designed in 1900 by local architect James Hagood Sams. The original tenant was TA Boyne Shoe Store and James M. Green’s Fine Groceries.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE. Sign up for the April 4th MCE/CE at blaircato.com.  All classes are $50 for 8 hours of credit.

Photo by Internet Archive Book Images

Photo by Kent Wang

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