Clear Cooperation Starts May 1 – Get the Facts

Recently there has been a great deal of misinformation in various circles about what Clear Cooperation is and what it isn’t.  Our hope is these FAQs, gathered mostly from user questions and feedback, will answer most questions.  If you still have concerns or questions not addressed here, contact our support team at support@realtracs.com or 615-385-0777.  Additionally, NAR has compiled a great deal of Clear Cooperation information which can be viewed at https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/policies/mls-clear-cooperation-policy.

As we have mentioned, the rules are neither burdensome nor a hindrance for you to do what you do best. Good Realtors provide exceptional service to clients and customers.  So, keep doing what you are doing. When advertising a listing for sale, just put it in Realtracs and use the multiple tools in the system to meet the needs of your sellers.

What is Clear Cooperation? Who approved it and why?

Real estate practitioners from all over the U.S. asked the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to consider a policy that would reinforce the benefits of broker cooperation.  After much discussion in several committees, including NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board (comprised of brokers and MLS executives), the Clear Cooperation proposal was introduced for discussion and consideration.  It was ultimately approved by NAR’s Board of Directors at the 2019 NAR Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  Because Clear Cooperation is a national policy, adoption by Realtor Association MLSs is mandated to ensure consistent standards.

How does this affect new construction?

Clear Cooperation was implemented to primarily address concerns with listings available for sale with exclusive listing contracts that are required to be listed in the MLS.  There are some property types excluded from this, including new construction with multiple properties under a blanket listing agreement.

What if a listing enters the MLS in Under Contract – Not Showing status?

Whether this is a violation or not depends on the circumstances around the listing agreement.  There are many situations (especially in this seller’s market) where a listing goes under contract immediately.  The crux of the question and discovery would surround the order of events:  Was a listing agreement signed and publicly advertised BEFORE it was submitted to MLS?  Was it under contract within the 48-hour submission timeframe? And, conversely:  Was a buyer identified and contracted with before the listing agreement was signed or within the 48-hour timeframe?

 Can you respond to someone who posted about a buyer’s need if you will have a listing signed next week?

Yes.  Because there has not been a listing agreement signed yet, Clear Cooperation is not in effect.

Can the seller exempt the listing from the MLS by putting it in writing?

Yes.  This is an Exempt Listing.  The listing broker can withhold the listing from the MLS as long as the following stipulations are met:

  1. The seller(s), listing broker, and listing agent must sign the Seller’s Waiver of Broker Cooperation and Public Advertising and email the form to data@realtracs.com
  2. No public marketing (as defined below) outside of the listing agent’s brokerage is permitted.
  3. If public marketing takes place, the listing must be entered in the MLS within 48 hours of such marketing.

If a listing agent has an Exempt Listing from the MLS that is being publicly marketed there are two options on the day Clear Cooperation goes into effect:

  1. Within 48 hours of May 1, list the property in MLS to continue marketing.
  2. Remove all existing instances of public marketing and have the Seller’s Waiver of Broker Cooperation and Public Advertising completed and signed by the seller(s), listing broker, and listing agent, and then email the form to data@realtracs.com.

What is defined as public marketing?

The easiest way to define public marketing is to share Realtracs rule 1.14:

1.14 Public Marketing. Marketing a listing to the general public through flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public-facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital marketing such as email campaigns and social media applications, intra-brokerage and/or intra-agent listing sharing networks, and other similar marketing and advertising activities. Direct promotion of the listing between the Participant and her/his Users affiliated with the listing brokerage, and one-to-one promotion between these Users and their clients, is not considered Public Marketing.

What if the Seller wants privacy?

Realtracs has a solution for seller privacy, which has been around for several years.  When entering a listing in the MLS, select “No” for the Internet List selection. This will keep the listing from being sent to all advertising, franchise, Realtracs.com, and IDX websites.  The listing will only be available for viewing by other Realtracs subscribers in Realtracs.net. If you or your seller wish to still withhold the listing from MLS, the listing becomes an Exempt Listing and must follow the Public Marketing guidelines above and as defined in Realtracs Rule 2.9.

How do you report a violation?

Violations can be reported to data@realtracs.com. The email should include the property address, the listing agent and office, and the reason why it is believed there was a listing being withheld from MLS that was publicly advertised.

Can I advertise before I have a listing agreement?

No. Advertising listings without a valid listing agreement is a violation of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s rules on advertising.

Can I show my home in Coming Soon status?

No.  However, public Marketing (other than showings) is permitted while a listing is Coming Soon. Please note, the prohibition of showings in Coming Soon also includes users in the same brokerage as the listing agent.

Can a buyer make an offer on a Coming Soon listing without seeing the property?

Of course.  A sight-unseen offer is not uncommon, especially in multi-offer or competitive situations.  However, showings are not permitted while in Coming Soon status.

When am I required to enter a listing into the MLS?

Listings are required to be entered within 48 hours of the date shown on your signed listing agreement.  Also, if your listing is withheld from MLS (Exempt Listing), the listing must be entered in MLS within 48 hours of public marketing.

Can I still market my listing in Coming Soon groups?

You are free to do whatever business practice works for you.  However, as a condition of membership with Realtracs, if you have an executed listing agreement and are marketing the property in “coming soon” groups, it must be submitted to MLS.

