NAR announces new MLS guidelines for increased transparency

by Emily Mack

The National Association of Realtors® announced new, pro-consumer changes to its guidance for local Multiple Listing Service broker marketplaces. These changes are meant to increase transparency for buyers and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. They are, according to NAR, as follows:

1. Reinforce that local marketplace participants do not represent brokerage services as free. While Realtors® always have been required to advertise their services accurately and truthfully, this change creates a bright line rule on the use of the word “free” that is easy to follow and enforce.

2. Ensure disclosure of compensation offered to buyer agents. The change bolsters transparency and Realtors®’ existing duties and practices to talk with their clients about what services they provide and how they are compensated.

3. Ensure listings aren’t excluded from search results based on the amount of compensation offered to buyer agents. This changes wording to reiterate Realtors®’ existing duty to inform clients about all relevant properties meeting their criteria.

Commenting on the intention of these new guidelines, NAR President Charlie Oppler said in a press release that the association is “Grounded in our commitment to act in the best interests of buyers and sellers… These latest changes more explicitly state what is already the spirit and intent of the NAR Code of Ethics and local broker marketplace guidance regarding consumer transparency and broker participation.”

The official rule changes put to paper what’s already been broadly accepted as good real estate practice.

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