What is the MLS

From and Inman News (sub required) article regarding the practice of “re-listing” – pulling a listing from the MLS and putting it back on so it appears to be a “new” listing and thereby defeating the vaunted Days on Market (DOM) statistic:

The National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics provides that “Realtors shall be careful at all times to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public,” though Lucien Salvant, a spokesman for NAR, said that MLSs are not considered advertising vehicles. “It’s a local MLS issue on how they address (relisting),” he said. “There is no NAR requirement on that particular point.”

Um, then what exactly is the MLS, if not an advertising vehicle?

Note: as this post sat in the “scheduled postings” area of WordPress, jf.sellsius posted this excellent post as part of his 50-posts-in-a-day.

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  1. Jeff September 22, 2006 at 19:01

    The way we handle it in Chicago is to take away the incentive to re-list. We have a field called “Market Time” which is cumulative across listing records.

    We also have “Days on Market” which is isolated to the specific listing. Change the incentive and the behavior changes.

    Take a look at my aricle to see what happened in Chicago when “Market Time” was removed…


    Interesting to note that “Market Time” has been added back as a result of agent’s actions.

  2. Jim Duncan September 24, 2006 at 14:06

    Jeff – Thanks for the note and the link. Is that just an MLS function?

    Do you know if there was pushback from the members?

  3. Jeff September 25, 2006 at 13:33


    The decision behind the removal of the field was a very secretive thing made by the powers that be, and handed down to he masses.

    As for the decision to add it back, think this was data driven. As soon as they saw the large number of cancellations and relists it became apparent that everyone was “gaming” the system.

    While I think a bit of foresight and analysis could have prevented the hasty removal and addition of the field alltogether it is nice to know that someone is looking at use of the system and policing appropriately.

    As to your specific question, not exactly sure whether this was member driven or MLS. Given the reassertion of member governance in our area though, I would think this was driven by the members with data provided by the MLS.


  4. Todd Tarson September 25, 2006 at 16:54

    >Um, then what exactly is the MLS, if not an advertising vehicle?

    This is the confusion. What is the MLS?? I guess it depends on who you talk to. To me, the powers that be for now seem to think it is something that needs to be protected like the N.O.C. list at the CIA.

    I need the data base to advertise a listing that a client hired me to aid in selling said property. After all I do explain to the client that a portion of the fee that was agreed to would go to the buyers broker in the eventual transaction. It’s a pretty healthy cost of advertising that they are agreeing to as well. I bet the client wants to see some bang for their buck and I don’t blame them.

    As you may know I’m involved in starting a new MLS in my area and many might find the conversations funny regarding this subject. Sometimes we (as RE agents and brokers) need to remember that without the clients agreeing to pay for use of the MLS, there’d be no money in the MLS. Sometimes we act like everything that is happening on the MLS is for our (agents and brokers) benefit. Yet the real benefit is for the client but I guess it’s easy to overlook such things.

    I hope we don’t continue to overlook such things with real competition for data lines up on the horizon in very short order.