Remember, at the end of the day, Clear Cooperation boils down to this.  If you have a listing agreement, and then market that listing to the public or other brokerages, add it to the MLS.  See?  Simple.

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* Learn even more about Clear Cooperation via the following links:

 

RealTracs to Eliminate MLS “Areas”

What’s Happening?

RealTracs is removing MLS Areas from Add/Edit and Search, as well as existing Auto Notify searches with Area as an included criterion.

When Will This Occur?

The change will be effective on February 1, 2020

Why Change?

RealTracs fully understands that a few of our users are dependent upon using Areas for their listing searches, and know that removing them might seem like a change that fundamentally shifts how you use the MLS.

However, eliminating Areas will ensure your searches and reporting are more accurate than ever before.  The truth is, Areas create more problems for MLS users than you might realize.

Did you know,

  • Up to 20% of listings in the MLS have an incorrect Area assigned by the listing agent, which can make searches inaccurate and cause confusion for others.
  • Areas are not based on conventional boundaries and can (and do) change.
  • Davidson County Areas were established not by the MLS, but by the Tennessean as a way to organize classified ads back in the 1960s.
  • In Rutherford County, Murfreesboro city annexations have changed the boundaryPicture1.png over time and make historical comps based on Areas useless.
  • Montgomery County’s Area is partly based on a railroad line that no longer exists.
  • Your clients and consumers are not familiar with Areas. They generally look for listings by neighborhoods and schools.  In fact, Areas are not sent in IDX data feeds.
  • Only 12% of MLS users search by Area. Of those, 14% further refine those searches using additional criteria such as Schools and ZIP Codes.

How Will I Find What I am Looking for Without Areas?

There are several other ways to search for listings that are more accurate than Area.

  • County Name
  • ZIP Code(s)
  • School(s)
  • Map-based searches (you can draw your own custom Area based upon your needs*)
    *Our awesome team of CHRs and expert support staff can show you how!

How Will the RealTracs System Change?

As you have probably already guessed, some changes will be made to the MLS system to accommodate the removal of Areas.

  • Add/Edit will require a County only, and sub-area selections will be removed.add edit.png
  • Search “preference” settings to arrange Areas by county name or Area ID will be removed.
  • The Search Area/County pick-list will be replaced with County and organized by state.
  • You will be able to select any county in Tennessee, Kentucky, or Alabama. No more “Area 17” for listings outside the current RealTracs MLS service area.

I Have Saved Searches That Utilize Area.  What Happens to Those?

  • If your saved search is based on using an Area, it will be replaced with the county the Area represents.
  • If the selection of Areas represents only part of the county (for example, Area 4 in Davidson), then all ZIP Codes in that Area will be added to your search criteria. Staying with the Area 4 example, this would mean ZIP Codes 37015, 370880, and 37218 would be searched.  Of course, there might be some overlap into what were Areas 5 and 3, but remember, the consumer does not search for a home by Area.

RealTracs is currently creating ZIP Code lists and comparison maps for Davidson, Montgomery, and Rutherford Counties to assist with the transition and help make the move from Areas to Counties as straightforward as possible.

There will be much more information coming over the following weeks, so be on the lookout for that on the RealTracs Support site, news blog, social channels, and more.

Important Sentrilock Rule Reminder

Nothing is more important to a homeowner than the safety and security of themselves, their family, and their home. This is why specific rules are in place that determines who is permitted to enter a listing via SentriLock access, and when.

RealTracs recently received verified reports of agents who granted entry access to potential buyers at a listing when a buyer’s agent was not present. It was also reported that outside individuals called listing agents, and misrepresented themselves as an actively licensed appraiser to gain access to a listing, when in fact the license was expired.

Please note, if a SentriCard user grants remote access to a buyer without a buyer’s agent being physically present at the listing, grants access to unverified individuals, loans a property key, or engages in any misuse of the SentriLock lockbox or SentriSmart access system, that SentriCard user can be fined and have SentriLock access permanently revoked.  For full details of the fine schedule for SentriLock violations, please visit support.realtracs.com.

If you have any questions about SentiLock or SentriCard access we encourage you to call RealTracs at 615-385-0777 and speak to a representative.

 

A New Add/Edit System is Coming

We’re Redecorating Add/Edit Inside and Out
 With a New, More Modern Look and Functionality!


If you are a broker, agent, office-staff person, or personal assistant, and entering listings is part of your daily grind, then you are no stranger to the system updates RealTracs has recently released.

We know you have been asking, and it has been a long time coming, but your wait is about to end.  In response to your feedback and as part of our continuing effort to make adding listings to the MLS as easy as possible – and mobile-friendly – we are rolling out the first piece of a shiny and new add/edit system, appropriately called, Add Listing.

As shown below, the new Add New Listing page (yay!) is replacing the existing add listing page (boo!).   The old add/edit system has been a trooper for many years, but it’s time to send it into retirement and replace it with an entirely new experience.

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Here are some of the differences you will notice:

  • Completely fresh and mobile-friendly look and feel
  • Address lookup assistance
  • Tax ID search improvements
  • Wait, did we mention it’s mobile-friendly and not old and crusty?

You can expect to see additional pieces of the new mobile-friendly add/edit system added over the coming weeks and months.

Give it a test drive and let us know what you think!