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Dear Anne: Clear Cooperation? Nothing ‘Clear’ About It

NAR told MLSs to adopt its Clear Cooperation 8.0 policy by May 1, and one Realtor finds it overbearing. Why can’t Realtors advertise a listing before it goes into the MLS? Can a local MLS opt-out if they choose? And why did NAR do this in the first place?

Dear Anne: My MLS is telling everyone that the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) Clear Cooperation 8.0 policy went into effect on May 1. I’m not sure why they call it “clear” – it’s as clear as mud to me.

What were they thinking when they came up with this gem of a rule? Can my MLS opt out of this policy? I do not like being told I can’t advertise my listings before they go into the MLS. – Clear as Mud

Dear Clear as Mud: The ink has dried on Clear Cooperation 8.0, and the short answer to your question is “no” – your local MLS cannot opt out of this policy. To quote NAR’s FAQ on Clear Cooperation: “It is mandatory that all Realtor® Association MLSs adopt the policy and have the same consistent standard.”

To explain Clear Cooperation 8.0, I thought I would break it down to help you understand it better:

What is Clear Cooperation 8.0?

The short explanation of Clear Cooperation 8.0: Within one business day of marketing a property to the public, the broker must submit the listing to the MLS. The property must be the subject of an exclusive written listing agreement signed by the sellers. Verbal, net and open listings are not permissible in the MLS, therefore they are not subject to Clear Cooperation 8.0.

NAR’s FAQ says, “The obligations of Statement 8.0 were specifically adopted to address concerns with residential ‘for sale’ exclusive listing contracts required to be filed with the service. Based on the Advisory Board’s discussions that did not include commercial properties, rental properties and new construction developments with multiple properties (single-family homes, condos, etc.) Those property types and other exclusive listings that require mandatory submission can be included in the application of Statement 8.0 at local discretion.”

Note: It’s up to your local MLS to decide if they want to expand 8.0 to include mandatory listings that are not residential.

Factoid: Questions about this one? Call your local MLS first. While Florida Realtors Legal Hotline is well-versed on Clear Cooperation, they cannot weigh in on rules that are specific to your local MLS.

What is ‘public marketing’ under Clear Cooperation?

 NAR says public marketing includes, but is not limited to:

  • Flyers displayed in windows
  • Yard signs
  • Digital marking on public-facing websites, brokerage website displays including IDX/VOW
  • Digital marketing communications such as email blasts
  • Multi-brokerage listing sharing networks

Factoid: Any marketing to the public outside your brokerage – any shape, fashion or form – triggers your obligation under 8.0 to submit your listing to the MLS unless sharing directly with your clients.

Why did NAR create this policy?

I can answer this in three words: Off-Market Listings – or in real estate industry slang, pocket listings. NAR’s rationale to adopt 8.0 is as follows:

For years, Realtors® have debated the risks and merits of so-called pocket listings, “coming soon” listings, and listings that are marketed on private networks rather than being shared cooperatively through a local multiple listing service. Advocates say that sellers’ desire for privacy and advances in technology have led to the expansion of these off-market listings. Others believe that keeping listings from the MLS reduces buyers’ choice, skews market data and may not be in the sellers’ best interests.

Common questions about Clear Cooperation 8.0

Do I get a pass if my seller tells me it is okay to advertise their property before submitting the listing to the MLS?
No, the minute you publicly market the property you have one business day to submit to the MLS – no exceptions.

What about “office exempt” listings?
If you want to market your listing within “the family,” meaning within the listing brokerage, the office-exempt status is for you. To clarify, if your brokerage is affiliated with a franchise, you can only share your listing with those brokers and agents within your independently owned brokerage and not your “extended” family. Your MLS may require you to complete additional documentation for this status. However, once you market outside the confines of your listing brokerage, 8.0 kicks in. For those who subscribe to the cost-of-doing-business approach, remember the cap on fines is $15,000.

What if my listing isn’t ready to show and I want to pre-advertise? Not a problem. Check with your MLS to find out which status is the appropriate one to use: Coming Soon, No Showings, Delayed Showings or Temporarily of the Market, etc. Understand the terminology because the criteria that accompany each status varies from MLS to MLS. If you have questions, your MLS is your best resource on this one.

What if my seller does not want his listing included in the IDX/VOW display? Are we required to do so under Clear Cooperation? No, the seller can opt-out of having the listing on the internet. Clear Cooperation is about sharing listing information with other cooperating brokers and providing your seller the best exposure on the marketplace.

Want to learn more 8.0? NAR offers a plethora of information on its website.

Have an ethics or rules question? Email us at with “Dear Anne” in the subject line.

Anne Cockayne is Director of Local Association Services for Florida Realtors

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